Victorian food industry urges government to buy local

Representatives from the Victorian food industry have bolstered their efforts to lobby the government to purchase locally grown and manufactured food for government run institutions.

In the lead up to the Victorian state election, the Pro-Local Supply Working Group (whose members include the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC), AUSVEG, SPC, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and Australian Made amongst others) have developed a proposal that urges members of parliament to put locally sourced food on the agenda known as the Full Value for Victorian Food Procurement Policy.

Together with industry backing, the campaign has received significant support from the community with thousands pledging their support via an online petition at www.demandlocalsupply.com.au .

The proposed policy states that rather than purchasing the cheapest food available, decision makers will need to assess suppliers based on five selection criteria that includes: quality of service and value for money, food safety and quality; ethical sourcing; sustainability of the environment; and benefits to the Australian economy.

“Our food is produced to the highest quality and standards to ensure that it’s clean, green and safe for our families. The government needs to consider the full social and economic value that purchasing locally grown produce injects into the Victorian economy,” said AUSVEG representative Andrew White.

“Buying the cheapest imported food for state-run facilities fails to take the value of these factors into consideration.”

SPC Managing Director, Peter Kelly, said that the policy is simply about supporting the Australian industry.

“Sourcing from local supply is about all Aussie suppliers getting a fair go for these Government contracts. That’s all we’re asking for.”

 

Conclusions of China Australia Free Trade Agreement announced

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the conclusion of negotiations on the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).

According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), the trade deal will see improvements in market access for a wide range of Australian processed food exports into China.

At present, Australia sends more than $9 billion in agri-food exports to China, and the AFGC say that the ChAFTA will give Australia a significant advantage over large competitors including the US, EU and Canada, as well as help to reel in the advantages enjoyed by New Zealand, Chile and ASEAN as a result of their respective FTAs with China.

Key outcomes of the agreement include:

• 7.5 to 30 per cent tariff on orange juice removed within 7 years, and tariffs of up to 30 per cent on other fruit juices removed within 4 years,
• 15 per cent tariff on natural honey, and the up to 25 per cent tariff on honey-related products removed within 5 years,
• 15 per cent tariff on pasta removed within 4 years,
• 8 to 10 per cent tariff on chocolate removed within 4 years,
• 15 to 25 per cent tariff on canned tomatoes, peaches, pears and apricots removed within 4 years,
• 15 to 20 per cent tariff on biscuits and cakes removed within 4 years, and
• 20 per cent tariff on soft drinks removed within 4 years.

Broader tariff eliminations include:

Red Meat

• 12-25 per cent tariff on beef imports removed within 9 years,
• 12 per cent tariff on beef offal removed within 4-7 years,
• 12-23 per cent tariff on sheepmeat removed within 8 years,

Dairy

• 15 per cent tariff on infant formula removed within 4 years,
• 10 – 19 per cent tariff on ice cream, lactose, casein and milk albumins removed within 4 years,
• 15 per cent tariff on liquid milk removed within 9 years,
• 10 to 15 per cent tariff on cheese, butter and yogurt removed within 9 years,
• 10 per cent tariff on milk powders removed within 11 years,

Horticulture

• 10 to 25 per cent tariff on macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios and all other nuts removed within 4 years,
• 11 to 30 per cent tariff on oranges, mandarins, lemons and all other citrus fruits removed within 8 years,
• 10 to 30 per cent tariff on all other fruit removed within 4 years, and
• 10 to 13 per cent tariff on all fresh vegetables removed within 4 years.

Although market access arrangements for commodities such as rice, wheat, cotton, maize, sugar and vegetable oils will remain unchanged under China’s current World Trade Organisation commitments, the AFGC understands that processed food products containing rice, wheat, maize, sugar and vegetable oils will receive significant tariff reductions.

The agreement is inclusive of a three year review process for the agreement, enabling a thorough review of progress, as well as the creation of a platform for further liberalisation.
 

Xenophon announces Australian Organic Awards winners

Winners of the first awards to acknowledge the achievements of individuals and businesses in Australia’s organic industry, The Australian Organic Awards were announced on Friday last week.

