Tropical Cyclone Debbie has blown a hole in the winter vegetable supply

Cyclone Debbie, which lashed the Queensland coast a week ago, has hit farmers hard in the area around Bowen – a crucial supplier of vegetables to Sydney, Melbourne and much of eastern Australia.

With the Queensland Farmers’ Federation estimating the damage at more than A$100 million and winter crop losses at 20%, the event looks set to affect the cost and availability of fresh food for millions of Australians. Growers are reportedly forecasting a price spike in May, when the damaged crops were scheduled to have arrived on shelves.

The incident also raises broader questions about the resilience of Australia’s fresh vegetable supply, much of which comes from a relatively small number of areas that are under pressure from climate and land use change.

In 2011 the Bowen area produced 33% of Australia’s fresh beans, 46% of capsicum and 23% of fresh tomatoes, making it the country’s largest producer of beans and capsicums, and number two in fresh tomatoes.

The region also produces a significant amount of chillies, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, pumpkin, zucchini and squash, and is a key production area for mangoes and melons.

Coastal Queensland’s vegetable regions are among the highest-producing in the country, especially for perishable vegetables. The Whitsunday region around Bowen, and the area around Bundaberg further south are each responsible for around 13% of the national perishable vegetable supply.

As the chart below shows, vegetable production is highly concentrated in particular regions, typically on the fringes of large cities. These “peri-urban” regions, when added to the two major growing areas in coastal Queensland, account for about 75% of Australia’s perishable vegetables.

Proportion of State Perishable Vegetable Production by weight.
ABS 7121.0 Agricultural Commodities Australia, 2010-11

Australia’s climate variability means that most fresh produce can be grown domestically. The seasonable variability allows production to move from the south to the north in the winter, when the Bundaberg and Bowen areas produce most of the winter vegetables consumed in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The Bowen Gumlu Growers Association estimates that during the spring growing season in September—October, the region produces 90% of Australia’s fresh tomatoes and 95% of capsicums.

Besides damaging crops, Cyclone Debbie has also destroyed many growers’ packing and cool storage sheds. The cost of rebuilding this infrastructure may be too much for many farmers, and the waterlogged soils are also set to make planting the next crop more difficult.

The recovery of production in these areas is crucial for the supply. Growers who have lost their May crop will first have to wait until the paddocks dry out, then source new seedlings and plant them. It could be weeks until crops can be replanted, and storage and processing facilities replaced.

The Queensland government has announced natural disaster relief funding, including concessional loans of up to A$250,000 and essential working capital loans of up to A$100,000, to help farmers replant and rebuild.

Meanwhile, consumers of fresh vegetables in Sydney and Melbourne and many other places are likely to find themselves paying more until the shortfall can be replaced.

Fresh food for growing cities

Australia’s cities are growing rapidly, along with those of many other countries. The United Nations has predicted that by 2050 about 87% of the world’s population will live in cities. This urban expansion is putting ever more pressure on peri-urban food bowls.

Food production is also under pressure from climate change, raising the risk of future food shocks and price spikes in the wake of disasters such as cyclones. Meanwhile, the desire for semi-rural lifestyles is also conflicting with the use of land for farming (see Sydney’s Food Futures and Foodprint Melbourne for more).

These pressures mean that Australia’s cities need to make their food systems more resilient, so that they can withstand food shocks more easily, and recover more quickly.

Key features of a resilient food system are likely to include:

  • geographic diversity in production, which spreads the risk of crop damage from extreme weather events across a number of different production areas;
  • more local food production, to reduce transportation and storage costs and avoid over-reliance on particular regions;
  • a diverse, healthy and innovative farming community;
  • greater consumer awareness of the importance of seasonal and locally produced food;
  • recycling of urban waste and water for use on farms, to reduce the use of fresh water and fertilisers;
  • the capacity to import food from overseas to meet shortfalls in domestic supply;
  • increased use of protected cropping systems such as greenhouses, which are better able to withstand adverse weather.

