Research highlights impact of food and beverage packaging

Packaging specialist Tetra Pak has released new research that revealed the carbon footprint of different food and beverage (F&B) packaging formats in Australia and New Zealand, with carton packaging having the lowest climate impact.
Commissioned by Tetra Pak and conducted by environmental consultants thinkstep ANZ, the new report “Life Cycle Assessment of Beverage and Food Packaging in Australia and New Zealand” is a market-first, independently peer reviewed comparison of the environmental impact of common packaging formats, including cartons, PET bottles, rPET (recycled PET) bottles, HDPE bottles, pouches, tin cans, glass bottles and glass jars.
It is important for F&B manufacturers to look at the carbon contribution of packaging across the entire life cycle of a package, in addition to end-of-life. The report revealed that the biggest contributor to carbon emissions is the source of materials used in the packaging.
Based on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere per package of 1L fresh milk, the report found that carton packaging has a climate impact of 51 grams – almost 12 times less than glass packaging (605 grams), 5.5 times less than PET (280 grams) and 3 times less than HDPE (164 grams).
Cartons performed the best compared to other forms of packaging because of its material efficiency (using less material) and its mass which is mostly fibre from a renewable plant source.
Packaging formats were analysed across their entire life cycle, including base material production, pack manufacturing, filling, transport, and end-of-life (recycling or landfill) impacts, to offer insight into their overall environmental impact.
Andrew Pooch, Managing Director, Tetra Pak Oceania said: “Food packaging plays a critical role in feeding the world’s population, but it is causing problems for our climate. Today, the global food system accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about the harmony between protecting our planet’s ecosystem and meeting the human need for food. As an industry, we need to start talking about minimising packaging impact from cradle-to-grave, if we are serious about sustainability.
It is critical for the F&B industry to explore new ways of producing materials, addressing their embedded carbon, and promoting carbon neutral materials.
Cartons have the potential to become the world’s most sustainable food package. Mostly made of paper, cartons have a far smaller contribution to greenhouse gas emissions compared to other packaging types. If we swapped Australia’s pasteurised milk from formats like HDPE bottles, rPET bottles and PET bottles to cartons, it would be the annual equivalent of taking more than 77,000 cars off the road.

CEO of Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh wins gold in New York City

Karen Lebsanft, CEO and co-founding director of the Kurrajong Kitchen Group, manufacturers of Australia’s premier flatbread, the Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh, has been honoured with the Gold Lifetime Achievement Award at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business in New York this week.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honour women executives, entrepreneurs, employees and the companies they run – worldwide. Karen was the only Australian finalist, and ultimate winner, in the Lifetime Achievement Award category.

Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word for “crowned”, the awards were presented to winners on November 15th during a dinner event attended by more than 550 people at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

“To win this award is such a thrill. It has been years of hard work, determination and commitment that has seen Kurrajong Kitchen reach the success it has back home in Australia. To be recognised for that success means so much to my husband, our family and the wider Kurrajong Kitchen team,” said Lebsanft.   

“I’ve been very upfront about the challenges 2019 has thrown our way, with rising flour prices as a result of the drought and changes in the political landscape but we remain 100% committed to keeping our business manufacturing and employing onshore for as long as possible,” she concluded.

Established in 1993, Kurrajong Kitchen began as a small restaurant in the Hawkesbury town of Kurrajong, NSW. The flatbread they served to customers quickly grew in popularity to become an award winning Lavosh stocked across major supermarkets nationally. Expansion was needed to meet the demand from customers, suppliers and the catering industry and the company relocated to a larger site in Windsor, NSW in 2001.

OzHarvest targets food waste on World Food Day

Today, on World Food Day, OzHarvest will show Aussies that tackling climate change, starts with your plate!  The social media campaign #countmein aims to inspire individual action and show thatmaking small changes to your own food waste is one of the few personal habits that can actually help restore the planet.

Food waste is often over looked in the climate change debate, but is in fact a major contributor responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gases (more than the aviation sector!) as food left to rot in landfill produces methane—a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Figures recently released from the Federal Government’s National Business Report  reveal Australia is wasting over 7 million tonnes of food each year, which equates to 298kg of food per person,making Australia the world’s fourth highest food waster per capita.

READ MORE: OzHarvest app designed to help fight hunger

OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO says people are experiencing ‘eco-anxiety’ as most feel helpless in the battle to protect the planet, but reducing food waste is where we can all make a difference every day.

