Bellamy’s investors in class action

A shareholder class action against troubled infant formula supplier Bellamy’s has been filed in Victoria to give investors try try and claw back some of their losses.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn lodged the action in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Tuesday on behalf of aggrieved investors who bought shares between April 14 and December 9 last year.
It will be a new challenge for Bellamy’s brand new chairman, Rodd Peters, who was appointed after most of the board resigned or were dumped in a recent shareholder backlash.
The Tasmanian company has suffered a massive plunge in share price and flagged a significant drop in sales in China, and twice downgraded its full-year earnings forecast.

The rebel shareholders who dumped the board at a fiery meeting on February 28 said a turnaround would be complex.
But they said they had a plan to address problems related to product distribution and pricing in China.
Maurice Blackburn principal Ben Slade said the class action was a chance for investors to seek some justice.
“We’ve put together a comprehensive set of pleadings that we’ve now filed with the court, and we are confident that will give aggrieved shareholders the best chance possible of achieving financial redress for some of their losses,” he said in a statement.

Detmold Group wins packaging honour

Adelaide packaging company, Detmold has been recognised as a high performer at the Australian Packaging Covenant Awards for the fourth year running.

The awards recognise the accomplishments of companies in packaging product stewardship through their commitment and involvement in the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC).

According to the company, collaboration with the team at Detpak and customers was pivotal to this extended awards success.

“Consistently being recognised as a high performer over the past four years and winning the KPI 1 Sustainable Packaging Design category in 2015 demonstrates our commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Detmold Group GM Marketing & Innovation Tom Lunn.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of sustainable design in our industry.”

“At Detmold we embed the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) into the design process and support the development of a range of packaging with reduced environmental impact,” said Lunn.

“To maintain the high level of sustainability we conduct regular packaging reviews in conjunction with our innovation department, LaunchPad, and follow SPGs.

“What has set us apart is our focus on working collaboratively with Detpak’s major customers such as Hungry Jack’s and Red Rooster to review their packaging on a regular basis and make changes that have tangible and far reaching environmental benefits.”

Australian wine industry ‘greats’ honoured in Adelaide

The outstanding achievements of three ‘greats’ of the Australian wine industry have been honoured at a special awards presentation held by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) in Adelaide last night.

James Halliday AM, Chris Hancock MW and Denis Horgan AM were named Life Members of the Australian Wine Industry.

Each of the recipients is a household name and their efforts in the nation’s vineyards, wineries, boardrooms and gracing the pages of the most discerning wine publications, have played a key role in creating a vibrant modern industry and brought Australian wines to the attention of consumers around the world.

“This coveted Life Member Award recognises outstanding leadership and contribution to the nation’s wine industry over and above an individual’s career achievements,” said WFA President Sandy Clark.

“Chris, Denis and James are worthy winners and take their place among other greats including Wolf Blass, d’Arry Osborn, Philip Laffer, John May, Terry Lee, Peter Barnes, Peter Wall and Bill Chambers. The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia is proud to administer this award”, he said.

Mechatronic drive awarded HACCP certification

 Understanding the extremely high standards that Australia’s food and beverage manufacturers work towards to ensure that consumers receive the highest quality products, SEW-EURODRIVE has announced the recent Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification of its mechatronic drive system MOVIGEAR type B, variant for wet areas.

Traditional machine components are not only difficult to clean thoroughly; they also generally require production areas to shut down – at least in part – for cleaning activities to take place. This procedure places strain on production timeframes, contributing to reduced product throughput affecting the overall profitability.

Machine components mounted in production or processing areas are often exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals. The shape of the component, its material composition and the method of substrate protection all play a large role in the cleaning efforts, likelihood of becoming a source of contamination and product longevity.

Designed specifically for the food and beverage industry MOVIGEAR for wet areas has a number of advantages over traditional drive solutions. Up to three core products can be assembled into a “self-draining” and compact housing: gear unit, motor and drive electronics (optional).

