‘Made in Australia’ label ranked #14 globally

 

A study by statistics firm Statista researched 43,000 consumers from 49 different countries to determine the world’s most respected ‘Made in’ labels. According to the study, Australia ranks 14th.

Germany ranked first, receiving 100 index points, closely followed by Switzerland with 98 index points.

Other nations in the top five include the EU as a whole, the UK and Sweden.

Australia’s 14th place ranking puts the nation just above New Zealand (ranked 15th), and below the Netherlands (ranked 13th).

At the end of the spectrum were China on 28 index points and Iran on 27 index points. Statista noted the irony of the fact that Germany scored the top rank, considering that the

‘Made in’ label was introduced by Britain at the end of the 19thcentury to protect its economy from “cheap, low quality and sometimes counterfeit” imports from Germany.

Chinese wine company searches for Australian vineyards

The third biggest wine company in China is planning a $80 million winery based in Australia, which it hope will rival exporters to the Chinese market.

Weilong Grape Wine Company is proposing to expand its Grand Dragon brand to Mildura, only several kilometres from the Karadoc winery in north-west Victoria.

The move presents “one of the largest infrastructure investments in the $4 billion wine industry in the past decade”, according to a report in the AFR.

But it must first overcome roadblocks to get the project up and running after objections were submitted by rivals and a ongoing planning issue including Telstra.

Bruno Zappia, Weilong’s general manager of Australian operations, Bruno Zappia, said he was confident any red tape would be resolved soon so that the 80,000-tonne winery would be in production in time for the 2019 vintage.

“There will be a combination of our own vineyards and external grapegrowers,” Zappia added.

Chocolate maker eyes top-end Chinese market

Since China is most likely to become the world’s largest gourmet chocolate market, Barry Callebaut’s gourmet business in China is busy catering to the needs of chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers, the company said.

The Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products for the food industry, has strengthened its capabilities and expanded its offerings to meet the needs of the fast-growing segment of professional users of chocolate in China.

Gourmet products chocolate and cocoa products that are typically used by professionals such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers have fueled the business growth of Barry Callebaut in China which has doubled in volume over the last four years.

According to George Zhang, Managing Director for Barry Callebaut in China, higher disposable income of the rapidly growing middle- to high-income consumers in China will drive the expected growth in the sales of gifts as well as premium and sophisticated gourmet chocolate products in the coming years.

Zhang also said that consumers seek new chocolate trends, for example chocolate with health benefits, new tastes such as green tea flavor chocolate and innovative chocolate forms for a variety of exciting chocolate experiences.

The USD$ 2.8 billion chocolate confectionery category in China is estimated to grow to approximately USD$ 3 .9 billion by 2021.

 

 

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.”

 

Beston brings back its Parmesan cheese

Beston Global Food (BFC) has announced that its Parmesan cheese is back in production at Murray Bridge after a five-year hiatus.

Beston this week began production of its first batches of the popular hard cheese destined for consumers across the country, and overseas.

BFC Chief Executive Officer, Sean Ebert, said while the Company’s specialist cheesemakers were currently busy crafting the first batches of Parmesan, they would also soon be moving into other varieties of hard cheese including Gruyere, Raclette and Tilset.

“Since opening our Beston Pure Food factory at Murray Bridge, we have had numerous inquires from our existing customers in Australia seeking locally made European-style hard cheeses. Hence, we have refurbished and returned the former hard cheese line, with a production capacity of 250 tonnes per annum, back into production and brought it to export standard. This has included the installation of a state-of-the-art maturation room and has created additional employment at the factory,” Ebert said.

“There is strong demand for these top quality cheeses in the Australian market.”

“Not only are we creating great cheese but in the process, we are creating jobs. Parmesan production alone required five additional staff while our wider expansion in hard cheese represents 15 new local jobs,” he said.

In June last year, the State Government announced it was providing $2.5 million to Beston for the development of its state-of-the-art cheese processing facility. South Australian- based Beston provides high-end premium foods in the dairy, seafood, meat and health & nutrition areas.

BFC chariman Dr Roger Sexton said that the recommissioning of the hard cheese facility at Murray Bridge was part of the organic growth strategy of BFC and represented another significant step in the further broadening of the revenue base of the company.

 

 

 

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.

