How a 1960s cartoon predicted the future of food

Sharon Natoli loves food. Which is just as well when she makes her living as an author and speaker specialising in the food and beverage industry.

At a recent event held by St.George Bank at urban farm, Cultivate, which is based in the Sydney CBD, Natoli spoke about the future of food and some of the challenges processors, retailers and manufacturers face.

Her first point was that the future – in general – is coming faster and faster. The Human Knowledge Curve has shown that in 1900 humanity’s knowledge was doubling every 100 years. In 1945, the rate was doubling every 25 years. By 1982 it was down to approximately one year. Today, it is estimated that what humans know is doubling every day, while deep learning platform IBM Watson predicts that our knowledge will double every 12 hours by 2020. What is driving this alarming rate of change?

“It is around data collection,” said Natoli. “The fact is that every day that we use our laptop, our phone, we buy things, and we click purchase things online. We use our credit cards, that’s data that is being collected all the time. Wearables, sensors – so much technology around us, and so much data to collect. The key is keeping up with the rate of knowledge that is happening in terms at which it is doubling.”

READ MORE: Federal funding announced for aquaculture development in Northern Australia

And with all these changes starting to occur, it is important that food and beverage businesses don’t get caught ‘sheep walking’ – a term that Natoli said is similar to sleep walking, except people are wandering around with their eyes open.

“We have our eyes open and we are conscious, but it is hard to see the future coming at us because we are surrounded by the status quo,” she said. “If we get caught sheep walking, then it is harder for us to innovate and keep up.”

She gives the example of French yoghurt manufacturer Yoplait, who up until 2015 was the number one brand in the United States. Over a few years it lost 33 per cent of its market share, with 23 per cent of that coming within one year. The equated to about $500 million in revenue. What happened? A rival read the future.

“Chobani came along with a better tasting yoghurt, a lower sugar yoghurt – the kind of things consumers were looking for at that time, and so they took a large chunk of that market share away.”

However, one topic that Natoli covered could have consequences for food processors – 3D printing. Back in the 1960s the cartoon television series The Jetsons had the Foodarackacycle, a device that, with the press of a button, would produce food for the family. Fifty years later, similar technology is coming to fruition with the Foodini.

“Foodini is a 3D printer that enables us to serve food, freshly printed,” said Natoli. “It is a smart kitchen appliance using 3D printing technology that enables us to personalise our food. Not only the amount, but a personalised nutritional profile of the food, and we can personalise the way that it looks.

“It is also attractive to health-conscious people because it puts food production in the hands of the consumer. You can print things like crackers, wraps and pizza bases – some of the things you would usually buy prepared from the supermarket.”

With the future fast approaching, it would be easy to put your head in the sand and say “it’s all too much”, especially as Natoli has already stated, our knowledge is almost doubling every day. However, she also said there are three “plates that need spinning” if the food and beverage manufacturers are going to keep ahead of the knowledge curve. They are: what do you need to keep? What are things that these companies need to keep up with? What do they want to create?

When she talks about what companies need to keep, it is more about their legacy, their history – it is about a company’s culture, both past, present and looking to the future.
Probably the most important of the three “spinning plates”, is keeping up with trends, something that could be argued Yoplait failed to do when it lost its market share in the US. There are lots of trends and different businesses need to keep up with them, said Natoli. She said there are three areas of macro trends that will be relevant to the food and beverage industry.

“The first is this rising rebellion,” she said. “What we are finding is that we have the means and the motivation more than ever to stand up for the things we believe in. We are seeing a power shift from organisations and institutions through to individuals. And this is being shown a Colmar Brunton’s Millennium Monitor. What they monitor is Australia’s changing social sentiment. What they have found, is we are moving from an era of conformity where we had trust in institutions and organisations, through to this rebellious era. What we are valuing is empowerment and individual responsibility and taking on change ourselves.”
This is leading some food and beverage brands to adopt a rebellious approach, such as the likes of Soul Fresh, which owns the brand The Milk Thief.

“They’re saying, ‘we’re a movement, not a corporation’. They are saying they are a disruptor of the status quo versus doing what we’ve always done,” said Natoli. “They’re focussed on creating healthier and better foods for consumers instead of focussing on delivering foods and beverages at the lowest cost possible.”

The second macro trend is the idea of getting more from less. This is around the intersection between disquiet about the state of the environment, combined with consumers concern about their personal health. It’s about growing things with less impact on the environment but also being healthy. She cites the example of Mike Lee from US-based Alpha Food Labs, who is looking at the biodiversity of the supermarket shelf. Natoli said he has flipped things on its head. Usually, when it comes to new product ideas, it is marketing or product development people who come up with new concepts and go out and tell the farmers, or the suppliers, to grow this or produce that.

“What Alpha Labs is doing is turning that around and going out to the farmers and saying, ‘what are you growing? What is good for the soil? What is in season?’ and then the company takes that and makes a product from it. It is the opposite of what we would usually do from a food production perspective,” she said. “They want people to see that these products are not just made from wheat, rice and oats, but they are made from things like lentils, fava beans and moringa powder, millet – all kinds of different grains and that is a way to introduce biodiversity into the food chain.”

The final part in the macro trend equation is the expectations that people have when it comes to what they are consuming. Natoli said they have high expectations of food producers as well as high expectations from their food.

“This is where transparency and knowing where your food comes from – who made it, what’s in it – comes in,” she said. “Also the use of technology in terms of things like augmented reality, where you can scan a barcode of a product and find out the story behind it. Also around health and wellbeing and how we can really improve it through what we eat.

“Companies like Habitoir, which is a US company that takes some of the insights around genetic testing, and develops personalised nutrition plans that meet peoples’ expectations around how food can deliver better health to them.”

Natoli also believes that even though there is a lot of automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality creeping into the food processing and manufacturing space, there is still room for human interaction. Some companies even make it part of their marketing plan.

“Harris Farm, they often put themselves forward – like one of the brothers Tristan Harris – as commentators,” she said. “They put a face to the brand. It gives it that human element.”
And getting back to her point about the rebellious disruption going on, The Havas Media Group recently completed a survey that involved 300,000 consumer and 1,500 brands across 33 countries. What it found was that brands that are more meaningful outperform the stock market by double over a 10-year period. Being meaningful meant contributing to the collective well-being of society.

“Overall the future is coming at us quite rapidly and we don’t want to get caught sheep walking. We have to be really future ready. If we can spin those three plates together at the same time, then that is going to help us navigate in this decade of disruption. Many a false move was made by standing still, so whatever you do, just don’t stand still.

“It is really great for food businesses to have the opportunity to come together, to network, and connect, particularly over a meal. To create those social connections over food and to share their ideas and learnings.

“I think the way of the future is really about collaboration and so an event like this that St.George has put on is really beneficial for helping to do that.”

Preparing for the future: sustainability, digitisation, and an aging workforce

Supply chain, factories of the future, Industry 4.0, and an aging manufacturing workforce – all subjects that recently have started to have an impact on the food and beverage industry. It’s no longer enough to go after market share; processors and manufacturers in this space have to play the long game and ask themselves some questions about where they are heading, such as: What does the future hold in the supply chain space? Do we need to adopt an Industry 4.0/Internet of Things (IoT) strategy? Does it even affect my business? What is a factory of the future?

Pollen Consulting Group is a company that specialises in value chain transformations in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. It recently hosted a networking event where a panel consisting of some of the brightest minds in the digitisation area came together to discuss some the issues that both multinationals and SMEs are facing within the sector.