Presented by independent senator, Nick Xenophon at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, the inaugural Australian Organic Award winners were:

  • Australian Organic Young Leader Award, Aimee of TOM Organics feminine hygiene products
  • Export Market Award, Vanya Cullen from Cullen Wines
  • Best Certified Organic Small Store Retailer, Queensland franchise Wray Organic
  • Organic Innovation Award, Children’s health and snack food manufacturer Whole Kids
  • Industry Leadership Award, raw chocolatiers Loving Earth
  • Chairman’s Award for Organic Industry Integrity Monika Fiebig, a South Australian wholesaler of certified organic fruit and vegetables
  • The Organic Hall of Fame Award, Rosemary and Gavin Dunn from Four Leaf Milling

CEO of Australian Organic, Paul Stadhams says it’s great to be able to acknowledge people and businesses that have contributed so much to the growth of the organic industry.

“The Hall of Fame is an award I’m particularly proud to introduce because there are so many people who have laboured for such a long time to create the profitable, robust and growing industry that organics is today," he said.

“Rosemary and Gavin Dunne have volunteered so much of their time to develop the industry, as well as juggle a very successful milling business in South Australia.

“It’s thanks to early pioneers like the Dunns for developing market access niches and options and giving consumers a choice about what sort of food they eat. Congratulations to all the award winners.”

 

Gina Rinehart to invest $500m in infant formula venture

Mining magnate, Gina Rinehart will be broadening her investment in the agricultural sector by investing $500m in infant formula for the Chinese market.

Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting confirmed that it has entered into a venture with a Chinese state-owned company to purchase hectares of farmland in Queensland, together with a processing facility, The West reports.

"Mrs Rinehart has been involved in the planning of this exciting venture, which will be a huge boost for Australia, Australian exports and for the Queensland dairy industry, which has been in much need of support," a Hancock Prospecting spokesman told The West.

"Hancock Prospecting and Gina Rinehart are huge believers in Australia and back strong export opportunities for the country.

"It's in line with the company's principles to invest and we're very happy to be supporting the Australian dairy industry."

In addition to the new investment, it is reported that Hancock Prospecting holds a 70 percent stake in the recently formed Hope Dairies in partnership with Sinomach, an enterprise run by the Chinese central government.  It is believed that the new operation will be capable of producing up to 30,000 tonnes of formula per year, with production commencing in 2016.

Rineharts investment in the dairy industry follows her decision in July this year to purchase up to a 50 percent stake in the Liveringa and Nerrima cattle station in WA’s West Kimberly region.

The purchase was a joint venture between Hancock Prospecting, and Dowford Investments which is owned by Graham Laitt and his family- the owners of the Milne AgriGroup.

 

Top ten food trends for 2015, Innova Market Insights

Market research company, Innova Market Insights has released its overview of the top ten trends for global food, beverage and nutrition in 2015.

Taking out the top spot was From Clean to Clear Label, which highlights the need for clearer definitions of the term ‘natural’. This was followed by Convenience for Foodies which came in second and emphasises the demand for fresh foods and ingredients, driven by the popularity of food blogs and cooking shows.

Innova will release an in-depth analysis and examples of such products in the Top Ten Trends for 2015 in detailed presentations and reports within the coming weeks.

Top Ten Trends for 2015

  1. From Clean to Clear Label: Innova say that clean label claims are tracked in its database on nearly a quarter of all food and beverage launches, and that manufacturers are increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origin of their products. Innova noted that growing concerns over the lack of a definition of the term ‘natural’ has furthered the need to provide more clarity and specific details on the term.

 

  1. Convenience for Foodies: Innova states that the popularity of food blogs and cooking shows has driven demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients and an increased interest in cooking from scratch. Innova say that bloggers are cooking shows are seen as fashionable, fun and social, as well as cost effective, and have resulted in a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.

 

  1. Marketing to Millennials: This refers to the ‘Millennial generation’ (those aged between 15 and 35) which accounts for about one-third of the global population and is tech savvy and socially engaged. These consumer are well informed, want to try something different and are generally less brand loyal than older consumers. They want to connect with products and brands and know the story behind them.

 

  1. Snacks Rise to the Occasion: Innova say that as formal mealtimes are continuing to decline in popularity, it has seen growing numbers of food and drinks are now considered to be snacks. Quick healthy foods are tending to replace traditional meal occasions, and more snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different times of day.

