Cellar doors drive boutique winery growth in Australia

Cellar door and mail order sales are driving strong growth for small wineries, the latest survey results published by Wine Australia has found.

The trend is helping producers with estimated annual crushes of less than 500 tonnes make inroads into a market dominated by huge wine companies in recent decades.

Small winemaking businesses generated $1.1 billion in wine sales revenue in 2015–16, an average increase of 12 per cent, according to the Small Winemaker Production and Sales Survey 2016 released this week by Wine Australia in South Australia.

While retailers and wholesalers generated 47 per cent of income for small producers, cellar doors have become increasingly important sales channels, accounting for 29 per cent of domestic sales. Cellar door and mail order channels showed the largest growth, both increasing by 7 per cent for the 12-month period.

Barossa Valley producer Whistler Wines crushes about 100 tonnes a year, producing about 6000 cases. It relies on about 10 food and music themed events a year in its native Australian bush setting coupled with regular cellar door traffic to attract visitors.

Owner, grape grower and winemaker Josh Pfeiffer said using winery events and the cellar door to reach new customers and build a database of clients was crucial.

He said being able to offer something different that wasn’t widely available elsewhere and reflected the provenance of the region appealed to visitors.

“We get people coming in here every day saying they are only interested in coming to small independent wineries – they want to meet the people behind the wine and learn something,” he said.

“That’s translating across the trade as well, where wine buyers from restaurants and hotels are wanting independent, smaller brands on their lists and customers of theirs are requesting that as well.

“It’s the same in retail too with the smaller independent bottle shops.”

According to the Wine Australia report, small wineries only exported about 12 per cent of their wine, which is consistent with Whistler Wines’ experience, while exports made up more than 60 per cent of Australian wine sales industry wide.

Pfeiffer said once people had visited the Barossa cellar door they were encouraged to join the 10,000-strong mailing list where they were given access to online specials.

“For us it’s about getting people here and then keeping them here for long enough for them to remember us and want to come back,” he said.

“We do 70 per cent of our sales direct to customers and that’s one of the only reasons we are able to survive.

“If we were giving away 35 per cent to distributors or selling wholesale then all of a sudden you’re not making the margin that you need to make.”

Association of Australian Boutique Winemakers CEO Judith Kennedy said cellar door and mail order sales helped small wine companies maintain margins and bypassed the challenges some faced of securing distribution in major cities.

She said the ability to value add to a wine business through gift sales, accommodation and eateries attached to cellar doors also provided opportunities for new revenue streams.

“It can take a long time for a little wine company to become profitable but cellar doors are certainly part of the answer,” Kennedy said.

“People love the experience of actually being there, talking with the winemaker if they’re lucky and talking with the people who have had hands on experience with the wine.

“The cellar door industry in general is more buoyant now than ever.”

Research released in 2015 by the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg Bass Institute found that a visit to a winery’s cellar door had a lasting effect on consumer behaviour, influencing their buying habits for months afterwards.

“If they like the wine and they’re OK with the price then they’ll join the mailing list and they’ll buy the wine on a regular basis,” Kennedy said.

“As their volumes increase and they have a few good harvests they put the money into improving their cellar doors.

“Sometimes you’ll find tremendously humble little cellar doors and you go back there five years later and they’ve got this beautiful establishment and a line of people going out the door.”

The 223 survey responses from Australian small wine businesses also found:

Production was up 7 per cent, with the highest average growth in wineries that produce 70,001–170,000 litres (8000–20,000 cases) (up 11 per cent).

Average revenue growth was 12 per cent in 2015–16.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of the wineries surveyed make all of their wine in their own facilities.

On average, two-thirds of grapes used by small wineries were grown in their own vineyards.

South Australia produced 51 per cent of the nation’s crush in 2016 and about 75 per cent of Australia’s premium wine from some of the oldest vines in the world.

Its 18 regions include the Barossa Valley, which is home to iconic brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek and Wolf Blass.