Facilitated by Pollen’s managing director, Paul Eastwood, the event showcased insights into the aforementioned issues.

Linda Crowe, head of supply chain at wines and spirits producer Diageo, knows that the company has to get onboard with sustainability initiatives –but at what cost?

READ MORE: Branding and supply chain: Why they matter

“We had our global supply and procurement director out recently and we talked about sustainability,” she said. “And the biggest message he landed was that we don’t have a choice anymore, but we need to find a way to be sustainable without impacting costs. Or, if it’s going to be more costly, then we have to pull it out of the profit and loss (P&L) somewhere else. We definitely need to start looking within to get ahead of the trends and do it in an intelligent way.”

And while some talk the talk, as James Magee, CEO of Operations Feedback Systems (OFS), explained, when it comes to walking the walk, some baulk.

“From my time working in Visy’s recycling department, there were many brand owners and organisations that came in and said they wanted to go down the path of sustainability,” he said. “They wanted to promote it, but of course it came at a higher cost. When that resolve was tested, in many cases, neither the brand or consumers, despite outwardly promoting it and testing at shelf, decided they would go for the cheaper option. It’s interesting to hear Diageo’s approach. That is a breath of fresh air because a lot of companies will chase profits over sustainability.”

And while it is easy to be cynical about costs over profit, at least one person on the panel was not willing to compromise when it came to making sure her company was minimising its impact on the environment, even if it affects the bottom line. Diem Fuggersberger is the CEO of Berger Ingredients and food company Coco & Lucas, and her values in her home life cross over into her professional life.

“I have certain values in my personal life, so I have to make sure those things are the same in my business,” she said. “When I started Coco & Lucas I wanted sustainability, but it has hurt my profitability by at least $250,000 a year. All the packaging used in Coco & Lucas is biodegradable. Instead of paying $0.12 for a plastic food tray, I’m paying $0.28 for a biodegradable one. Initially my family wondered why I was paying all this extra money but I was determined to be the first national brand that doesn’t have plastic going into the earth. I felt it was my responsibility for me to have a biodegradable tray.”

The executive general manager at CHEP Australia, Lis Mannes, brought up the issue of waste in the food and beverage industry. Mannes was involved in companies that have had a large sustainability arm, yet the infrastructure within some of them has not been mature enough to handle the amounts of waste being created.

“We are in a lag position where we do not have, as a country, the infrastructure to handle the amount of waste we create,” she said.

To take it one step further, not only do companies have to think about what side effects waste will have on the environment, but there is a generation of younger workers coming through that are interested in their employer’s stance on the environment.

“I did an induction recently for some new employees, and one of my slides goes, ‘Why CHEP?’” said Mannes. “As I went around the room I asked people why they joined us. I would say over half of the room actually cited [the company’s attitude towards] sustainability as one of the core reasons that they joined the company. I don’t think I would have had that answer 10 years ago.”

Another point up for discussion was the role of technology in the supply chain, something that manufacturers and distributors in the food and beverage space need to take into consideration as digitisation starts to take hold. There were duelling trains of thought with this aspect of business in general – digitise completely now, or do it gradually.

Pollen Technology director, Oliver North believed that because technology is ever changing, there is a conundrum, which is that nobody knows what these changes will entail when it comes to supply chain.

“Nobody can predict what is going to happen,” said North. “The only thing we know is that it is going to change. The question being asked was, ‘How do we as a business adopt these changes?’ And when it comes to technology the first thing you should be looking at is where the pain points are in your supply chain.

“You need to look internally at a business and understand the areas where we have a problem, and where we can use technology to solve it. Then you look at the market and understand what technologies can help us there, and what technologies will fix that need.”
Mannes also delved into a few issues that need addressing within the Australian food and beverage industry – distance that products need to travel; legacy plant and machinery that needs upgrading; the need to diversify outputs during production; and an aging manufacturing workforce.

“When I look around the infrastructure in the food and beverage industry in Australia, there is a lot of legacy assets that exist, and one of the challenges of our economy is the distances versus the population that we are trying to service,” she said.

Mannes also touched on Australia being in a unique situation whereby the nature of the country – its size and the supply chain distances travelled – creates natural constraints that have to be considered. According to Mannes, some start-ups are often scared off by the scale of economies that exist in the country and the possibility of making a business work where they are servicing so many locations.

“To establish a fresh sandwich factory in Sydney, and to service the country, you just can’t do it, because you can’t get it with a three-day shelf-life to Perth,” she said.

Then there is the issue of the condition of the some of the plant and machinery in some factories, as well as the aging population of workers in the food and beverage processing and manufacturing industries.

“We have factories in many of our food industries that have these legacy assets that are looking tired,” she said. “Then, you have the generation of workers coming through who don’t want to work in them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been in endless discussions about aging employment and aging workforces and what that is going to do the economy, because we have a generation of people coming through who don’t want to work with our aged assets. But we have an economy that makes it really hard to have a business case to keep industry here. I don’t know what the solution for that is.

Generationally, as we start to adopt Industry 4.0 in the appropriate places, we will gradually get a younger segment coming though that do want to work in those kinds of environments.”

Eastwood then touched on workforce issues and how automation would affect factories of the future. In 2018, a Swiss think tank, The World Economic Forum, released a statement that stipulated that half the work force could be replaced by robots by 2025. However, it also said that robots could create twice as many jobs as currently exist now.

“I think the main problem is going to be a race between technology and education and which one is going to win,” said Eastwood. “I think if technology is going to win, you are going to have people without skills; if education wins then we might be okay. At the moment, technology is winning.”

This was backed up by productivity expert Ishan Galapathy who said we should be working smarter, not harder. “If we can build the capability of our frontlines leaders to problem solve, they will be using the skills that won’t go away – like empathy and courage,” he said.

The next topic on the agenda was about working in a factory of the future from an employee’s point of view. They would be ripe for the gig economy, said Magee, with gig referring to independent workers who contract their services out for short-term jobs.
“I would say that in the future an opportunity exists for manufacturing employees to share in the gig economy,” he said. “Why couldn’t there be a star rating where I’m an employee, or a hired gun, who can work in any factory. If you only need me for five hours, you don’t have to pay me to sweep the floor to fill out the contract if I finish early. I’ll walk across the road and go and work at another place for few more hours.”

A similar scenario could be played out for excess factory floor space. Diageo already thought ahead before it built its new distribution centre, according to Crowe. It intentionally built the factory bigger than it needed because it was taking into account the growth of the company. For about four months of the year it runs at full capacity, while in the other months it runs at about 50 to 60 per cent. It can rent out the extra space to, as Crowe puts it, “sweat the asset to make it profitable”.

The final point of the discussion, made by Eastwood, was about food and beverage processors and manufacturers taking on digitisation – don’t rush into it, he said.

“I don’t think you have to worry too much about being left behind because it takes time,” he said. “You won’t change the world tomorrow, but you do need to start thinking about it, because some companies are clearly starting to nudge ahead. There is no one that is miles ahead at the moment. Think about it. Take your time. And get it right. It doesn’t cost millions.”

How to improve your energy efficiency

Ahead of chairing the ‘Agribusiness and food processors: Smart energy use from farm to plate’ speaker session at the inaugural Energy Efficiency Expo, Bradley Anderson (Manager of Business Energy Solutions at the Energy Efficiency Council) shares his advice for food businesses looking to manage their energy intensive operations and improve efficiency.