 

  1. Good Fats, Good Carbs: Innova says that concerns of obesity have led to a growing emphasis on unsaturated and natural fats and oils and rising interest in omega 3 fatty acid content as well as the return of butter to favour as a natural, tasty alternative to artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. In the same way, naturally-occurring sugar is being favoured at the expense of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

 

  1. More In Store for Protein: Ingredient suppliers, food producers and consumers are on the lookout for the next protein source. Soy protein is regarded as cheap and mainstream and therefore being less applied among NPLs tracked. Whey protein has been popular for some years and is still growing, while pulse protein is rapidly emerging. More algae protein applications are expected in the future. Further along insect protein may become big in various categories.

 

  1. New Routes for Fruit 7: Innova notes that more product launches are being tracked with real fruit and vegetables, as they can function as colouring foodstuffs and in that role meet the increased demand for natural colours and flavours. Fruit and vegetable inclusions can add to the “permissible indulgence” character of a product. Consumers perceive a product to be healthier when it contains a real fruit or vegetable ingredient.

 

  1. A Fresh Look at Frozen: Innova say that in order to compete with the healthy appeal of fresh aisles and the convenience of canned foods, established frozen foods (vegetables and seafood) are focusing on freshness in their marketing, stressing the superior nutritional content in frozen food. Brand extensions include larger varieties in vegetables and fruits. At the same time the frozen segment is witnessing new product launch activity in new categories (e.g. soups, fruit, drinks , finger foods, sauces, pastries, herbs).

 

  1. Private Label Powers On: Even though the worst of the economic recession is over private label is still gaining market share in terms of new product launches in Europe, North America and Australasia. Store brands are here to stay and are found in all product segments. Discounters Aldi and Lidl are by consumers no longer solely seen as budget stores, but are accepted by the general public and considered to have good quality products.

 

  1. Rich, chewy and Crunch: Texture is an important driver for taste perception of food and beverages and focus of many of today’s food innovations. Brands are creatively combining textures with for example crispy inclusions, soft centres and extra crunchy toppings. Texture claims are shown more prominently on front-of-pack. Also, brands are creative in describing texture or including a texture claim in a product name.

 

Nestle invest $40m in Smithtown factory

Nestle Australia has unveiled the final stage of its expansion plan for its Smithtown facility located on the NSW mid north coast.

The project will see Nestle expand its production capabilities by investing in the construction of new facilities to house state-of-the-art technology.

Around $53m has been invested since 2011 in the factory – a large proportion of which was allocated to bring production of Nescafe Café Menu to the facility following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in South Korea in 2010 – and close to 25 full time positions have been created since.

Evan Gongolidis, Nestle Australia’s business executive manager – beverages said the expansion has seen the creation of a permanent home for Nescafe Café Menu.

“The decision to create this substantial investment and a long term vision for our business in Smithtown is a tribute to the region, its residents and the local economy,” said Gongolidis. 

“Smithtown has proved to be a wonderful home for us to produce iconic products such as Milo that have been enjoyed in the homes of generations of Australians.”

State member for Oxley, Andrew Stoner, said Nestlé’s continued investment in the Macleay Valley and Mid North Coast was fantastic news for the region.

“Nestlé is not only one of the biggest employers in the area but has also been in Smithtown for more than 90 years – with many more to come,” he said. 

“This region will continue to be prosperous and we welcome and thank Nestlé’s continued support to our local economy.” 

 

Low-cost electronic tongue developed to ensure food safety

Researchers have developed a new low-cost electronic tongue designed to ensure quality in food and beverage products.

S.V. Litvinenko and his colleagues say that they have developed a low-cost and environmentally friendly “e-tongue” with a silicon base that could be easily incorporated into existing electronic systems of the same material.

Via the ACS Applied Material & Interfaces journal, S. V. Litvinenko and colleagues explain that the electronic tongue is an analytical instrument that mimics how people and other mammals distinguish tastes. The tongue consists of tiny sensors that detect substances in a sample, and send signals to a computer for processing – just as taste buds sense and transmit flavour messages to the brain.

A number of similar devices have already been developed and employed throughout the food and beverage industry where they are used for everything from authenticating Thai food to measuring beer quality. In September this year, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark announced they had developed an artificial tongue that uses a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) based nanosensor to measure the dryness of wine.

