Tetra Pak announces new US$110 million Vietnam factory

Bolstered by rapid consumption growth and increasing customer needs in the Asia Pacific region, leading food processing and packaging solutions company Tetra Pak today announced their US$110 million investment in a state-of-the-art regional manufacturing facility near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to serve customers across the region.

The move is prompted by increasing consumption volumes, with the 2016 total packed liquid dairy and fruit-based beverages intake at 70 billion litres across ASEAN, South Asia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Additionally, over the next three years, these markets are likely to grow at a healthy 5.6 per cent per annum, with products packed in Tetra Pak cartons projected to grow at a much faster rate as compared to other packaging formats such as glass bottles and cans.

“Tetra Pak has been present in the region for decades, with our first factory set up in Gotemba, Japan in 1971,” said Michael Zacka, Regional Vice President, Tetra Pak South Asia, East Asia and Oceania.

“Over the years, we have seen substantial growth of our products, driven by a wide portfolio and a number of innovations that we have introduced in the market. Hence our investment in a new plant, which will be our fourth Packaging Material factory in the region, providing us with expansive coverage and scale.

This decision is a strong reflection of our commitment to the region and our firm belief in its future potential.”

The greenfield factory, expected to begin operations in Q1 2019, will have an expandable production capacity of approximately 20 Billion packs per annum, across a variety of packaging formats, including the popular Tetra Brik Aseptic and Tetra Fino Aseptic.

It will primarily serve customers based in ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand. With a strong focus on sustainability, the site will adopt a host of global best practices to minimise the environmental footprint, including the utilisation of a high proportion of renewable energy sources.

This investment will complement Tetra Pak’s three long-standing production facilities in Singapore, India and Japan, building on the wealth of experience built up throughout the company’s operation in the region.

Together, the factories will enable the company to offer more innovations, efficiency and customer service to meet the rapid growth in Asia.

“We are committed to investing in Australia and New Zealand’s food export business to help our customers tap into the huge opportunities opening up both at home and in the wider region. Our investment in this manufacturing facility means we will be able service our ASEAN markets more efficiently, offering greater innovation, enhanced quality, efficiency and flexibility for producers.” said Craig Salkeld, Managing Director for Oceania, Tetra Pak.

Not everyone loves wheat – so why not remove the bad bits

Wheat is everywhere. It’s in bread, pasta, pastries, biscuits, pizza, batter, cereals, soups, sauces, instant drinks, salad dressing, processed meats and sweets, to name but a few.

The western diet is so infatuated with wheat that most of us eat a kilo or more a week. So why do we love it?

It’s simple. It provides the texture of our pasta, the spring in our bread, the thickening in our soups and sauces, and the crunch in our batter and pastries.

But what some of us crave, others look to avoid. They study ingredients on packaging and travel across town to find processed foods that don’t contain wheat. While they may enjoy the texture, spring, thickness and crunch, they don’t feel well after they eat wheat.

So what’s the problem?

An intolerance

Some have a sensitivity to a small set of wheat proteins called gluten. For a subset of people their reaction is so extreme it’s defined as coeliac disease.

But most people who avoid wheat are not intolerant to gluten but rather to some other substance in wheat. Scientists agree this is likely to be other proteins found in the wheat grain, but it is typically unknown what the culprit is in each case.

This is a frustrating mystery for wheat sensitivity sufferers which hangs over their café breakfasts, luncheons with friends and social dinner parties.

The full set of proteins that make up wheat grains has only recently been revealed, with details published last month in The Plant Journal. These proteins make up the wheat proteome and have been exhaustively mapped out for the first time in wheat by research conducted here in Australia.

With this discovery we now know that, beyond gluten, thousands of different proteins can be found in wheat grain. Some of them we didn’t even know existed before this research was undertaken.

We know when they are made during grain development and we know if they are also found in other parts of the wheat plant such as the leaves, stems and roots. Each of these long wheat grain proteins are digested in our gut to become short peptides.

That means there are hundreds of thousands of different peptides that can be derived from wheat. Most are harmless and good nutrition but for some people, a set of them will make us unwell.

Single out the proteins

Only now that this mapping of the wheat proteome has been completed can we measure each protein separately and see how abundant they are in different varieties of wheat.

This information enables scientists to use mass spectrometers to sift through proteins and peptides by subtle differences in their weight – a difference that can be smaller than the mass as a proton.

We can literally dial up the masses of a particular set of peptides and set the mass spectrometer to work measuring them. The technology is at the cutting edge of new blood tests for disease. It can now be applied to make new measures in wheat.

This means we have a remarkable new opportunity to see wheat in a novel way – as a complex set of proteins that can work for us, or against us.

This breakthrough not only shows us the list of proteins in grain. When paired with wheat genome data (information about the complete set of genes in wheat) it tells us for the first time which of the 100,000 different wheat genes are responsible for making each of the proteins.

Armed with this new information, things really can change. We will ultimately be able to determine which proteins in wheat are causing people to feel unwell. We will then be able to breed wheat varieties that contain less or none of the proteins responsible.

These kinds of selective changes in wheat protein content don’t need to stop at aiding those intolerant to today’s wheat. They can enable wheat varieties to be tailored to make wheats that are better for baking or brewing or thickening.

They can even help us to breed wheat that is better able to survive in harsh environments, to adapt to changes in climates and is better suited to more intensive farming.

This is important because wheat is not just an integral part of the western diet. It is also part of an international plan to raise crop yields to ensure we have food for the estimated 8.5 billion people across the world by 2030.

Safe, benign, abundant, cheap, high quality wheats with protein contents ready for many different applications are a key part of food security and a fairer future.

 

From The Coversation

Rosella flies off with new branding

Rosella is set to unveil a new logo this November, which the company claims will be the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity for 20 years.

According to Senior Brand Manager, Kristine Dalton, “The most immediate change is the rosella bird itself. We have revisited the grassroots of our original logo whilst preserving the distinctive, native Eastern rosella and have given it flight to represent the company continuing to keep pace with modern Australian eating.”