Doctors cheer at last drinks for VB and Cricket Australia

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has welcomed news that Carlton United Breweries (CUB) has ended its VB sponsorship with Cricket Australia (CA).

The demise of VB’s 20-year sponsorship with CA, estimated to be worth $65 million over the past five years is one of more than 20 alcohol-related sponsorships in Australian cricket.

The RACP is on record as saying that it was “unacceptable that young children are being bombarded with alcohol promotion both at the ground and at home watching on TV.”

This sentiment is shared by the majority of Australians, with over 60 per cent concerned about the exposure of children to alcohol promotions in sport, according to a number of recent surveys.

RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland said, “A generation of Australians have grown up and become accustomed to a sponsorship that has relentlessly pushed its product and left young Australians as collateral damage.”

“Sadly, we know alcohol marketing leads children and adolescents to start drinking earlier and makes young drinkers prone to binge drinking patterns.”

“Sometimes it starts them on a journey that has a lifelong impact. It’s not surprising that the peak age for the onset of alcohol use disorders is only 18 years old.”

 

Australia to triple chilled beef exports to China

 A new agreement between China and Australia means the number of processors allowed to send chilled, or refrigerated and cryovaced beef cuts to China will more than triple.

 Specifically, the number of meat processors permitted to export chilled beef to China will increase from 10 to 36, with another 15 expected to have pending approvals fast-tracked. Currently, Australia is the only country in the world with this market access.

 According to David Foote, managing director of Australian Country Choice, the agreement is good news for the industry after Australia’s rights for chilled beef exports to China were restricted in August 2013.

 In 2013, chilled beef accounted for 18 per cent of total beef exports to China, said Foote. Since the restrictions however, it has accounted for only 7 per cent.

 Global mining and agricultural entrepreneur Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest also praised the new agreement.

 “Now that we can export chilled beef to China, it means Australia can really compete as a food supplier, as opposed to just a live animal supplier,” he told Fairfax Media.

 It is expected that the announcement will not lead to an immediate spike in imports due to record low numbers of Australian cattle, however it is expected to create opportunities for producers once cattle numbers recover over the next few years.

 

Aussie wines set for German markets

 

More than 100 Australian wineries were recently on show at one of the world’s biggest industry events in a bid to further boost surging exports.

The Wine Australia exhibit at ProWein 2017 which was held from March 19 to 21 in Germany featured 500 wines from 76 wineries across 39 varieties and 34 Australian regions, including the premier regions of South Australia.

The Dusseldorf event is considered one of the world’s most important international wine fairs and will include more than 6300 exhibitors from 60 nations.

Australia is the world’s fifth largest wine producing nation in 2016 and is experiencing a strong run of export success on international markets, particularly for premium wine in North America and China.

In the 12 months to December 2016, the value of Australian wine exports grew by 7 per cent to $2.22 billion and volume increased by 1 per cent to 750 million litres.

The average value of exports grew by 6 per cent to $2.96 per litre, the highest level since 2009 driven by a 10 per cent growth in bottled exports, mostly at higher price points.

South Australia is responsible for 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production including about 75 per cent of its premium wine.

Much of this premium wine comes from the South Australian regions of Barossa and McLaren Vale, and South Australian wineries attending ProWein include d’Arenberg, Elderton, Fox Creek, Langmeil.

 

 

 

Chinese supermarkets stop selling Brazilian meat

 

According to a story from the Voice of America (VoA), some of China’s largest food suppliers have stopped selling Brazilian beef and poultry following a scandal over Brazil’s meat processing industry.

While Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, fears over Brazilian meat safety have increased since police accused inspectors of taking bribes to permit the sale of rotten and infected meats.

The announcement from the Chinese food suppliers comes days after China temporarily suspended Brazilian all meat imports.

Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and Mexico have also announced they were stopping major imports of some Brazilian meat.

Brazilian President Michel Temer said the sale of rotten meat was an “economic embarrassment for the country.”

The Brazilian government has so far barred the exports of meats from 21 plants under investigation, while officials have tried to calm consumers by saying the recent investigation has found only “isolated problems with rotten or infected meat”.

However, the reaction by Chinese food suppliers suggests that the investigation could have a big effect on the world’s top meat exporter, said VoA.