Litvinenko’s team however say that many existing devices are limited in how they can be used and as such decided to make an improved instrument that could have applications in medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical testing and environmental monitoring, as well as food testing.

The researchers have tested the tongue on Armagnac, cognac, whiskey and water, and say that they were able to establish precise signatures for each.

The researchers believe that their work serves as a first step toward a novel tasting instrument with potentially diverse applications.

The report titled, Might Silicon Surface Be Used for Electronic Tongue Application? has been published in the ACS Applied Material & Interfaces journal.

 

Luv-a-Duck announces operations expansion

Australian poultry processor, Luv-a-Duck will be creating 80 new jobs in the Wimmera district.

The company announced that it will be investing in a new duck value-adding kitchen facility, a research and development facility for breeding and growing ducks and expanded facilities at properties already under contract by farmers in the area, the Weekly Times reports.

The investment is expected to cost around $28m with Luv-a-Duck funding half or the money and the remainder sourced from contract duck growers.

The Victorian state government will also be contributing to the project by promising $600,000 in support.

 

Chobani US encourages innovation with food incubator

Chobani has launched a food incubator in New York in an effort to step away from overly processed foods and towards healthy, innovative products.

The Greek yoghurt company announced yesterday that it will open a new food incubator in New York where it will be accepting business plans and proposals from start-up companies. Companies selected by Chobani will receive investment capital as well as use of a commercial kitchen rent-free.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani's founder and CEO said that the chosen products will be in line with Chobani’s ethos of making delicious, nutritious, natural and affordable food.

“Today we’re opening our doors to entrepreneurs who share our vision for better food for tomorrow—food that’s natural and affordable,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO, Chobani.

“Making a product the right way is not always easy, but we’ve proven that the model works. I’m excited to work with entrepreneurs who share our goal and who can benefit from our experience.”

Food Magazine recently caught up with Chobani Australia’s CEO, Peter Meek to discuss the brand’s recent export endeavours, together with the success of the brand in Australia to date.

Click here to read the full article.

 

Anti Halal campaign is based on misinformation, AFGC

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has said its members have no intention of dropping their halal certifications despite a spate of anti-halal campaigns.

A number of Australian companies including The Byron Bay Cookie Company and Four’ N Twenty have been attacked on social media for certifying their products as Halal, with campaigners sighting that the certification funds terrorism.

South Australian dairy manufacturer, Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company were also targeted. The company made the decision to drop their certification to avoid negative publicity, which also meant that they had to end their $50,000 yoghurt supply deal with Middle-Eastern airline, Emirates.

James Mathews, a spokesperson for the AFGC told The Guardian that the anti-Halal campaign or ‘buy-cott’ is “a campaign of misinformation”.

Mathews said that despite pressure from anti-Islamic campaigners, members of the AFGC – which include Mondelez Australia – were not engaging in the movement against Halal certification, adding that the cost of the certification is negligible when compared to the value of the Islamic market.

He also added that many critics of Halal certification have a blinked view, and “are not interested in understanding the actual reality” behind the certification.

 

Indulgent products more popular than healthy FMCGs, Canadean

A recent study from market research company Canadean has found that food manufacturers may be placing too much emphasis on the health category and subsequently neglecting demand for indulgent products. 

Canadean surveyed 100 managers working in the FMCG industry, and asked them how important they believe the demand for products within the health and indulgence categories over the next three years will be. 79 percent of respondents stated that health would be the most important, compared to 63 percent who named indulgence as the category to concentrate on.

Analyst at Canadean, Joanne Hardman said that the findings differ to the market research company’s consumer data which shows that consumers’ demand for indulgence is significantly greater than health.

In 2012 consumers spent $US 600,167 million on fulfilling the desire for indulgence and luxury, whereas only $US 323,694 was spent in the same year on the desire for a healthy option.  

“Some brands are getting it wrong with their perception of what consumers will want over the next three years. The desire for an indulgent treat will always reign supreme over the need for a health kick,” says Hardman.

Hardman says that while consumers are expected to display a desire for healthier options over the next few years, Canadean’s data predicts that consumers will continue to favour indulgence over anything else over that period.