 

This article first appeared on The Lead.

Riverland craft beverages on show at Rivafest

 

A revitalized Rivafest will be held on the banks of the Murray River in Renmark this Saturday 14th January.

The event previously held throughout the day will take on a new time format under the stars (from 5pm until 11pm), and will provide an opportunity for visitors and locals to soak up the relaxed, laid back Riverland atmosphere, whilst  savouring the flavours of the Riverland and enjoying the entertainment.

Beer, wine, gin, ciders, expresso martinis, scotch, hard lemonade are just some of the beverages that will be available on the day, along with a huge range of food including yabby paella, Riverland tasting platters, Locally grown wattleseed Pavlova, Flat iron steak burger with Woolshed Brewery Amazon Ale marinade, goat pie, rabbit pie and more.

The Rivafest 2017 entertainment line-up includes the acoustic sounds of local duo Luke & Kassie Heuzenroeder to kick start the evening followed by 2011 X-Factor Runner-up, Andrew Wishart and Adelaide band (former locals) ‘McKenzie’.

Fireworks will also take place at 9.30pm from the river and will light up the balmy summer night sky.

“The timing of the event was brought forward to provide an opportunity for the boutique craft beverages and caterers of the Riverland to showcase their produce during the peak tourism time,” said Director of Corporate and Community Services, Tim Vonderwall. “Moving Rivafest into the cool of the evening will also enable visitors, and locals alike, to experience the Riverland by day and night.”

 

Cold Logic secures refrigeration contract with Coopers Brewery

Adelaide-based refrigeration firm Cold Logic has won a $3.5 million contract to supply and install a new refrigeration plant at Coopers Brewery’s new Regency Park malting plant.

The $63 million malting plant is the largest single item of capital expenditure in Coopers’ history and is expected to open late in 2017.

Three new compressor packages – designed and assembled at Cold Logic’s Port Adelaide factory – form part of a water chilling system that will circulate five million litres of water daily to regulate the temperature at the plant.

Three high efficiency screw compressors with 300kW motors, which each weigh three tonnes, provide 3750kWr of cooling to chill the water to 6 degrees Celsius.

The high performance system will minimise the energy required to product the malt and will utilise environmentally-friendly refrigerant ammonia which has no greenhouse warming potential and no impact on the ozone layer.

Cold Logic Partner, Mr Eddie Lane, said the major project was the latest in the long-term relationship between the two South Australian companies.

“We have been a trusted supplier to Coopers for more than 30 years,” he said.

“Cold Logic was instrumental in the design and installation of the refrigeration plant at Coopers’ Regency Park facility when they relocated from Leabrook.

“Typically, refrigeration makes up 40 to 60% of a brewery’s energy use. We are passionate about helping Coopers to overcome higher energy costs and improve their efficiencies.

“We’re pleased to be involved in such a significant project for one of the state’s biggest brands.”

Coopers Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said the new malting plant would produce approximately 54,000 tonnes of malt a year, with two thirds available for export.

“The new plant will guarantee the long-term supply of high-quality malt for our future growth,” he said.

 

 

 

Love Beets juice comes in two flavours

Love Beets’ Beet Juice is a new range of drinks available in two flavours – Natural Beet and Cherry Berry Beet. Both can be used as a base in smoothies, dressings, summer drinks or straight from the bottle for the ultimate veggie hit!

A fresh and convenient addition to local green grocers and markets, Love Beets Beet Juices can be merchandised for on-shelf display (refrigeration required after opening).

OneHarvest Marketing and Innovation Manager Helen Warren said consumers’ interest in wholefoods was at an all time high.

“As wellness and wholefoods continue to be front of mind for many consumers, the demand for convenient healthy options continues to grow,” said Warren. “Our two new juices give our customers a tasty and convenient healthy juice option to drink straight from the bottle or get creative and add to a variety of recipes.”