“The amount of food we waste is hard to visualise as once it goes in the bin it’s out of sight and out of mind, which leads us to think we don’t actually waste that much. 298 kg per person is a staggering amount – the same weight as six adult kangaroos. Urgent action is needed if we are to achieve the national target to halve food waste by 2030.”

“Cutting back on our individual food waste is the single most powerful way we can take direct action against climate change. It’s an easy win, both for your pocket and the planet. So from today, we’ll be asking people to #countmein and share what small changes they will make to reduce their food waste,” said Ronni.

Reducing food waste is ranked as the third most effective solution to reducing global warming by scientists at Project Drawdown. Taking action today could prevent 70 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere in the next 30 years and is one of the most effective ways for individuals to protect our partnership with the planet.

To see what small changes you can make, complete the quiz and share the campaign go to www.fightfoodwaste.org

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

Diploma in Packaging Technology – scholarships for ANZ close soon

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) advises that submissions will close on the 23 February for the two annual scholarship programs for the industry.

According to AIP, the scholarships will enable one lucky packaging technologist, designer or engineer in both Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to complete a Diploma in Packaging Technology to the value of $9,000.

From 2018 there will be two scholarships made available for the industry; the Australian Scholarship will continue to be sponsored by the APPMA and the New Zealand program will be launched by the Packaging Council of New Zealand.

The Diploma in Packaging Technology is a Level 5 qualification which is internationally recognised for those wishing to pursue a career in the packaging industry or for those who are already in the industry and who wish to extend their knowledge and expertise.

The Diploma prepares students to take responsibility for packaging operations at any level through the supply chain. The qualification is comprehensive and provides an opportunity to study the principles of packaging, packaging materials and packaging processes.

Who should apply?

Diploma in Packaging Technology students are from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and are typically experienced practitioners or managers in technical, sales/marketing, QA, purchasing, engineering or design.

Completion of the Diploma in Packaging Technology demonstrates your commitment to your career and to the industry. Delegates who successfully complete the Diploma are equipping themselves for senior positions within the packaging industry.

Packaging mentoring program for women – registrations open

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) has advised that registrations are now open for the 2018 AIP Influential Women Mentoring Program for Australasia.

This is a new and improved AIP mentoring program for women in the industry using Gallup Strengths to discover talents and how best to increase performance, productivity and passion at work.

Women who are looking to increase their conviction, make an impact and unlock their leadership potential are invited to apply.

The program will connect them to women in the packaging industry, using the latest technology no matter where you are located. This program isn’t about being perfect – it’s about making progress and growing in a career together. It is about knowing which levers to adjust to be influential and learning along the way.

Learning Outcomes

Unlock your career possibilities and increase your conviction so you can stop playing small and reach your true potential with the support of others.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Develop their talents and find a leadership style that is authentic to them.
  • Surround themselves with a tribe of like-minded people wanting to amplify influence.
  • Have the right mindset for amplifying influence and regulating limiting self-talk.
  • Get clear on their values and how they impact decision making, relationships and the ability to get things done.
  • Position themselves as a leader in the industry that has influence and impact.
  • Improve their presence and ability to gain the buy-in of peers, leaders and stakeholders.
  • Diversify their networks and sure up their ability to ‘future-proof’ their career.
  • Have the confidence to speak up at the table and be heard.

The AIP Influential Women Mentoring Program commences in February 2018. Early Bird Registrations close 29 November. More information is available here.

 

A lesson in Australian wine for international students

More than 150 international university students studying in Adelaide experienced a taste of Australia last week at the Australian Wine Showcase 2017, held at the National Wine Centre of Australia.

The seventh annual Australian Wine Showcase was a collaborative event, with Wine Australia, Study Adelaide, the National Wine Education and Training Centre and National Wine Centre of Australia introducing the students to an impressive range of Australian wine and familiarising students with producers from more than 20 Australian wine regions.

Wine Australia Head of Market, Asia Pacific, Hiro Tejima, said the Australian Wine Showcase was an interactive opportunity for students from across the world to taste wines from different Australian wine regions, in their host city.

“International students to Australia are curious about all aspects of life in their host country, including its food and wine culture. We hope that the Showcase inspires the students to learn more about our wine regions and to share their appreciation for our wines with their families and friends,” Tejima said.

Study Adelaide Chief Executive, Karyn Kent, said the students greatly valued the opportunity to learn about Australian wine in a fun, yet safe and responsible environment.