“We believe the change will be welcomed. The new design will appeal to a new generation of Australian families by capturing the essence of our Australian Spirit, our vibrancy, energy and our free spirit.”

Designed by Melbourne Design House Disegno, the logo represents the company’s colourful history in a modern and evolving style.

“As an organisation so engrained in Australian culture, we are excited for this change to continue our longstanding relationship between the Rosella brand and customers,” concluded Dalton.

The new logo will first appear on the 600ml sauce bottle, on shelves nationally in all Coles, Woolworths and Independents late November.

AFGC warns of tough times ahead for food makers

The latest Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) annual industry snapshot State of the Industry 2016 shows a 14 per cent increase in Australia’s food and grocery exports in 2015-16 to some extent moderated by the challenging economic conditions confronting Australia’s $125.9 billion food and grocery processing sector.

AFGC CEO Gary Dawson said while the State of the Industry 2016 highlighted export growth and a lift in overall industry turnover, falling capital investment and stalling job growth are clear warning signs for the future of Australia’s largest manufacturing sector.

“This year’s State of the Industry highlights the importance of the food and grocery sector to Australia’s economy, as well as its resilience in the face of the significant challenges it faces to stay competitive,” said Dawson.

“The good news is that industry turnover continues to increase with food and grocery processing now making up 33 per cent of total Australian manufacturing. This growth is largely on the back of strong growth in exports. In 2015-16 food and beverage exports grew by 11 per cent to $26bn, fresh produce exports up 49 per cent to $1.5bn and grocery (non-food) exports up 32 per cent to $4bn.

“Yet low domestic growth, rising costs for energy and other inputs, and six years of retail price deflation in the ongoing supermarket price war has created relentless pressure back through the supply chain to become more efficient in order to stay competitive.”

“In 2015-16 job growth stalled across the food and grocery sector reflecting the ongoing financial pressure the sector is under which is forcing food and grocery producers and processors to cut costs across every part of their business.”

“A key concern is the continuing decline in capital Investment at a time when a step change upwards in investment is required to fully capitalise on improved market access and growing demand from middle class consumers in the emerging economies of Asia and the Middle East,” said Dawson.

 

 

Coca-Cola launches Aussie summer ‘sweat smasher’ with sports stars

Coca-Cola  has announced details of Powerade’s new Australian Summer campaign ‘Smash the Sweat’.

The campaign is designed to encourage consumers to smash the sticky, humid conditions associated with the season through the launch of limited edition Powerade sport-themed ‘shrink packs’ aimed at generating cut-through during the key summer period.

The strategy, said the company, revolves around tapping into the Aussie’s love of sports through collectable summer sports-themed packaging, featuring imagery from a range of sports including rugby, cricket, basketball, tennis, soccer and athletics.

The signature packs are signed by sporting legends and Powerade Ambassadors Greg Inglis, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Bogut.

Appearing from early November, the limited edition packs will be promoted in-store at point-of-sale and supported on social media channels in the build up to summer.

As the summer sport season kicks off, the campaign will be boosted through outdoor media calling on consumers to ‘Smash the Sweat’.

Sarah Illy, Brand Activation Manager, Powerade, said: “We all love an Aussie summer, but with the hot, sticky conditions it becomes even more important to stay hydrated. So this summer we are challenging people to ‘Smash the Sweat’. Being a sports-obsessed nation, we decided to tap into that trend through our collectable sport-themed packs to encourage people to be active and stay hydrated.”

“The limited edition bottles have been inspired by Australian sporting legends with the objective of keeping Powerade ION4 top of mind for rehydration needs. Powerade ION4… is scientifically formulated to help replace four of the electrolytes lost in sweat and is an ideal way to ‘Smash the Sweat’ this summer,” said Illy.

 

Have we finally entered the age of the Chato?

Potato has long been in the staple diet for the Australian diet. However, with rising global consumerism and increasing concerns over food security, the market looks to be turning towards alternative and more sustainable food sources.

Australian inventor Andrew Dyhin from PotatoMagic in Melbourne has claimed to have achieved a breakthrough to save wasted potatoes.

In 12 years of what he has coined as “intense research”, Dyhin has developed what he has coined the “chato” that looks like a block of cheese, melts like cheese but all potato. Furthermore, according to Mr Dyhin, the potatoes are peeled and processed with no added ingredients making it a reportedly eco friendly process.

The “chato” can be melted or sliced like a cheese, cut into cubes and served as a salad, or mixed with water and additional ingredients to make any consistency of liquid including dips, aoli and custard.

With over roughly 75000 tonnes of potatoes wasted annually in Australia, Dyhin sees an opportunity to push the “chato” product into a commercialisation phase and attract investors with a target to set up a pilot production plant within a year.

“Food security is a very important issue and we need to look at products that have more yield per hectare, like potatoes.”

“And also how we use that yield. Something like 25 per cent of all potato that is grown doesn’t make it to the plate, mostly because it’s not pretty enough for the shelves,”  Dyhin said.

“While he’s proud of the work he’s doing, he said the bigger issues at play are food security and the environment, and chato could help feed the future population of Australia and the world.”

“We need to find alternatives to animals and intensive agricultural practises. With chato we can take any potato, especially the ones that will just be thrown away, and make something that’s delicious and versatile. We can make the most of what we have,” added Dyhin.

Manuka Honey makers all abuzz over poor imitations

With Manuka Honey top of the ‘must buy’ list for health and beauty benefits, consumers need to be sure that what they are buying is the genuine article, said a major Manuka Honey industry body today.

In response to their fears of counterfeit products, the guardian of New Zealand’s leading quality mark for genuine Manuka Honey – UMF – has come up with an online solution.

The NZ-based UMF Honey Association (UMFHA) has now launched a service on its website that carries a full list of names of licence-holders that can be easily checked for via a handy search function.

It has been designed for users to ensure they can now easily check the company name on product using just about any smartphone.

Overall, over 90 companies are licensed to use the UMF quality mark which represents the purity and quality of Manuka Honey.

The UMF classification and grading system is internationally recognised as the hallmark of premium Manuka Honey.