Question: What are the biggest energy challenges for Australian businesses?
In my role at the Energy Efficiency Council I am responsible for business engagement and energy management market transformation. What I continue to see is Australian businesses grappling with electricity and gas prices unlike anything they’ve seen before. For many industries these rapidly rising costs are a challenge they’re not capable of dealing with easily. Due to Australia’s historically cheap energy, many Australian businesses have pursued a procurement focused energy strategy and once cheap supply contracts are secured, they haven’t paid attention to the energy management opportunities available behind the meter. Now that wholesale electricity prices have doubled and wholesale gas prices have tripled, businesses need to act quickly to offset these rapid rises in energy prices.

READ MORE: Energy efficiency Expo to focus on improving energy use at cutting costs

Question: Why should Australian businesses focus on improving energy usage & reducing their environmental impact?
Most experts agree that the electricity and gas price peaks of 2017 are unlikely to be replicated, but they also expect market prices to stabilise well above their historic averages. Costs are shifting rapidly, yet the transformation of Australia’s energy system has only just begun. Businesses that are leading when it comes to energy strategy have a clear understanding of how the energy system is evolving, the trends or technology driving this transformation, and how they can leverage these to thrive.

Question: Why are food businesses, especially their supply chains, so energy intensive & how can they be managed?
The supply chain for food businesses requires energy to be used in three fundamental ways to generate products and profit. From farm to plate, energy is required to move resources around such as pumping water to irrigate crops, or for heating things up like when baking bread or sterilising packaging, and for cooling food goods down in storage facilities or transporting to stores. Despite this reliance on energy intensive processes coupled with rapidly rising energy costs, since 2006 Australia’s agricultural industry has become 21% less productive with the energy it uses. The positive news is that there are still many ‘low hanging fruit’ opportunities to reduce energy consumption within the supply chain, however, without a systematic approach to energy management many of these low-cost and even no-cost opportunities won’t be identifiable. The simple fact is that businesses need quality data and analysis to make effective business decisions – and the same applies to energy.

Question: What approach can agribusinesses and food processors take to reviewing their energy use, management and supply?
Food business and agriculture are no different to any other sector, so developing a strategy for ongoing improvement of energy performance and having the data to inform effective decision-making is the best place to start. Additionally, the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian Governments all have active programs to assist agribusinesses and food processors review and better manage their energy use.

Question: How does energy efficiency improvement benefit business?
In the agriculture industry, for example, we know that 74% of identified savings within small to medium agricultural businesses have a direct payback within 5 years, which shows large portions of energy saving can be unlocked through project implementation. Again, there are Government assistance program available to support these projects or help from expert advisors is also available.

Question: Is there a general approach agribusiness and food business can apply to improve energy efficiency within operations?
The traditional ‘plan, do, check, act’ cycle of implementing and continuously improving a formal energy management system has proven results, with energy savings of up to 30% being achieved regularly by businesses that actively participate in energy management programs throughout the world.

Question: Is there a single piece of advice or a recommendation you can give to food business and agribusiness about energy efficiency?
Yes, managing your energy use doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money, in fact it doesn’t have to cost you any money.

The inaugural Energy Efficiency Expo will be held from 23-24 October 2019, at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, with a focus on helping organisations solve their energy affordability and productivity challenges through insights shared in the conference and solutions displayed on the exhibitor floor.

Visitors will also have the benefit of gaining access to the co-located All-Energy Australia and Waste Expo Australia. All-Energy Australia is the industry’s largest all-encompassing clean energy event, with a theme of ‘Advancing Australia’s transition to a clean energy future’ in 2019. Waste Expo Australia is also a free-to-attend industry event applicable to professionals within the waste management and wastewater treatment industries.

Together, the three industry events, will combine to form Australia’s most comprehensive opportunity for businesses to learn about renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable solutions.

Nuvo-7164GC – rugged, embedded PC for high-performance graphics processing

Backplane Systems Technology has annonced the release Neousys Technology’s new Nuvo-7164GC rugged edge artificial intelligence inference platforms which is designed for advanced inference acceleration applications such as Voice, Video, and Image Services.

The Nuvo-7164GC supports NVIDIA Tesla P4 GPU featuring 5.5 TFLOPS in FP32 and Tesla T4 GPU featuring 8.1 TFLOPS in FP32 and 130 TOPs in INT8 for real-time inference based on a Trained Neural Network Model. In addition, it supports Intel 9/8th-Gen Coffee Lake Core 8/ 6-core CPU and 32GB DDR4-2666, offering great balance between CPU, GPU, and memory performance.

As Neousys’ patented cassette and air tunnel design, which guides the intake air flow through the passive Heat Sink of NVIDIA Tesla P4/T4, Nuvo-7164GC is capable of effectively dissipating the heat generated by the GPU. This design allows system operation of up to 60°C ambient temperature with sustained 100 per cent GPU loading.

READ MORE: IBase’s CSB200-818 slim fanless system

Nuvo-7164GC also incorporates cutting-edge I/O technologies to boost overall system flexibility, functionality and performance. It has an M.2 NVMe interface that supports disk read/ write speeds over 2000 MB/s and USB 3.1/ GbE ports for fast data transfer, such as acquiring HD video data.

With its innovative combination of fast CPU and inference accelerator GPU, the Nuvo-7164GC is the ideal platform for AI inference, deep learning, autonomous driving, facial recognition, and machine vision.

 Key Features:

  • Supports NVIDIA Tesla P4/ T4 GPU
  • Dedicated heat dissipation for -25°C to 60°C wide-temperature range operation
  • Intel 9th/ 8th-gen core Hexa-Core 35W/ 65W LGA1151 CPU
  • 6x GigE ports, 802.3at PoE+ option available (Ports 3~6)
  • 2 2280 M key NVMe (Gen3 x4) socket for fast storage access
  • 4x USB 3.1 gen2 ports and 4x USB 3.1 gen1 ports
  • Accommodates two 2.5p-inch SATA HDD/SSD with RAID 0/1 support
  • MezIO interface for easy function expansion

Seven things you should know when exporting to China

According to Dr Mathew McDougall, CEO of Reach China and revered expert in doing business with China, Australia’s trade relationship with China is growing by the day and it includes large scale exports of resources through to everyday items which small and medium size Aussie businesses are ideally placed to provide.

“China represents a huge opportunity for Aussie SMEs,” McDougall said. “We import over $62 billion worth of goods from China and export over $93 billion dollars worth of goods and services to China.

“China has a population of nearly 1.4 billion people and their middle class is growing. They are also avid online shoppers and eager to purchase premium quality brands. They also seek out authentic Australian brands as our products are considered high quality, clean, green and produced in highly regulated environments. Our soils, air and water are seen as pure.

READ MORE: Why the Australian food industry needs Alibaba

“The key areas of export opportunity for Aussie food and beverage small businesses include:

  • Maternity, baby care products and baby food
  • Milk powders (including infant formula and adult milk powder), UHT and pasteurised milk, yoghurt, cheese and butter
  • Seafood (particularly saltwater shell fish such as oysters, crabs, lobster and abalone)
  • Fresh fruits (citrus, table grapes, cherries and mangoes) and natural fruit juice
  • Oats and other breakfast cereals
  • Chilled, frozen beef and processed foods
  • Wine and craft beer

McDougall suggests that while the idea of exporting to China may seem daunting, many Australian businesses, from mum and dad operations to larger companies have commenced the journey of exporting to China with great success.

“It is really a matter of preparing well and taking the right steps,” Dr McDougall said. He has put together seven key steps Australian businesses should follow if they want to export to China.