“If manufacturers are looking to target the health-conscious audience more over the next three years, extending product portfolios as opposed to adjusting current product formulation will be preferred by consumers, as it allows them to stay loyal to the brand when they are looking for both indulgent and healthy offerings.” 

 

NZ to help China boost food safety standards

New Zealand will be lending a hand to China to improve its food safety credentials.

The two countries have developed an agreement that draws upon the expertise of New Zealand together with other international food and agriculture models that encourage best practice in food safety and quality, Stuff.co.nz reports.

Firms led by the China National Cereals, Oil and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) – China’s largest agricultural and food products supplier – reached the agreement with New Zealand's government-owned food safety company AsureQuality, and accountants PwC on the back of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

John McKay, CEO of AsureQuality said that the agreement was born out of demand for better food safety and quality across China.

"The growing affluence of China's urbanized consumers and its middle classes are changing food demand dynamics and creating greater expectations not just of safety, but of quality, choice and provenance,” said McKay.

“The food bar in China is rising ever higher and increasing China's reliance on premium imported foods as its people demand the best."

 

Coke’s new marketing campaign targets today’s youth

In a move to attract the next generation of soft drink consumers, Coca-Cola has developed a multi-million dollar campaign series  focusing on social, digital and content marketing.

The campaign is aiming to develop a similar connection between today’s youth and the beverage brand as previous generations have had. The campaign will effectively see the replacement of the classic Coke summer TV commercial with  strong push via digital and social channels. The campaign also features different coloured cans coming in at a volume of 250ml as opposed to the traditional 375ml.

“We realised we needed to up our game significantly in the innovation stakes,” Coca-Cola’s marketing manager Di Everett told The Australian.

“We usually spend 70 per cent of our budget on tried and true media, 20 per cent reapplying experiments and 10 per cent on true innovation.

“We really tried to tip that ratio. (Innovation) would be significantly higher than that in every medium.”

Coke hired three YouTube content creators to help execute the campaign, which is inclusive of seven online videos which aim to tap into teen culture through music, fashion and gaming and a masthead takeover which will unlock particular content once teens interact with it.

Coke will be employing photo image technology which in combination with smart phones, will be used to unlock content across several different media channels. In addition, signage in select shopping centres will be transformed into a game that can be played on a consumer’s smartphone once they photograph said signage.

In addition, select bus shelters will also be transformed to dispense cans of coke and graffiti artists have been employed to repaint billboards in Sydney and Melbourne on a daily basis.

Everett says that rather on focusing of sales volume, the campaign is more about the Coca-Cola brand forming a relationship with today's youth.

“We want teens to discover this world themselves,” Ms Everett said. “We wanted to be the group that has kept (being) iconic,” she said. “Otherwise we stop being what Coke has always been about.”

The new campaign has come about as part of Coca-Cola’s strategic review which was released late last month. The review highlighted a number of key strategies including.

  • A joint campaign between The Coca-Cola Company and CCA in Australia and New Zealand with the #colouryoursummer campaign;
  • The launching of Coke Life in Australia and New Zealand in April 2015;
  • A US$500 million investment to accelerate Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia’s (CCAI, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Amatil) growth strategy in return for ordinary equity ownership interest of 29.4 percent.

 

ARC Australian food processing training centre to open today

The ARC training centre for the Australian food processing industry in the 21st Century (ARCFPTC) will be officially launched today,  4 November at the University of Sydney.

 

The centre is designed to help Australian food manufacturing companies stay globally competitive, and was awarded $3 million in funding over a three year period from the Australian Research Council via its Industrial Transformation Research Program.

 

Key objectives of the centre are to develop cost effective processes and produce high value products such as nutriceuticals with health benefits for the prevention and treatment of chronic and acute diseases. 

 

Professor Fariba Dehghani, from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and co-director of the new centre, says that ARCEPTC has been designed to boost the nation’s food technology and manufacturing capacity, and will boost the Australian industry’s capacity to successfully compete in the global market.

 

"The new centre aims to boost the Australian industry's capacity to compete in a global market, particularly in the production of nutraceuticals for pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, or food ingredients," says Dehghani.

 

"The centre will design cost-effective and sustainable processes for producing these types of products with a view to minimising waste while enhancing efficiency and reducing energy consumption." 