Like the complimentary Love Beets range, these juices offer consumers a fuss-free way to boost smoothies and summer drinks. With three beets per 250ml bottle, both varieties are gluten free with no added sugar and have all the power house health benefits of beetroot. Being full of antioxidants and nitrates, regular consumption of beetroot can help promote a healthy heart and boost stamina and endurance.

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.

Chemical-free food factory cleaning system

Tennants ec-H2O technology electrically converts water into an​ innovative cleaning solution that cleans effectively, saves money, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact compared to daily cleaning floor chemicals and methods.
Real-world testing by customers and a third party has shown that scrubbing with ec-H2O technology effectively removes soil. And ec-H2O leaves no chemical residue so your floors retain that polished look with simplified ongoing floor maintenance.
Using ec-H2O technology can deliver cost savings and productivity gains by reducing training, purchasing, storing, handling, and mixing tasks and costs associated with floor cleaning chemicals.

Using ec-H2O technology can deliver cost savings and productivity gains by reducing training, purchasing, storing, handling, and mixing tasks and costs associated with floor cleaning chemicals.

ec-H2O technology significantly reduces the environmental impact of cleaning operations in seven key categories, according to a third-party study by EcoForm. Scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O technology can scrub up to three times longer with a single tank of water and use up to 70% less water than conventional floor scrubbing methods.​​​​​​

 

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.

What will Aussies be drinking these holidays?

New data reveals Australia’s beverage trends, from beer and spirits to zero alcohol

Beverage purchase data from pubs and bars across major Australian cities reveals the types of drinks we may be consuming at functions in the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s.

At these establishments, beer is Australia’s favourite beverage – even among women – and is mainly consumed at lunchtime and in the afternoons. Spirits are our second favourite – and is surprisingly the number one category among women, surpassing wine purchases – and is mostly consumed late at night.

The analysis was carried out by Clipp.co, Australia’s leading and fastest-growing mobile-payment and deals app for bars, pubs and their restaurants. Clipp took alcohol-purchase data from 55,000 customer orders across more than 600 establishments Australia-wide.

The data compares beverage purchases across four categories: beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks. While beer makes up 45 per cent of all beverage purchases, surprisingly spirits not wine is our next favourite at 33 per cent of all beverage purchases. Wine is third on the list, at 19 per cent of all purchases, and non-alcoholic drinks make up just four per cent of purchases.

When it comes to enjoying a beverage or two over Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t have to be at the cost of your holiday or present fund according to Greg Taylor, co-founder of Clipp. The app offers Australians significant discounts on the cost of food and drinks at bars, pubs and restaurants around the country.

“Many Aussies spend this time of year catching up with friends to send off the year that’s been and toast the year ahead, and a lot of us feel the impact of these social outings on our back pocket,” he says.

“January is often a tight month financially as this is when the festive season catches up with us. This data confirms that we love a drink, generally no matter the cost, but by taking advantage of menu specials and happy hour, as well as deals apps and sites – like Clipp – we’re going to get the most bang for our buck and ring in the new year with one less financial concern or resolution to make.”

Beverage trends between men and women

There is a notable difference between men’s and women’s drink purchases. Nearly 55 per cent of all beverage purchases among men is beer – the highest proportion (an average of 64% of all purchases) of which his consumed at lunchtime and in the afternoons. While spirits make up 30 per cent of all beverage purchases by men, this increases to 55 per cent late at night. Wine makes up just 12 per cent of purchases among men.

Surprisingly, spirits top the list of beverages among women, at 36 per cent of all purchases, and increasing to 53 per cent of all purchases late at night. Beer follows closely, at 35 per cent of all purchases, and increasing to 43 per cent of purchases among women at lunchtime. Wine makes up 25 per cent of all beverage purchases among women.

Trends in spirits

Vodka and whisky are the favourite spirits across the nation, making up just over 20 per cent each of all spirit purchases. Vodka is the favourite spirit for all age groups up to age 49, averaging 24 per cent of all spirit purchases. Bourbon is the favourite spirit for Aussies in their fifties (41% of spirit purchases in that age group) and whisky is a favourite for the over sixties, at 42 per cent of spirit purchases.