Combining the technical and practical advantages of all three drive components leads to an increase in the performance, efficiency and reliability. The MOVIGEAR product range can be easily integrated into most materials handling applications such as conveyor systems.

The smooth housing of the MOVIGEAR for wet areas is finished with a ‘HP200’ treatment which is burned-in-to the surface during the application process. Highly resistant to rigorous cleaning regimes, including chemical and high pressure wash down, the integrity of the surface finish eliminates the possibility of “paint-lift-off” often associated with traditional surface coatings.

The inherent anti-stick properties contribute to a reduction of debris build-up resulting in reduced cleaning efforts and system downtime. Standard inclusion of stainless steel shafts, fasteners and auxiliary fittings further enhances the MOVIGEAR for wet areas anticorrosive properties.

The totally enclosed non-ventilated mechatronic drive system is designed according to the principle of convection cooling, eliminating the need of a motor fan. Motor-fan noise spread of germs and bacteria due to air swirls are a thing of the past with the MOVIGEAR product range.

Compliant with IE4 (Super Premium Efficiency) standards, a major benefit of the MOVIGEAR is the impressive energy savings potential.

 

 

Temperature controller

Oven has announced its 5R6-900 temperature controller with ramp/soak capabilities. Contained all in one enclosure, the device can be plugged into the wall as a self-contained temperature control system, which has its own power supply.

This feature makes the device convenient for users. The controller can also be used universally, which allows the user to use the device wherever they are located.

As a solid state MOSFET bidirectional compact unit featuring an internal power supply, it is also capable of loading currents up to 10A.

The controller is suited to usage in universities, science laboratories, industrial plants and PCR research.

It features an easy-to-read digital display for controlling functions, including adjusting output voltage and setting the desired temperature.

Complete with an auto output shutdown if the sensor is opened or shorted, the unit also includes high, low and no alarm settings.

Food industry penalty rate change applauded by business

The Australian Industry Group has welcomed today’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) Penalty Rates Decision.

“The Commission has accepted Ai Group’s evidence and arguments to re-set penalty rates in the fast food industry to better align them with the characteristics and needs of 21st century workplaces,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.

“Ai Group represented the fast food industry in the case.  A great deal of evidence was presented from Ai Group members, McDonalds and Hungry Jacks, and from relevant experts.”

“A very high proportion of employees in the fast food industry are young people who have study commitments during normal business hours.”

The Commission accepted Ai Group’s evidence that young people often prefer to work in the evenings and on weekends, and that many prefer to work on Sundays rather than Saturdays.

“In the fast food industry, weekends and evenings are peak times. Regular business hours have little relevance to businesses in the fast food industry and, therefore, penalty rates that were designed many decades ago around regular business hours need to be re-set.”

“In the Decision, the Commission has recognised that existing Sunday penalty rates in the fast food industry are not fair for employers and no longer relevant.”

“The new penalty rates will be phased in over at least two years to reduce the impact upon employees.”

“The five-Member Full Bench, headed by FWC President, Justice Iain Ross, made their decision on penalty rates in the fast food industry after a case which continued for over two years. The Full Bench carefully weighed up all the arguments and evidence and arrived at a fair and sensible outcome.”

“What is important now is that the decision by the independent umpire is implemented as soon as possible, and that all parties accept the outcome,” Willox said.

Nanoparticles could be the future of agriculture

MICROSCOPIC particles that have always been considered a pollutant are being studied for a range of agricultural uses.

South Australian researchers are working on a number of novel uses for engineered nanoparticles including efficient fertilisers, agricultural ‘amendments’ and a unique way to clean-up contaminated land.

Engineered nanoparticles are currently used in a range of industrial materials, such as ceramics and advanced polymers, and are also commonly used in the production of household materials, personal care products and clothing.

These particles are considered a pollutant risk if they are able to accumulate in the environment.

With a maximum diameter of just 100 nanometres, it is easy for the particles to be widely dispersed across soil and accumulated by plants.

As a result, nanoparticles have been considered a pollutant and eco-toxicological risk to both plants and wildlife.

But researchers at the University of South Australia have found that the very same nanoparticles could also prove beneficial to the growth of plants.