  1. Work with an experienced export consultant to help you in your journey. A good export consultant will assist you to work through all steps of the process
    This is essential to ensure you are making the right decisions and doing the right things. This avoids putting money in the wrong places and minimising mistakes.
  2. Ensure your product is suitable for the Chinese market and that there is a demand for your product.
    While this may seem straight forward, China is a big country with different markets. Be clear about what part of the market you are targeting and the potential for sales and growth. The more unique and high quality, the more appealing the product will be.
  3. Get to know Chinese culture
    Get to know the market to which you are seeking to export. Find out what products are doing well and why. Understand their social media platforms such as WeChat and how they engage and shop. A little research goes a long way.
  4. Grow awareness of your products in the Australian market first to build brand credibility and trust in China
    Chinese consumers buy brands based on reputation, trust and credibility. If your brand is known in Australia and has a good reputation, then the Chinese are more likely to buy your product in or from China.
  5. Build a sound online presence through a good website and social media
    Chinese consumers are very internet savvy and research products before they buy. They also rely on reviews. Having a strong online presence ensures your brand is well represented and and findable on the internet.
  6. IP and branding
    Protecting your IP is important, not only in Australia but overseas. Ensure your products are clearly branded and IP registered in Australia and that the branding has no conflicts with any existing brands known or registered in China.
  7. Be patient, flexible and scalable
    Many businesses have achieved explosive growth exporting to China, while others have found the journey a bit more slow going. Regardless, it is important to ensure that you are taking the right steps and are prepared for growth when it happens.  Sometimes strategies and tactics need to be adjusted and this is normal, the key is to be patient and committed – and be ready when things do shift quickly.

“I have helped many Australian startups and larger businesses export into China. With many, we have drawn on the Australian based Daigou sector to get the export process underway,” McDougall said.

“Daigou are Australian based Chinese who buy products and send them back to their friends, relatives and others in China. There are over 80,000 Daigou in Australia and the Daigou trade channel is growing fast helping many Australian brands to build awareness among consumers in China.

“Regardless of the strategy, the key is to ensure you have a good product to sell There are many Australian businesses with good products that are ideal for export. Hopefully we see more making the move to export. It can be a life-changing experience.”

Nestlé expands plant-based burger range

Nestlé is expanding its plant-based food range in the US and Switzerland.

The launches come just days after Nestlé announced its ambition to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including by offering more plant-based food and beverages.

In both countries, Nestlé is launching plant-based burgers and grounds, with ingredients and recipes customised to meet local tastes. All the products look and cook like raw beef and provide a juicy, meat-like taste and texture.

In the United States, Sweet Earth Foods has announced the launch of their newest products, the Awesome Burger and Awesome Grounds. Both deliver on the taste and texture of beef with the environmental and nutritional benefits offered by plant-based proteins.

READ MORE: Plant-based protein worth $25 billion by 2030

The Awesome Burger is made with yellow pea protein, resulting in a burger that is high in protein and fiber. Sweet Earth’s Awesome Grounds will provide the same plant-based protein in a ground version that allows greater flexibility to cook various meals and sides, such as meatballs and tacos. Acquired by Nestlé in 2017, Sweet Earth has over 60 plant-based products in their portfolio.

In Switzerland, Nestlé is introducing its Garden Gourmet Incredible Burger and the new Garden Gourmet Incredible Mince. The two add to the already expanding Garden Gourmet range in Switzerland, which also includes many ‘veggie-centric’ options. The burger is made from soy and wheat protein and the mince from soy protein. Both contain natural plant extracts – beetroot, carrot, and bell pepper – and vegetable fats including chopped coconut oil.

The new Garden Gourmet Incredible Mince is just as versatile and juicy as ground beef. It is easily shapeable, making it perfect to create balls or skewers that can be seasoned to taste. It can also be crumbled up in a pan, for example to make a delicious Bolognese sauce or ‘Chili Sin Carne’.

Cleanaway and Coles team up over waste initiative

A Coles supermarket in Sydney’s west has become the first Australian supermarket to trial zero waste to landfill, as one of several initiatives to help Coles meet its commitment to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.

As part of a trial, the supermarket in Wentworth Point is sending zero waste to landfill, preventing the equivalent of 6 ½ shopping trolleys going to landfill each day.

The purpose of the trial is to change in-store processes, put greater focus on source separation, and to partner with new facilities to use waste as a resource. This will mean more packaged and unpackaged food, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, wax boxes, polystyrene and timber will be diverted from landfill.

Coles Chief Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve says the trial of a zero waste to landfill store will help Coles find new ways to reduce waste in stores.

“Waste management is a key component of the sustainability of any business and reducing waste is a very important issue for our customers,” said Reeve. “Everyone knows Australia has challenges in how we deal with our waste. That goes for everyone from households sorting their recycling to businesses like Coles. We all have a responsibility to play our part.”

READ MORE: Challenges abound for food waste solutions

The zero waste to landfill trial store will find new ways to recover residual dry waste such as mixed plastic and timber which historically has been the most difficult to divert from landfill.

Coles is partnering with Cleanaway to recover energy from this waste through the Cleanaway ResourceCo Recovery Facility (RRF) in Wetherill Park. The facility uses dry waste to produce Process Engineered Fuel (PEF), which is then used to offset the demands of heavy industry for fossil fuels.

Cleanaway’s Alex Hatherley, Regional Manager, Solid Waste Services NSW, said “This is a great solution for Coles stores that produce high volumes of mixed back-of-house plastics but want to achieve a zero waste to landfill goal.”

“Our facility is unique in its ability to divert commercial dry waste from landfill, recover recyclable materials and then convert the remaining combustibles to a sustainable fuel source, PEF.” Alex explained.

Doug Elliss, General Manager of the Cleanaway ResourceCo Wetherill Park facility said, “We’re playing a key role in Australia’s future sustainable energy mix by reducing waste that would otherwise go to landfill and lowering carbon emissions through production of a commercially viable sustainable fuel.”

The trial comes as Coles Group has released its first Sustainability Report as a stand-alone publicly listed company which sets out Coles commitment to reducing its environmental impact including working towards diverting 90% of waste from landfill by 2022.

“At Coles, we are proud of our partnership with food rescue services Secondbite and Foodbank. Through our supermarkets and distribution centres we donated 12.5 million kilograms of unsold edible food to SecondBite and Foodbank last financial year — the equivalent of 25 million meals for people in need,” Thinus said.

“Many supermarkets also provide food waste directly to farmers to use as animal feed. These stores across our Coles network donated 13.8 million kilograms to farmers last financial year, an increase of 11 per cent.”

“But there is always more that we can do. Everything we can’t give to SecondBite we want to give to farmers to feed their animals, recycle into compost or convert to energy.”

“We were the first Australian supermarket to offer REDcycle plastic recycling in every store. We were the first Australian supermarket to sign a renewable energy PPA, which will see Coles sourcing 10 per cent of its national energy needs from three solar farms in regional NSW.”

“We are now the first Australian supermarket to attempt a zero waste to landfill store. Coles is passionate about driving generational sustainability with innovation that reduces environmental impact.

DuPont enters collaboration on probiotics with By-Health in China

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences has announced its intent to enter into a strategic collaboration with By-Health, a consumer health care company in China.

The strategic collaboration would focus on research and development of probiotic dietary supplements with “new functions, new ingredients and new technologies,” including joint research on intestinal microecology and the development of new probiotic dietary supplements and applications for use.