“Access to great food and wine is one of the best things about living in Adelaide. We’re pleased to partner with Wine Australia on the Australian Wine Showcase 2017, as it’s a great way to introduce this special part of the Adelaide lifestyle to international students in a fun, informative and responsible way. It is our hope that the Showcase will develop their appreciation for Australian wine and create a lifelong connection with and passion for the state,” said Kent.

At the free event, students discovered wines from more than 20 regions across Australia, including classic Australian wine styles and alternative varieties such as Fiano, Vermentino and Nebbiolo.

The international students attending this year’s Australian Wine Showcase were from 30 different countries including from some of Australia’s largest wine export markets, such as China where Australian wine exports increased in value by 44 per cent to $607 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2017.

French MBAs look down under for wine marketing insights

France boasts thousands of years of wine making and some of the finest wines in the world, but French (and Chinese) students come to Adelaide to learn about wine and spirits marketing.

2017 is the seventh year that Professor Herve Remaud, from KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, has accompanied students from the Global MBA program to Adelaide to learn from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, at the University of South Australia, and visit South Australia’s famous wine regions.

“Bordeaux in France makes almost as much wine as all of Australia, including Bordeaux’s cru classé (classed growths) such as Chateau Lafite Rothschild – currently a mere $2,390 a bottle at Dan Murphy’s for the 2010 vintage,” Prof Remaud said.

“If a great part of this success is due to history and quality, sustaining a vibrant wine and tourist industry is a different story and we have to learn modern marketing techniques, which is why we come to Australia.

“Because of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute’s knowledge of brands and consumer behavior, our group learned things that we cannot access elsewhere.”

On the final day of the course, the students travelled through the Adelaide Hills to visit wineries and critically review the challenges wine brands face in order to grow sales and brand reputation.

Students toured several wineries and one distillery including Shaw & Smith, Bird In Hand, Applewood and Paracombe.

Among the students was Lucas Leclerc, technical director and winemaker at Chateau Lafon Rochet, a Bordeaux classed growth founded in the 17th Century. “Wine marketing is nothing if we don’t see it on the spot,” said Leclerc. “Visiting all the wineries, we have understood how difficult or easy it is to implement a good marketing strategy.”

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute is a long-term partner of KEDGE Business School’s Global MBA program, welcoming MBA students from its Bordeaux, Marseille and Shanghai campuses to UniSA since 2001. Recently the wine marketing course opened up enrollment to UniSA postgraduate students and industry professionals.

Dr Armando Corsi, a Senior Researcher at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science who runs the course sees great benefits for the Australian cohort.

“The UniSA Postgrad students and industry professionals benefit from mixing with wine marketing students from France and China learning consumer purchasing behavior for wine and spirits; how to build online presence; and the fundamental of negotiation with channel partners.”

French Wine Scholar Certification coming to Melbourne

Wine professionals and serious hobbyists can now earn their French Wine credentials at Melbourne Polytechnic through the French Wine Scholar Certification, starting on 25 September 2017.

The French Wine Scholar Study and Certification program provides current, accurate and detailed information on the wines and wine regions of France. Developed and administrated by the Wine Scholar Guild with the support of the French Ministry of Agriculture, the specialisation program is designed for advanced students of wine.

Melbourne Polytechnic is one of only three organisations nationally that offer this certification in Australia, and the only provider in Victoria.

Students of wine who follow the in-depth curriculum and pass the exam earn the French Wine Scholar (FWS) title and are encouraged to use the FWS post-nominal as part of their professional signatures.

“There is no better place to specialize in than France. France vies with Italy as the #1 wine producing country in the world. The most popular commercially produced grape varieties – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah – are all native to France! When it comes to wine culture, France is the historic benchmark,” commented Julien Camus, president of the Wine Scholar Guild.

The certification is delivered using a combination of face-to-face workshops and online study over eight weeks, followed by an exam.

The course is also available for delivery as Workplace Training, either on its own or bundled with the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines or Responsible Service of Alcohol courses.

Hygienic transport system for food makers

XTS Hygienic, the stainless steel version of the eXtended Transport System from Beckhoff, opens up a wide spectrum of new applications for processing and filling liquids.

 

Allowing optimal cleanability with the high protection rating of IP 69K, very good chemical resistance and without any hidden corners, edges or undercuts, the hygienic design offers maximum production line availability even when the demands made on hygiene are high.

The XTS replaces mechanics with software functionality to allow for a high degree of design freedom in realising completely new machine concepts.

Through a significant reduction in mechanical engineering requirements, machines can be set up with the XTS more compactly, at a lighter weight and with less wiring.