Brazil’s trade associations for meat producers warned that the scandal could affect the economy considering meat exports make up 15 per cent of total exports.

 

 

 

Australian researchers find way to stop food mould

West Australian researchers led by Dr. Kirsty Bayliss have discovered how to stop mould growing on fresh food.

Dr. Bayliss will be presenting her technology, titled ‘Breaking the Mould’, a chemical-free treatment for fresh produce that increases shelf-life, prevents mould and decay, and reduces food wastage, in the US.

“Our technology will directly address the global food security challenge by reducing food waste and making more food available for more people,” Dr. Bayliss said.

“The technology is based on the most abundant form of matter in the universe– plasma. Plasma kills the moulds that grow on fruit and vegetables, making fresh produce healthier for consumption and increasing shelf-life.”

Dr. Bayliss’s Murdoch University team has been working on preliminary trials for the past 18 months and are now preparing to start scaling up trials to work with commercial production facilities.

Dr. Bayliss said the LAUNCH Food Innovation Challenge was a “huge opportunity.”

“I will be presenting our research to an audience comprising investors, company directors and CEOs, philanthropists and other influential people from organisations such as Fonterra, Walmart, The Gates Foundation, as well as USAID, DFAT and even Google Food.”

“What is really exciting is the potential linkages and networks that I can develop; already NASA are interested in our work,” she said.

In an interview with ABC Online, she said “Food wastage contributes to a lot of the food insecurity as the US and Europe wastes around 100 kilograms of food per person every year.

“If we could reduce food wastage by a quarter, we could feed 870 million people.”

Dr. Bayliss said the technology also kills bacteria associated with food-borne illness, such as salmonella and listeria.

 

 

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.

 

 

Bosch Australia partners with Food CRC

While the recently-announced Food Agility CRC will be funded with $50 million over ten years along with $160 million in commitments from 54 partner organisations, Bosch Australia will be a lead technology partner and will apply its agriculture technology expertise and resource to projects in connected agriculture and automation.

The Food Agility CRC will integrate the agile culture and processes of the digital economy through a whole-of-value-chain lens for fresh and processed food.

“Global food production needs to double by 2050 and the opportunity that presents to the Australian food industry is enormous,” says Mike Briers, CEO of the Food Agility CRC and UTS Industry Professor.

Bosch Australia said it is making significant investments in connected agriculture and food automation oriented activities in this region, including direct investment in Australian start-ups.

Most recently ‘The Yield’, an early stage Internet of Things (IoT) company focused on Micro-Climate sensing technology in Agriculture and Aquaculture. “

The Food Agility CRC will have a direct impact on the food and agriculture sector,” said Gavin Smith, Bosch President with responsibility for the region Oceania.
“There’s no better place than Australia to develop digital and automation solutions in food technology.”

Tumeric-rich Arkadia Golden Latte released

Arkadia Beverages has released a blend of high of turmeric, spices and organic panela sugar and called it Arkadia Golden Latte.

This turmeric blend is designed to be ready to drunk with hot or cold milk.

With no added dairy, vegan friendly and gluten and caffeine free, Arkadia Golden Latte is claimed to imbue the natural benefits of turmeric – often referred to as the most powerful herb on the planet for helping to fight a range of diseases.

Australian fruit destined for Chinese retailers

Winha Commerce and Trade International, the Australian paddock-to-plate Chinese retailer and wholesale food company, has announced that it will use its participation in a new Australian agricultural research centre to help create new products for the Chinese market.

Last month Winha announced it would be a foundation partner in Ausway College to be created in Deniliquin, which aims to become Australia’s leading agricultural research facility in Australia. Winha hopes to ensure that Australian agricultural producers can develop products that will be sought after by Chinese consumers.

“China is the world’s top fruit consuming nation, but at the moment not all Australian fruit is represented in the country. We need to ensure there are more pears, plums, mangos and other specialised fruits like star fruit created and produced for the Chinese market,’’ said Winha Chairman, Jackie Chung.

“Chinese consumers love the quality of Australian produce, but they also have slightly different tastes and likes to Australian consumers, so we must work with Australian fruits producers to create the right looking and tasting fruit to sell into China,’’ he said.

To illustrate its intentions to continue to promote Australian food in China, Winha has also announced it will import locally made Crystal Nest, Australia’s finest bird’s nest, into China.

