The University of Melbourne, along with Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), are seeking companies to give students hand-on experience in the industry.
The course is a post-graduate degree, which trains students in the area food packaging processes and design.
Students completing the two-year degree, study food science, food safety, packaging materials and processes, packaging design, consumer behaviour, product innovation, entrepreneurship, business management, and marketing.
Farmer Power, has just launched two fund raising campaigns in partnership with APCO Australia to help promote and fund an educational campaign for the public and as a signal to the government to inform them on the issues within the dairy industry.
According to the news release by Farmer Power, they have said that the financial hardships that farmers are facing will not stop at Victoria but will also eventually impact on everyone, both personally and financially, if it is not addressed.
It has been reported across several news sources that rural businesses in dairy farming regions are in trouble with farmers being in debt. This was speculated to be due to the trickle-down effect of last year’s dairy crisis.
These campaigns are aimed at gaining assistance from the business fraternity in supporting Farmer Power in their endeavours.
They are also aimed at building support from both the public and businesses to bring about positive change for Dairy Farmers, but not only dairy farmers, but also regional businesses and rural communities which are all being directly impacted by this crisis.
New technologies could see us eating algae-based sources of protein, developing allergenic-free nuts and tolerable varieties of lactose and gluten, and reducing environmental impact through edible packaging.
Speaking at the launch during the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology’s (AIFST) 50th Anniversary Convention in Sydney, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy , highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving new economic growth in the industry.
Keeping a greater share of food processing onshore and better differentiating Australian food products are major themes across the Roadmap, which calls on businesses to act quickly or risk losing future revenue streams to the competitive global market.
Developed with widespread industry consultation and analysis, the Roadmap seeks to assist Australian food and agribusinesses with the desire to pursue growth and new markets.
Deputy Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Dr Martin Cole said Australia was well positioned to act as a delicatessen of high-quality products that meet the needs of millions of informed and discerning customers both here and abroad.
“Australian businesses are among the most innovative in the world, and together with our world-class scientists, can deliver growth in the food and agribusiness sector amid unprecedented global change,” Dr Cole said.
“Less predictable growing conditions, increasingly global value chains and customers who demand healthier, more convenient and traceable foods are driving businesses to new ways of operating.
“Advances are already being made through the use of blockchain technology and the development of labels that change colour with temperature or time, or are programmed to release preservatives.
The Roadmap was developed in collaboration with the government-funded food and agribusiness growth centre: Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL).
Recently, FIAL launched their Sector Competitiveness Plan, which outlines the over-arching industry vision to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace and the necessary strategy to achieve the vision.
“With the growing Asian middle class, Australia is in the box seat to take advantage of the many emerging export opportunities,” FIAL Chairman Peter Schutz said.
“Consumers are looking for differentiated products that cater to their needs.
“This is especially exciting for Australian food and agribusinesses which have the capability to respond with customised and niche products.”
Currently, Australia exports over $40 billion worth of food and beverages each year with 63 per cent headed for Asia.
Dr Cole explained that Australia is a trusted supplier of sustainable, authentic, healthy, high quality and consistent products.
“We must focus on these strengths and enhance the level of value-adding to our products,” DrCole said.
“Recent Austrade analysis shows early signs of such a shift, as for the first time in Australia’s history value-added foods have accounted for the majority (60 per cent) of food export growth.”
The Roadmap outlines value-adding opportunities for Australian products in key growth areas, including health and wellbeing, premium convenience foods and sustainability-driven products that reduce waste or use less resources.
Five key enablers for these opportunities are explored in the Roadmap: traceability and provenance, food safety and biosecurity, market intelligence and access, collaboration and knowledge sharing, and skills.
These enablers align with FIAL’s knowledge priority areas that are central in helping the food and agribusiness industry achieve its vision and deliver increased productivity, sustainable economic growth, job creation, and investment attraction for the sector.
The Roadmap calls for improved collaboration and knowledge sharing to generate scale, efficiency and agility across rapidly changing value chains and markets.
“To survive and grow, the challenge facing Australia’s 177,000 businesses in the food and agribusiness sector is to identify new products, services and business models that arise from the emerging needs of tomorrow’s global customers,” Dr Cole said.