Thus, machine builders can now offer smaller, more powerful and more efficient systems and the end user benefits accordingly from a smaller footprint, higher productivity and quicker product switchovers.

With the XTS Hygienic, which is so much easier to clean compared to more complex mechanical systems, the routine cleaning tasks along with those for product switchover – which are optimally supported by the XTS as standard – can be performed much more quickly. .

Food for thought? Diet helps explain unique human brainpower

It’s the mystery of all mysteries of science. Why is it that humans are so unusual compared to all other life? The key to solving this riddle lies in explaining the evolution of our large brains and exceptional intelligence. The Conversation

For as long as humanity has been contemplating our existence we must surely have been struck by the fact that we are the only species capable of doing so.

I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that the evolutionary arrival of humankind – some 200,000 years ago – was a decisive moment in the long history of the universe. After 14 billion years in the making, and in the blink of an eye of cosmological time, human intelligence arrived and gave the universe the ability to comprehend itself.

Maybe this all seems a little too anthropocentric for your taste? Smacks of literary indulgence on my behalf? Perhaps. But the simple matter is that we can’t avoid the fact of human uniqueness, and explaining it is tied to understanding the evolution of our extraordinary brainpower.

The eighteenth century British anatomist and creationist Richard Owen, one of Charles Darwin’s foremost foes, thought humans were so unusual that we ought to be classified in our own sub-class – the ‘Archenecephala’ as he dubbed it – on account of our highly advanced brain.

It rather conveniently stood us apart from the apes, confirming his view of the specialness of humankind.

By the standards of today’s biological classifications this would place us in a position in the tree of life above all of the orders of mammals, making us about as exceptional as the monotremes are to the placentals.

But with the facts of our evolution now well and truly established we have a much better understanding our place in nature, as members of the primate order, and particularly as African Great Apes.

To really understand how the human brain emerged we must first recognise that we share big brains with other primates. It’s our evolutionary inheritance, as primates are among the brainiest of all mammals; when taken kilo for kilo against body size. And apes are especially well endowed in the brains department.

Why? Well, this has been a major puzzle for anthropologists for decades, and the most widely accepted explanation has been the cognitive demands placed on us by living in large social groups; the so-called ‘social brain hypothesis’ or ‘Dunbar’s Number’.

The main alternative has been that braininess evolved in response to the demands of sex. Polygynandrous species – where males and females have multiple partners in a given breeding season – possess larger brains than those using other systems of mating, such as a harem or monogamy.

Now a new study by Alex DeCasien and colleagues published in Nature Ecology and Evolution has turned the debate completely on its head. They’ve found that the kind of diet a primate species consumes offers the best explanation for its brain size.

While this idea is not an entirely new one, their work provides strong validation for the diet-brain connection.

When it comes to apes it turns out that fruit eating – the dietary niche present in most living apes and the one our ancient ape ancestors indulged in – is so cognitively demanding that it led to a big evolutionary leap in intelligence when it began.

How come? Well, challenging diets require individuals to seek out or capture food; they have to judge whether it’s ready to be eaten or not; and they may even need to extract it, peel it, or process it in some way before it can be ingested.

Sound familiar? It should. Humans have the most specialised and challenging diets of all primates; and I have in mind here hunters and gatherers not urban foodies.

The human dietary niche is exceptionally broad and involves behaviours aimed at not only obtaining food but also making it more palatable and digestible; activities like extraction, digging, hunting, fishing, drying, grinding, cooking, combining other foods to add flavor, or even adding minerals to season or make food safe to eat.

What other species would so gleefully jiggle their jaws on the flames of a Jalapeno or lap up the tongue curling delights of a lemon?

What’s more, our large fruit eating ape brains got even bigger late in human evolution because our diets became ever more challenging to obtain and prepare, especially as a result of our ancestor’s penchant for eating meat.

Hunter-gatherers typically have a diet comprising between 30% and 80% vertebrate meat, while for chimpanzees it’s only around 2%. Instead, chimps get 60% of their diet from fruit, but hunter-gatherers typically obtain only 5% or 6 % (on the odd occasion a lot more) of their nutrition from fruit.

Humans rarely eat raw meat though, and we cook many of our vegetables as well, so even after expending huge efforts to collect it we still have to process much of our food in drawn out ways.

All of this throws up a paradox for us. Why is it that our closest and now extinct relatives, such as the Neanderthals, who were capable of complex behaviours like hunting, cooking and perhaps even cultural activities like art, lacked the smarts to ponder the ultimate questions of life?