Two recent studies of food production around Sydney and Melbourne provide examples of a range of mechanisms and policies for increasing the resilience of the food systems of Australian cities.

Our food system has served us well until now, but land use pressures and climate change will make it harder in future. When a cyclone can knock out a major production region overnight, with knock-on effects for Australian consumers, this points to a lack of resilience in Australia’s fresh vegetable supply.

Ian Sinclair, PhD Candidate. Contested Landscapes – Managing the Tensions between Land Use Planning in Strategic Agricultural Regions on Australia’s Eastern Seaboard., University of Sydney; Brent Jacobs, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney; Laura Wynne, Senior Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, and Rachel Carey, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Mackay meatworks reopens after Debbie’s destruction

The Borthwicks (NH Foods) meat processing facility  meatworks at Bakers Creek near Mackay has reopened after Tropical Cyclone Debbie’s impact last week.

The abattoir closed its business last Tuesday as TC Debbie made landfall near Airlie Beach, said a report in Queensland Country Life.

“What was left in the cold rooms before Cyclone Debbie was processed on Monday and we commenced a normal processing shift on Tuesday,” Borthwicks livestock manager Malcolm Kinman said.

“We lost power for only eight hours, so we were fairly lucky during the cyclone activity this time.”

“Some of the roads in the region are badly damaged and transporting cattle could be difficult in the short term,” he said.

“Numbers will be reduced during the processing shifts, but I think we will battle through until this Friday,” Kinman told Queensland Country Life.

Queensland farm values stable in aftermath of Cyclone Debbie

Farms in Queensland are expected to hold their value, according to the latest projections since Cyclone Debbie wreaked havoc to Australia’s east coastline.

Cane, fruit and vegetable farmers in the Proserpine region and Lockyer Valley were hit hardest by the devastating weather over the past week, it has been reported.

 Although much of the damage has yet to be assessed due to flooding, valuers expect the industry has survived the worst.  

“As a general rule, climatic instability and extreme weather events, which were previously rare events, have become an inherent problem and won’t impact on property values,” veteran rural valuer Sam Paton told the AFR.

“There won’t be a negative effect in terms of the big picture. Buyers know the weather is an inherent issue and that cyclones are always a threat.”

He added that the banks, as a general rule, would bend over backwards, to help out farmers. “Their policy is to look after people and get them back on their feet,” he said.

While a lull in activity is expected “for a little while”, Northern zone real estate manager Andrew Adcock, also believes prices would be maintained.

“There may be a few cheaper sales going through among those growers who have decided to sell and don’t want to deal with this sort of thing again. But most people hang in and will reinstate their properties to what they were,” Adcock said. 

Image: NewsCorp

‘Made in Australia’ label ranked #14 globally

 

A study by statistics firm Statista researched 43,000 consumers from 49 different countries to determine the world’s most respected ‘Made in’ labels. According to the study, Australia ranks 14th.

Germany ranked first, receiving 100 index points, closely followed by Switzerland with 98 index points.

Other nations in the top five include the EU as a whole, the UK and Sweden.

Australia’s 14th place ranking puts the nation just above New Zealand (ranked 15th), and below the Netherlands (ranked 13th).

At the end of the spectrum were China on 28 index points and Iran on 27 index points. Statista noted the irony of the fact that Germany scored the top rank, considering that the

‘Made in’ label was introduced by Britain at the end of the 19thcentury to protect its economy from “cheap, low quality and sometimes counterfeit” imports from Germany.

Patties CEO says more takeovers on the table

Australia’s ready-meal sector will surpass $1 billion in the near future and a shift towards healthier eating is playing a major part, it has been claimed.

Paul Hitchcock, CEO of Patties Foods, has said the company is seeking new acquisitions with projections showing the huge growth in the market. 

Having recently acquired Australian Wholefoods, he also believes the sector is now providing far more than TV dinners” and told the AFR it will grow by more than 10 per cent annually.