A glasshouse trial conducted by Dr Elliott Duncan, Dr Gary Owens and Nazanin Nikoo Jamal involved exposing rice plants to titanioum and cerium nanoparticles.

Dr Elliott said that instead of proving toxic to the plants, the nanoparticles aided the growth of the rice plants.

Current laboratory tests have focused on rice plants, but Dr Duncan said the same particles could also be used to benefit other grain crops and horticultural species, with tests expected to begin on wheat later this year.

“There’s a lot of concern in terms of whether engineered nanoparticles are toxic, whether they’re accumulated by plants and what the end effect is for humans and the environment,” he said.

“But we found these particles may actually provide some benefits for the plants, and, if we could harness those, this could be a big deal for the agriculture industry.”

The experiment demonstrated that some nanoparticles had the potential to be used as an agricultural supplement, although Dr Duncan said it was still unclear how exactly these particles helped the growth of plants.

“The mechanisms behind it and predicting whether it is going to occur and how best to harness it is still unknown,” he said.

His team will continue with glasshouse experiments to test the safety and effect of the nanoparticles.

Dr Duncan said there was also the potential for specially designed nanoparticles to be used as a way to delivery fertiliser more efficiently.

“With current fertilisers, a lot of the nutrient isn’t available to the plants – essentially the plant can only use 30 to 50 per cent, so up to 70 per cent of the fertiliser expense is just wasted,” he said,

“The idea would be that if we can improve that, you can get away with applying a lot less, which then has benefits for the economics of the farm and the environment.

“This stems from the fact that the nanoparticles are small, which means they’re quite mobile in the environment so they should be able to interact with plants a lot better than more traditional bulk fertilisers.”

The size of nanoparticles also means they possess unique properties such as a high surface-area to volume ratio, which could also make them effective for cleaning up contaminated land.

Dr Duncan is also researching the effectiveness of nanoparticles in binding to toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic.

“To remediate a site is often quite destructive, you cause quite a big change to the environment if you’ve got to say dig it up, it’s quite labour intensive and so on,” he said.

“So this could be a faster, simpler way to remediate a site than current technologies, so we want to see whether these particles can reduce the bio-availability of contaminants, which should reduce how much is available to plants and also how much is lost into water-sources.”

Dr Duncan said more understanding was still needed around the ease with which nanoparticles could move into soil, plants or wildlife, and that long-term toxicity was also an important safety factor to evaluate.

However, if his research continues to yield positive results, he said there was the potential for a commercial product for the agriculture industry.

“We need to do it in an Australian context to see how it’s going to potentially impact our industry,” Dr Duncan said.

“We’re aware that there are risks involved with nanoparticles, but the reward could also be great too.”

 

From The Lead

Nexba voted best beverage

Nexba, an Australian beverage company dedicated to eradicating sugar from soft drinks, has been voted Product of the Year (Beverage Category) by thousands of Australian consumers.

Global research company Nielsen surveyed 14,205 of Australian shoppers to determine the winners across a range of category sectors. The survey asked household shoppers to choose their favourite products across 45 categories.

“We are very honoured to receive the Product Of The Year award for our range of Naturally Sugar Free soft drinks,” said Troy Douglas, Nexba co-founder.

“With the global surge in the anti-sugar movement, we are proud to be at the forefront of innovation as the Australian brand leading the way and breaking new ground in this category.

“Nexba was first to market with our natural sugar free offering. It’s very clear people around Australia and various parts of the world are sold on enjoying a natural and sugar free soft drink in Cola, Lemon and Orange flavours.”

Sara Lee Cheesecake voted best frozen sweet

Sara Lee’s Incredibly Crunchy Cheesecakes have been named best frozen sweet by thousands of Australian consumers.

The award, which was announced at the 2017 Product of the Year Awards on Wednesday night, was the result of a survey of 14,205 people by Nielsen. The survey asked household shoppers to choose their favourite products across 45 categories, based on quality and innovation.

