Grains: A global food resource

The 69th Australasian Grain Science Conference, with the theme of ‘Grains: A Global Food Resource’, will bring together a diverse range of delegates from academia, government research agencies and industry who undertake research and innovation activities across the grains industry value-chain.

The conference represents all cereal, pulse and oilseed commodities, allied processing industries, research medical groups and marketers, and promotes research and innovation activities including health and nutrition, plant breeding and crop quality improvement.

The conference will be held August 27-29, 2019, at the Rydges on Swanston, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia. The program includes scientific oral and poster sessions and social events together with a grains industry forum which will address topics such as current and future markets- threats and opportunities, climate change and food security.

Victorian food and fibre exports reach record high

Victorian food and fibre exports now contribute a record $14.1 billion to the state’s economy and is on-track to meet the Andrews Labor Government’s target of $20 billion by 2030.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today released the 2017-18 Victorian Food and Fibre Export Performance Report, which shows an overall increase of 11 per cent or $1.4 billion on the previous year.

Victoria now accounts for 27 per cent of Australia’s total food and fibre export, with strong growth across most commodities last financial year.

A strength of Victoria’s food and fibre sector is its diversity and reputation for producing quality, clean and healthy food for key Asian markets.

China remains Victoria’s number one export market, with exports growing 27 per cent on the previous year to a total value of $4.6 billion in 2017-18. Japan and the United States are Victoria’s second and third most valuable export markets.

Victoria’s meat industry was particularly strong, with exports up 37 per cent on the previous year, reaching a total value of $3.3 billion. This has made the meat industry the state’s most valuable food and fibre export in 2017-18.

The increasing number and wealth of the world’s middle class means consumers are increasingly seeking prepared meals. Victoria’s prepared food exports performed strongly, with exports growing by 15 per cent on the previous year to be valued at $1.7 billion.

Wine exports also grew strongly, with a 36 per cent increase in exports to the United Kingdom and 39 per cent rise in exports to China. Other highlights of the report include:

  • Citrus rose by $28 million to be valued at $147 million
  • Dairy rose by $160 million to be valued at $1.9 billion
  • Prepared foods rose by $229 million to be valued at $1.7 billion
  • Wool rose by $326 million to be valued at $2.1 billion
  • Seafood rose by $36 million to be valued at $240 million
  • Wine rose by $73 million to be valued at $363 million

New Weet-Bix helps lower cholesterol

Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing has unveiled an Australian-first extension to its iconic Weet- Bix, aimed at supporting the one in three Australian adults needing to manage their cholesterol levels for their heart health.

Labelled Weet-BixM Cholesterol Lowering, it will become the first cereal product in the country to harness plant sterols to effectively reduce cholesterol levels over four weeks with just two biscuits (one serve) consumed daily.

Set to hit major supermarket shelves in Australia this September, the breakfast innovation contains plant sterols, which are clinically proven to reduce LDL (or bad) cholesterol by up to nine per cent in four weeks. The efficacy of Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering was verified via a clinical trial involving Australian adults with high cholesterol, conducted in 2016 by a team of researchers at the University of South Australia.

“Weet-Bix has long been a nutritious breakfast staple for millions of Aussies every day and we are now taking it to another level. This new product makes it easier than ever before for Australians to take charge of their heart health,” said Kevin Jackson, CEO – Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing.

“We’re thrilled to be the first breakfast cereal in the country that can make such a direct and positive impact and help Aussies needing to manage their cholesterol, kick start their day in a healthy and enjoyable way.”

Sanitarium’s Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering contains 2 grams of plant sterols per serve, the recommended daily intake to reduce cholesterol, alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle, recommended by the Heart Foundation.

Plant sterols are known to naturally lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive system. They are found in a variety of foods like grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds but only in very small quantities.

Weet-Bix rebrands for Chinese market as popularity grows [VIDEO]

The cereal traditionally enjoyed by ‘Aussie Kids’ is becoming increasingly popular in China and will be rebranded as Nutri-Brex in that market from Mid-November.

The product has been exported to China as Weet-Bix for more than eight years. But, as Sanitarium’s international marketing manager Mark Roper told Food & Beverage Industry News, its placement on popular Chinese TV soap, Ode to Joy, saw a dramatic rise in its sales.

“The leading lady was seen eating Weet-Bix and that caused a lot of interest. A lot of Chinese were very eager to try this great product from down under that they hadn’t heard of before and we saw a big spike in sales following that TV show,” said Roper.

Apart from the name change, Nutri-Brex will be the same as Weet-Bix. Both products will use the same traditional recipe and be made in the same factories in Australia and New Zealand.

The change sees Sanitarium seize on an opportunity to build a strong, distinctive brand for the largest emerging ready-to-eat cereal market in the world, while complying with new trademark restrictions that are now coming into place.