“The category is still relatively new,” Hitchcock told the AFR. “It’s trending toward $1 billion but we’re not there yet.

The chilled ready meals category grew by 13 per cent in the past year for the retailer “as customers continue to look for convenient and affordable meal solutions”, according to a Woolworths spokesman.

“Busy lifestyles mean consumers are attracted to convenience meals by their relatively low cost, ease of use and variety,” a spokesman for Coles added.

Patties Foods was acquired by the provate equity firm Pacific Equity Partners for $231 million last year.

Chinese wine company searches for Australian vineyards

The third biggest wine company in China is planning a $80 million winery based in Australia, which it hope will rival exporters to the Chinese market.

Weilong Grape Wine Company is proposing to expand its Grand Dragon brand to Mildura, only several kilometres from the Karadoc winery in north-west Victoria.

The move presents “one of the largest infrastructure investments in the $4 billion wine industry in the past decade”, according to a report in the AFR.

But it must first overcome roadblocks to get the project up and running after objections were submitted by rivals and a ongoing planning issue including Telstra.

Bruno Zappia, Weilong’s general manager of Australian operations, Bruno Zappia, said he was confident any red tape would be resolved soon so that the 80,000-tonne winery would be in production in time for the 2019 vintage.

“There will be a combination of our own vineyards and external grapegrowers,” Zappia added.

Chocolate maker eyes top-end Chinese market

Since China is most likely to become the world’s largest gourmet chocolate market, Barry Callebaut’s gourmet business in China is busy catering to the needs of chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers, the company said.

The Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products for the food industry, has strengthened its capabilities and expanded its offerings to meet the needs of the fast-growing segment of professional users of chocolate in China.

Gourmet products chocolate and cocoa products that are typically used by professionals such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers have fueled the business growth of Barry Callebaut in China which has doubled in volume over the last four years.

According to George Zhang, Managing Director for Barry Callebaut in China, higher disposable income of the rapidly growing middle- to high-income consumers in China will drive the expected growth in the sales of gifts as well as premium and sophisticated gourmet chocolate products in the coming years.

Zhang also said that consumers seek new chocolate trends, for example chocolate with health benefits, new tastes such as green tea flavor chocolate and innovative chocolate forms for a variety of exciting chocolate experiences.

The USD$ 2.8 billion chocolate confectionery category in China is estimated to grow to approximately USD$ 3 .9 billion by 2021.

 

 

Plastic fantastic: how lotteries could revolutionise recycling

In July 2018, Queensland will launch a container refund scheme, in a bid to boost recycling and reduce litter and pollution.

It will join South Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales (later this year) and other places around the world in offering a small refund on all eligible drink containers deposited at designated collection points.

Many of the details have been decided already, including the size of the refund: 10c a bottle.

But is Queensland missing a trick here? Economic evidence suggests that the scheme could be cheaper to run, and boost recycling more, if it was run as a lottery instead, with every recycled bottle representing a “ticket” to a prize draw.

In it to win it

Boosting recycling relies on people changing their behaviour. One of the strongest drivers of behavioural change is economics; that’s why container refund schemes exist at all.

But economists also know that the type and size of this financial reward can have a large bearing on people’s behaviour. For many decades, researchers have focused on working out which rewards prompt the most effort. One key question is whether participants respond better to small, reliable rewards, or to being offered a chance of a big windfall.

Research suggests that contests can be easily designed to incite higher levels of effort than the more humdrum piece-rate rewards. Such contests have already been shown to work well in other environmental contexts, such as allocating pollution permits to companies.

Instead of getting 10c per container, Queenslanders could instead be given an electronic ticket for each container recycled. These tickets – which could perhaps be linked to a householder’s council rates account or other personal identifier – could then be entered into a quarterly lottery. The state government would need to decide on the size and number of prizes, as well as the eligibility rules.