Keeping Modern (Food) Manufacturing Secure

In the classic factory of the 1950s, security was simple. Managers strolled from their offices on a floor that towered over plant activity, closely observing whether shift crews below were doing what they were supposed to do.

Because employees knew the eyes of a supervisor may be upon them at any time, they were less inclined to cheat the system – such as slipping any of the company’s property or product into their pockets, or sabotaging a machine out of spite. And motives were, on the whole, aligned: what was good for the business was good for everyone involved.

Fast-forward six decades and it’s a different story. With advancements in information and communications technology, the manufacturing industry has undergone significant transformation.

Today, manufacturing employees are more likely to operate advanced technology from their computers and mobile devices, rather than undertake physical work. They are empowered to connect remotely, set their own hours and even self-determine how to effectively perform assigned duties.

As opposed to their factory counterparts of prior generations, their tools aren’t welding machines, circular saws and drills; they’re tablets, smartphones and thumb drives. They don’t follow instructions from an assembly book stocked on a shelf; all best practices/guidance are stored in files on a server.

But that’s also where an abundance of sensitive, proprietary data about customers is kept, as well as information about electronic payments to both suppliers and workers.

With the rapid rise of sophistication and autonomy, it’s clear that something important has been lost: the protective eyes on the floor. And this has security implications for both the insider threat and external cyber security threats.

The Insider Threat

Years ago, those eyes made it more difficult for a disgruntled crew member to surreptitiously slip a blueprint into his lunchbox.

Today, it’s much easier for the same worker – perhaps unhappy after years of stagnant career progression – to abruptly quit, transfer the entire R&D library onto a thumb drive and deliver the stolen information to a competitor.

Without proper monitoring and auditing controls in place, the current level of empowerment – which ultimately serves a positive, productive purpose for organisations – can be abused.

That’s not good for the enterprise, and it’s not good for employees. But it’s fairly unfeasible to “watch” over everything when there are so many employees now connecting to manufacturing systems both inside and outside a traditional factory environment. Toss in an expanding influx of contractors, partners and other non-staff enterprise users, and you invite additional risk.

Especially since many of these parties aren’t vetted to the same degree of scrutiny as full-time personnel. It’s worth noting here that not all security breaches are the result of a malicious insider.

Personnel or contractors may play the role of the unintentional insider where they can be ‘tricked’ into downloading malware and introducing this into the network.

Or they can lapse into sloppy habits, such as sending corporate materials to their home computers on vulnerable, private email accounts.

Of course, they can also outright lose things (devices, USB flash drives, etc.) which can end up in the wrong hands.

To combat the insider threat, manufacturers need to empower the organisation to better protect the information and data that helps make it profitable. Whilst it’s important to give employees the latitude they need to do their jobs the business also needs to retain visibility into their actions.

A robust security measure that is able to do this includes three important pillars:

1. Data capture – implementing a lightweight endpoint agent can capture data without disrupting user productivity. A system like this can monitor the data’s location and movement, as well as the actions of users who access, alter and transport the data. Collected user data can be viewed as a video replay that displays keys typed, mouse movements, documents opened or websites visited. This unique capability provides irrefutable and unambiguous attribution of end-user activity.

2. Behavioural audit – understanding how employees act will help pinpoint unusual or suspect behaviour enabling closer monitoring for those deemed high risk.

3. Focused investigation – if a clear violation is detected it’s important to pinpoint specific events or users so you can assess the severity of the threat, remediate the problem and create new policies to stop it happening again.

The Outside Threat

With significant changes to the manufacturing landscape businesses also face significant threats from outside criminals. Over the last decade there has been huge uptake of technology and online systems to create new efficiencies and improve operational effectiveness through the sharing of information.

However with every opportunity comes risk; and given the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoTs) and big data it’s no surprise that cyber security has been elevated to one of manufacturers’ biggest risk factors. In fact, according to IBM, manufacturing was the second most targeted industry in the US for cyber-attacks in 2015.

So whilst networked products, known as IIoT in manufacturing, means there are virtually endless opportunities and connections that can take place between devices, it also means there are a number risks due to the growth in data and network entry points. In many cases, manufacturers have been quick to embrace the benefits of IIoT but still have some catching up to do in order to adequately protect their data, customers, products and factory floors.

Australian manufacturers need to consider multiple cyber security threats including factory threats, product threats and operational threats.

For example, if equipment controllers are not adequately secured it is possible for an outsider to attach malware ridden PCs to the OT network while performing routine maintenance. Similarly, manufacturers must take great care in preventing any products, like driverless cards or robotics, from being compromised as not all cyber-attacks are focused on the network but can also affect how a computer processor or piece of technology operates.

For manufacturers to fully realise the benefits of IIoT securely, it’s important they identify security weaknesses and put a process in place that can mitigate not just current but future risks.

This means any security system should be:

1. Simple and flexible – your security solution should be able to scale with your operations and be easy to use.

2. Unified – in today’s environment you’re likely to split IT functions between cloud and on-premise technologies to maximise the advantages of each approach. By implementing a unified solution you can eliminate the extra cost and duplicated work of systems that have separate management to consolidate cloud services and on-premises solutions in a single console with one visibility, policy and reporting system.

3. Fault tolerant – there’s no point in having a security system if it goes down when you need it most. Prevent interruptions in network security by having traffic rerouted to a trusted partner in the event that a security appliance goes offline.

Ultimately, even though the threat of cyber-attacks in manufacturing is a reality, there are multiple ways Australian businesses can move forward without fear.

 

 

Forcepoint

www.forcepoint.com

 

 

 

High speed production camera

Fastec Imaging’s IL5 High-Speed 5MP Camera enables you to record any production equipment moving or turning at high-speed, such as drives, motors and bearings, and vibration or alignment problems.

It is also provides performance analysis or troubleshooting using slow motion replay. For analysis or troubleshooting using slow motion replay, so you can see what you have been missing with normal speed video.

With four models to choose from 2560 x 2080 @ 230fps to 800 x 600 @ 1650fps, there is an IL5 to fit your application needs.