“We’re keen to establish a distinctive and new brand name in the market. We have high hopes to continue our business in China and we really felt that using our new international trade mark Nutri-Brex would be a better strategy for us going forward,” said Roper.

Nutri-Brex will be positioned in China as a healthy and convenient breakfast choice for families, with its strong nutrition credentials and exclusive use of Australian wholegrain wheat in focus.

The launch, which represents Sanitarium’s biggest push into China to date, will be supported by a digitally-focused marketing campaign which also aims to raise awareness among Chinese consumers of the company’s commitment to health and its breakfast legacy in Australia.

Nutri-Brex will be sold in over 1,500 stores nationwide in China and multiple e-commerce channels from mid-November. Currently online sales, predominantly through Sanitarium’s flagship store on Alibaba’s TMall platform, represent more than half of all sales of Sanitarium product in China.

Traditional Muesli Bars

Popular wholesome snack brand Mother Earth is introducing a range of traditional Muesli Bars.

Exclusive to Woolworths stores from October 31st, the muesli bar range has three delicious varieties: strawberry and yoghurt, honeycomb and yogurt, and chocolate chip. Packed full of tasty goodness, the muesli bars are a perfect anytime snack and an ideal addition to any lunchbox.

“Mother Earth’s muesli bars are everything a traditional muesli bar should be,” Mother Earth marketing manager Caroline Potter said. “They’re chewy and tasty and filling, a great and nutritious snack for any time of the day.”


Ancient Grains

Manufacturer Uncle Tobys
Launch June
Ingredients Contains gluten containing ingredients as indicated in bold type.

100% UNCLE TOBYS Wholegrain Rolled Oats.

Made on equipment that also processes products containing other gluten containing ingredients and lupin

Shelf Life 8 months
Packaging Box
Description UNCLE TOBYS Ancient Grains is a delicious and healthy blend of 100 per cent Australian grown oats, with added rye, quinoa and puffed millet, giving it a scrumptious nutty taste. Australians can be sure they are getting the nutrition they need from these four ancient grains including fibre and protein. This new, on trend addition to the UNCLE TOBYS range has been awarded a 5 Health Star Rating providing a warming, wholesome breakfast packed with natural oat energy to start the day.

Nutri-Grain releases iced coffee-flavoured breakfast cereal

Nutri-Grain and Ice Break have teamed up to produce the first iced coffee-flavoured breakfast cereal.

Ice Break flavoured Nutri-Grain, a 4 Health Star rated Nutri-Grain cereal, is now available at Woolworths for a limited time only.

“Many time-poor 18-29 year old Aussies struggle in the mornings, wanting to sleep in rather than eat breakfast and get their coffee fix before they have to run out the door to live their unstoppable lives,” Tamara Howe, Marketing Director at Kellogg’s said.

“This new cereal is our solution to their dilemma. By pouring ice cold milk over delicious, crunchy Ice Break flavoured Nutri-Grain cereal, Aussies will get that real coffee taste they crave,” Howe said.

“We hope the result will delight both our Nutri-Grain and Ice Break fans – we think it is delicious, but our customers will be the final judges, of course.”

Ice Break flavoured Nutri-Grain is a great addition to Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain range of cereals. These include the new Nutri-Grain Original and three delicious variants of Nutri-Grain Edge Oat Clusters, all of which are rated 4 Health Stars.

Aussie women encouraged to Own It and feel Special

A new campaign will present a significant change in the history of Kellogg’s Special K as it tries to inspire realistic and positive change for women in getting fit and healthy.

#OwnIt is the new marketing initiative which kicked-off with a 60 second television commercial during the Australian Open Tennis Finals on 30th January, extended across digital and social media platforms to inspire women to own it all.

According to Kellog’s Australia Marketing Director, Tamara Howe, the strategy behind the campaign encourages women to ditch the doubt and focus on what they can change.

“The new #OwnIt campaign aims to counter that negativity. While we may not be able to eliminate self-doubt for women, we can be her ally in the fight against by focusing on what women love about themselves and have the power to change, and becoming an advocate for body confidence and inner strength,” Howe said.

The Special K #OwnIt campaign was developed by Kellogg in Canada. It launched in September 2015 and has continued to spark conversation amongst Canadian women. It has been adapted for the Australian market, following new proprietary research undertaken with Australian women in early 2016.

The Kellogg’s Special K #OwnIt program will be supported by a multi-channel integrated marketing, advertising, social media and public relations program. The #OwnIt story will be told across multiple touch points and is designed to be disruptive, impactful and compelling — sparking an important conversation with Australian women.