Eyes on the prize

Several benefits are clear. First, there is evidence that it is very easy to incite more recycling using a contest approach.

Lotteries are also more flexible – the prizes can be adjusted relatively easily to increase or decrease participation. If recycling rates are too low, the prize value in the next lottery could be increased. In contrast, adjusting the 10c container refund would be far more difficult once it has already been set up.

The scheme might end up costing less overall, too. As the lottery may have only one prize (or a few), the administrative costs would be minimal compared with a per-unit payment. Depending on the size and number of the prizes, the prize fund could also be smaller than the cost of paying millions of 10c refunds.

Finally, the government can control the geographical placement of container points. This would allow it to influence the number of participants and also the ability to focus on citizens that may have certain preferences for recycling, or risk preferences that enjoy lottery contests. Indeed, research shows that risk attitudes and citizens’ preferences have an important impact on contest outcomes.

Lucky chance

A poorly designed lottery might conceivably work too well – recycling rates might become so high that they overwhelm the infrastructure or cause a glut of recycled materials. This has been shown to be possible when lottery-style contests are used in other environmental regulatory contexts. For example, contests that use pollution reduction as a lottery criterion can be too successful – driving down emissions hugely but at a significant cost to economic output.

Choosing the right-sized prize is crucial. If it’s too small, few people will be enticed to change their behaviour and take part. But if it’s too big, many people might stop using their kerbside recycling facilities altogether, “saving up” their recycling for the lottery. This would present a problem of “additionality”: the scheme would be capturing lots of bottles that would have been recycled anyway.

These are mere details, and the challenges of getting it right shouldn’t stop the Queensland government seriously considering giving the idea a go. It might make recycling a whole lot more exciting.

Ian A. MacKenzie, Senior Lecturer in Economics, The University of Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Rising energy costs put Australia’s meat processors at risk

Rising energy costs and lack of reliable supply are threatening to push Australia’s red meat processing offshore.

The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) is currently conducting a survey of its members to determine the scale of the problem and help create an energy policy for the industry.

 According to AMIC’s Robert Barker, affordable and reliable energy supply is crucial for Australia’s meat processing sector. Gas in particular is important as a source of reliable energy to maintain the baseload, and for direct input in plant operation.

 Early results of AMIC’s survey have showed that energy costs were up an average of 30 per cent in 2016 when compared with 2010.

Some of the larger meat processors reported additional energy costs of $20 million in the past 12 to 24 months.

“The red meat processing industry in Australia is the largest manufacturer in Australia, supporting over 130,000 jobs, most based in regional areas,” said Northern Cooperative Meat Company chief executive Simon Stahl.

“If Australia wants to stop this industry moving offshore, urgent attention to the cost of manufacturing is required at all levels of government,” he told Fairfax Media.

“Energy is at that critical stage, not only in terms of cost but also continuity of supply. Urgent action is required and serious consideration should be given to taking export exposed meat processing plants off the grid.”

Patties Foods buys up Australian Wholefoods

According to the AFR, Patties Foods has swallowed up South Australia’s Australian Wholefoods.

In what is looking very much like a pattern, Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), which bought out Patties Food in 2016 and then followed that up by buying Leader Foods, has now devoured Australian Wholefoods, thereby allowing it to push into additional categories of the food services sector.

Australian Wholefoods employs about 130 people and its says it produces more than 100,000 chilled ready meals every week.

The company has introduced a number of new product lines like Clever Cooks, a fresh-food brand free from artificial colours or preservatives.

The latest acquisition has triggered speculation that PEP will sell the combined food business it to Asian buyers, which, the AFR noted, have shown a “keen appetite for Australian food manufacturing assets in the last few years.”

Dairy company reduces costs with label management system

NiceLabel, one of the world’s leading developers of label and marking productivity software solutions has helped dairy company Arla Foods find a standardised label management solution for all of its industrial printers.

NiceLabel’s technology enabled this large food manufacturer to significantly reduce costs and increase label accuracy and productivity.