Crystal Nest founder James Liew said: “We are delighted to be associated with Winha and we are excited to take our quality Australian product to China.’’

Chinese families who appreciate the reported health benefits of bird’s nest are willing to pay up to $US60 a bowl for the product – making the raw bird’s nest one of the most expensive food items in the world.

Australian owned and operated Crystal Nest sells its bird’s nest product all around Australia and now with the help of Winha (and its chain of retail outlets and enormous customer reach in China), Crystal Nest has found the perfect distribution channel into China.

Winha congratulates Crystal Nest for the extra care it puts into the handling and cleaning of its bird’s nests, ensuring it exceeds the highest global quality standards.

Bird’s Nest Soup is considered a delicacy amongst the Chinese upper classes.

Mechatronic drive awarded HACCP certification

 Understanding the extremely high standards that Australia’s food and beverage manufacturers work towards to ensure that consumers receive the highest quality products, SEW-EURODRIVE has announced the recent Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification of its mechatronic drive system MOVIGEAR type B, variant for wet areas.

Traditional machine components are not only difficult to clean thoroughly; they also generally require production areas to shut down – at least in part – for cleaning activities to take place. This procedure places strain on production timeframes, contributing to reduced product throughput affecting the overall profitability.

Machine components mounted in production or processing areas are often exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals. The shape of the component, its material composition and the method of substrate protection all play a large role in the cleaning efforts, likelihood of becoming a source of contamination and product longevity.

Designed specifically for the food and beverage industry MOVIGEAR for wet areas has a number of advantages over traditional drive solutions. Up to three core products can be assembled into a “self-draining” and compact housing: gear unit, motor and drive electronics (optional).

Combining the technical and practical advantages of all three drive components leads to an increase in the performance, efficiency and reliability. The MOVIGEAR product range can be easily integrated into most materials handling applications such as conveyor systems.

The smooth housing of the MOVIGEAR for wet areas is finished with a ‘HP200’ treatment which is burned-in-to the surface during the application process. Highly resistant to rigorous cleaning regimes, including chemical and high pressure wash down, the integrity of the surface finish eliminates the possibility of “paint-lift-off” often associated with traditional surface coatings.

The inherent anti-stick properties contribute to a reduction of debris build-up resulting in reduced cleaning efforts and system downtime. Standard inclusion of stainless steel shafts, fasteners and auxiliary fittings further enhances the MOVIGEAR for wet areas anticorrosive properties.

The totally enclosed non-ventilated mechatronic drive system is designed according to the principle of convection cooling, eliminating the need of a motor fan. Motor-fan noise spread of germs and bacteria due to air swirls are a thing of the past with the MOVIGEAR product range.

Compliant with IE4 (Super Premium Efficiency) standards, a major benefit of the MOVIGEAR is the impressive energy savings potential.

 

 

Temperature controller

Oven has announced its 5R6-900 temperature controller with ramp/soak capabilities. Contained all in one enclosure, the device can be plugged into the wall as a self-contained temperature control system, which has its own power supply.

This feature makes the device convenient for users. The controller can also be used universally, which allows the user to use the device wherever they are located.

As a solid state MOSFET bidirectional compact unit featuring an internal power supply, it is also capable of loading currents up to 10A.

The controller is suited to usage in universities, science laboratories, industrial plants and PCR research.

It features an easy-to-read digital display for controlling functions, including adjusting output voltage and setting the desired temperature.

Complete with an auto output shutdown if the sensor is opened or shorted, the unit also includes high, low and no alarm settings.

Food industry penalty rate change applauded by business

The Australian Industry Group has welcomed today’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) Penalty Rates Decision.

“The Commission has accepted Ai Group’s evidence and arguments to re-set penalty rates in the fast food industry to better align them with the characteristics and needs of 21st century workplaces,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.

“Ai Group represented the fast food industry in the case.  A great deal of evidence was presented from Ai Group members, McDonalds and Hungry Jacks, and from relevant experts.”

“A very high proportion of employees in the fast food industry are young people who have study commitments during normal business hours.”

The Commission accepted Ai Group’s evidence that young people often prefer to work in the evenings and on weekends, and that many prefer to work on Sundays rather than Saturdays.