Why is it us, and not them, that are capable of pondering and explaining the existence of life and the universe, including human life itself? There is clearly something very unique about human intelligence and a lot more to this evolutionary tale than mere food for thought.

Darren Curnoe, Chief Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, and Director, Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, UNSW

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

Patties Foods buys up Australian Wholefoods

According to the AFR, Patties Foods has swallowed up South Australia’s Australian Wholefoods.

In what is looking very much like a pattern, Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), which bought out Patties Food in 2016 and then followed that up by buying Leader Foods, has now devoured Australian Wholefoods, thereby allowing it to push into additional categories of the food services sector.

Australian Wholefoods employs about 130 people and its says it produces more than 100,000 chilled ready meals every week.

The company has introduced a number of new product lines like Clever Cooks, a fresh-food brand free from artificial colours or preservatives.

The latest acquisition has triggered speculation that PEP will sell the combined food business it to Asian buyers, which, the AFR noted, have shown a “keen appetite for Australian food manufacturing assets in the last few years.”

Dairy company reduces costs with label management system

NiceLabel, one of the world’s leading developers of label and marking productivity software solutions has helped dairy company Arla Foods find a standardised label management solution for all of its industrial printers.

NiceLabel’s technology enabled this large food manufacturer to significantly reduce costs and increase label accuracy and productivity.

A critical part of Arla’s brand identity is being able to guarantee freshness and provide their customers with accurate product information, according to a company press release.

However the company needed a single solution with a standardised method of integration between each dairy’s label and direct marking printers and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

By using NiceLabel’s label management system, Arla said that it was able to automate printing by implementing a standardized integration with the MES at each dairy. Now, master data flows directly from the MES to the printers, eliminating manual data entry errors, mislabeling and the associated costs.

By introducing centralised label management, Arla have a more transparent label management process that helps them ensure accurate product and production data throughout the entire label printing process.

The company’s IT team now provides 24×7 support to each site, rapidly addressing issues before they result in production downtime while also allowing Arla to remotely monitor all activity and diagnose errors.

“Our customers have come to rely on us for accurate labeling and quality product information. NiceLabel helps us to meet their high expectations and we no longer have to worry about lost revenue associated with mislabeling”, said Torben Hattel, Senior Solution Architect at Arla Foods.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in productivity thanks to the solution. Our labeling systems run more efficiently. We no longer spend time mitigating manual data entry errors and we’ve been able to streamline support as well.”

 

Refresh Group acquires bottled water supplier Aquazuro

Refresh Group has acquired Sydney-based bottled water supplier Aquazuro Australia, with the intention to integrate Aquazuro’s bottled water delivery business into its existing operations.

Aside from Neverfail, owned by Coca-Cola Amatil, Refresh is the only other company in the home and office delivery segment of the bottled water market that operates in multiple locations, according to the company.

Refresh expects the acquisition of Aquazuro to increase its revenue and profit, as well as increasing its customer density in Sydney, thereby reducing distribution costs.

The company now has factories in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Toowoomba and Kalgoorlie.

Refresh is currently looking into other acquisition opportunities to expand its growth.

New Chilli Beef Pie from Four-N Twenty

 Four-N Twenty is launching its new Chilli Beef Pie, which has been developed for “adventurous eaters who are keen to try a new and exciting flavour”.

 The pie is made from chunks of eight-hour slow-cooked 100 per cent Australian beef, with a spicy chilli gravy, wrapped in a golden pastry.

 “Chilli has been identified as one of the key condiment flavour trends for 2017 and beyond,” said Four’N Twenty marketing manager, Mario Matchado.

 “Creating a spicy chilli version of our eight-hour slow-cooked Real Chunky Pie is sure to prove a winner with pie lovers this winter. So fire up your taste buds, the Four’N Twenty Chilli Beef Pies are hot!”

 The Chilli Beef Pie will be launched in selected petrol and convenience stores nationally from April.

 

 

Nationwide food processing workshops set for March

A project is underway to review and align existing retail baking units of competency, skills sets and qualifications from the FDF10 Food Processing Training Package, to industry defined occupational standards.

First drafts of the units of competency, skills sets and qualifications have nearly been completed following consultation with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). They will be made available on the Skills Impact website for broad stakeholder consultation in late March.

For those who would prefer to provide their feedback verbally, a series of face-to-face workshops and two consultation webinars are being arranged.