A critical part of Arla’s brand identity is being able to guarantee freshness and provide their customers with accurate product information, according to a company press release.

However the company needed a single solution with a standardised method of integration between each dairy’s label and direct marking printers and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

By using NiceLabel’s label management system, Arla said that it was able to automate printing by implementing a standardized integration with the MES at each dairy. Now, master data flows directly from the MES to the printers, eliminating manual data entry errors, mislabeling and the associated costs.

By introducing centralised label management, Arla have a more transparent label management process that helps them ensure accurate product and production data throughout the entire label printing process.

The company’s IT team now provides 24×7 support to each site, rapidly addressing issues before they result in production downtime while also allowing Arla to remotely monitor all activity and diagnose errors.

“Our customers have come to rely on us for accurate labeling and quality product information. NiceLabel helps us to meet their high expectations and we no longer have to worry about lost revenue associated with mislabeling”, said Torben Hattel, Senior Solution Architect at Arla Foods.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in productivity thanks to the solution. Our labeling systems run more efficiently. We no longer spend time mitigating manual data entry errors and we’ve been able to streamline support as well.”

 

Beston brings back its Parmesan cheese

Beston Global Food (BFC) has announced that its Parmesan cheese is back in production at Murray Bridge after a five-year hiatus.

Beston this week began production of its first batches of the popular hard cheese destined for consumers across the country, and overseas.

BFC Chief Executive Officer, Sean Ebert, said while the Company’s specialist cheesemakers were currently busy crafting the first batches of Parmesan, they would also soon be moving into other varieties of hard cheese including Gruyere, Raclette and Tilset.

“Since opening our Beston Pure Food factory at Murray Bridge, we have had numerous inquires from our existing customers in Australia seeking locally made European-style hard cheeses. Hence, we have refurbished and returned the former hard cheese line, with a production capacity of 250 tonnes per annum, back into production and brought it to export standard. This has included the installation of a state-of-the-art maturation room and has created additional employment at the factory,” Ebert said.

“There is strong demand for these top quality cheeses in the Australian market.”

“Not only are we creating great cheese but in the process, we are creating jobs. Parmesan production alone required five additional staff while our wider expansion in hard cheese represents 15 new local jobs,” he said.

In June last year, the State Government announced it was providing $2.5 million to Beston for the development of its state-of-the-art cheese processing facility. South Australian- based Beston provides high-end premium foods in the dairy, seafood, meat and health & nutrition areas.

BFC chariman Dr Roger Sexton said that the recommissioning of the hard cheese facility at Murray Bridge was part of the organic growth strategy of BFC and represented another significant step in the further broadening of the revenue base of the company.

 

 

 

Cyclone Debbie hits Queensland agriculture

North Queensland farmers are today confronting the damage caused by Cyclone Debbie as fears of food price hikes emerge.

As 7news reports, the region is known as Australia’s winter food bowl, with crops including tomatoes, bananas, capsicum, sugar cane and more.

“In terms of the value of possible destruction, industry groups in that region have forecast up to $1 billion worth of damage – and that’s just to crops,’’ National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson Simson told 7News.

North Queensland is famous for its sugar cane and, while not completely destroyed, much of this year’s crop has sustained damage.

Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan told APP that the full extent of the damage will not be clear until June, when the crush takes place.

“It was a slow cyclone so the cane did take a fair hammering,” he said.

“A substantial proportion of the crop was flattened, but we were expecting that.”

He added that cane which had not completely snapped off could be salvaged but its quality and sugar content would be adversely affected.

The damage has revived memories of Cyclone Yasi which hit North Queensland in 2011 and resulted in a banana shortage and banana prices of over $15 a kilo.

Shortages caused by Cyclone Debbie are likely to also result in food price rises.

Image: NewsCorp

 

Harvey Beef announces new ethical meat brand

Western Australian meat processor and packer Harvey Beef has announced a new Rangelands beef brand, targeting consumers interested in animal welfare and hormone-free meat.