Sara Lee Australia Marketing Manager, Karen Ramsay, was thrilled with the win, saying consumers immediately fell in love with the premium cheesecake range.

“At Sara Lee, we believe that dessert is the best part of the meal, and we wanted to offer consumers something a bit more premium specifically for casual entertaining and special occasions. We are overjoyed to be recognised nationally, knowing that the range is fast becoming a favourite for consumers,” Ramsay said.

Now in its eighth year, and as one of the world’s largest consumer-voted awards for product innovation, Product of the Year is Australia’s largest independent consumer survey of new products.

Qld gelato named Australia’s best dairy product

Milani House of Gelato’s Dark Chocolate Gelato has been awarded the 2017 Grand Champion Dairy Product award, the top prize at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

The Queensland-based gelataria’s win was one of 20 awards handed out in this, the 18th  year of the awards. Tasmania’s Heidi Farm took out the 2017 Grand Champion Cheese award with its robust Raclette – a consistently superb semi-hard melting cheese with a pleasant sweet and nutty-mid palate and some lingering umami savoury characters.

For the first time this year, the Australian public was also given the opportunity to play judge to determine the champion cheese of the new People’s Choice category. More than 3,500 consumers cast their vote to reveal King Island Dairy’s Black Label Double Brie as the inaugural People’s Choice Award.

In what was a rigorous judging process, a panel of 24 expert judges tasted their way through the hundreds of gold medal winning dairy foods – including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, dips and gelato – assessing flavour, aroma, texture, body and appearance.

Flavours influenced from different corners of the globe were represented in the coveted list of Champions with locally produced European and Indian style dairy products such as Montefiore’s Trecce, That’s Amore Cheese’s Diavoletti, House of Riz’s Traditional Greek Rice Pudding and Sharma’s Kitchen’s Mango Lassi all taking out the top spot in their category.

“These Awards are the grand final of dairy competitions in Australia, recognising the talented Australian farmers and producers who bring such high quality dairy foods to our fridges,” said Amanda Menegazzo, convener of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

“The quality and variety represented by our 2017 Champions marks a really exciting time for the industry and dairy lovers. It’s really pleasing to see some of the country’s well known and loved supermarket brands alongside new-to-the market, artisan dairy products. We encourage Australians to look out for the blue and gold Champion and Grand Champion medals on pack and show their support for these talented Australian producers.”

The full list of 2017 Australian Grand Dairy Awards Champions:

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 11.02.29 AM

 

Sydney distillery in running for international gin title

A small Western Sydney distillery’s signature creation is in the running to be named the world’s best traditional gin after taking out the Australian title at a prestigious international awards competition.

The family-run Ironbark Distillery in Richmond NSW was awarded the title of Australia’s best traditional gin for its 313 Dry Gin in the World Gin Awards on December 18. The competition is part of the World Drink Awards and features entries from across the globe.

To win the title, Ironbark Distillery shone during a six-month testing program and will now be judged against four international competitors for the world’s best title which will be named on March 30, 2017 at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London.

To be named world’s best traditional gin, Ironbark Distillery will take on competitors from Canada, Germany, the UK and USA. The winner of Best Traditional Gin will then also be in the running for the ultimate prize of being named World’s Best Gin.

Master Alchemist and Ironbark Distillery Director Reg Papps says winning the award as Australia’s Best Traditional Gin is a major coup for the young distillery which he opened with his wife Greta just three years ago.

“We’re excited and a little overwhelmed by the award win and the opportunity to be named both the world’s best traditional gin, and potentially, the world’s best gin,” he said.

“Even to be in consideration for such an accolade is more than we could ever have imagined when we took the plunge to put everything on the line and follow our dream to open the distillery. It just reinforces for us that you should never to be scared to try something new, no matter what stage of life you’re at.

The latest accolade is confirmation that the stellar reputation Ironbark Distillery has built so rapidly is well deserved. In just its first year it was named Australian Gin Distillery of the Year (2015) at the Melbourne International Spirit Awards and in 2016 it collected multiple medals at the renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The distillery produces six products – two gins, two moonshines, a vodka and a chai spirit – with Reg’s creations combining Australian-grown grain with impeccable flavours that are proofed with purified, sterilized water sourced locally.