“In the fast food industry, weekends and evenings are peak times. Regular business hours have little relevance to businesses in the fast food industry and, therefore, penalty rates that were designed many decades ago around regular business hours need to be re-set.”

“In the Decision, the Commission has recognised that existing Sunday penalty rates in the fast food industry are not fair for employers and no longer relevant.”

“The new penalty rates will be phased in over at least two years to reduce the impact upon employees.”

“The five-Member Full Bench, headed by FWC President, Justice Iain Ross, made their decision on penalty rates in the fast food industry after a case which continued for over two years. The Full Bench carefully weighed up all the arguments and evidence and arrived at a fair and sensible outcome.”

“What is important now is that the decision by the independent umpire is implemented as soon as possible, and that all parties accept the outcome,” Willox said.

Nanoparticles could be the future of agriculture

MICROSCOPIC particles that have always been considered a pollutant are being studied for a range of agricultural uses.

South Australian researchers are working on a number of novel uses for engineered nanoparticles including efficient fertilisers, agricultural ‘amendments’ and a unique way to clean-up contaminated land.

Engineered nanoparticles are currently used in a range of industrial materials, such as ceramics and advanced polymers, and are also commonly used in the production of household materials, personal care products and clothing.

These particles are considered a pollutant risk if they are able to accumulate in the environment.

With a maximum diameter of just 100 nanometres, it is easy for the particles to be widely dispersed across soil and accumulated by plants.

As a result, nanoparticles have been considered a pollutant and eco-toxicological risk to both plants and wildlife.

But researchers at the University of South Australia have found that the very same nanoparticles could also prove beneficial to the growth of plants.

A glasshouse trial conducted by Dr Elliott Duncan, Dr Gary Owens and Nazanin Nikoo Jamal involved exposing rice plants to titanioum and cerium nanoparticles.

Dr Elliott said that instead of proving toxic to the plants, the nanoparticles aided the growth of the rice plants.

Current laboratory tests have focused on rice plants, but Dr Duncan said the same particles could also be used to benefit other grain crops and horticultural species, with tests expected to begin on wheat later this year.

“There’s a lot of concern in terms of whether engineered nanoparticles are toxic, whether they’re accumulated by plants and what the end effect is for humans and the environment,” he said.

“But we found these particles may actually provide some benefits for the plants, and, if we could harness those, this could be a big deal for the agriculture industry.”

The experiment demonstrated that some nanoparticles had the potential to be used as an agricultural supplement, although Dr Duncan said it was still unclear how exactly these particles helped the growth of plants.

“The mechanisms behind it and predicting whether it is going to occur and how best to harness it is still unknown,” he said.

His team will continue with glasshouse experiments to test the safety and effect of the nanoparticles.

Dr Duncan said there was also the potential for specially designed nanoparticles to be used as a way to delivery fertiliser more efficiently.

“With current fertilisers, a lot of the nutrient isn’t available to the plants – essentially the plant can only use 30 to 50 per cent, so up to 70 per cent of the fertiliser expense is just wasted,” he said,

“The idea would be that if we can improve that, you can get away with applying a lot less, which then has benefits for the economics of the farm and the environment.

“This stems from the fact that the nanoparticles are small, which means they’re quite mobile in the environment so they should be able to interact with plants a lot better than more traditional bulk fertilisers.”

The size of nanoparticles also means they possess unique properties such as a high surface-area to volume ratio, which could also make them effective for cleaning up contaminated land.

Dr Duncan is also researching the effectiveness of nanoparticles in binding to toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic.

“To remediate a site is often quite destructive, you cause quite a big change to the environment if you’ve got to say dig it up, it’s quite labour intensive and so on,” he said.

“So this could be a faster, simpler way to remediate a site than current technologies, so we want to see whether these particles can reduce the bio-availability of contaminants, which should reduce how much is available to plants and also how much is lost into water-sources.”

Dr Duncan said more understanding was still needed around the ease with which nanoparticles could move into soil, plants or wildlife, and that long-term toxicity was also an important safety factor to evaluate.

However, if his research continues to yield positive results, he said there was the potential for a commercial product for the agriculture industry.

“We need to do it in an Australian context to see how it’s going to potentially impact our industry,” Dr Duncan said.

“We’re aware that there are risks involved with nanoparticles, but the reward could also be great too.”

 

From The Lead