The price is not right: how much is too much for a beer at sporting events?

For many Australian sports fans, buying beer at sporting venues is an exercise in subjugation. For starters, the alcohol content for those in general admission is often capped at mid-strength – a typically penal restriction aimed at civilising the riff-raff.

Yet the true indignity arrives right at the dreaded moment the attendant rings up the till. By the time you have handed over the cost of a round, you’ve just paid for the better part of a three-course meal at a decent restaurant.

High prices

Fans at the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil were able to buy a local Brahma beer for as little as R$10 (A$3.97). Yet not only are the Germans football world champions, but their elite Bundesliga leads the way in beer prices. The average cost of a beer in the league is less than €4 (A$5.59).

Elsewhere in Europe, a pint of beer costs on average £3.99 (A$6.76) at English Premier League venues. Yet fans in Australia can be held to ransom if they want to enjoy a beer at the footy or cricket.

Ahead of this year’s third cricket Test, the Adelaide Oval was criticised for planning to raise its already high price of beer to A$9.20. Following public pressure prices were held at A$8.90 (for 425ml).

However, beer at Adelaide is better value than Domain Stadium in Perth, where $8 only buys 330ml of beer. Compared to the average price of beer in Australia ($6.44 for a lager) it is clear that stadium prices are at a premium.

Different serving sizes can often mask higher prices, making it hard for a fan to tell if a $5.40 Carlton Draught at the MCG is better value than paying $8 for a Carlton Mid at the SCG. Stadiums may boast that their beer is cheaper than another – but such claims can be misleading, and fans can be exploited.

The global picture

Exchange rates make global price comparisons even more difficult and leave fans at the mercy of stadium operators. But, surprisingly, when beer sizes and prices are standardised, Australian venues don’t fare too badly.

Although Australian stadiums don’t measure up to some of their European counterparts, beer is generally cheaper here than at North American venues. Ahead of the pack in this beer swindle are the Philadelphia Eagles, which charge US$8.50 (A$11.50) for a 12oz (355ml) beer.

The food and drink served at stadiums have long been a point of angst for sport-mad Australians. Research shows fans are not satisfied with the price, quality and service of this element of the fan experience. They are frustrated by the limited options of weak, poor-quality beer at stadiums.

Worst aspect of match experience according to Australian fans.
Keith Parry

Overseas stadiums leave many Australian venues far behind when it comes to choice. Australian fans may drink large quantities of beer at games, but they are increasingly looking for higher-quality offerings – and craft beer in particular. Craft beer consumption is increasing in Australia, but the trend is yet to infiltrate Australian sport.

Throughout the US, however, it is standard to find five or ten locally brewed and independent craft beers on tap at major venues. For example, Major League Soccer (MLS) side Sporting Kansas City has Boulevard Brewing on its concession stands. And the Tap Room public bar at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium features close to 50 craft beer options from across Florida.

Tap Room at Hard Rock Stadium.
Blair Hughes

Closer to home, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium has partnered with local brewery Garage Project to feature its range of craft beers along with a rotating selection of New Zealand craft beers.

The Garage Project partnership at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.
Blair Hughes

Advances in beer services

Technology is playing a part in the push for implementing craft beer.

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles created a special, technologically advanced, ice-cream-type foam that sits atop beer cups to keep it ice-cold for longer. And self-serve beer vending machines are on the rise throughout American stadiums to serve both quality beer options while cutting down the time fans are away from their seats.

Collaborations between teams, stadiums and craft beer breweries are on the rise. Teams such the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and MLS side DC United have their own lines of pale ales for fans.

In England, football clubs including Reading FC have called on fans to name their new match-day pale ale. West Ham United’s new ground features two types of craft beer – Boleyn Bitter and Iron Ale. This further highlights the emphasis that stadiums and teams are placing on engaging with fans through quality craft beer.

With falling attendance numbers in many Australian venues, there is a need for an improved fan experience to attract stay-away fans, particularly as sports teams are competing with a growing number of alternative entertainment options.

Given the importance of alcohol to Australians, sports teams can score an easy win by offering more varied and higher-quality beer at games. Fans are irritated when they are continually offered mid-strength beer; they are demanding more for their money.