Trends in wine

White wine is the favourite wine nationally, making up an average of 43 per cent of wine purchases across the major cities. Among women, white wine made up 46 per cent of wine purchases. White wine is a winner among under-20s (83% of all wine purchases) and those in their 50s (52% of all wine purchases).

Queenslanders and West Australians are the biggest white wine drinkers (51% of wine purchases in each State). White wine is also a favourite in South Australia and Victoria, at 48 per cent each of wine purchases. NSW residents are bucking the trend by preferring red wine (48% of all wine purchases).

Trends in beer

Craft beer accounted for 45 per cent of all purchases nationally, with regular beer coming in second at 40 per cent. Melbourne takes the craft beer crown, with the highest percentage of craft beer purchases (55 per cent) against just 34 per cent of regular beer purchases. Perth comes in second, with 48 per cent of craft purchases and regular beer at 35 per cent. Sydney is third, with 46 per cent of craft beer purchases and regular beer at 39 per cent.

In contrast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin are holding onto their love of regular beer, with this category accounting for 59 per cent, 63 per cent and 65 per cent of all beer purchases respectively.

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.

Pallet trucks for SME’s

Jungheinrich has launched an entry-level range of pallet trucks for low-duty applications.

This new range of electric pedestrian trucks is designed for retailers, print shops, workshops or garden centers, or even small to medium-sized businesses that routinely need to move heavy individual items.

The range includes EJE M13 (1300kg) and EJE M15 (1500kg) electric pedestrian pallet trucks. The AC drive motor provides fast and efficient transport of pallets over short distances. An intelligent automatic shutoff system turns the truck off automatically after 30 minutes of non-use, conserving energy and the battery.

All trucks are fitted with a maintenance-free, three-phase AC motor and a maintenance-free gel battery with integrated charger as well as an ergonomic Jungheinrich tiller, offering fast, efficient and safe throughput, claims the manufacturer.

Moving loads in these applications can be difficult if the operator only has a conventional hand pallet truck,” says Greg McNamara, National Jungheinrich Product Manager. “The initial effort required to get the load moving, and then stopping, can be a possible OH&S risk or if not, sometimes impossible with a manual pallet truck.”
The Jungheinrich EJE M13 and EJE M15 electric pallet trucks are now available from NTP Forklifts Australia.

Victorian Manufacturing Showcase features food innovation

A large audience gathered recently at the Victorian Manufacturing Showcase in Ballarat to hear from business leaders about challenges and opportunities in emerging growth sectors, with a strong emphasis on innovation, products and markets.

Key factors considered central to success in today’s changing manufacturing environment included an ability to adapt, development of a competitive risk-taking culture, and exploiting collaboration with other companies and universities.

Also highlighted was the critical role of strong leadership, involvement of employees in seeking new ideas and productivity improvement, and recognising the importance of consistently delivering quality added value products for clients.

True Foods is an Australian owned family business that was established in 2001 as a specialist manufacturer of flat bread products.

In 2011 the company purchased a major production facility in the Victorian regional town of Maryborough which consists of 27 acres with 3 acres under roof.

True Foods Director, Mark Thurlow, says the company has experienced enormous growth in its production capabilities, now employs some 250 people, and has an annual turnover of around $50 million.

“We have grown to become the largest Australian owned manufacturer of Tortilla Wraps, flatbread products, and bakery snacks such as crumpets and pikelets, and this is supported by a supply chain that distributes significant volumes of shelf stable, ambient and frozen products nation-wide,” he said.

“Innovation is a driving force in our success and we continue to invest in new capabilities and capacity to bring innovative new products to market for our customers, which range from large multi-national supermarket brands and international franchise groups to weight loss companies and health food chains.