By-Health acquired Life-Space Group, an Australian probiotic enterprises, producing and marketing probiotic products for all life stages.

READ MORE: DuPont divests Natural Colors business to DDW

DuPont offers a range of clinically documented strains of probiotics under its DuPont Danisco portfolio to support digestive health, immune health, women’s health, oral health and more.

“At DuPont, we’re focussed on improving people’s everyday lives, and China is an important consumer market. With our expertise within probiotics and microbiome science, we’re delighted to partner with one of the leading consumer health care companies in Asia Pacific to develop new probiotics-based products to satisfy consumers’ growing demand for natural health and wellness solutions,” said Anders Grøn, DuPont vice presidentand global business director – Probiotics, HMOs, & Fibers.

Food regulations helps accelerate natural food colour additives sales

The global natural food colour additives market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of more than 5 per cent during the forecast period in terms of value. With the growing awareness of the masses towards using clean label products, the usage of natural food colour additives has been gaining traction. The aversion of consumers towards the synthetic and chemical products has been evident in the recent past. The key factors affecting the natural food colour additives market are the increasing downstream demand and consumer health consciousness.

The rules and regulations regarding the chemical content limits have become stringent and have been heavily imposed by various governments. Major changes have been implemented in the global food colour additives market with the introduction of ISO 22000, designed to address food safety management systems. This will help garner significant demand for product in the forecast period.

The demand for the natural and plant derived products is creating significant opportunities for the food and beverage industry. Manufacturing companies are replacing synthetic or artificial colours with natural food colour additives. According to various health associations and organisations, the consumption of food with such additives are beneficial for health, as it fulfils a  range of nutrients demand. The long-term use of the these additives will help the consumers to sustain better food and snacking habits.

READ MORE: Five signs of a lagging food safety culture

These products refer to any substance used to impart desired colour when mixed. Natural food colour additives are either vegetable and fruit derived, or animal derived, or can be obtained from other natural sources. Multiple product offerings are available for natural food colour additives like Carotenoids, Turmeric oleoresin, Enocianina, Paprika oleoresin, Spirulina Extract, Chlorophyll, Carmine and others. The portfolio of these products is increasing day by day.

Catering to the needs of the consumers, industry players have been using natural food colour additives in beverages, milk products, baked goods, confectionery, snack and cereals, soups and sauces, meat products and others. Among beverages, natural food colour additives are used for carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, milk drinks, juice-based drinks and others. Beverages holds a prominent share for natural food colour additives and is expected to augment the market growth during the forecast period. Use of these additives in dairy products include yogurt, ice cream, frozen dairy products, dips and spreads and cheese. Natural food colour additives in bakeries and similar institutions for making baked goods usually have a standard offering of bread, cakes,  biscuits and cookies. In terms of meat products, these additives are used to make the processed meat and poultry and seafood, aesthetically pleasing.

Due to the shifting consumer behavior toward the vegan and organic trends in United States, the companies with clean labels and organic claims have been gaining special brownie points. The FDA’s ban on PHO’s (Partially Hydrogenated Oils), the majorly used emulsifiers, has created the need for alternatives. The inclination of end use industries for natural food colour additives is due to the broad range of colours and colour stability. Research for cheaper and sustainable ways for extraction of these additives will help the end use industries with a plethora of options. The markets for these products in East Asia and South Asia are expected to have exponential growth rate in the forecast years. Albeit the icky factor that comes with carmine, a colour derived from cochineal beetles, the growth of carmine will hold a steady growth rate in this market

2020 Master of Food & Packaging Innovation Intake now open

The AIP are pleased to advise that the Semester 1 intake is now open for the 2020 Master of Food & Packaging Innovation with applications closing 30 November 2019.

The Master of Food and Packaging Innovation is an inter-disciplinary degree that explores food processing, entrepreneurship and innovation in product and packaging design at an advanced level. The Master course is a joint initiative between the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP).

  • Enhance your business acumen and creativity to lead the way in food design.
  • Learn the food science fundamentals of food processing, safety and quality.
  • Analyse innovative food product and packaging design, from concept to delivery.
  • Gain complementary business skills in project management, creative and critical thinking, value creation, entrepreneurship and leadership.
  • Investigate key industry research topics and their practical application in commercial settings.
  • Undertake an industry internship with a leading food manufacture.

Students will learn the skills necessary to develop valuable and innovative food products that address key issues such as transportability, durability, tamper proofing and perishability issues, as well as key environmental, economic, social and ethical factors.

Learning outcomes

  • A comprehensive understanding of inter-disciplinary food processing, product, innovation, entrepreneurship and packaging at an advanced level.
  • Cognitive, technical and creative skills necessary to play a key role within food companies and associated organisations.
  • Advanced knowledge and skills in the interdisciplinary field of food, food packaging and design innovation.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of environment, economic, social and ethical factors related to food production and packaging in Australia and globally.
  • Enhance theoretical and critical thinking skills to analyse and problem solve complex issues relating to food production and packaging.

Degree Structure
The Master of Food and Packaging Innovation is flexibly delivered via a combination of evening and intensive block-release classes as well as traditional semester based subjects. Classes are taught across the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, the Faculty of Business and Economics, the Melbourne School of Engineering, and the Melbourne Graduate School of Science as well as guest lectures by industry experts provide by the Australian Institute o

Nestlé commits to zero net emissions by 2050

Nestlé has announced its ambition to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It embraces the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Ahead of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit this month, Nestlé will sign the ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ pledge.

With this announcement Nestlé is accelerating its climate change efforts. This builds on a decade of work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past four years, Nestlé has aligned its objectives with science-based targets to keep the temperature increase below 2°C. The company is determined to play a leading role in tackling climate change. Over the next two years, it will lay out a time-bound plan including interim targets consistent with the 1.5°C path. Nestlé will review its progress annually to ensure it is on track.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face as a society. It is also one of the greatest risks to the future of our business,” said Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO. “We are running out of time to avoid the worst effects of global warming. That is why we are setting a bolder ambition to reach a net-zero future. Deploying Nestlé’s global resources and industry know-how, we know we can make a difference at significant scale. Our journey to net zero has already started. Now, we are accelerating our efforts,” he added.

To achieve its 2050 ambition, some of the company’s specific actions include:

  • Speeding up the transformation of its products in line with consumer trends and choices. Nestlé will launch more products that have a better environmental footprint and contribute to a balanced diet. This includes more plant-based food and beverage options. Nestlé will also look to reformulate its products using more climate-friendly ingredients. Consumer demand for such products is rapidly increasing, and Nestlé’s core strategy is in line with this shift. The company is also moving to alternative packaging materials.
  • Scaling up initiatives in agriculture to absorb more carbon. Nestlé will strengthen its programs with farmers to restore land and limit greenhouse gas emissions. This includes improved management of its dairy supply chain. Nestlé will step up efforts to protect forests by replanting trees and enhancing biodiversity. All of these initiatives will help build resilient agricultural communities.
  • Using 100% renewable electricity in Nestlé factories, warehouses, logistics and offices. A third of Nestlé factories (143) are already using 100 per cent renewable electricity. Nestlé will continue to increase the use of energy from renewable sources. This will enable suppliers to invest in new infrastructure such as wind and solar farms.
  • Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires transformational change across industries, governments and society as a whole. Nestlé will continue its advocacy for government policies to ensure all sectors move faster towards 1.5°C. Supportive legislation could help to reduce barriers to expanding renewable energy markets, incentivize innovation in the agriculture and forestry sectors to capture more carbon, and help to establish carbon pricing.

