Milking the happy cow image

The image of a healthy, happy cow grazing on a lush pasture is probably the first that comes to mind when thinking about Australia and New Zealand’s dairy products.

And, for the most part, that image is in line with reality.

Both countries have long enjoyed a high reputation for the quality and safety of their dairy products. Moderate climate, abundant grazelands and access to water mean pasture is available for cows to graze outside, which adds to the reputation of Australian and New Zealand dairy products as high in nutritional value.

This positive industry image bodes well for the two countries’ export markets. A study in 2020 confirmed that the positive perception around Australia’s ‘pure and natural farmlands’ is quite strong in major dairy consumer markets in Southeast Asia.1 Dairy is also the largest export sector in New Zealand, accounting for one in every three dollars New Zealand earns from the goods export trade.2

With both countries’ economies so reliant on dairy exports, food testing laboratories such as AsureQuality’s Auckland laboratory process millions of dairy samples – from raw and treated milk to powdered milk, butter, and cheese – each year to support New Zealand exporters and help them meet Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) in their destination countries.

Michael Hodgson, Group Service Manager – Food Testing at AsureQuality, which conducts approximately 1.4 million dairy sample tests per year, says access to quality chemicals and laboratory consumables is essential to our business of supporting dairy exporters through fast and accurate testing services.

To read the full article, go here.

Energy management software

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

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

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

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

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

Machine automation controller

Omron electronics has released its entry level controller, NX1P, designed for small to midsize production machines. Based on the Sysmas (System for Machine Automation Control) platform, the controller features advanced motion control and networking for onsite IoT.

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

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

This makes it a compact controller with push-in-plus terminals at the I/O and CPU unit to strengthen connection and save wiring time.

According to the company, these features together with a fast execution time of 3.3ns makes the controller an easy-to-use, high performance compact controller.

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

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

RSPCA encourages Australians to eat humanely this Christmas

As Christmas approaches and families begin planning their menu for the big day, RSPCA Australia is encouraging consumers to shop humanely at the supermarket.

Demand for ethically-produced ham, turkey and chicken is high at this time of the year, but with so many different labels on products it can be challenging to know which claims to believe.

“Four out of five Australians believe that it’s important that meat, eggs and dairy products sold in Australia are farmed in a humane and ethical way ,” said Hope Bertram, Humane Food Marketing Manager, RSPCA Australia. “Shoppers wanting to cut through the confusion should choose RSPCA Approved.”

First founded in 1996, the Approved Farming Scheme is part of the RSPCA’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of Australia’s most intensively farmed animals.

In the twenty years since the Scheme began, 805 million hens, pigs, chickens and turkeys have benefited from significantly better conditions on farm.

The commitment of retailers like Coles and Woolworths to sourcing RSPCA Approved chicken for their own brand ranges has seen the Scheme experience exponential growth in the last two years alone.

“When the Approved Farming Scheme started, there was far less consumer awareness around animal welfare in farming,” said Ms Bertram. “Now people are more conscious of the impact their choices have on farm animals.”

“RSPCA farming standards are grounded in science and go beyond legal requirements in ensuring that animals are farmed in a way that meets their physical and behavioural needs.

“By choosing RSPCA Approved, hens can nest, chickens can perch, turkeys can peck and pigs have space to roam.

“That’s why shoppers looking to purchase higher welfare food this Christmas should look for the RSPCA Approved label.”

Fountain squeezes in new packaging just before Xmas

Australian sauce maker, Fountain, has today unveiled new packaging across its bottled sauce range, featuring new on-pack product information and imagery.

From December, the refreshed packaging will start to appear across the range, which includes a variety of sauces for every occasion, ensuring meals can be enriched with flavour at any stage of the cooking process, from start to finish.

The changes have been made based on loyal consumer insights that found home cooks prefer products to have clear labelling, in addition to useful tips and suggestions to help them to make decisions on which sauces to use at home.

The new coloured labels will now display key details such as whether a variant is gluten free or has no artificial colours and flavours and packaging has also been redesigned to demonstrate the comprehensive range of flavours, along with providing flavour inspiration to current and new consumers of the brand.

Although the packaging of the Fountain sauce range has undergone a makeover, brand manager at Fountain, Gillian O’Brien says that the trusted and much-loved Aussie recipes have not.