According to Harvey Beef, Rangelands beef is backed by accredited animal welfare standards, and promises to be hormone and antibiotic free, as well as grass-fed.

“The beef will be sourced from cattle grown in the vast, open ranges of the Kimberley and Pilbara, where cattle roam as nature intended and feast on the abundance of natural grasses,” the company said in a statement.

The product will come in value-added retail-ready form, with the range including beef mince, sausages and burger patties. The range will not include steak or whole-muscle cuts.

The company is targeting retail initially, but is also interested in supplying to the food service industry.

Pastoralists from the Pilbara and Kimberley who supply for the brand will need to be accredited through the Kimberley and Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association (KPCA). The KPCA has developed specific animal welfare criteria which the pastoralists must adhere to, including a third-party audit program.

“These criteria will give customers confidence in buying a product which not only tastes outstanding, but which has been sustainably raised,” said Harvey Beef in a statement.

“Our dedication to higher animal welfare standards matches Harvey Beef’s passion for the best quality beef, and together we can continue to ensure Western Australia is able to consume ethically-produced beef,” said Catherine Marriott, chief executive of the KPCA.

Red meat: the next product to be revolutionised by 3D printing

 As the hype around 3D printing continues to grow, red meat has been identified as the next product that could benefit substantially from the technology.

 According to experts, 3D printing could result in added value to current secondary cuts, trims and products by developing “meat ink”. For example, the technology could be used in the aged care sector to create high protein and nutritious meals that can be presented in a range of shapes and sizes, and made more appetising than the traditional pureed food.

 One benefit of 3D printing meat is the ability to produce meat in a more sterile environment than traditional meat production, potentially avoiding contamination. It has also been cited as a potential way to boost food production for the world’s growing population.

 Yet experts have cited challenges; it will be difficult to achieve a genuine meat taste and texture, and there may be some reluctance for consumers to accept 3D printed meat.

 Overall however, there is increasing demand from markets who want personalised approaches to nutrients or textures, rather than the current whole muscle product.

 The 3D Food Printing Conference Asia-Pacific will discuss these issues and more, to be held on May 2 in Melbourne.

 

Doctors cheer at last drinks for VB and Cricket Australia

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has welcomed news that Carlton United Breweries (CUB) has ended its VB sponsorship with Cricket Australia (CA).

The demise of VB’s 20-year sponsorship with CA, estimated to be worth $65 million over the past five years is one of more than 20 alcohol-related sponsorships in Australian cricket.

The RACP is on record as saying that it was “unacceptable that young children are being bombarded with alcohol promotion both at the ground and at home watching on TV.”

This sentiment is shared by the majority of Australians, with over 60 per cent concerned about the exposure of children to alcohol promotions in sport, according to a number of recent surveys.

RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland said, “A generation of Australians have grown up and become accustomed to a sponsorship that has relentlessly pushed its product and left young Australians as collateral damage.”

“Sadly, we know alcohol marketing leads children and adolescents to start drinking earlier and makes young drinkers prone to binge drinking patterns.”

“Sometimes it starts them on a journey that has a lifelong impact. It’s not surprising that the peak age for the onset of alcohol use disorders is only 18 years old.”

 

Australia to triple chilled beef exports to China

 A new agreement between China and Australia means the number of processors allowed to send chilled, or refrigerated and cryovaced beef cuts to China will more than triple.

 Specifically, the number of meat processors permitted to export chilled beef to China will increase from 10 to 36, with another 15 expected to have pending approvals fast-tracked. Currently, Australia is the only country in the world with this market access.

 According to David Foote, managing director of Australian Country Choice, the agreement is good news for the industry after Australia’s rights for chilled beef exports to China were restricted in August 2013.

 In 2013, chilled beef accounted for 18 per cent of total beef exports to China, said Foote. Since the restrictions however, it has accounted for only 7 per cent.