Arrow Energy has announced plans to double the production capacity of its Tipton gas project in Queensland amid an east-coast industrial gas shortage.
The planned expansion of Arrow’s Tipton operations is expected to involve 90 new wells in the initial phase and another 180 wells over the next 25 years.
It will also include new gathering lines, an upgraded water treatment facility and four new compressors.
“This project continues the development of the Arrow resource which will see more gas in the market,” said Arrow Energy CEO Qian Mingyang.
The project follows investment of more than $600 million by Arrow in its Surat Basin infrastructure, including $500 million towards its Daandine expansion project commissioned in late 2016 and more than $100 million to expand capacity at its Daandine and Tipton fields.
“We only hope that the other states follow Queensland’s lead and open up gas reserves to help fix the energy crisis households and businesses, especially manufacturers, along the eastern seaboard are facing,” said Mingyang.
XTS Hygienic, the stainless steel version of the eXtended Transport System from Beckhoff, opens up a wide spectrum of new applications for processing and filling liquids.
Allowing optimal cleanability with the high protection rating of IP 69K, very good chemical resistance and without any hidden corners, edges or undercuts, the hygienic design offers maximum production line availability even when the demands made on hygiene are high.
The XTS replaces mechanics with software functionality to allow for a high degree of design freedom in realising completely new machine concepts.
Through a significant reduction in mechanical engineering requirements, machines can be set up with the XTS more compactly, at a lighter weight and with less wiring.
Thus, machine builders can now offer smaller, more powerful and more efficient systems and the end user benefits accordingly from a smaller footprint, higher productivity and quicker product switchovers.
With the XTS Hygienic, which is so much easier to clean compared to more complex mechanical systems, the routine cleaning tasks along with those for product switchover – which are optimally supported by the XTS as standard – can be performed much more quickly. .
In a sign of the impact the falling milk price is having on the food sector, food company Murray Goulburn (MG) said it will be closing down factories and reducing its farmgate milk price in a bid to address its “cost base, improve efficiencies and ultimately increase earnings.”
This will include closure of MG’s manufacturing facilities at Edith Creek, Rochester and Kiewa, forgiveness of the Milk Supply Support Package (MSSP), total write-downs of up to $410 million, and a dividend suspension.
The factory closures, the company said, are expected to impact some 360 employees while at the same time delivering a net financial benefit of $40 million to $50 million per annum. Overall, MG said that it anticipates a net financial benefit in FY18 from the closures of approximately $15 million.
However, the dairy company said that it needed to spend $60 million of capital expenditure to enable the closures, which will be largely funded by maintenance capital expenditure no longer required at the sites.
MG also announced that it will write off farmers loans incurred in the MSSP, with all future repayments of the MSSP which were to recommence from July 2017 ceasing, meaning the company will write-down $148 million.
Due to weaker trading conditions, the FY17 forecast available FMP of $4.70 per kilogram milk solids is expected to be fall to $4.60 per kilogram milk solids.
The company said that it remained “committed to paying a FY17 average FMP of $4.95 per kilogram milk solids.”
In order to protect against any potential further losses this financial year, MG has provided access of up to $30 million of additional debt funded milk payments, so as to maintain the forecast FMP of $4.95 per kilogram milk solids up until the end of this financial year, the company said.
A new study has found that despite consumers’ decreased sugar intake, Australian obesity rates are higher than ever.
In recent years, scientists have linked excessive sugar consumption with obesity.
This has led to a number of initiatives to decrease added or refined sugars in Australia’s food and beverages.
The nation has recently experienced the biggest increase in adult obesity levels since 1980 (16 per cent). The number of overweight or obese Australians is now 63 per cent, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
This is despite the fact that in Australia, the per capita availability of added or refined sugars and sweeteners was shown to have fallen by 16 per cent between 1980 and 2011, according to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Specifically, in national dietary surveys in 1995 and 2011-2012, added sugar intake saw a marked decline in men (18 per cent), but little to no decline in women.