The spirits are filtered through a carbon filter system built by Reg, made in a specially-designed still and bottled by hand.

Ironbark’s 313 Dry Gin is also in competition at the Chinese Wine and Spirit Awards, the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits awards across Hong Kong and China. Winners will be decided on February 20.

Small-to-medium machine automation controller

Omron electronics has released its entry level controller, NX1P, designed for small to midsize production machines.

Based on the Sysmas (System for Machine Automation Control) platform, the controller features advanced motion control and networking for onsite IoT.

It is battery free and reduces machine maintenance, featuring an SD memory card slot to restore, back-up and verify data in the controller.

With one or two built-in option boards, there is no need to increase the size of the control panel for adding serial and analog communication.

This makes it a compact controller with push-in-plus terminals at the I/O and CPU unit to strengthen connection and save wiring time. According to the company, these features together with a fast execution time of 3.3ns makes the controller an easy-to-use, high performance compact controller.

Moreover, the controller has built-in Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT ports. EtherCAT allows connection between I/O devices with a single cable providing control for up to eight servo systems, reducing wiring work.

Single-axis position control and four axes of motion control can also be achieved through electronic gear/cam and linear/circular interpolation. IO-Link master is enabled, meaning downtime is reduced and status of machines can be detected quickly and precisely.

Composite hoses for food makers

RADCOFLEX offers a whole range of genuine Australian manufactured composite hoses, assemblies and hose fittings for use across chemical, gas and fuel transfer applications.

RADCOFLEX composite hoses are specially engineered and tested in-house and on-site to ensure compliance with industry standards.
Some of the advantages offered by RADCOFLEX composite hose assemblies are:
Lightweight and more flexible alternatives to rubber hoses;
All RADCOFLEX composite hoses are manufactured in Australia to Australian Standards and codes of practice.
The hoses’ applications are easily identifiable by the colours on the hoses’ outer covers;
Standard average connections with visible internal and external wires, which allow for a quick visual check on the ongoing integrity of the electrical continuity of the hose assembly.

RADOFLEX’S range includes the following:
Chemical Composite Hoses
Chemdock: for use in heavy duty suction and discharge of bulk chemicals in road and rail tankers, dockside and ship to shore to EN 13765 and IMO;
Solchem: for the transfer of chemicals and solvents where the fluid may be corrosive to a galvanised inner wire to AS 2594 and EN 13765;
Solflon: for the transfer of the most aggressive chemicals and searching solvents, having a special PTFE liner, to EN 13765;
Transchem: for the transfer of various acids and alkalis to AS 2594 and EN 13765.
Petroleum Hoses
avfuel & avfuel Light: aviation fuel transfer hoses to AS 2683 and EN 13765;
Petrofuel & Petrofuel Light: tanker fuel transfer hoses to AS 2683 and AIP CP27;
Transdock: for the heavy duty suction and discharge transfer of petroleum products in road and rail tanker, dockside and ship to shore applications to AS 2117, EN 13765 and IMO;
Transfuel: a tanker and fuel depot transfer hose to AS 2683 and EN 13765;
Transoil: a hydrocarbon suction and discharge hose for in-plant and light-duty marine applications to AS 2117 and EN 13765.
Air, Gas & Water Composite Hoses
Bituflex: for the transfer of hot bitumen at elevated temperatures;
Transgas: for the transfer of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and cryogenic conveyants down to -50C to AS 1369 and EN 13766;
Transheat: for the transfer of most hot fluids;
Roof Drain: for use with floating roof drain systems;
VRH: for the recovery of vapours from tanks and tankers to AS 2683.
Composite Hose – Additional Protective Solutions
PVC Spiral Guard: a PVC strip wound helically around the exterior of the hose;
PVC Wear Beads: PVC collars attached to the exterior of the hose at intervals;
Rope Lagging: a polypropylene rope wrapped helically around the exterior of the hose.
Composite Hose Fittings
Camlocks: quick-release cam lever fittings in aluminium, bronze, stainless steel, and polypropylene.
Dust Caps and Plugs: to suit camlock fittings
Flanges: standard drillings in carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium;
Threaded Ends: standard threads in carbon steel, stainless steel, and polypropylene.