All models record over 3200 fps at VGA resolution and more than 18,000 fps at smaller resolutions.

Built for flexibility and ease of use, the Fastec IL5 camera can be controlled over Gigabit Ethernet via Fastec FasMotion software on your PC/Mac or via the built-in web interface with your favorite web browser on your PC, Mac, tablet, or even your smartphone.

Using the (LR) FasCorder Mode, the camera can be operated as a regular camcorder to record and pause as needed and follow the action.

Then stop recording and review what you have. You can then append additional footage, even after a power cycle.

Food for thought: feeding our growing population with flies

Scientists have predicted that by 2050 there will be 9.6 billion humans living on Earth. With the rise of the middle class, we are expected to increase our consumption of animal products by up to 70% using the same limited resources that we have today.

The cost of producing agricultural crops such as corn and soy to feed these animals is also expected to increase and become more challenging with the onset of drought and rising temperatures.

While science is racing to develop more drought tolerant crop strains through genetic engineering, there may be a simpler alternative: flies.

Although people in some parts of the world have been eating insects for generations, the general population is opposed to introducing the crunchy morsels into their diet.

Since we might not be ready to eat insects ourselves, could we instead feed insects to our farmed animals to feed to growing population?

Introducing the nutritious black soldier fly

The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, is a cosmopolitan species found on every continent in the world (excluding Antarctica).

You may have seen this species powering the compost bin in your backyard, as they are efficient decomposers of organic matter. The black soldier fly was first described in 1758 and we are only now discovering its true potential: scientists in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the United States have begun transforming black soldier fly larvae into a nutritious and sustainable agricultural feed product.

‘Hermetia illucens’ was first described in 1758 but we are only discovery its true potential now.
CSIRO: Dr Bryan Lessard

This species was specifically chosen because of its voracious appetite, with one larvae able to quickly process half a gram of organic matter per day.

In fact, the larvae can eat a wide variety of household waste, including rotting fruit, vegetables, meats and, if desperately in need, manure, and quickly convert it to a rich source of fats, oils, amino acids, calcium and protein.

Black soldier fly larvae are 45% crude protein, which in addition to its high nutrition profile, has gained the attention of the agriculture community.

Researchers have demonstrated that black soldier fly feed could partially or completely replace conventional agricultural feed. Moreover, studies have shown that this feed is suitable for the diet of chickens, pigs, alligators and farmed seafood such as blue tilapia, Atlantic salmon and prawns.

Preliminary trials have also indicated that there are no adverse effects on the health of these animals. Black soldier flies can also reduce the amount of E. coli in dairy manure.

A swarm of environmental benefits

There are myriad environmental benefits to adopting black soldier fly feed. For example, Costa Rica has been successful in reducing household waste by up to 75% by feeding it to black soldier fly larvae.

This has significant potential to be adopted in Australia and could divert thousands of tonnes of household and commercial food waste from entering landfill.

One female black soldier fly can have up to 600 larvae, with each of these quickly consuming half a gram of organic matter per day. This small family of 600 individuals can eat an entire household green waste bin each year.

Entire farms of black soldier flies could significantly reduce landfill, while converting the organic matter into a feasible commercial product.

Black soldier fly farms require a substantially smaller footprint than conventional agricultural crops grown to feed farm animals because they can be grown in warehouses or small farms.

We currently use more than half the world’s usable surface to grow crops to feed farm animals. If more fly farms were established in the future, less land would be required to feed farm animals, which in turn could be used to grow more food for humans, or rehabilitate it and return it to nature.

Another emerging economic venture in black soldier flies is the production of biodiesel as a by-product of the harvesting stage. The larvae are a natural source of oil, which scientists have feasibly extracted during the processing stage and converted into biodiesel.

With future research and development, this oil could be commercially developed to alleviate the pressure off limited fossil fuels and could become a reliable source of revenue for countries adopting black soldier fly farming.

Would you buy black soldier fly feed?

The limiting factor of the emerging black soldier fly farming practice is ultimately the consumer. Would shoppers be tempted to buy animal products fed on black soldier flies at the grocery store, or purchase larvae to feed their pets or farm animals?

Promising trials have shown that customers could not detect a difference in the taste or smell of animal products fed on black soldier flies.

One of the greatest challenges we will face in our lifetime is the need to feed a growing population. If we want to continue our customs of farming and eating animal products on our limited resources, we may have to look to novel alternatives like black soldier fly farming.

With the benefits of reducing household waste and sustainably feeding farm animals a nutritious meal, perhaps the future of eating insects is closer than we thought.

The Conversation

Bryan Lessard, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CSIRO

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

New report shows growth of lactose-free dairy markets

DSM’s latest Global Insight Series report reveals that an overwhelming number of consumers of lactose-free dairy in emerging markets such as Colombia and China, say that their main purchase driver is the health appeal of lactose-free products, not merely lactose-intolerance.

Based on an international consumer survey, comparing results in the mainstream low-lactose market in Finland to upcoming markets in Colombia and China, the report reveals that lactose-intolerance is not the main driver for consumers to choose lactose-free dairy over regular dairy in Colombia and China, despite these countries having much higher lactose-intolerant levels than in Finland.

Instead, they prefer lactose-free dairy for its health benefits. In China and Colombia, 82 per cent and 73 per cent respectively of consumers agree that lactose-free dairy is healthier than regular dairy.

They also indicated that they would increase their consumption if lactose-free dairy was reduced in fat and sugar. Thus, understanding the specific health benefits of lactose-free dairy over regular dairy in upcoming markets can further drive product innovation and consumer interest.

“This report gives valuable insights into how lactose-free dairy products can be further developed and positioned, making the most of the wide array of positively perceived health benefits by consumers.” explains Marten Paasman, global business line manager of dairy enzymes.

“As a leading supplier of enzymes for low lactose and lactose-free products, we have been working with customers all around the world to successfully innovate this category beyond lactose-intolerance. An opportunity that is particularly attractive to health-conscious consumers in emerging markets where the dairy market is evolving rapidly.”