However, during the same period, the proportion of sugar-sweetened beverage intake (including 100 per cent juice) fell 10 per cent in men and 20 per cent in women.
The most significant changes were seen in children aged 2-18 (who currently have an overweight/obesity rate of 25 per cent).
According to the study, data from national grocery sales indicated that per capita added-sugars intakes derived from carbonated soft drinks decreased from 26 per cent between 1997 and 2011, with similar trends for non-carbonated beverages.
However, Australia’s childhood obesity rate has also been steadily increasing over the years.
The study suggests that the link between sugar consumption and obesity may not be as strong as scientists initially thought.
It’s the mystery of all mysteries of science. Why is it that humans are so unusual compared to all other life? The key to solving this riddle lies in explaining the evolution of our large brains and exceptional intelligence.
For as long as humanity has been contemplating our existence we must surely have been struck by the fact that we are the only species capable of doing so.
I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that the evolutionary arrival of humankind – some 200,000 years ago – was a decisive moment in the long history of the universe. After 14 billion years in the making, and in the blink of an eye of cosmological time, human intelligence arrived and gave the universe the ability to comprehend itself.
Maybe this all seems a little too anthropocentric for your taste? Smacks of literary indulgence on my behalf? Perhaps. But the simple matter is that we can’t avoid the fact of human uniqueness, and explaining it is tied to understanding the evolution of our extraordinary brainpower.
The eighteenth century British anatomist and creationist Richard Owen, one of Charles Darwin’s foremost foes, thought humans were so unusual that we ought to be classified in our own sub-class – the ‘Archenecephala’ as he dubbed it – on account of our highly advanced brain.
It rather conveniently stood us apart from the apes, confirming his view of the specialness of humankind.
By the standards of today’s biological classifications this would place us in a position in the tree of life above all of the orders of mammals, making us about as exceptional as the monotremes are to the placentals.
But with the facts of our evolution now well and truly established we have a much better understanding our place in nature, as members of the primate order, and particularly as African Great Apes.
To really understand how the human brain emerged we must first recognise that we share big brains with other primates. It’s our evolutionary inheritance, as primates are among the brainiest of all mammals; when taken kilo for kilo against body size. And apes are especially well endowed in the brains department.
Why? Well, this has been a major puzzle for anthropologists for decades, and the most widely accepted explanation has been the cognitive demands placed on us by living in large social groups; the so-called ‘social brain hypothesis’ or ‘Dunbar’s Number’.
The main alternative has been that braininess evolved in response to the demands of sex. Polygynandrous species – where males and females have multiple partners in a given breeding season – possess larger brains than those using other systems of mating, such as a harem or monogamy.
Now a new study by Alex DeCasien and colleagues published in Nature Ecology and Evolution has turned the debate completely on its head. They’ve found that the kind of diet a primate species consumes offers the best explanation for its brain size.
While this idea is not an entirely new one, their work provides strong validation for the diet-brain connection.
When it comes to apes it turns out that fruit eating – the dietary niche present in most living apes and the one our ancient ape ancestors indulged in – is so cognitively demanding that it led to a big evolutionary leap in intelligence when it began.
How come? Well, challenging diets require individuals to seek out or capture food; they have to judge whether it’s ready to be eaten or not; and they may even need to extract it, peel it, or process it in some way before it can be ingested.
Sound familiar? It should. Humans have the most specialised and challenging diets of all primates; and I have in mind here hunters and gatherers not urban foodies.
The human dietary niche is exceptionally broad and involves behaviours aimed at not only obtaining food but also making it more palatable and digestible; activities like extraction, digging, hunting, fishing, drying, grinding, cooking, combining other foods to add flavor, or even adding minerals to season or make food safe to eat.
What other species would so gleefully jiggle their jaws on the flames of a Jalapeno or lap up the tongue curling delights of a lemon?
What’s more, our large fruit eating ape brains got even bigger late in human evolution because our diets became ever more challenging to obtain and prepare, especially as a result of our ancestor’s penchant for eating meat.