Being truthful about sustainable packaging claims

Honesty when it comes to claims on-pack is becoming more important as consumers start to question the sustainability of packaging.

With the 2025 National Packaging Targets significantly shifting the packaging design landscape in Australia, a critical element that is coming up short is truthful and accurate environmental claims on-pack, and this issue needs to be addressed.

More than ever consumers are demanding brands to be honest about their sustainability journey, including the choice of wording and logos on-pack.

Gone are the days when you could get away with simply writing “recyclable”, “biodegradable” or “compostable” on pack. The use of statements like the “Do the right thing logo”, the recycle “Mobius loop” logo or the Plastic Identification Codes (PIC 1 to 7) just further confuse the consumer. The 2025 National Packaging Targets are now the perfect opportunity to review all environmental on-pack symbols and wording.
Changing the face of on-pack logos

Next time you are in a grocery store let me encourage you to pick up six different products and have a look at all the logos and symbols being used. You will see arrows, numbers, rubbish bins, lots of abbreviations for industry groups and governing bodies, and a whole lot of information that in truth means little to a consumer.

Plastic Identification Code (PIC)
The use of the Plastic Identification Code (PIC), or the symbol of the chasing arrow with a number in the middle, that is seen on most plastic packaging identifies the type of plastic the packaging is made of. For example, PET is classified as 1, HDPE is 2, PVC is 3, LDPE is 4, Polypropylene is 5, Polystyrene is 6, while 7 is Other, or mixed plastic types. This voluntary coding system adopted in 1990 assisted the collection, recovery and management of used plastics in Australia.

However, most consumers think it means they can put the plastic pack into the recycling bin even if it isn’t a recyclable plastic.

As a packaging technologist, designer or marketer could you honestly say that you know which bin each number should be placed? Do you know for a fact whether it is actually capable of being recycled through our facilities in this country, or that of your export market? Now imagine how confusing these symbols are to a consumer.

Do The Right Thing logo
The “Litterman” guy has been around for years. You will all know – even if it is subconsciously – the symbol of the man who throws the rubbish in the bin. While he is familiar to consumers, ask yourself what does the logo really mean? Does it mean that the product is recyclable or simply that you should be responsible and make sure the product goes in a rubbish bin at the end of life?

The “Do the Right Thing” slogan and symbol was a part of a marketing campaign launched in the 70s, which was intended as a “Don’t Litter campaign”.

According to Keep Australia Beautiful, “When the ‘Do The Right Thing’ campaign was launched, 80 per cent of people recognised the catch phrase and in 2015, only 38 per cent said they knew the phrase”.

So what does the symbol mean in the world of sustainable packaging and to consumers today? Are there more important and less confusing symbols that should be on-pack to ensure that packaging is placed in the right bin at end-of-life?

Confusing claims and wording
Another challenge within the sustainable packaging journey is when brands decide to use words like “biodegradable” or “compostable” on-pack. Having packaging that is biodegradable or compostable may seem to be a good environmental initiative, but stating this on-pack is often confusing to consumers. If there are no available consumer collection or composting facilities that will accept this type of packaging in the country of sale, then this type of wording can be misleading. The AIP has spoken to many people over the past couple of years who naturally assume that if the packaging says it is ‘compostable’ or “biodegradable” that all is right in the world.

The use of the term “biodegradable” also leads consumers to believe that, no matter where disposed, biodegradable packaging will disappear to nothing within a very short period. This can lead the consumer to erroneously believe it is acceptable to litter biodegradable packaging, or that it will solve the ocean plastics issues.

In the same way the use of compostable plastics, which may “compost” (biodegrade by micro-organisms in an oxygen environment) if placed in the right composting environment, can be misleading if consumers don’t have access to facilities for the collection and composting of compostable packaging with organic waste. Incidentally, the packaging may compost, but they do not create compost, i.e. nutrient-rich soil).

Before selecting compostable packaging, a responsible brand should be identifying whether there are facilities available to their consumers to collect compostable packaging with their organic waste. If there are, then communicate this information on-pack so consumers understand the end-of-life process.

There are two other options currently available for use of compostable packaging.
The first is being able to establish closed-loop facilities for the collection of compostable materials and certified packaging.

These closed-loop systems are designed to facilitate the collection and recycling of nutrient-rich organic material, such as food scraps, along with the certified compostable packaging and return the nutrients into the soil rather than allowing them to rot away in landfill.

The second option is to identify home compostable-certified packaging and encourage consumers to dispose of it via their home composting. However, the concern with this option is that many consumers will either contaminate the recycling system with this packaging or think they are doing the right thing and put it in the rubbish bin.

The Australian Bioplastics Association (ABA) provides a voluntary system to companies or individuals wishing to have their compostable and biodegradable plastics packaging certified.

There are two certifications available: Australian Standard 4736-2006, compostable and biodegradable plastics – “Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment” – and Australian Standard AS 5810-2010 Home Composting – “Biodegradable plastics suitable for home composting”.

Recyclable symbols and logos
There are so many variants of a recyclable logo or symbol that it makes your head spin, and, once again, consumers see these types of symbols on pack and naturally presume that they mean that the packaging is going to be recycled if placed in the correct bin. The question that needs to be asked is “can this packaging truly be recycled in the country where we sell the product?” The answer needs to determine the logos you use on-pack moving forward. Brands need to be re-designing their on-pack communication with honesty, clarity and clear and easy-to-understand explanations.

So where to from here?
In April 2018, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) launched a nationwide labelling scheme that will help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively. The scheme will also assist brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life. In conjunction with partners Planet Ark and PREP Design, this scheme aims to increase recycling and recovery rates and contribute to cleaner recycling streams.

The APCO Packaging Recycling Label Program is a nationwide labelling program that provides designers and brand owners with the tools to inform responsible packaging design and helps consumers to understand how to correctly dispose of packaging. The two elements of the program are the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL).

Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)
PREP provides a way for brand owners, manufacturers and designers to assess whether an item of packaging could be classified as “recyclable” through kerbside collection in Australian and New Zealand. PREP produces a report for each project that is evaluated. A project will list the recyclability classification for each “separable component” plus the user may nominate a scenario where the separable components are joined at the time of disposal (e.g. bottle and cap). Combining technical recyclability and collection coverage, PREP provides the evidence base for applying the Australasian Recycling Label on-pack.

Australasian Recycling Label (ARL)
The Australasia Recycling Label (ARL) is an evidence-based, standardised labelling system that provides clear and consistent on-pack recycling information to inform consumers of the correct disposal method. The ARL is designed to be used in conjunction with PREP, which informs the user of the correct on-pack ARL artwork for each “separable component” of packaging. It is a simple and effective method to improve consumer recycling behaviours.

AIP Training
The AIP has also developed a number of training courses that will assist the sustainable packaging journey, including Tools to Help you Meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets: PREP and ARL, Introduction to Sustainable Packaging Design, Lifecycle Assessment Tools for Sustainable Packaging Design and The Future of bioplastics and compostable packaging.

With the development of the 2025 National Packaging Targets, now is the time to stop and review all of your on-pack information to ensure that you are communicating effectively and honestly to consumers about your sustainable packaging.

FIAL celebrates Australian food innovation with book launch

As the wise Nelson Mandela once said, “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

That’s precisely what Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has done for the past four years with its book Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations. The FIAL team has searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country — from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.