 

Food safe rectantgular connectors

Mencom’s T-Type Hygienic rectangular connectors are designed for installation on food industry machines and systems.

The food safe and self-extinguishing thermoplastic material is easily cleanable and resistant to the cleaning and sanitising agents commonly used in food processing factories.

There are two series available in the Hygienic enclosures, T-Type/H and T-Type/C. T-Type/H is designed for production lines applications and features the HNBR rubber sealing gasket that has excellent resistance to both chemicals and animal/vegetable fats.

T-Type/C is designed for low-temperature applications, and the sealing gasket is made of silicone rubber that is not only resistant to chemical agents and fats, but also low-temperature resistant as low as -50°C.

The Hygienic enclosure series is IP66 and IP69 rated to withstand rigorous high-pressure, high-temperature washdown procedures.

Safe Work releases new hazardous labelling regulations

Chemicals manufactured or imported before January 1 2017 will be allowed to be supplied without having to meet Work Health and Safety Regulations’ labelling requirements, according to Safe Work Australia.

Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter said this was decided in response to concerns raised by chemical suppliers in the lead up to Australia developing a globally harmonised system for chemical labelling.

“This approach will ensure a smooth transition to the globally harmonised system, or GHS, and will avoid an unnecessary burden on suppliers to re-label existing chemical stock,” she said.

“From 1 January next year, hazardous chemicals may only be supplied to other workplaces without GHS labelling if they were manufactured or imported on or before 31 December 2016, and were correctly labelled at that time.

“In 2017, manufacturers and importers operating under harmonised work health and safety laws must label their hazardous chemicals in accordance with the GHS under the model WHS Regulations.”

Norco leads with domestic violence leave

According to the ABC, In what has been described as a landmark reform, New South Wales dairy cooperative Norco has introduced paid domestic violence (DV) leave for its employees.

Norco chief executive Brett Kelly said it sends the right message on an important social issue.

“You need to look after your employees and it is really important that we have the environment that people can feel safe and an employer that really does care,” he said.

The 121-year-old farming cooperative will now provide three days of paid leave for its workers experiencing domestic violence to access medical appointments, legal proceedings, and other matters, said the ABC report.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union helped negotiate the deal alongside the meatworkers union and said it was a landmark decision and particularly significant to occur in the food manufacturing sector where shifts were more regimented.

New Cacao Peanut Crunch from Bounce

Bounce has announced their latest addition to the Bounce Bites range – introducing Cacao Peanut Crunch.

Made from 100% nut butter combined with crunchy peanuts, sweet dates and rich cacao, this delicious creation is naturally preserved with coconut oil and rosemary extract.

The little nuggets of goodness are gluten free, GMO free, vegetarian friendly and cold pressed. Bounce is the natural and convenient way to get your sweet fix.

Teresa Boyce, Bounce Nutritionist says, “It is so important that there are healthy snack options available and Bounce has created just that.

Made with 29% peanuts, these delicious bite size pieces are perfect for active, busy people looking for a quick grab and go option. “Australian made with minimal ingredients, nothing artificial, and no refined sugar, new Bounce Bites Cacao Peanut Crunch is a delicious and nutritious alternative to processed, sugary confectionary,” adds Teresa.

Some health benefits of cacao and peanuts include:

• Cacao is a great source of magnesium, which helps to keep your heart healthy, boosts energy, alertness and stamina

• Cacao is rich in antioxidants while being a natural mood elevator

• Peanuts are a good source of Vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese

• Peanuts contain many nutrients and are rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats

Perfect for grabbing on the go, packing for a lunch box or desk draw snack, or saving for an after dinner treat, Bounce Bites are the new guilt-free indulgence.