Hunter-gatherers typically have a diet comprising between 30% and 80% vertebrate meat, while for chimpanzees it’s only around 2%. Instead, chimps get 60% of their diet from fruit, but hunter-gatherers typically obtain only 5% or 6 % (on the odd occasion a lot more) of their nutrition from fruit.
Humans rarely eat raw meat though, and we cook many of our vegetables as well, so even after expending huge efforts to collect it we still have to process much of our food in drawn out ways.
All of this throws up a paradox for us. Why is it that our closest and now extinct relatives, such as the Neanderthals, who were capable of complex behaviours like hunting, cooking and perhaps even cultural activities like art, lacked the smarts to ponder the ultimate questions of life?
Why is it us, and not them, that are capable of pondering and explaining the existence of life and the universe, including human life itself? There is clearly something very unique about human intelligence and a lot more to this evolutionary tale than mere food for thought.
Darren Curnoe, Chief Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, and Director, Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, UNSW
Australasia’s iconic food manufacturing event, foodpro, returns for its 50th year in 2017 to the new international Convention Centre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour from 16 – 19 July.
Food manufacturing makes up 23% of Australia’s annual exports; the food and agribusiness industry produced $53.9 billion of value added in 2014-15 alone.
Since it first ran in 1967, foodpro has played an important role in the growth of the food processing, manufacturing and packaging industries and has contributed to the development and significance the industry has to Australia.
The event showcases products and innovations relevant to all aspects of the food manufacturing industry including: meat and seafood, value-add processing, beverages, dairy, fresh food and shelf foods.
It is considered to be a driving force behind the Australian food processing industry with global leaders presenting their latest technology, services and ideas.
With industry added value increasing annually for the past five years, foodpro 2017 is sure to be a popular event on the calendar and will feature four key precincts: food processing technology, food packaging, plant equipment and food technology.
Access to new trends will be priority as well as insight into key issues facing the industry such as traceability, food safety and sustainability.
Australia has a global reputation for high safety and quality standards; in order for food manufacturers to stay up to date they must be compliant and competitive, adapting to new technology and staying ahead of developments within the industry.
With education a key focus for the show, foodpro will provide answers and expertise with seminars covering a range of topics such as trends, insights and case studies geared to the Australian market. Visitors will have the opportunity to hear from industry experts, engage in topical discussions and learn from peers.
Running in conjunction with foodpro 2017 will be the annual AIFST (Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology) Convention.
Over 400 delegates are expected to attend the Convention’s 50th year to hear about topics such as the future nutritional needs, technology driving innovation, regulations related to imports as well as a roundtable discussing financing innovation and growth in the food industry.
For more information, see: https://www.foodproexh.com/
Australia’s ready-meal sector will surpass $1 billion in the near future and a shift towards healthier eating is playing a major part, it has been claimed.
Paul Hitchcock, CEO of Patties Foods, has said the company is seeking new acquisitions with projections showing the huge growth in the market.
Having recently acquired Australian Wholefoods, he also believes the sector is now providing far more than “TV dinners” and told the AFR it will grow by more than 10 per cent annually.
“The category is still relatively new,” Hitchcock told the AFR. “It’s trending toward $1 billion but we’re not there yet.
The chilled ready meals category grew by 13 per cent in the past year for the retailer “as customers continue to look for convenient and affordable meal solutions”, according to a Woolworths spokesman.
“Busy lifestyles mean consumers are attracted to convenience meals by their relatively low cost, ease of use and variety,” a spokesman for Coles added.
Patties Foods was acquired by the provate equity firm Pacific Equity Partners for $231 million last year.
According to the AFR, Patties Foods has swallowed up South Australia’s Australian Wholefoods.
In what is looking very much like a pattern, Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), which bought out Patties Food in 2016 and then followed that up by buying Leader Foods, has now devoured Australian Wholefoods, thereby allowing it to push into additional categories of the food services sector.
Australian Wholefoods employs about 130 people and its says it produces more than 100,000 chilled ready meals every week.
The company has introduced a number of new product lines like Clever Cooks, a fresh-food brand free from artificial colours or preservatives.
NiceLabel, one of the world’s leading developers of label and marking productivity software solutions has helped dairy company Arla Foods find a standardised label management solution for all of its industrial printers.