 

The centre will provide a multidisciplinary research environment including fourteen researchers across the engineering, agriculture, science and medicine disciplines, together with international collaborators, and ten food and biotechnology industry partners. 

 

ARC CEO, Professor Aidan Byrne said that the centre will work with Australian businesses to develop more advanced manufacturing techniques in order to reduce costs and increase energy efficiency.

 

“This particular ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre has an important focus and it covers a key research sector identified in the Australian Government’s recent Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda—food and agribusiness. This centre will educate a new generation of engineers and scientists and foster the capacity of Australian Food industries to further develop advanced technologies in manufacturing and product improvement,” says Byrne.

 

“Another key objective of this centre is to work with industry partners to develop improved processes for the production of nutraceuticals—such as nutrients and dietary supplements—for the promotion of health and well-being.

 

“These high-value products have the potential to significantly increase Australian exports in agribusiness.”

 

The funding of the Centre has been supplemented by its ten industry partners through cash and in-kind contributions.

 

Partners in the Centre include Agricure Pty Ltd, Lang Technologies Pty Ltd, AB Mauri Technology and Development Pty Ltd, Peanut Company of Australia, Ecopha, Marine Biotechnology Australia Pty Ltd, Batlow Premium Juices, PharmaCare  Laboratories Pty Ltd, Perfection Fresh Australia Pty Ltd and Stahmann Farms Enterprises Pty Ltd.

 

Researchers develop energy-efficient milk processing methods

Researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM) are researching energy-efficient ways to process milk concentrates.

As a key ingredient in everything from infant formula to baked goods and confectionery products, powdered milk is something that is in constant demand in the food manufacturing sector, however the processes used to create it are highly energy intensive.

TUM researchers are currently combining different membrane separation processes which are resulting in a 20 percent reduction of the total amount of energy required to concentrate milk.

Professor Ulrich Kulozik from the TUM Chair of Food Process Engineering and Dairy Technology says that conventional methods of heating and evaporating the dairy products utilise membrane separation processes such as reverse osmosis and nanofiltration, followed by the drying of excess water. Although these methods are effective, drying can account for 50 percent of the entire energy consumption bill.

Kulozik explains that reverse osmosis and nanofiltration work with special membranes that allow water to pass through while retaining almost all constituents in milk and whey. One drawback being that the concentration of dissolved substances such as salt and lactose increases as more water is removed. Proteins also “block up” the membrane, reducing the amount of water being removed.

“As a result, we can only achieve a dry mass of up to 35 percent using reverse osmosis,” says Kulozik. “What we really want is a higher percentage of dry matter as this reduces the amount of water to be removed in subsequent evaporation and drying steps. This would further cut the energy consumed in the initial concentration stage.”

Prof. Kulozik and his team have been able to solve this problem by combining three different membrane separation processes: ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and nanofiltration.

Ultrafiltration removes proteins from the liquid. The dissolved constituents can then be concentrated using reverse osmosis and nanofiltration. Removing the proteins in this way speeds up reverse osmosis and nanofiltration by a factor between two and five. This combination of reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration is 20-percent more energy efficient than reverse osmosis on its own. The proteins and dissolved constituents can be recombined at a later stage in the process chain.

“We were able to show that the right combination of membrane separation technologies can unlock significant efficiency gains in powdered milk and whey production,” adds Kulozik. “Our aim here is to obtain the highest possible concentrations of milk before evaporation and drying.”

Another project that the Tum team are working on includes extending the storage period of milk concentrates.

“We exploring various heating processes for concentrates with a view to extending the shelf-life for milk concentrate so that it becomes an attractive alternative to powder in the future,” says Kulozik.

“One of the main benefits of concentrates is that they are still liquid and so they do not need to be dissolved in water again,” says Prof. Kulozik. “And because there is no drying process involved, they also deliver significant energy and cost savings.”

 

Australian Dairy Farms to list on ASX

As of today, Australian Dairy Farms Group will be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

The company – which previously traded under the name APA Financial Services before it underwent a change in focus and scale of its business activities – produces fresh milk which it sells to milk processors and the wider global market, The Weekly Times reports.

The group currently owns Brunknell Farms which comprises two adjoining dairy farms at Brucknell near Warrnambool Vic, and has plans to bring together and operate high-quality dairy farms in prime locations in the state.