The Bounce Bites range also comes in three other flavours: Blueberry Banana Bliss, Coconut Almond Kiss and Coconut Cacao Delight.

The price is not right: how much is too much for a beer at sporting events?

For many Australian sports fans, buying beer at sporting venues is an exercise in subjugation. For starters, the alcohol content for those in general admission is often capped at mid-strength – a typically penal restriction aimed at civilising the riff-raff.

Yet the true indignity arrives right at the dreaded moment the attendant rings up the till. By the time you have handed over the cost of a round, you’ve just paid for the better part of a three-course meal at a decent restaurant.

High prices

Fans at the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil were able to buy a local Brahma beer for as little as R$10 (A$3.97). Yet not only are the Germans football world champions, but their elite Bundesliga leads the way in beer prices. The average cost of a beer in the league is less than €4 (A$5.59).

Elsewhere in Europe, a pint of beer costs on average £3.99 (A$6.76) at English Premier League venues. Yet fans in Australia can be held to ransom if they want to enjoy a beer at the footy or cricket.

Ahead of this year’s third cricket Test, the Adelaide Oval was criticised for planning to raise its already high price of beer to A$9.20. Following public pressure prices were held at A$8.90 (for 425ml).

However, beer at Adelaide is better value than Domain Stadium in Perth, where $8 only buys 330ml of beer. Compared to the average price of beer in Australia ($6.44 for a lager) it is clear that stadium prices are at a premium.

Different serving sizes can often mask higher prices, making it hard for a fan to tell if a $5.40 Carlton Draught at the MCG is better value than paying $8 for a Carlton Mid at the SCG. Stadiums may boast that their beer is cheaper than another – but such claims can be misleading, and fans can be exploited.

The global picture

Exchange rates make global price comparisons even more difficult and leave fans at the mercy of stadium operators. But, surprisingly, when beer sizes and prices are standardised, Australian venues don’t fare too badly.

Although Australian stadiums don’t measure up to some of their European counterparts, beer is generally cheaper here than at North American venues. Ahead of the pack in this beer swindle are the Philadelphia Eagles, which charge US$8.50 (A$11.50) for a 12oz (355ml) beer.

The food and drink served at stadiums have long been a point of angst for sport-mad Australians. Research shows fans are not satisfied with the price, quality and service of this element of the fan experience. They are frustrated by the limited options of weak, poor-quality beer at stadiums.

Worst aspect of match experience according to Australian fans.
Keith Parry

Overseas stadiums leave many Australian venues far behind when it comes to choice. Australian fans may drink large quantities of beer at games, but they are increasingly looking for higher-quality offerings – and craft beer in particular. Craft beer consumption is increasing in Australia, but the trend is yet to infiltrate Australian sport.

Throughout the US, however, it is standard to find five or ten locally brewed and independent craft beers on tap at major venues. For example, Major League Soccer (MLS) side Sporting Kansas City has Boulevard Brewing on its concession stands. And the Tap Room public bar at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium features close to 50 craft beer options from across Florida.

Tap Room at Hard Rock Stadium.
Blair Hughes

Closer to home, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium has partnered with local brewery Garage Project to feature its range of craft beers along with a rotating selection of New Zealand craft beers.

The Garage Project partnership at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.
Blair Hughes

Advances in beer services

Technology is playing a part in the push for implementing craft beer.

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles created a special, technologically advanced, ice-cream-type foam that sits atop beer cups to keep it ice-cold for longer. And self-serve beer vending machines are on the rise throughout American stadiums to serve both quality beer options while cutting down the time fans are away from their seats.

Collaborations between teams, stadiums and craft beer breweries are on the rise. Teams such the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and MLS side DC United have their own lines of pale ales for fans.

In England, football clubs including Reading FC have called on fans to name their new match-day pale ale. West Ham United’s new ground features two types of craft beer – Boleyn Bitter and Iron Ale. This further highlights the emphasis that stadiums and teams are placing on engaging with fans through quality craft beer.