NiceLabel’s technology enabled this large food manufacturer to significantly reduce costs and increase label accuracy and productivity.
A critical part of Arla’s brand identity is being able to guarantee freshness and provide their customers with accurate product information, according to a company press release.
However the company needed a single solution with a standardised method of integration between each dairy’s label and direct marking printers and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES).
By using NiceLabel’s label management system, Arla said that it was able to automate printing by implementing a standardized integration with the MES at each dairy. Now, master data flows directly from the MES to the printers, eliminating manual data entry errors, mislabeling and the associated costs.
By introducing centralised label management, Arla have a more transparent label management process that helps them ensure accurate product and production data throughout the entire label printing process.
The company’s IT team now provides 24×7 support to each site, rapidly addressing issues before they result in production downtime while also allowing Arla to remotely monitor all activity and diagnose errors.
“Our customers have come to rely on us for accurate labeling and quality product information. NiceLabel helps us to meet their high expectations and we no longer have to worry about lost revenue associated with mislabeling”, said Torben Hattel, Senior Solution Architect at Arla Foods.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in productivity thanks to the solution. Our labeling systems run more efficiently. We no longer spend time mitigating manual data entry errors and we’ve been able to streamline support as well.”
Western Australian meat processor and packer Harvey Beef has announced a new Rangelands beef brand, targeting consumers interested in animal welfare and hormone-free meat.
According to Harvey Beef, Rangelands beef is backed by accredited animal welfare standards, and promises to be hormone and antibiotic free, as well as grass-fed.
“The beef will be sourced from cattle grown in the vast, open ranges of the Kimberley and Pilbara, where cattle roam as nature intended and feast on the abundance of natural grasses,” the company said in a statement.
The product will come in value-added retail-ready form, with the range including beef mince, sausages and burger patties. The range will not include steak or whole-muscle cuts.
The company is targeting retail initially, but is also interested in supplying to the food service industry.
Pastoralists from the Pilbara and Kimberley who supply for the brand will need to be accredited through the Kimberley and Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association (KPCA). The KPCA has developed specific animal welfare criteria which the pastoralists must adhere to, including a third-party audit program.
“These criteria will give customers confidence in buying a product which not only tastes outstanding, but which has been sustainably raised,” said Harvey Beef in a statement.
“Our dedication to higher animal welfare standards matches Harvey Beef’s passion for the best quality beef, and together we can continue to ensure Western Australia is able to consume ethically-produced beef,” said Catherine Marriott, chief executive of the KPCA.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has welcomed news that Carlton United Breweries (CUB) has ended its VB sponsorship with Cricket Australia (CA).
The demise of VB’s 20-year sponsorship with CA, estimated to be worth $65 million over the past five years is one of more than 20 alcohol-related sponsorships in Australian cricket.
The RACP is on record as saying that it was “unacceptable that young children are being bombarded with alcohol promotion both at the ground and at home watching on TV.”
This sentiment is shared by the majority of Australians, with over 60 per cent concerned about the exposure of children to alcohol promotions in sport, according to a number of recent surveys.
RACP President Dr Catherine Yelland said, “A generation of Australians have grown up and become accustomed to a sponsorship that has relentlessly pushed its product and left young Australians as collateral damage.”
“Sadly, we know alcohol marketing leads children and adolescents to start drinking earlier and makes young drinkers prone to binge drinking patterns.”
“Sometimes it starts them on a journey that has a lifelong impact. It’s not surprising that the peak age for the onset of alcohol use disorders is only 18 years old.”
More than 100 Australian wineries were recently on show at one of the world’s biggest industry events in a bid to further boost surging exports.
The Wine Australia exhibit at ProWein 2017 which was held from March 19 to 21 in Germany featured 500 wines from 76 wineries across 39 varieties and 34 Australian regions, including the premier regions of South Australia.
The Dusseldorf event is considered one of the world’s most important international wine fairs and will include more than 6300 exhibitors from 60 nations.
Australia is the world’s fifth largest wine producing nation in 2016 and is experiencing a strong run of export success on international markets, particularly for premium wine in North America and China.