Food allergy innovation a hit at AIFST Awards

A new technology that detects allergens in food products has been awarded the Food Industry Innovation Award at the 49th Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Convention.

The Allergen Bureau was awarded the prestigious accolade at a ceremony on Monday night at the AIFST Convention at Brisbane’s Exhibition and Convention Centre for its VITAL Online platform, a web-based calculator that reviews the allergen status of all ingredients in a product and the processing conditions that could impact on the allergen status.

The technology gives the global food industry a standardised allergen risk assessment tool that both incorporates new allergen science as it comes to hand, and provides secure intellectual property data storage for manufacturers.

The VITAL program was developed by the Allergen Bureau as an initiative of the Australian Food and Grocery Council Allergen Forum and has been successfully commercialised through a subscription access service.

The prestigious innovation award recognises a significant development in a process, product, ingredient, equipment or packaging, which has achieved successful commercial application in the Australian food industry.

The Jack Kefford Award for Best Paper was the other major prize of the night, and was awarded to Divya Eratte of Federation University Australia’s Department of Food and Nutritional Science School of Applied and Biomedical Science.

Ms Eratte’s 2015 paper ‘Co-encapsulation and characterisation of omega-3 fatty acids and probiotic bacteria in whey protein isolate-gum Arabic complex coacervates’ was published in the Journal of Functional Foods and documents the first attempt to develop a single microcapsule capable of delivering omega-3 fatty acids and probiotic bacteria together in one capsule.

The microcapsules are expected to have wider applications throughout the nutraceutical and functional food industry. AIFST CEO Georgie Aley commended the recipients on the groundbreaking, innovative work they had done to improve both Australia and the world’s food industries. “It really is pleasing to see innovation at work across the food industry, and innovative products or tools that are commercially viable too,” said Ms Aley.

“Food allergy is a becoming a major issue in our society – there are around 30,000 new cases in Australia each year which makes the Allergen Bureau’s calculator so valuable to Australian food companies.

The move towards functional foods is equally as strong, making the combination of omega-3 fatty acids and probiotic bacteria particularly exciting in terms of potential.”

The Convention is hosted by AIFST, the only national network for food industry professionals and this year, the Convention was co-located with FoodTech, a major trade event for Queensland food manufacturers.

For more information about the Convention, visit https://bit.ly/1pbPPJj

Asian food security a ‘threat to Australian industry’ says former minister

Industry experts warn the Australian food industry is missing out on potential commercial gains by failing to tap into our world-leading research facilities.

Not protecting our food and agribusiness sector from significant weather events could also place Australia’s export market into Asia in jeopardy.

Former Federal Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, who officially opened the 49th Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology Convention, reinforced the importance of innovation in agribusiness and highlights Australia’s poor record of converting research and development (R&D) investment into commercial outcomes.

“The Australian food and agribusiness industry spends $541 million a year on R&D and, while ranked the 17th most innovative nation in the world, is listed very poorly at 116 out of 142 countries when it comes to converting those research dollars into innovation and commercial success,” said Mr Macfarlane.

According to Mr Macfarlane, the industry has a responsibility to commercialise innovation, grow the economy and provide long-term, well-paid jobs in Australia. Australian agribusiness currently includes 27,400 businesses and accounts for more than $55 billion of Australia’s international trade, making it the fastest growing sector in Australia. Our farmers export two-thirds of their produce and farm exports have grown by approximately 40 per cent in the last five years.

Convention keynote speaker Phil Ruthven, futurist and founder of market research company IBISWorld, noted that long-term exports are in danger and may require a major rethink of how and where we produce food.

“Supplying food to 1.5 billion people in China and 1.3 billion people in India is a real challenge for Australia and one of the macro challenges we face over the next several decades,” said Mr Ruthven.

“It also brings a great challenge as to how we can have more reliable food supplies generated in Australia. Our country is infamous for its droughts, floods and lack of water. Rethinking agriculture and the way we value-add to our manufacturing – even relocating agriculture and manufacturing areas further north where there is more water – is something to be considered,” he says.

Experts at the AIFST Convention will also consider challenges such as catering for Australia’s increasing ageing and allergy-affected population by improving the allergenic profile and microstructure of foods, and the wide spectrum of industry-leading innovations that are contributing to Australia’s ‘ideas boom’.

Hosted at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the 49th AIFST Convention is co-located with the FoodTech QLD Exhibition – the major trade event for Queensland food manufacturers.

As Australia’s largest food industry gathering for 2016, the overarching theme of the 49th AIFST Convention is ‘The Pulse of the Industry’, which demonstrates the current innovation and advanced technology employed by the industry.

Cadbury sends off Australian Paralympic Team to Rio

Cadbury has presented the Australian Paralympic Team with thousands of personal messages of support from fans across the nation as part of their campaign to Bring on the Joy in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The activity forms part of Cadbury’s mission to rally Australians together and support the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team as the athletes prepare to compete in Rio. As an Official Partner of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, Cadbury has pledged its support with an AUD $1 million contribution towards the development of para-sport in Australia.

The brand has continued its support by championing the Team as part of its consumer marketing campaign which kicked off earlier this year, encouraging fans to show their support for the athletes through a dedicated digital activation.

Australians responded in their droves with over 5,000 messages shared, aimed at inspiring the para-athletes as they prepare to compete on the world’s biggest stage. At an event held in Sydney this week, many of the Australian Paralympic Team came together as part of a celebration of the campaign and Cadbury’s contribution to the Team’s efforts.

Athletes were showered with messages in many different ways as a demonstration of the support received from the public. All messages that were shared have been printed in a specially-designed book for the athletes to keep as a reminder of the nation’s unwavering support for the team.

Lauren Fildes, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Events at Cadbury, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to be partners of the team and we will be right behind them in Rio!”

Lynne Anderson, Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Paralympic Committee, said that they were “…grateful to have such a supportive partner who has helped create an unbelievable buzz around our Team as the Paralympic Games approach. To know the Australian public is right behind us provides all of our athletes with a huge boost.”