“Our culture of innovation is aimed at finding unique solutions across the entire value chain – from new product development, to purchasing of raw materials, and finding new production and supply chain efficiencies. We are always looking to invest in new capabilities that are synergistic with our existing purchasing, production and supply chain efficiencies.

“The focus on innovation is backed by an R&D team that is equipped for rapid prototyping to help us quickly focus on a clients’ specific brief, and our multiple production lines have all been modified to make slightly different products. This in turn means that the company has some of the broadest capability in Australia to offer a range of products, with or without inclusions, and to make multiple health claims.”

“We are constantly increasing the range of products we offer, and because of our ability to run segregated production lines, allergen-free, gluten-free, organic, Kosher or Halal products can be effectively processed.”

“It is people that make a business and development of a loyal culture and a highly reliable workforce is essential. We have established a diverse management team with backgrounds in food manufacturing, food technology, logistics management, corporate finance and marketing, and a key feature of the company’s culture is to encourage and listen to employee ideas.”

 

 

Read the full article in the February issue of Food and Beverage industry News

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.

Management education, not just tax cuts, needed to create jobs and growth

Company tax cuts are a key component of Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison’s plan to drive growth in jobs and wages, spurring on the Australian economy.

There’s no question that tax cuts and lower energy prices will enable companies to keep more of the money they make. But it’s not more money per se, but what they do with that money that will enable them to grow.

Should they spend money on hiring more people, developing new products, do more marketing, change the packaging, or expand the factory to manufacture more product for export?

These are the kinds of decisions all CEOs of medium-sized companies must make. But many CEOs are uncertain about what to do to grow and are fearful of making wrong decisions. No CEO wants to make a decision that sends the company into decline, so there’s a tendency to “circle the wagons” and try to protect what they have or make incremental moves from which they can quickly retreat if things go wrong.

In these situations, lack of money is less of a gating factor than lack of knowledge. The good news is that when CEOs are taught the basics of growth, understand how to create a growth strategy, and are given tools that enable them to simulate the impact of a decision, they make decisions quite rapidly and begin to grow – and then they hire people and jobs are created.

Two years ago we launched our first growth program and began working with a group of 10 companies from all over Australia representing ten different industries. They had revenues between A$5 million – A$50 million, 5 – 200 employees, and the CEOs wanted to grow but weren’t sure how. Over the two years since they entered our program, they increased their aggregate revenue by 93%, profit by 100%, and are exporting into 12 new countries.

But, most importantly for policy makers wanting to create jobs – these ten companies have added 146 new jobs. That’s an average of 14.6 jobs, over two years, per company.

What if each of the 220,000 medium enterprises in Australia added half as many jobs over the next two years? That would result in more than one million jobs.

Promoting company growth can be achieved by helping managers figure out:

  • What’s the best growth strategy for this company?
  • What changes are needed in marketing and sales?
  • What changes are needed in the way we lead and manage?
  • Are the right people in the right positions to drive growth?
  • What kinds of people, with what kinds of skills and experiences, are needed for future growth?

Although a tax cut could be the fuel for the growth, company leaders come to our growth program because they need help thinking through which growth strategy makes sense for their business. They want to learn how to improve their leadership, tune their organisation, become more efficient, and rev growth.

Money alone will not create the numbers and kinds of jobs required to boost the economy. CEOs and MDs in our programs tell us that learning what to do, when, why, and in what order has given them the confidence to take the risks required to grow their companies and hire more people.

In short, we need to focus as much attention on the management education of founders, CEOs and MDs of medium-sized companies as we do on providing them with more money. Once they learn how to grow their companies, they will definitely need money to become the engines of growth, and they will certainly hire more people, creating the jobs we all want.

The Conversation

Jana Matthews, ANZ Chair in Business Growth, Director, Centre for Business Growth, University of South Australia

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

New switchbox for food processing plants

The new GEMÜ 4242 combi switchbox is suitable for secure and fast applications in most food and other types of process plants.