The exciting innovations featured in the book are aligned to the five global food and agribusiness megatrends identified by CSIRO. These are; a less predictable planet, health on the mind, choosy customers, one world, and smarter food chains.From sugarcane packaging to bone broth crisps, FIAL is confident that these stories will encourage Australian businesses to continue innovating and find their niche.

Chef Adam Moore, who features in the book, said, “As a chef, I am excited to be a part of such an inspiring book which shares Australia’s innovation successes. These stories are a great insight into all the work that goes into bringing together the products that grace restaurant menus, supermarket shelves, and consumers’ tables.“

FIAL managing director, Mirjana Prica, is delighted to launch the 4th edition at Global Table in Melbourne. “In this years’ edition, it’s wonderful to see that technology underpins many of the innovations, a true sign that our industry is evolving. I hope that companies will use this book as inspiration to create something new for the world to eat.”

Sarah Leung, founder and chief dietitian at Alg Seaweed shared her excitement for the book, “Alg Seaweed is so excited to be recognised and published in FIAL’s Innovation Book alongside so many amazing Australian innovations. We are very proud.”

Aldi rival Kaufland arrives in Australia

One of the world’s largest retailers, Kaufland, has broken ground to commence construction of its first South Australian supermarket in Prospect, their first outside of Europe. It is one of three stores it will be building in Australia, with more to come.

The multi-million-dollar development, on a 24,000sqm vacant site, will feature a Kaufland supermarket, food hall, outside dining area and support tenancies.

The company has also secured planning approval for another Adelaide store on the former Le Cornu site on Anzac Highway at Forestville and has another development application currently being assessed.

Premier Steven Marshall said it was an exciting day for the state to have a company of Kaufland’s international standing build one of its first two Australian stores in Adelaide.

“Not only will this project create an estimated 150 construction jobs and up to another 100 retail jobs upon completion, it will offer South Australian consumers more choice,” said the Premier.

“Developments like this from major international companies show the confidence in the South Australian economy, reinforcing that we are heading in the right direction.

“Kaufland’s expansion into South Australia presents significant opportunities for the state’s food producers, as the company has publicly stated its desire to stock local products on its shelves which is fantastic news.

“We look forward to working with the company as they look to expand into further sites across Adelaide and the state.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said construction of Kaufland’s Prospect store and the subsequent projects in Forestville and across Adelaide will provide a number of important contract opportunities for local construction companies.

“The company has already employed a local property development and construction management team in preparation for Kaufland’s expansion, which is a further indication of Kaufland’s strong commitment to South Australia and the local economy,’’ Mr Ridgway said.

“To have a global brand like Kaufland invest in property is a great reflection of South Australia’s global standing, and I’m confident this partnership will generate further trade advantages in the future particularly with Europe where Kaufland has almost 1,300 stores across the continent”.

Kaufland Australia’s Managing Director, Julia Kern said they are committed to investing in South Australia for the long term, and today’s celebration at Prospect is a tremendous and exciting milestone for Kaufland Australia.

The Prospect store will initially operate as a testing facility to train staff, practise processes and trial proposed concepts.

Construction of the Prospect store is due to be completed in late 2020.

Govt. fund designed to modernise manufacturing

The  Government has launched a $160 million fund designed to create jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund would help manufacturers become more competitive by co‑funding investments in new technologies.

“Strengthening our core and emerging manufacturing industries is a key part of the Government’s economic plan to create 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years,”  Andrews said. “This delivers on the Morrison Government’s commitment to help manufacturing businesses innovate and develop competitive advantage so they can thrive globally.

“Investing in technology can transform businesses, enabling them to become more productive, manufacture new products and create new jobs.

“The fund will provide grants to small and medium manufacturing businesses so they can invest in capital equipment and new technologies to modernise and employ more Australians. It will also support businesses to upskill workers to maximise the benefits of technology.”

The Manufacturing Modernisation Fund will include $50 million from the Government and will be matched by at least $110 million from industry.

The fund will have two types of grants;

  • $20 million will be for matched grants of between $50,000 and $100,000 for smaller scale technology investments.
  • $30 million for larger-scale grants of up to $1 million, on a three to one funding basis with industry, to support transformative investments in technologies and processes.

The fund builds on other Government investments in manufacturing growth and competitiveness, including the $100 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund, the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, and the $40 million Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.

Watch out UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog – DoorDash has arrived

DoorDash, the largest on-demand food platform for door-to-door delivery in the US, announced today its official launch in Australia, beginning with Melbourne. This marks the company’s first market expansion beyond North America.

Australia’s ‘foodie capital’ will be the first to experience the unparalleled convenience DoorDash will bring to the food market, with Melburnians benefitting from a greater selection of restaurants than ever before. Thousands of restaurants will be available for delivery through DoorDash – in addition to hundreds for pick up – across the CBD and inner suburbs, with plans to expand to the outer suburbs in the coming weeks.

DoorDash’s launch taps into Melbourne’s love of food and food delivery apps. At launch, customers can order from well-known brands such as Nando’s, Betty’s Burgers and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, as well as local independent restaurants including misschu, Bay City Burrito and exclusive partners Cedar Bakery and Il Gusto.

Melbourne isn’t alone in its enthusiasm for on-demand access to food from favourite local restaurants, with the rest of the country continuing to embrace the ease and convenience of food delivery. In fact, almost two million Australians aged 14+ (9.8 per cent) use meal delivery services in an average three-month period.

“We are excited Australia is our first international expansion outside of North America,” says DoorDash general manager, Australia, Thomas Stephens.

“We dove deep into the Australian market and quickly realised two things; restaurants want more from their delivery partners, and not all Melburnians have access to the selection that they should expect.”

“We’ve built a lot of product and expertise to solve these problems in North America. Combining that experience with a tailored approach just for Melbourne, we’re excited to grow the market here. We’ve built a service for Australian eating habits with a simple focus: provide more access to Melburnian’s favourite foods,” Stephens said.

Along with a wide selection of Melbourne’s finest eateries, DoorDash offers a superior delivery experience plus a unique ‘pick-up’ function allowing users to collect their meals on the go in addition to ‘group ordering’ for big groups.

“Working collaboratively with restaurant owners of all business sizes, customers and Dashers, our priority is accessibility to a delightful food delivery experience for all. From Melbourne, we aim to continue our expansion efforts throughout Victoria and Australia through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020,” Stephens added.

Nando’s CEO, Craig Mason says, “Nando’s is a great choice when you’re wanting something tasty but not keen to cook. With over 80 restaurants across the city and outer suburbs, we’re excited to be partnering with DoorDash to offer our customers even more flexibility around how they enjoy their favourite meal.”

Bay City Burrito’s Owner and Chief Burrito Designer, Gary Mink says, “At Bay City Burrito, we pride ourselves on the quality of our ingredients, whether it is our locally-sourced produce or imported tortillas. It has been refreshing working with the team at DoorDash who have taken the time to understand my business and set me up for success on their platform to get incremental orders from both their delivery and pick-up product.”

Bosch flow-wrapper designed for hygienic requirements in food industry

Bosch Packaging Technology has developed a new version of its fully automated horizontal flow wrapper Pack 403, which is specifically designed for harsh environment use.

The Pack 403HE comes with all the features of the Pack 403 and is suited for medium to high-speed wrapping. The machine is able to wrap a wide variety of products ranging from biscuits, chocolate, cookies and crackers to frozen foods or meats. “We have designed the new Pack 403HE to meet the growing need of customers with strict hygienic requirements. To avoid contamination with allergens, germs or unwanted ingredients, food manufacturers need machines that are easy to clean,” says Kelly Meer, product manager at Bosch Packaging Technology.