With falling attendance numbers in many Australian venues, there is a need for an improved fan experience to attract stay-away fans, particularly as sports teams are competing with a growing number of alternative entertainment options.

Given the importance of alcohol to Australians, sports teams can score an easy win by offering more varied and higher-quality beer at games. Fans are irritated when they are continually offered mid-strength beer; they are demanding more for their money.

Fans are irritated and frustrated when they are continually offered mid-strength beer.
Blair Hughes

The way forward

Australian stadiums should look overseas for innovations in their beer offerings. Here are seven suggestions for satisfying thirsty stadium-goers:

  • prices published online to allow fans to make informed choices and to allow comparison;
  • better options of local independent craft beer made available;
  • teams to collaborate with local breweries for team-branded beers for fans;
  • cup-holders in stadium seating so beers stay colder for longer;
  • designated driver programs, where fans receive free soft drinks in exchange for being the designated driver for their friends (a very popular program at US stadiums);
  • ice-foam technology to keep beers colder for longer; and
  • no charge for beer trays.
Beer options at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
Blair Hughes

There have been some recent changes to the typical restricted drinks menus on offer. A small number of stadiums throughout Australia are now selling craft beers, but these are still a minority.

After speaking with stadium representatives to gauge the interest in offering local independent craft beer options, many have suggested that fans will soon likely see more availability of locally produced brews, albeit in small quantities to keep pourage rights holders and catering companies happy.

The stadium fan experience is evolving at a rapid pace, with global venues locked in an arms race to improve, revolutionise, and add value to the offering for fans on match days. There is a concerted effort to listen to fans’ concerns and get them out of their home sport caves and into the ground.The Conversation

Keith Parry, Lecturer in Sport Management, Western Sydney University and Blair Hughes, PhD Candidate, Western Sydney University

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

China finally opens market to Aussie stonefruit

As Australia’s stonefruit season gets underway, growers have high hopes for a prosperous year with more than 5,000 tonnes of nectarines being exported to the Chinese mainland market for the first time.

Following more than a decade of negotiations, Chinese authorities granted market access to Australia in May, representing the first major new market open to the Australian stonefruit industry since exports to Canada commenced in 2000.

If all goes well, mainland China will join the industry’s existing main export markets Hong Kong, Middle East and Singapore, which currently receive more than 10,000 tonnes of fruit annually.

John Moore, CEO of Summerfruit Australia, said “Chilean white nectarines will also be sold in China and we see this as our biggest competitor. However, for the first time ever, Australia is making white nectarines available on supermarket shelves. This will be a brand new consumer experience for mainland China and we’re excited to see how it goes.”

“A major driving force in our export success is Australia’s clean, green image and food safety standards. Consumers demand premium, high quality and healthy products and Australian branded items are well received at the top end of the market,” Mr Moore said.

Australia is still the biggest market with more than 80,000 tonnes of peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines consumed locally each year.

Early season’s bounty comes from sub-tropical Queensland and northern areas of Western Australia and New South Wales and is followed by crops from mid to southern New South Wales and Western Australia, parts of Victoria like Swan Hill and the Riverland of South Australia. Fruit from cooler climates are last to market.

Typically in season from October to March, summer stonefruit supply is based on a staggered flow of different varieties, each lasting only a week or two which means there is a fresh, new variety at green grocers and supermarkets each week.

Energy management software

NHP has announced a partnership with Switch Automation to deliver InfoSyte, an energy management software solution from NHP tailored to the Australian and New Zealand markets.

A powerful cloud-hosted energy management platform, InfoSyte has the ability to integrate with energy, water and gas measuring devices along with other facility systems such as building management systems (BMS) and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

It offers a range of features including in-built reporting (including NABERS reporting), advanced analysis and trending functionality, fault detection and diagnosis and configurable user dashboards.

Responding to the growing challenge and need to interpret collected data for real world application use, the platform has capabilities enabling the visualisation of data to provide an engaging and intuitive user interface in real time.

According to the company, users will gain valuable insight into their facility operations, empowering them to identify process improvement opportunities and effective management of energy consumption where significant financial savings can result.