“At Fountain, we’re excited to unveil the new branding, which has been revamped to make the range easier to shop for and enable customers to make informed decisions.We can assure Australians that we have not changed any ingredients in the sauces that our consumers know and love – each sauce is still bursting with flavour.” she said.

The full range includes Hoi Sin, Hot Chilli, Mint, Satay, Soy, Soy & Honey, Spicy Red, Steak, Sweet Chilli, Thick Mint, Mild Mexican Chilli, Plum, Sweet & Sour, and Mustard, as well as its range of Tomato & BBQ sauces, which are available in a number of convenient formats.

McCormick identifies the hot flavours for 2017

In a recent report by McCormick, they identified five trends on flavours from around the world, especially the Middle East, seem to be the driving force of the trends.

Some of details of the five trends that they reported on were:

Innovation in breakfast meals and products with the addition of new ingredients and flavours will be emerging trends in 2017.

These include ancient grains and rice varieties that are gluten-free and in-line with the current free-from consumer demand, as well as the use of middle-eastern spices—that, according to them, will bring “intriguing and exciting” new flavours to the consumer palate.

On the end of meats, grilled meats and seafood will be the ‘in’ foods, married with bold sauces, rubs, and glazes such as Spanish green sauce, Mexican sauce, or with sherry wine and vinegar.

Spanish flavours will be at the centre of attention for manufacturers of meat products.

Rather than just seen as a breakfast ingredient, eggs are going beyond and are becoming commonly seen in lunch and dinner menus according to McCormick.

Besides the usual packaged hard and soft boiled eggs in convenience stores, cured, fried, and poached eggs also may offer opportunities for manufacturers to experiment with too.

It is also reported that Mediterranean cuisine is becoming more popular with consumers, especially when they use barberries—a key tart ingredient in Persian foods—or Baharat seasoning.

Pasta is the foundation for inspired new culinary traditions, as according to the reports, citing examples of Reshteh with Italian minestrone, or Turkish manti with Italian Bolognese.

Also another McCormick prediction is the up and coming trend in 2017 for sweet ingredients like syrups and exotic fruits which are being increasingly used to temper pepper’s bold taste.

These include date syrup, or exotic, tropical fruits such as dragon fruit, mangosteen, green mango and jackfruit.

Regional demographic changes impacting on food makers

According to ARC, due to the essential nature of many of the products produced, the food & beverages industry is typically less affected by global economic conditions trends than many others, but is highly sensitive to government regulations that often determine how products are manufactured and where they can be sold.

Regional demographic changes also often have a major impact on this industry.

In general, new products, product innovation, and a growing population drive growth in the food & beverages sector. The growing middle class in emerging economies increases demand for more convenient processed foods as well as for more profitable luxury food and beverage products.

Today’s food and beverage companies strive to be able to respond to consumer demand for a wide variety of fresh, nutritious, convenient, and high-quality foods.

Many companies invest large amounts of money to develop new products. As many manufacturers operate globally, product packaging and labeling must meet country-specific requirements and regulations. In addition, product formulas need to be adapted to suit different consumer tastes.

As a whole, this sector has invested heavily in IT infrastructure in recent years.

These systems are expected to support information necessary to maintain quality standards, improve compliance, address food safety issues, and track product information.

Flexibility in both R&D and manufacturing are important to support frequent product changes and reduce product time-to-market.

We’re also seeing increasing pressures to reduce costs to remain competitive.

One area of concern is the potential effect of product recalls on a company’s reputation. Most companies are making targeted investment to both improve their internal controls to reduce the risk of product recalls and improving their ability to recall products, when necessary.

Cybersecurity is another challenge that the industry is addressing, largely through technology. Despite these challenges, food & beverage manufacturers are reasonably optimistic about their future prospects.

Executives believe that new products and line extensions, plus more autonomous operations and efficiency improvements will drive growth and help improve profitability in this largely low-margin sector.

University of Adelaide to offer courses for distillers and brewers

AUSTRALIA’S most comprehensive stand-alone university course specifically for distillers is being considered to feed into the nation’s booming craft spirits industry.