The Australian Paralympic Committee will be sending an Australian team of more than 170 para-athletes from every Australian State and Territory to compete in up to 15 sports at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Why we regain weight after drastic dieting

A few years ago I proudly lost almost 15% of my weight. However last week I stared with disbelief at my scale as I realised all my efforts were in vain and I had regained all of the previously lost weight.

This got me thinking about the mechanisms that underpin such dramatic fluctuations in weight (sometimes known as yo-yo dieting) and the defences the body uses for weight maintenance.

Even losing as little as 5% of our body weight has a myriad of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart attacks, lower blood pressure, improved glucose control in patients with diabetes, improved mental health and reduced risk of osteoarthritis and certain cancers.

Thus one would imagine the body would generally be supportive of weight loss. If so, why is persistent weight loss and weight maintenance so difficult?

Why the body fights weight loss

The control of weight is based on the balance between calorie consumption and the energy spent during our day to day living. The brain’s weight control centre is in an area called the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus integrates the incoming signals from the body (such as hormonal signals) and other parts of the brain and then controls weight by affecting hunger and satiety.

It also communicates with other parts of the brain that control metabolism (such as the pituitary gland and sympathetic nervous systems). This complicated and fine-tuned system determines a “weight set-point” which is the weight the body is accustomed to and then works to defend it by fine tuning our metabolism and our calorie consumption.

Energy consumption is divided into the resting metabolic rate (about 70% of all energy used), the energy consumed in processing the food we eat (thermogenic metabolism) and exercise based energy expenditure.

A few studies have outlined the result of moderate weight loss. The body defends against weight loss by drastically reducing the energy expenditure. The body also goes into a sort of “starvation mode” to protect against lean body weight loss by preferentially depleting different energy stores including glycogen, fat and then eventually muscle.

The body spends a large percentage of energy in the maintenance of organ function, even when asleep. In obese people, the resting metabolic rate significantly increases, perhaps to try to prevent further weight gain. Unfortunately, when you lose weight, the opposite happens and the body’s metabolism turns right down.

This may occur through reductions in the active thyroid hormone (T3) and changes in the hormonal messages back to the brain promoting hunger.

A key finding in the above studies is the reduction in resting metabolic rate is disproportionately large, and potentially persists for long periods. This explains why a return to a pre-weight loss lifestyle inevitably results in weight re-gain, and possibly more than was lost.

Only by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with calorie restriction of around 25% and exercise can we avoid the inevitable. The reduction in resting metabolic rate may be particularly problematic in people with severe obesity.

Drastic long-term weight loss

This led me to examine the published data on contestants with severe obesity in The Biggest Loser. I wondered what had become of the contestants who had lost amazing amounts of weight over a relatively short period of time.

Majority of The Biggest Loser contestants regained a significant proportion of their lost weight.
AAP Image/Channel Ten

One study confirmed that despite the rigorous exercise programs, the drop in resting metabolic rate persisted. In a study published this year that followed 14 of the original 16 contestants, the majority had regained a significant proportion of the weight loss. More importantly, their resting metabolic rate was still low, almost six years after the end of the show. This suggests the metabolic adaptation against rapid weight loss may be profound and sustained, possibly explaining why we potentially regain even more weight than we originally lost.

This same phenomenon was found after weight loss following a type of bariatric surgery, where weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band. The metabolic adaptation in these patients was very similar to that found with similar weight loss in The Biggest Loser.

The long-term data for bariatric surgery in terms of sustainability of weight loss suggests other factors (most likely related to gut hormones such as ghrelin) must be influencing energy balance as there is evidence that weight loss is maintained even after many years.

How to avoid the slowed metabolism

So is there a way to counter nature’s opposition to weight loss?
Certain types of exercise such as strength exercises preserve muscle mass and this assists in preserving the resting metabolic rate. However it doesn’t always work.

Thus it may be that only sustained modest exercise and a permanent reduction in calories are both essential for weight loss and maintenance. Although there is no data on the rate of weight loss at which metabolic adaptation occurs, most guidelines recommend gradual and steady weight loss of between 0.5-1kg per week, as part of a sustainable lifestyle change which includes appropriate exercise activity and a balanced nutritious diet.

The Conversation

Sergio Diez Alvarez, Director Of Medicine, The Maitland and Kurri Kurri Hospital, University of Newcastle

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

Meet Larry- the food manufacturers best friend

South Australian company Complexica has developed a robot with an algorithm-based persona, which is being used to help businesses make data-driven decisions in real time.

Larry, the Digital Analyst, is made up of a set of algorithms tuned to complex problems in order to quickly generate answers that would otherwise take people a very long time to work out.

In one example, Larry helped formulate a 52-week promotions plan for a national company with 25,000 products sold in 1400 stores across Australia based on the question of which product should be on promotion at which time of year and at which price to maximise profits.

“It (usually) takes about 30-man days to come up with one plan because you are dealing with 25,000 items over 1400 stores for 52 weeks – it’s like a really big Sudoku,” said Complexica’s Managing Director Matthew Michalewicz.

“But in 60 seconds Larry was able to consider about 10 million combinations of different prices, products, frequency, and predict how much more you will sell with all of these combinations and convert them into weekly averages per state and per store.

“A machine and all the computing power that sits in the cloud can consider things that an organisation will never have time to consider,” he added.

According to Michalewicz, Larry is best suited to large companies that experience repetitive sales of everyday items such as food, hardware and liquor.

“Businesses that have complexity are going to get much greater benefits from Larry than businesses that don’t. We define complexity by three core things: how big a business is; how many products you sell; and how many customers you have.”

Complexica has signed up 20 companies across a range of industries and aims to scale up to 100 clients within two years.

Current clients include PFD Food Services, Liquor Marketing Group, Leader Computers and Coventry Group.

Sanitarium makes a bigger dash

Sanitarium’s Little BIG DASH is returning to Australia for 2016, offering an obstacle adventure designed to put the fun into physical activity for more than 20,000 kids and their parents.

Family teams from two to six will tackle 3km of wild and wacky obstacles to reach the finish line, forming part of Sanitarium’s long-standing mission to help Australian families improve their health and wellbeing.