 Global mining and agricultural entrepreneur Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest also praised the new agreement.

 “Now that we can export chilled beef to China, it means Australia can really compete as a food supplier, as opposed to just a live animal supplier,” he told Fairfax Media.

 It is expected that the announcement will not lead to an immediate spike in imports due to record low numbers of Australian cattle, however it is expected to create opportunities for producers once cattle numbers recover over the next few years.

 

Aussie wines set for German markets

 

More than 100 Australian wineries were recently on show at one of the world’s biggest industry events in a bid to further boost surging exports.

The Wine Australia exhibit at ProWein 2017 which was held from March 19 to 21 in Germany featured 500 wines from 76 wineries across 39 varieties and 34 Australian regions, including the premier regions of South Australia.

The Dusseldorf event is considered one of the world’s most important international wine fairs and will include more than 6300 exhibitors from 60 nations.

Australia is the world’s fifth largest wine producing nation in 2016 and is experiencing a strong run of export success on international markets, particularly for premium wine in North America and China.

In the 12 months to December 2016, the value of Australian wine exports grew by 7 per cent to $2.22 billion and volume increased by 1 per cent to 750 million litres.

The average value of exports grew by 6 per cent to $2.96 per litre, the highest level since 2009 driven by a 10 per cent growth in bottled exports, mostly at higher price points.

South Australia is responsible for 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production including about 75 per cent of its premium wine.

Much of this premium wine comes from the South Australian regions of Barossa and McLaren Vale, and South Australian wineries attending ProWein include d’Arenberg, Elderton, Fox Creek, Langmeil.

 

 

 

Australian researchers find way to stop food mould

West Australian researchers led by Dr. Kirsty Bayliss have discovered how to stop mould growing on fresh food.

Dr. Bayliss will be presenting her technology, titled ‘Breaking the Mould’, a chemical-free treatment for fresh produce that increases shelf-life, prevents mould and decay, and reduces food wastage, in the US.

“Our technology will directly address the global food security challenge by reducing food waste and making more food available for more people,” Dr. Bayliss said.

“The technology is based on the most abundant form of matter in the universe– plasma. Plasma kills the moulds that grow on fruit and vegetables, making fresh produce healthier for consumption and increasing shelf-life.”

Dr. Bayliss’s Murdoch University team has been working on preliminary trials for the past 18 months and are now preparing to start scaling up trials to work with commercial production facilities.

Dr. Bayliss said the LAUNCH Food Innovation Challenge was a “huge opportunity.”

“I will be presenting our research to an audience comprising investors, company directors and CEOs, philanthropists and other influential people from organisations such as Fonterra, Walmart, The Gates Foundation, as well as USAID, DFAT and even Google Food.”

“What is really exciting is the potential linkages and networks that I can develop; already NASA are interested in our work,” she said.

In an interview with ABC Online, she said “Food wastage contributes to a lot of the food insecurity as the US and Europe wastes around 100 kilograms of food per person every year.

“If we could reduce food wastage by a quarter, we could feed 870 million people.”

Dr. Bayliss said the technology also kills bacteria associated with food-borne illness, such as salmonella and listeria.

 

 

New Chilli Beef Pie from Four-N Twenty

 Four-N Twenty is launching its new Chilli Beef Pie, which has been developed for “adventurous eaters who are keen to try a new and exciting flavour”.

 The pie is made from chunks of eight-hour slow-cooked 100 per cent Australian beef, with a spicy chilli gravy, wrapped in a golden pastry.

 “Chilli has been identified as one of the key condiment flavour trends for 2017 and beyond,” said Four’N Twenty marketing manager, Mario Matchado.

 “Creating a spicy chilli version of our eight-hour slow-cooked Real Chunky Pie is sure to prove a winner with pie lovers this winter. So fire up your taste buds, the Four’N Twenty Chilli Beef Pies are hot!”

 The Chilli Beef Pie will be launched in selected petrol and convenience stores nationally from April.