Kellogg’s releases Star Wars-themed cereal range

Kellogg’s Australia has teamed up with Disney and Lucas films to bring Star Wars action to breakfast time with a limited edition range.

The new limited edition cereal is inspired by Star Wars and features some of the favourite characters from across the seven films.

The Star Wars cereal range includes pack art of some of the classic characters and hit shelves in Australia early December, just in time for the new release movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in cinemas nationally on 18 December.

The Star Wars Kellogg’s cereal range will be in store until July 2016 and consists of Star Wars inspired chocolate flavoured wheat and rice stars and moons shapes.

The cereal has a four-star Health Star Rating and is sold exclusively at Woolworths.

Australia set to manufacture ancient superfood

According to a story in The Lead, the demand for an ancient superfood is being met by an Adelaide company.

Freekeh, a process of heating immature green grain to halt maturation without cooking it, was developed in the Middle East in about 2300BC.

Greenwheat Freekeh has been producing the superfood commercially in South Australia since 1997 and managing director Tony Lutfi said his company was the only major producer of commercial freekeh in the world.

“I started examining the process and experimenting in 1995, then in 1996 developed the process and in 1997 built the company in Adelaide and started exporting it to the rest of the world.

Lutfi said a new plant being built on the outskirts of Adelaide will increase production up to seven-fold by 2018.

“We were able to produce 500t this year using our existing plant and next year we are expecting to produce between 1500 and 2000t and the year after between 3000 and 3500t.”

Greenwheat Freekah is a great example of an Australian food manufacturing company thinking global and not just local,” said Patrick Robinson from Invest Adelaide.

“Our reputation for high quality, safe and environmentally friendly food in overseas markets that will require a lot of food imports in the future makes investment in food manufacturing here in Adelaide a very viable proposition.”

Lutfi said his company had experimented with durum wheat, barley, triticale, and oats and recently signed an agreement in Asia to look at the production of green rice freekeh.

He said his freekeh was exported to about 12 countries including the USA, Canada, UK, France, Spain and Japan and was also experiencing strong growth in Australia.

“We capture the grain at peak taste and nutrition when it’s young and green and we put it through a natural process to lock in the nutritional value of that grain so you can have it a year or two later and still enjoy the health benefits,” Lutfi said.

Gluten Free Muesli with Dates & Toasted Coconut

Product Name: Thankyou Gluten Free Muesli with Dates & Toasted Coconut

Product Manufacturer: N/A

Launch date: Monday 7th September

Ingredients:    Seeds (32%) (Sunflower Kernels, Linseeds, Pepitas, Buckwheat, Chia), Fruits (Dates (7%) (Dates, Rice Flour), Raisins, Coconut (4%) (SO2 free)), Nuts (Cashews, Almonds), Puffed Rice (Rice Flour, Rice Bran), Rice Flakes (Rice Flour, Fructose, Salt Emulsifier (471)), Brown Sugar, Honey, Sunflower Oil, Puffed Millet, Cinnamon, Natural Flavours, Natural Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols (307b) (Contains Soy)).

Shelf Life: 1 year

Packaging: N/A

Brand Website:

Describe the product: This gluten free muesli actually tastes amazing. It’s packed full of all your fave wholesome ingredients− dates and toasted coconut, mixed together with roasted (and perfectly crunchy) nuts, sunflower seeds, linseeds, pepitas, and chia.

Contact Email:

Bread production in Australia: rising to new challenges

According to industry analysts, IBISWorld, Australia’s bread industry is not only going through a number of changes – its also facing challenges that is forcing it to both rationalise and innovate, writes Branko Miletic.

The recently released (July 2015) IBISWorld Industry Report has found that bread manufacturers are facing numerous challenges. This has particularly been the case over the past five years. 
Growing competition from supermarkets’ instore bakeries and the consumer shift away from factory-baked bread towards specialty and artisan retailers have caused the industry’s share of the overall bread market to fall. 

Additionally, volatility in prices over the past five years has dampened industry growth prospects and squeezed profit margins. 
Evolving nutritional concerns, especially those relating to carbohydrate consumption and the related increases in gluten intolerance, have all combined to work against the industry. 

However, the report also found that the industry’s prospects, modest as they may be, present a number of niche growth opportunities. The functional and fortified bread segment for example is expected to drive demand, as are new low-carb and other healthier bread offerings that appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers. 

The best thing since sliced bread
Increasing demand for specialty high-value breads will drive growth in niche and artisan bread products over the next five years. Bake-at-home products, par-baked and flash-baked premium bread products targeted at the food – service sector will also drive growth. 
However, industry growth will be restrained by competition from instore supermarket bakeries, as Coles and Woolworths continue their aggressive push into the fresh food segment.  As a result of these conflicting variables, IBISWorld expects industry revenue to grow by an annualised 1.8 per cent over the next five years, to total $2.8 billion in 2020-21.