For the first time, the event will run in three cities, returning to Brisbane and Sydney following popular events in 2015, while families in Melbourne will have their first opportunity to participate in the unique bonding experience.

While Sanitarium’s aim is to encourage families to embrace an active lifestyle in a safe and non-competitive environment, participants report that the best thing about Little BIG DASH is its ability to bring people of all ages together to have fun.

Brisbane will be the first city to hold the event, kicking off the laughs on 24 July at Seventh Brigade Park in Geebung, proudly supported by the Queensland Government. The fun then continues in Sydney on 21 August at Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith and Melbourne on 25 September at The Thunderdome in Calder Park.

Sanitarium’s General Manager Todd Saunders said: “We’re thrilled to bring back the Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium for another year and expand the event to reach more families than ever before. In an age where the addictive allure of screen time sees Australians living an increasing sedentary lifestyle, our aim is to get kids and adults on their feet and bring family and fitness together in the most enjoyable way possible.”

Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium features unmissable activities and obstacles which have been designed for kids from age five to 15 and for adults looking to get in touch with their inner child. With ten thrilling obstacles to challenge participants, kids and parents can bounce through the Rumble Tumble Tower, twist through the Tangle Tunnel and test their balance on the Bupa Balance Beam.

Tickets for Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium are available to buy now with discounts available.

For more information and to register a team, head to www.littlebigdash.com.au

 

Coke boss wants less gov’t control but more foreign cash

According to a report on the ABC Rural program this morning, Coca Cola Amatil MD Alison Watkins has said that governments have no place meddling in local food manufacturing.

During a conference held in Sydney, Ms Watkins said she also supported the need for greater foreign investment for food and agribusiness in Australia, instead of government investment.

She quoted the recent ANZ’s Greener Pastures Report, which found Australia could double agricultural exports by 2050 but would need at least $1 trillion worth of investment from both domestic and foreign investors.

She also told the Agribusiness2030 conference that Australia’s supermarket duopoly created a situation whereby suppliers could too easily lose shelf space and find their lines deleted.

At the same time,Ms Watkins noted that she was happy with supermarket support for locally-made products.

“That support’s really critical, and we’re focused on supplying product at the right cost,” she told ABC Rural.

Embracing change

Change is inevitable and manufacturers who resist it will struggle to survive in today’s competitive market.

Somewhat surprisingly, many manufacturers still regard Change Management as just one of those gimmicks thought up by consultants to increase their income.

When in fact the process can often be vital to a manufacturer’s long term survival, especially one presently in the automotive industry.

As most readers would understand, Change management is a discipline that guides how companies prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organisational success and outcomes.

Mark Philips, Australia’s Head of Manufacturing with Grant Thornton, one of the world’s leading advisory firms, says he is surprised by manufacturing’s lack of enthusiasm and urgency with change management, especially in areas where there has been change.

He says Change Management is critical, but believes the biggest challenge with it is understanding what companies are trying to change to, admitting it’s hard for manufacturers to do what they are currently doing, but differently.

“When manufacturers go to look at modern technology, say additive manufacturing, I don’t tell them to try and create something new, instead I tell them to try and create something they couldn’t do in the past, which they can now do. “That means changing their whole way of thinking.

“For example, metal manufacturers are now able to produce perfectly curved surfaces that they couldn’t do before; that has to be in their repertoire of thinking,” Philips said.

He says the hardest part of getting a Change Management project off the ground is getting people to understand where they need to focus their business.

“The second part is getting them to document it, then it’s about getting them to believe in it. “The fourth part is breaking it up into a number of little achievable steps over a period of time.”

Philips admits Change Management can be a challenge, but says manufacturers who have gone through a structured process of identifying what they can do, how they can get there and have put a plan in place, are far better off than those who rely on a pot luck approach.

He says the first element on the change management journey is understanding what you don’t understand, and understanding what you can’t do. While he describes the importance of listening to customers and stakeholders as the second element.

“It’s surprising how often customers are telling companies that they are not doing certain things, but the companies are not listening.” He says the third element is when companies are looking to move from one opportunity to another.

“Manufacturers should look at the commonalities of what’s involved, because often it’s the same but described in a different language.”

Philips points to car component manufacturers as an example of the first element. “These guys are very bad at distribution, but it’s only because their customers, the car companies, collect their product from them rather than having to deliver the product to the customer, which is the normal situation.

“By default, the car companies have taken away the skill set of how to distribute.” He says the problems start once they leave the car industry, suddenly they are having to package the product to go on the back of a one tonne truck as opposed to a covered semi-trailer.

Then they have the problems of stacking the product on a pallet, organising transport and then getting the product off-loaded at the other end.

“So It’s really important companies look at what they can and can’t do.” He says the second part is understanding how they can use the skill sets they have in different markets. Philips points to manufacturers in the food industry who believe they have a number of unique issues around traceability, validation, delivery times, sequenced inventory and quality.

“However we have found that the car component guys have all these skills and understand all these areas. The problem is they don’t think they can make the transition, when it is a very real possibility.”

Reskilling

Philips says there is a lot of talk around at the moment about reskilling automotive companies. “But I would like to see more people understanding the skill sets already in the automotive industry and working out how they can capitalise on them in other industries.”

“For example, when it comes to cost-down skills, the automotive industry has been producing products year on year at roughly a 3% reduction in price. While food manufacturers are focused on delivering a better quality product to consumers at a lower cost. That’s just a different language for cost-downs.”

Philips says the problem is a lot of food manufacturers see cost-downs coming at a cost of margins.

“However car component manufacturers have already worked very hard to maintain their margins, but still deliver the required cost-downs. This is a really good skill set to have in any industry.

“And at the customer level, the car companies have learnt the language of how to achieve cost-downs without sending the car component manufacturers under, to retain security of supply.”

Philips says there are a lot of opportunities out there for car component manufacturers.

“The problem is, while they know their space very well and know how to produce their components using their technology for their customer, they don’t necessarily understand how their technology, or their skill set, can be adapted to different products and different customers.”