Face-to-face workshops

  • VIC, North Melbourne (27 March, 10:00am – 1:00 pm)
  • TAS, Hobart (28 March, 10:00am – 1:00 pm)
  • QLD, Brisbane (29 March, 10:00am – 1:00 pm)
  • NSW, Sydney (30 March, 10:00am – 1:00 pm)
  • NT, Darwin (3 April, 10:00am – 12:30 pm)
  • WA, Perth (4 April, 10:00am – 1:00 pm)
  • SA, Adelaide (5 April, 10:00am – 1:00 pm)

Webinar consultations

  • 12 April from 10:00 – 11:00 am
  • 13 April from 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Further details can be found here.

 

Does my brain really freeze when I eat ice cream?

It’s a long, hot summer’s day and you’re looking forward to an ice cream. But within seconds of your first bite, you feel a headache coming on: a brain freeze.

What’s going on?

Your brain isn’t literally freezing, or even sensing cold. It can’t sense cold or pain because it lacks its own internal sensory receptors. In fact, surgeons usually perform brain surgery on conscious, sedated patients with the only pain coming from the scalp, skull and underlying tissues, not from the brain itself.

An international team of neurologists classifies brain freeze or ice cream headache as a:

headache attributed to ingestion or inhalation of a cold stimulus.

Anything cold (solid, liquid or gas) that passes over the roof of the mouth (the hard palate) and/or the back of the throat (posterior pharyngeal wall) can trigger a brain freeze headache.

Pain can be to the front of the head or the temples and while short lasting, can be intense, though not debilitating. People who have these headaches usually do not seek treatment, so there has been very little research into how brain freeze occurs.

The transient nature of these headaches means common “treatments”, like putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth, are unlikely to have any major effect.

People most likely to have brain freeze also tend to suffer from migraines, suggesting a common underlying mechanism for both.

One study compared how common brain freeze was in people with migraine alongside those with tension type headaches. When an ice cube was placed on the hard palate of their mouths for 90 seconds, 74% of migraine sufferers reported pain along their temples versus 32% of those with a history of primary headache disorders (headaches that do not have an underlying or identifiable cause).

Only 12% of volunteers without a history of primary headache disorder experienced brain freeze headache with the same stimulus. These observations are robust and have been replicated.

What causes brain freeze?

An old fashioned idea about the cause of migraine suggested excessive blood flow through the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain caused the pain. However, this vascular hypothesis for migraine, although still popular, is now largely discredited.

Just like migraines, brain freeze headaches are accompanied by changes in blood flow through the arteries of the brain. The link between pain associated with altered brain artery blood flow has led some to speculate the blood flow changes may actually cause the pain. But an association between blood flow and pain doesn’t necessarily mean one causes the other.

Another theory about what causes migraine relates to altered excitability of neuronal pathways that detect and transmit the sensation and pain in the head via the trigeminal system, the major nerve that transmits sensory information from the head to the central nervous system.

Ordinarily the cold sensation is not painful. However, if the trigeminal system is prone to over-excitability in people with migraine, pain kicks in at lower level (a lower threshold). If an over-excitable trigeminal system also applies to people with brain freeze, then the threshold may be low enough to activate pain after only a brief exposure to ice cream.

Zenobia Ahmed / The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Researchers are studying what causes hyper-excitability of the trigeminal system. The effects of a specific chemical signalling molecule CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) released by trigeminal neurons are a necessary component of migraine pain.

In genetically inherited migraine, the cellular processes that result in the release of CGRP from trigeminal neurons has been altered. These same mechanisms may explain the hypersensitivity to cold stimulus in ice cream headaches.

It seems likely that all headaches are the result of changes in activity in the trigeminal system, although why we perceive them in the front of the head and at the temples in particular is a mystery.

Is there anything I can do to stop brain freeze?

While we do not know exactly what causes brain freeze, there may be a simple way to reduce your chances of having one this summer.

Research shows how long brain freeze headaches last relates to the surface area of the mouth that comes into contact with the cold stimulus. So, if you want to reduce your chance of a brain freeze, you may want to avoid gulping down your ice cream all at once. Take small nibbles instead.

The Conversation

Yossi Rathner, Lecturer in Human Physiology, Swinburne University of Technology and Mark Schier, Senior Lecturer in Physiology, Swinburne University of Technology

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

Chemical-free food factory cleaning system

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

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

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

 

What will Aussies be drinking these holidays?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beverage trends between men and women

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

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

Trends in spirits

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

Trends in wine

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

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

Trends in beer

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

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

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.