It is small, compact and light, and is ideal for pneumatically operated linear actuators. With its integrated 3/2-way pilot valve made of anodized aluminium or stainless steel, the new combi switchbox 4242 from GEMÜ, the Ingelfingen-based specialist for valves, measurement and control systems, is especially designed for smaller and medium nominal sizes. It is particularly well suited for secure and fast applications with a stroke of 2 to 30 mm.

The design is compact and saves material, and in comparison with competitors’ products, it is much smaller. This has a favourable effect on pricing and provides protection for the environment at the same time.

Green engineering is part of the GEMÜ range. The pneumatic and electrical connections of the combi switchbox save  space and enable easy access as they are positioned in one direction. This means that the combi switchbox can be fitted quickly and easily without any great need for cabling, and there are no problems during servicing either.

Mounting and commissioning is made simpler by a speed-AP function. A manual override enables fast diaphragm change. This all saves time and money, and lowers the planning efforts.

The combi switchbox has a microprocessor-controlled, intelligent position sensor and an analogue, integrated travel sensor system. The combi switchbox provides extended diagnostics, and reports various programming, sensor and pneumatic faults using high visibility.

The end positions are programmed on site via the reed contact, using a solenoid on the top of the housing, but without a PLC connection. The position of the reed contact in the housing is clearly marked. The housing therefore need not be opened. Mechanical openings in the housing for buttons and switches are therefore not required.

Mother Earth to partner with Netball Victoria

Netball Victoria has announced that Mother Earth has formed a new partnership with our Clinics and Camps program in 2017.

Mother Earth is the flagship brand of Prolife Foods New Zealand, manufacturer and producers of the Mother Earth range of snacks, nuts and spreads including Baked Oaty Slices, Fruit Sticks and Brekkie on the Go!

“We are delighted to have Mother Earth partner with us for Netball Victoria Clinic and Camps in 2017,” said Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King.

“Mother Earth is the perfect fit for Netball Victoria with its wholesome range of snacks, nuts and spreads matching our desire to promote healthy and active lifestyle choices in the netball community.”

As part of the partnership Mother Earth will provide clinic funding, where children have fun improving their skills and making new friends.

King’s sentiments were echoed by Kevin Hawkes, general manager grocery & marketing Mother Earth.

“Mother Earth is thrilled to come on board as a major partner of Netball Victoria Camps and Clinics,” said Hawkes.

“We have always supported community and family through a range of programs including some junior and club level netball sponsorships in New Zealand.”

“This partnership is a perfect opportunity to invest in grass roots netball here as the Mother Earth brand increases its presence and investment in Australia.”

Aussie wine exporters celebrate ChAFTA’s anniversary

One year ago today, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) entered into force. From this date, Australian wine exporters could claim preferential tariff reductions through accompanying wine consignments with a ChAFTA Certificate of Origin.

Australian wine exports have had two tariff reductions since the entering of force of ChAFTA. For most wine, the rate has fallen from 14% to the current rate of 8.4% and will drop further to 5.6% on 1 January 2017, giving Australian winemakers a substantial competitive advantage over our European counterparts.

Australian wine exporters have made the most of the preferential tariff rates into China and China is now Australia’s most valuable wine export market. In the last 12 months, exports to mainland China have grown by over 50% per cent to just under $500 million. To put this in context, just a decade ago, Australian wine exports to China were valued at $27 million.

The trade benefits of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement, and the growing Chinese middle class’ increased interest in wine, have meant that more than a third of Australian wine exports priced $10 and more per litre FOB, are now destined for China (valued at almost $200 million and up over 60 per cent).

‘The demand for our premium wines in China shows no sign of abating and the next round of tariff cuts will give us a further advantage over our next biggest rivals in France’ said Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

He went on to say ‘The Australian Governments’ continued emphasis on pursuing trade opportunities and reducing market access barriers is welcomed by the wine sector and the benefits of this will flow on to rural and regional Australia over the next decade’.