The University of Adelaide is looking to introduce the hands-on short course as well as one in brewing. The university has also flagged plans to more than double the size of its training winery, which is already the biggest of its kind in Australia. The expansion plan includes space for a distillery and a small brewery.

Professor of Oenology and Director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production Vladimir Jiranek said the University of Adelaide’s winemaking degree touched on distilled beverages as an elective subject.

However, he said he did not know of any other leading universities in Australia offering specific courses in distilling.

“Back in the ’50s and ’60s a lot of Australian wine production and exports revolved around fortified beverages and so the University of Adelaide had a still that was used to support that side of the industry,” Prof Jiranek said.

“We’ve now added to that by purchasing a characteristic Australian pot still.

“The unique feature of our set up is that the scale is fairly small so it fits in nicely with the volumes that most craft producers are generating.”

The existing winery, opened in 1996, has been the centrepiece of a wine hub that has about 150 researchers from the university and co-located partners in wine and grape science – about 70per cent of Australia’s total research capability.

The planned expansion would more than double the size of the winery to cater for the growing interest in the course.

Prof Jiranek said although the revamped winery would be better placed to teach the short courses, the university was looking to introduce something sooner.

“I would actually hope that if we are going to introduce a distilling short course that we do it sooner rather than later. We have the facilities to do it now but it would be nicer down the track when we have better expanded facilities.

“We’ve never had a brewing facility so a small-scale brewery would be a real asset. It would help support what’s happening in the industry with the explosion of growth in craft breweries and cider producers around the place.

“I’m sure we could run a short course in either distilling or brewing without too much trouble and fill the class the first time around but it’s just a question of whether there’s the longer term interest and demand in Australia to justify it.”

Auspack continues to grow processing for 2017

Processing machinery will continue to be a critical focus for AUSPACK 2017 with an impressive list of companies that have already signed up to exhibit and with an inaugural Processing Day held on Wednesday March 8, 2017.

According to Mr Luke Kasprzak, Portfolio Director – Industrial Division, Exhibitions and Trade Fairs, ‘companies such as TNA Australia, Heat & Control, Walls Machinery, Krones and JL Lennard are just some of the processing exhibitors returning in 2017,’

“In addition we have international processing companies such as Haver & Boecker and FB Propak as well as local Viking Food Solutions and first time exhibitors Aurora Process Solutions also exhibiting next year,” Mr Kasprzak said.

Within Packaging and Processing Week, AUSPACK will also feature an inaugural PROCESSING DAY on Wednesday March 8, 2017. “Multiple processing events will be held throughout the day with dedicated educational sessions, workshops, meetings and networking gatherings.

Processors and processing machinery suppliers will discuss issues industry is currently facing and learn how latest technology can help them to overcome those.”

“The processing equipment side of AUSPACK continues to grow with more processing content then ever before. This will add true value to the visitor experience at the show so we encourage anyone involved in processing to register and attend this main event for processing and packaging industries.”

AUSPACK 2017 will be held on the 7-10 March at the Sydney Showground and free registration is now open. To register, please visit www.auspack.com.au

Flexible optical sensors to control beverage quality

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have developed an innovative optical sensor using conventional tape, a low-cost and flexible material that can be easily acquired at stationery shops. It can detect variations of the optical properties of a liquid when is immersed. The sensor can be used to control both the quality of beverages and environmental monitoring.

Light from an LED is introduced in one of end of a piece of tape and the light that emerges from the other end is detected through a photodiode.

The light coupling to the flexible waveguide is mediated by a diffractive element using a grating with aluminum lines of nano dimensions; it is added to the tape through a simple process of “tear and paste.” Both ends of the waveguide can be easily adhered to the LED emitter and the light detector (photodiode).
Because of the flexibility of the tape, the waveguide can bend and is partially immersed in the liquid under examination. Due to the waveguide bend, part of the propagated light is lost by radiation.

This curvature loss depends on the refractive index of the surrounding medium. Thus, it is possible to detect variations of the refractive index of the liquid by photodiode measurement of the optical power lost during the path of light through the immersed waveguide.
The refractive index of a liquid solution is related to both its physical and chemical properties, including density and concentration.