In the medium term, Australian Dairy Farms Group will look to acquire more farms with the aim of producing over 50 million litres of milk per year within a two year period.

According to the Weekly Times, the group has issued 46.5 million stapled securities at 20 cents each to raise approximately $9.3 million which will be used to achieve their goal of acquiring more land, while also covering associated operational costs.

 

Dairy Australia ups investment in RD&E, annual report

According to Dairy Australia’s annual report, total expenditure for the year 2013-2014 was up by six percent, representing a record $61.8million.

The national services body said that throughout the period, it had invested in 63 projects and 15 key strategic programs, with one third of the expenditure allocated to its key farm margin improvement objectives.

According to managing director, Ian Halliday, 62 percent of Dairy Australia’s expenditure was directed at RD&E activities across the supply chain.

Halliday listed the three key strategic priorities for the organisation over the period and into the future:

1.       Increasing farm profitability and competitiveness

2.       Protecting and promoting industry; inclusive of delivering activities that build credibility within the farming sector and the broader Australian and international communities

3.       Growing people capability and skills: Working towards driving farm profitability by attracting, retaining and developing people within the industry including a renewed focus developing new incentives together with ongoing work via the National Centre for Dairy Education Australia (NCDEA)

Halliday also emphasised that in addition to increased spend in RD&E, the organisation had also identified up to $500,000 in savings.

“We continue to focus on costs to ensure we are delivering benefits to farmers efficiently," Halliday worte in the report. "During the 2013/14 financial year we identified savings in excess of $500,000, in addition to the ongoing savings maintained from previous years. Most savings were realised by rationalising externally commissioned services.

The Dairy Australia Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday 28 November 2014 in the Atrium at Flemington Racecourse.

 

Federal Government breaks anti-dumping election promise

The Federal Government will not be keeping its election promise to toughen anti-dumping laws due to complications with World Trade Organisation rules.

Prior to winning the election in 2013, the Coalition promised to protect Australian suppliers by making it easier to enforce anti-dumping actions against unfairly cheap imports that are seen to damage Australian companies in the marketplace.

Trade expert, and former ambassador to the WTO, Alan Oxley said at the time that Tony Abbott’s promise to ‘reverse the onus of proof’ in anti-dumping cases, will break WTO trade rules, which state that authorities “shall not impose an unreasonable burden of proof."

In an address to the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday, Industry minister Ian Macfarlane said that the government would not be able to fulfil its election promise, The Weekly Times reports.

“We are trying to resolve those issues but can I say the euphemistic term reversal of onus of proof is not valid anywhere,” Macfarlane said.

“The Americans don’t do it, there is not another example of it in the world and it is not WTO legal.

“I can assure people that in terms of anti-dumping, we are introducing a streamline system which will be far more effective.

“But we are working our way through that and we expect to get to a final position in the not-too-distant future.”

Victorian-based fruit and vegetable processor, SPC Ardmona lodged an application with the antidumping commission on 10 July 2013, alleging that Italian tomatoes were being exported to Australia from Italy at margins that constituted dumping, resulting in material injury to local producers and reduced profitability/ lower sales volume for the business.  

 

Liquidators of LGL Commodities may take directors to court

Following the company entering administration in June this year, directors of failed grain company LGL Commodities may be taken to court as the appointed liquidators aim to retrieve up to $6m.

Andrew Yo of Pitcher Partners told the Weekly Times that the collapse of the company left around $10.7m of debt, inclusive of $8.3m owed to unsecured creditors.

In minutes from the last creditors meeting which took place on 26 September, the liquidator alleged that the company may have been trading while insolvent “since at least 30 April 2014”.

“The total value of the insolvent trading claim against the directors is estimated between $3.6 million and $6 million,” the minutes claimed.

“Initial investigations indicate that the directors may have breached Section 180 of the Act in relation to the duties as directors of the company.”

One of the company’s former directors, Simon Freeman, said at the same creditors meeting that the liquidator’s report failed to take into account a number of variables including potential insurance claims and alleged theft of stock. He also said that the directors would strongly defend any action regarding an insolvent training claim.

“Notwithstanding Mr Freeman’s claims, there is still $11 million which remains unpaid to creditors,” Yo told The Weekly Times.

“And these (losses) were accumulated over a number of months prior to the company’s insolvency.”