Optimised for deep cleaning
Today, food manufacturers often produce different products on the same machine. “Keeping the products free from unwanted substances such as traces of peanuts or wheat can be a challenge in terms of cleaning. The Pack 403HE provides improved features to facilitate particularly intensive cleaning,” Meer said. It differs from the standard version in terms of product design and material. Customers can apply aggressive cleaning agents including alcohols or acids, and easily wipe them off with water after they have taken effect. Water and cleaning agents will simply run down the drain.

“We call this the foam-and-rinse concept. In contrast to high-pressure cleaning with air or water, customers avoid the risk of spraying substances or germs. The foam-and-rinse method guarantees an easy and reliable washdown. The concept will soon also apply to the Paloma pick-and-place robot,” said Meer.

Improved washdown features
The Pack 403HE also features washdown motors and gearboxes meeting the BISSC standard, sanitary feet, and a continuously-welded stainless steel main frame plate. Stainless steel guarding, robust plastics, removable parts, sloped surfaces, and easy-to-clean gaps between machine components further simplify the cleaning process. The machine’s cable connection to its electrical cabinet has been sealed to prevent the penetration of moisture or unwanted substances. Clear tubes help to detect any contamination. The wrapper is also equipped with a washdown infeed and stainless steel etched and stand-off labels to also support convenient cleaning.

Fast and easy handling
The Pack 403HE produces up to 400 packages per minute, reaching a maximum film speed of 76 meters and includes all of the same features offered in the Pack 403. The automatic film splicer allows for fast film changes without interrupting production. The machine is equipped with servo-driven power feed rollers to optimize film tension and tracking. It also has cantilevered and removable discharge belts that reject faulty packages with compressed air.

First pea genome to help improve crops of the future

A global team including scientists from The University of Western Australia has assembled the first genome of the field pea, which provides insight into how the legume evolved and will help aid future improvements of the crop.

The study, published today in Nature Genetics, has important implications for global nutrition and the sustainability of crops, with field peas providing an important plant-based protein source for human food and animal feed.

Professors David Edwards and Jacqueline Batley from UWA’s School of Biological Sciences and UWA’s Institute of Agriculture were co-investigators in the research and said that the field pea had a much larger and more complex genome compared to other legumes.

“The pea genome assembly spans about 4.45 thousand million letters,” Edwards said. “But it’s only with relatively recent technological innovations that we’ve been able to sequence and assemble such large genomes.”

READ MORE: Ag-tech app solutions delivering better results for farmers

Batley said the research built on pioneering concepts of inheritance developed by Gregor Mendel, a 19th century monk.

“With the pea genome sequenced, we can now start to understand the basis for the variation which has evolved,” Batley said.

“Mendel analysed the inheritance of different pea traits such as wrinkled peas, and he demonstrated that these traits were passed on from one generation to the next, a foundation for Darwin’s later discoveries in evolution.”

“More than 150 years later, we’ve now assembled the pea genome and can start to understand the DNA basis of the inheritance observed by Mendel.”

This research was supported by the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation and by the Australian Research Council.

Global Table Conference: John Kerry calls for smarter agriculture to feed growing population

The former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, warned that feeding a rapidly growing world population would be one of the greatest challenges of climate change.

The amount of food wasted was not sustainable with the impact of climate change and the world’s population set to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion in the next 35 years, said Kerry, in his opening keynote address at the Global Table conference at Melbourne Showgrounds on Tuesday morning.

The three-day food innovation and agribusiness summit brought together global industry leaders and innovators from the Asia-Pacific, America, Europe and the Middle East, to discuss the future of food.

While a third of all food went to waste in wealthy countries, nearly half of the 8,000 child deaths each day globally were caused by lack of food, said Kerry, who succeeded Hillary Clinton as secretary of state for the last four years of the Obama administration.

“Right now today every one in nine people wakes up in the morning with hunger pains and they go to bed with an empty stomach,” Kerry said. “We have to increase food production by 60 per cent between now and 2050 just to keep pace.”

READ MORE: How climate change could change the face of Australian agriculture

Growing more food was only part of the challenge, said the former Democrat Party presidential nominee, who lost his 2004 bid for the White House to George W. Bush by only one state.

“We have to become better stewards of the land. The truth is we are not smart enough that way,” Kerry said. He also called for improvements to food storage, transport and distribution.

Switching to renewable energy sources was an urgent priority to address climate change, Kerry said.

“Anybody who persists in putting before people the notion that you have to make a choice: you either get to have jobs and prosperity or you can protect the environment and the future, that’s a lie,” he said.

Reducing emissions and choosing renewable energy remained the best solution to combat climate change.

“The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It’s not some pie-in-the-sky thing. Basically it’s called energy policy. That’s the solution to climate change: energy policy.

“The choices of how we produce electricity, how we transport ourselves from place to place, how we do industry without polluting.”

FFH new manufacturing plant starts production

Fine Food Holdings (FFH), a division of the Gourmet Food Group, has commenced operation from its new custom-designed manufacturing facilities in Dandenong South, Melbourne.

Representing an investment in excess of $10 million, the new premises more than doubles the company’s previous Keysborough capacity, enabling FFH to manufacture a large and diverse range of premium crackers products under one roof.

Gourmet Food: the ‘entertaining’ specialists
Following the exceptional success of MaxFoods and its Ocean Blue seafood brand, an importing food business launched in 2009, the business owners identified an opportunity to diversify from seafood entertaining to the ‘entertaining’ deli cracker market.

From the outset, FFH sought to manufacture not only premium quality deli crackers but ones that led through innovation, creativity and flavour.  Production began in Keysborough in early 2015 with its brand, OB Finest soon becoming popular.

Today, the products of FFH, like that of MaxFoods, are acknowledged as market leaders across several product categories and geographical markets.

Furthermore, FFH recently gained recognition as Top Ranked Supplier 2018 in the Australian Grocery Deli Category of the Advantage Report, a 360-degree survey that sets the supplier performance benchmark across the retail sector.

Set for success
CEO Todd Wilson attributes the company’s success to its strong focus on building retail partnerships and understanding the demands of consumers.

The premium OB Finest range is now firmly established as an Australian favourite in the entertaining deli cracker category. The brand embraces numerous quality products from a selection of Wafer Crackers to various varieties of Specialty Crackers such as Cranberry & Pumpkin Seed and Fig & Almond.

Perfect with favourite cheeses or dips, OB Finest recently added Parmesan Crisps and 3 Seed Crisps to its delicious taste sensations. Other new OB Finest products, ideal for the entertainment platters, will be released in October.

Further creative cracker innovations will be easily facilitated at the bespoke Dandenong South manufacturing plant. The move from nearby Keysborough has been a seamless one as it meant easy relocation of FFH’s current 250-strong workforce, as CEO, Todd Wilson explained.

“As an Australian food manufacturer, we at FFH are proud of our current achievements and excited about our future.  The larger capacity and flexibility of our new premises are the cornerstones of our vision to create a scalable Gourmet Food Group.

“This we will actualise through the development of additional products while pursuing entry into new entertaining categories via acquisition and tapping into new markets,” Todd said.

The Australian and New Zealand markets are well-established and continue to grow.  Already, the company has distribution of it6s products in USA, United Kingdom, Chile and South Korea, with commitments in Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland and Singapore.

“Just as the opening of Dandenong South manufacturing facilities brings assured optimism around future growth and success, the Gourmet Food Group mantle enables a more expansive strategic focus,” Todd commented.