Thus, researchers can assess, for example, the maturation degree of grapes by measuring the refractive index of grape juice; it could also detect the alcoholic content of certain beverages. The sensor can be used in the food sector for process control and beverage quality, and in the environmental sector for water quality control.
The materials and components used to develop this sensor are common and inexpensive. Additionally, the assembly of the three main components of the sensor is simple and there is no need for instrumentation or specialized tools.

Therefore, the assembly can be carried out by non-qualified personnel.
Dr. Carlos Angulo Barrios, the lead researcher for this project, says, “These features, along with the flexibility of the tape, make this sensor very advantageous regarding other optical instruments for the detection of refractive index more complex, rigid and expensive, especially in field applications and on-site analysis of liquids in areas of difficult access.”
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-12-flexible-optical-sensors-quality-beverages.html#jCp

Beef jerky brand moo-ving at a rapid rate

Launched in 2012 by northern NSW-based company New World Foods is a snack food company on the move.

According to Managing Director  and the brains behind the brand, Don Nisbet, he always had the ambition to develop a range of snack food products and a legends brand.

Around five years ago, the Local Legends concept came into his head.

“The Bob Marley album Legend inspired me to create the brand as he’s obviously a legendary guy. The first concept artwork featured Mohammed Ali on the back of the packs because the idea was to associate legendary people with the brand.

“A lot of these people came from a difficult background and went on to become household names but we wanted a brand that could connect local people too so as it transpired we brought that in” he said.

The company has seen growth year on year of 25 per cent plus including expanding internationally.

Nisbet and his team became involved with a local grassroots AFL club and enlisted a legendary player, Danny Frawley, to launch the brand.

The company was set up to on the basis of every unit sold meant money was donated back into football allowing the Local Legends brand to connect to local people.

According to Nisbet, jerky is an honest, wholesome and funky product that fit the existing brand.

“I’ve been running New World Foods for many years and with protein being such a necessary staple, it was the perfect tie in to give the brand a healthy image” he said.

“I spent a lot of time looking at the whole sport supplement space and seeing products that called themselves health foods but were loaded full of synthesized protein.

“What we’re offering is a very natural protein” he said.

The company has seen growth year on year of 25 per cent plus including expanding internationally.

As of this month, Local Legends Original Beef Jerky is the brands’ highest selling unit. The company recently signed a deal with Snack Brands Australia to be distributed into their network ensuring increased exposure.

For the future Don said his intention “was to make Local Legends the leading meat snack brand in the country. We’re going to take the brand into other areas including some exciting new products and, in the next calendar year, the brand will take on a refreshed look.”

Packaging & supply chain bodies pack Xmas hampers worth $120,000

Last Friday , over 170 people from the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), the Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) and the QLD Supply Chain and Logistics Conference (QSCLC) spent their Christmas Party packing over 1100 hampers for Foodbank to provide to those in need during the holiday season.

The hampers included 800 family hampers, 200 ladies packs and 110 children’s packs. The total value of the hampers was over $120,000 worth of items that were either donated, or the funds raised for, by the industry.

According to the AIP, the hampers would not be possible without the continued support from the industry including Campbells Arnotts, Colgate, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Edex, Tip Top GW Foods, All Purpose Transport, Office Max, BDO, APPMA, Orora, Linde Forklifts, Tip Top Foodservice -GW Foods, Coles and Department of Housing and Public Works.

Over the last five years, the team has packed 5400 hampers to the value of close to $660,000 for people in need and looks forward to even more hampers in 2017.

Twinings releases new tea blend

Twinings has released a new blend, Twinings Morning Tea, created by Master Tea Blender Philippa Thacker and 10th generation Twining, Stephen Twining, due to hit shelves late January 2017.

“Speaking with dozens of Australian women during my recent tour around Australia, I discovered what women really wanted from a cup of tea was refreshment, and this was the inspiration for creating the new, Twinings Morning Tea said Ms Philippa Thacker, Twinings Master Tea Blender.

“Morning Tea is a blend of both high and low grown Ceylon teas from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. The high grown teas impart a refreshing character to the blend whilst the low grown tea gives colour, flavour and body, said Ms Thacker.

“Twinings Morning Tea has a clean flavour with no aftertaste, and can work equally well with a little milk, simply black or with a slice of fresh lemon”, concluded Ms Thacker.

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