It's all about the dough
According to the IBISWorld report, in 2015-16, industry revenue is expected to grow by 1.7 per cent, mainly driven by the increasing number of premium products offered, and new pricing models.
In 2015-16, industry revenue is forecast to reach $USD2.6 billion. Although growth is weak, it is still an improvement relative to the industry’s performance in 2010-11 and 2011-12. 

It's breadsticks at 10 paces
Over the past five years, the bread industry has faced intense competitive pressures that have pushed down both prices and volumes for numerous participants.
To combat downward margin pressures, many operators have attempted to improve production efficiency by increasing automation, however, the report noted there has also been a growing focus among operators on higher margin products, including artisanal breads. Revenue from Goodman Fielder’s artisan bread business for example increased by 75.0 per cent in 2013-14. 

Another significant threat comes from supermarkets aggressively increasing their share of private-label bread by baking their products instore, to compete directly with franchise bakeries and branded bread products. Sales of private- label bread have increased over the past decade, and now account for more than 30 per cent of retail supermarket bread sales. 

Bread pricing wars have driven this development, with the two supermarket giants attempting to attract customers and gain market share in the bakery products segment by selling $0.85 loaves. Coles and Woolworths together control over 70 per cent of the grocery market, with private-label products accounting for nearly one in three products on supermarket shelves. At the same time, it is interesting to note that George Weston has supplied home-brand bread to Woolworths for the past decade, while Goodman Fielder supplies rival Coles.

Taking the (white) bread out of our mouths
Australians have also become more sophisticated in their bread consumption said IBISWorld, opting for a greater variety of international and artisan breads. This includes seeded, wholemeal, organic and gluten-free loaves, along with sourdough, rye breads and focaccias. 

The increase in the number of artisan bakeries, particularly in capital cities, is further testament to this trend. Some industrial bread manufacturers are seeking to exploit these changing consumer tastes, widening their product ranges to incorporate more premium products as they gradually move away from the traditional white loaf said the report.
The industry’s performance will also be influenced by the rise of external competitors. Instore supermarket bakeries and artisan bakeries, which are not included in the industry, are a considerable threat. 

Coles and Woolworths together operate over 1200 instore bakeries, and this number is forecast to rise over the five years through 2020-21 as they continue their aggressive push into the fresh food market. In response, industry players will need to focus on catering to the increasingly sophisticated tastes of the foodservice sector, to counter volume and pricing pressures. 
Added to this figure is the higher consumer expenditure on restaurant and cafe food, which in the medium term is expected to translate into stronger demand for artisan breads, including a range of sourdough, ciabatta and flatbread varieties.

Gives us this day, our daily bread
The rise of health consciousness is known to be the primary driver of innovation for the industry, which is in the decline phase of its lifecycle. Growth in demand for healthier and more convenient substitute foods, such as snacks, biscuits, cereals and fruit, will partly lower the demand for bread. 
This will be particularly true for factory-produced white bread. However, the continued introduction of new premium and ‘better-for-you’ products such as fortified breads, gluten-free loaves, high protein bread and fruit or nut breads will help offset this trend, as bread manufacturers market towards health-conscious consumers.

In the five years through 2020-21, industry revenue is expected to increase by an annualised 1.8 per cent to total $USD2.8 billion. This includes growth of 1.3 per cent in 2016-17. Despite revenue growth, enterprise, establishment and employment numbers are expected to continue declining as the industry continues to consolidate. 
On a brighter note, a shift towards higher value artisan breads and other premium bread products will help boost profit margins, partially offsetting the effects of intense competition.  According to most industry pundits, international trade will remain negligible.

Kneading to know the future
Over the next five years, the IBISWorld report predicts growth in high-margin premium breads is likely to drive revenue growth. However, this positive trend will be largely offset by the growth of private-label supermarket products that are baked instore. 
Branded industrial producers of bread, such as Goodman Fielder, are expected to respond to changing consumption trends by altering their product mixes to reflect demand for gourmet and artisan breads. 
Despite this shift, white bread still accounts for 43 per cent of total bread sales and will remain the dominant product segment until there is significant narrowing of the price difference between artisan and industrially baked bread.

Production levels will be dictated by downstream demand. Industry players are expected to face a tightly contested domestic market as retail and supermarket bakeries gain market share, particularly in specialty product segments. This means that growth in the volume of bread produced will depend on the major participants’ success in developing high-value products. 

The wider introduction of higher margin branded products, and their increasing importance in the industry’s product range, will play a role in raising prices. An opportunity for some players exists in expanding food-service sector offerings, to meet the growing demand for pre-baked artisan breads with quick preparation times.