Regarding Change Management Philips says it’s is very important companies do their homework and understand the skill sets of their employees.

“There is also some analytical work needed to know exactly what their capabilities and capacities are, including positives and negatives. Then they can work out how they can position themselves for the opportunity.”

According to Philips, on occasions manufacturers might have to de-skill themselves ready for a new industry. He pointed out that while car component manufacturers can’t afford to deliver components that are under or over weight, it’s not quite the same in the food industry for example.

“While food manufacturers can’t deliver a product that is underweight, it’s OK to deliver a product that is overweight. Consumer don’t get upset if their chocolate bar contains 52g as opposed to 50g.

“So car component manufacturers who are used to delivering products at exactly 50g every single time, have to re-educate employees to think about tolerances and what that means for their equipment and processes.”

To make these changes, Philips says it’s vital to have the CEO and the board very much in support, plus a dynamic CFO who can embrace change. “Unfortunately there are a lot unknowns when going through this change process, with a level of risk and uncertainty.

“The board and senior management need to be prepared for both positive and negative outcomes and timelines that can move.”

Philips admits there is quite a lot of government support for SMEs, noting the Victorian government’s Success Mapping program, but not for mid-size companies. While he admits they can do a lot for themselves, he says most don’t have the financial might to bring in the people required.

Philips says it’s very difficult to take day to day operation people and get them involved in a project. “The problem is they get very excited about the new project and drop the ball on their operation work. Plus the day to day operation skill sets needed are very different from the strategic skill sets needed”

Philips says companies need a different blend of people on a new project with a realistic sounding board.

“A company going through a process of change needs to embrace the negativity along the way in a very honest way. Many companies find it hard to do that.” Philips says he would like to see all manufacturers embracing change management.

“At least that first step of the journey, looking at where the business is at and where it’s going.

“And it’s important they invest some money to do these exercises, because if they just rely on government, or get the service for nothing, they don’t value it and they don’t question it,” Philips said.

Grant Thornton

03 8320 2222

www.grantthornton.com.au

Industry winning the fight against better food labelling

Most people doing their grocery shopping are probably blissfully unaware of the industry lobbying and backroom politics that determines what information appears on food labels.

So let’s start with some background. For almost two years, a Commonwealth government-led initiative involving public health and consumer groups, industry organisations as well as state government health authorities has been working to develop an interpretive front-of-pack food labelling scheme.

The proposed system echoes the “star ratings” already in use for choosing energy- or water-efficient refrigerators and washing machines, as well as hotels and restaurants. Put simply, the more stars, the healthier the food.

But since Australia’s food and health ministers confirmed their commitment to the health star rating system on December 13, 2013, there’s been a steady trickle of food industry media aimed at undermining the scheme. And it appears to be working.

What consumers want

The government-led process has been highly consultative and consumer research has and continues to inform the final design.

The health star rating was based on specially-commissioned consumer research that showed people understood the concept of a star rating for food, but still wanted information about the level of saturated fat, sugars, kilojoules, and sodium in different products.

The research also highlighted mistrust of food industry-led initiatives. Specifically, participants recognised that the company-determined serve sizes, which are the basis of the industry’s existing daily intake guide labelling initiative, are often a fraction of the portions people actually consume and make it difficult to compare different products.

They want front-of-pack nutrition information presented per 100 grams or 100 millilitres to allow for easy, more reliable comparison.

What the industry wants

Despite these findings, the Australian Food and Grocery Council has continued to champion its preferred daily intake guide.

The scheme doesn’t meet the criteria agreed on by federal and state health ministers in 2011 when they endorsed the Blewett review recommendation that a front-of-pack labelling system should provide an easy interpretation of a product’s healthiness and nutrition content.

The system is based on the amount (in percentage terms) that one serving of a product contributes to an “average” adult’s daily intake of 8,700 kilojoules and other nutrients.

But each food manufacturer is allowed to determine what serving size they will base their calculation on. And the same product from two different companies may provide the percentage of daily intake figure based on two different portions.

This variability, coupled with the fact that the serving sizes being used bear little resemblance to the portions that most people eat, has become the main point of contention for health and consumer groups.

The daily intake guide doesn’t allow shoppers to make meaningful product comparisons. Clearly, comparisons both within and across food categories are easier when based on standard portions, such as 100 grams.

Until consistent and meaningful serve sizes are developed in consultation with government, health and consumer groups, and industry, the system cannot be the focus of any government-endorsed front-of-pack labelling system.

An even better option

While many health and consumer groups involved in the development of the scheme are committed to the introduction of the health star rating scheme, it represents a substantial compromise on their preferred traffic light labelling system.

Originally developed by the UK Food Standards Agency in 2006, consumer research conducted there and in Australia had demonstrated that traffic-light systems are highly effective in assisting shoppers identify healthier foods.

Despite the development of the health star rating scheme, Australia continues to lag behind the UK where traffic light labelling is growing in acceptance among food companies, retailers and, of course, consumers (the scheme remains voluntary as mandatory labelling laws are enacted across the European Union).

When the UK government announced the introduction of a consistent front-of-pack food labelling system last year, most major UK supermarkets were either already using traffic light-based schemes or had announced that they would be doing so in the near future.

Increasing support for a traffic light-style scheme by UK food suppliers will generate further evidence about the value and influence of that food labelling system.

Meanwhile, any system introduced into the Australian marketplace must also be widely adopted by the food industry, supported by a public awareness campaign and subjected to extensive evaluation to ensure that it actually guides healthier food choices.

Better labelling on food packaging can help people make healthier food choices and easy comparisons at the supermarket. Despite the food industry’s efforts to undermine it, public health and consumer groups are committed to ensuring the health star rating scheme is widely adopted in Australia.
The author would like to acknowledge the contribution to this article by Wendy Watson, Nutrition Project Officer, and Clare Hughes, Nutrition Program Manager who are both at Cancer Council NSW.

The Conversation

Kathy Chapman, Director Health Strategies, Cancer Council NSW & PhD student, University of Sydney

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