In the 12 months to December 2016, the value of Australian wine exports grew by 7 per cent to $2.22 billion and volume increased by 1 per cent to 750 million litres.
The average value of exports grew by 6 per cent to $2.96 per litre, the highest level since 2009 driven by a 10 per cent growth in bottled exports, mostly at higher price points.
South Australia is responsible for 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production including about 75 per cent of its premium wine.
Much of this premium wine comes from the South Australian regions of Barossa and McLaren Vale, and South Australian wineries attending ProWein include d’Arenberg, Elderton, Fox Creek, Langmeil.
According to a story from the Voice of America (VoA), some of China’s largest food suppliers have stopped selling Brazilian beef and poultry following a scandal over Brazil’s meat processing industry.
While Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, fears over Brazilian meat safety have increased since police accused inspectors of taking bribes to permit the sale of rotten and infected meats.
The announcement from the Chinese food suppliers comes days after China temporarily suspended Brazilian all meat imports.
Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and Mexico have also announced they were stopping major imports of some Brazilian meat.
Brazilian President Michel Temer said the sale of rotten meat was an “economic embarrassment for the country.”
The Brazilian government has so far barred the exports of meats from 21 plants under investigation, while officials have tried to calm consumers by saying the recent investigation has found only “isolated problems with rotten or infected meat”.
However, the reaction by Chinese food suppliers suggests that the investigation could have a big effect on the world’s top meat exporter, said VoA.
Brazil’s trade associations for meat producers warned that the scandal could affect the economy considering meat exports make up 15 per cent of total exports.
West Australian researchers led by Dr. Kirsty Bayliss have discovered how to stop mould growing on fresh food.
Dr. Bayliss will be presenting her technology, titled ‘Breaking the Mould’, a chemical-free treatment for fresh produce that increases shelf-life, prevents mould and decay, and reduces food wastage, in the US.
“Our technology will directly address the global food security challenge by reducing food waste and making more food available for more people,” Dr. Bayliss said.
“The technology is based on the most abundant form of matter in the universe– plasma. Plasma kills the moulds that grow on fruit and vegetables, making fresh produce healthier for consumption and increasing shelf-life.”
Dr. Bayliss’s Murdoch University team has been working on preliminary trials for the past 18 months and are now preparing to start scaling up trials to work with commercial production facilities.
Dr. Bayliss said the LAUNCH Food Innovation Challenge was a “huge opportunity.”
“I will be presenting our research to an audience comprising investors, company directors and CEOs, philanthropists and other influential people from organisations such as Fonterra, Walmart, The Gates Foundation, as well as USAID, DFAT and even Google Food.”
“What is really exciting is the potential linkages and networks that I can develop; already NASA are interested in our work,” she said.
In an interview with ABC Online, she said “Food wastage contributes to a lot of the food insecurity as the US and Europe wastes around 100 kilograms of food per person every year.
“If we could reduce food wastage by a quarter, we could feed 870 million people.”
Dr. Bayliss said the technology also kills bacteria associated with food-borne illness, such as salmonella and listeria.
While the recently-announced Food Agility CRC will be funded with $50 million over ten years along with $160 million in commitments from 54 partner organisations, Bosch Australia will be a lead technology partner and will apply its agriculture technology expertise and resource to projects in connected agriculture and automation.
The Food Agility CRC will integrate the agile culture and processes of the digital economy through a whole-of-value-chain lens for fresh and processed food.
“Global food production needs to double by 2050 and the opportunity that presents to the Australian food industry is enormous,” says Mike Briers, CEO of the Food Agility CRC and UTS Industry Professor.
Bosch Australia said it is making significant investments in connected agriculture and food automation oriented activities in this region, including direct investment in Australian start-ups.
Most recently ‘The Yield’, an early stage Internet of Things (IoT) company focused on Micro-Climate sensing technology in Agriculture and Aquaculture. “
The Food Agility CRC will have a direct impact on the food and agriculture sector,” said Gavin Smith, Bosch President with responsibility for the region Oceania.
“There’s no better place than Australia to develop digital and automation solutions in food technology.”