Fans are irritated and frustrated when they are continually offered mid-strength beer.
Blair Hughes

The way forward

Australian stadiums should look overseas for innovations in their beer offerings. Here are seven suggestions for satisfying thirsty stadium-goers:

  • prices published online to allow fans to make informed choices and to allow comparison;
  • better options of local independent craft beer made available;
  • teams to collaborate with local breweries for team-branded beers for fans;
  • cup-holders in stadium seating so beers stay colder for longer;
  • designated driver programs, where fans receive free soft drinks in exchange for being the designated driver for their friends (a very popular program at US stadiums);
  • ice-foam technology to keep beers colder for longer; and
  • no charge for beer trays.
Beer options at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
Blair Hughes

There have been some recent changes to the typical restricted drinks menus on offer. A small number of stadiums throughout Australia are now selling craft beers, but these are still a minority.

After speaking with stadium representatives to gauge the interest in offering local independent craft beer options, many have suggested that fans will soon likely see more availability of locally produced brews, albeit in small quantities to keep pourage rights holders and catering companies happy.

The stadium fan experience is evolving at a rapid pace, with global venues locked in an arms race to improve, revolutionise, and add value to the offering for fans on match days. There is a concerted effort to listen to fans’ concerns and get them out of their home sport caves and into the ground.The Conversation

Keith Parry, Lecturer in Sport Management, Western Sydney University and Blair Hughes, PhD Candidate, Western Sydney University

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

Pallet trucks for SME’s

Jungheinrich has launched an entry-level range of pallet trucks for low-duty applications.

This new range of electric pedestrian trucks is designed for retailers, print shops, workshops or garden centers, or even small to medium-sized businesses that routinely need to move heavy individual items.

The range includes EJE M13 (1300kg) and EJE M15 (1500kg) electric pedestrian pallet trucks. The AC drive motor provides fast and efficient transport of pallets over short distances. An intelligent automatic shutoff system turns the truck off automatically after 30 minutes of non-use, conserving energy and the battery.

All trucks are fitted with a maintenance-free, three-phase AC motor and a maintenance-free gel battery with integrated charger as well as an ergonomic Jungheinrich tiller, offering fast, efficient and safe throughput, claims the manufacturer.

Moving loads in these applications can be difficult if the operator only has a conventional hand pallet truck,” says Greg McNamara, National Jungheinrich Product Manager. “The initial effort required to get the load moving, and then stopping, can be a possible OH&S risk or if not, sometimes impossible with a manual pallet truck.”
The Jungheinrich EJE M13 and EJE M15 electric pallet trucks are now available from NTP Forklifts Australia.

Victorian Manufacturing Showcase features food innovation

A large audience gathered recently at the Victorian Manufacturing Showcase in Ballarat to hear from business leaders about challenges and opportunities in emerging growth sectors, with a strong emphasis on innovation, products and markets.

Key factors considered central to success in today’s changing manufacturing environment included an ability to adapt, development of a competitive risk-taking culture, and exploiting collaboration with other companies and universities.

Also highlighted was the critical role of strong leadership, involvement of employees in seeking new ideas and productivity improvement, and recognising the importance of consistently delivering quality added value products for clients.

True Foods is an Australian owned family business that was established in 2001 as a specialist manufacturer of flat bread products.

In 2011 the company purchased a major production facility in the Victorian regional town of Maryborough which consists of 27 acres with 3 acres under roof.

True Foods Director, Mark Thurlow, says the company has experienced enormous growth in its production capabilities, now employs some 250 people, and has an annual turnover of around $50 million.

“We have grown to become the largest Australian owned manufacturer of Tortilla Wraps, flatbread products, and bakery snacks such as crumpets and pikelets, and this is supported by a supply chain that distributes significant volumes of shelf stable, ambient and frozen products nation-wide,” he said.

“Innovation is a driving force in our success and we continue to invest in new capabilities and capacity to bring innovative new products to market for our customers, which range from large multi-national supermarket brands and international franchise groups to weight loss companies and health food chains.

“Our culture of innovation is aimed at finding unique solutions across the entire value chain – from new product development, to purchasing of raw materials, and finding new production and supply chain efficiencies. We are always looking to invest in new capabilities that are synergistic with our existing purchasing, production and supply chain efficiencies.

“The focus on innovation is backed by an R&D team that is equipped for rapid prototyping to help us quickly focus on a clients’ specific brief, and our multiple production lines have all been modified to make slightly different products. This in turn means that the company has some of the broadest capability in Australia to offer a range of products, with or without inclusions, and to make multiple health claims.”

“We are constantly increasing the range of products we offer, and because of our ability to run segregated production lines, allergen-free, gluten-free, organic, Kosher or Halal products can be effectively processed.”

“It is people that make a business and development of a loyal culture and a highly reliable workforce is essential. We have established a diverse management team with backgrounds in food manufacturing, food technology, logistics management, corporate finance and marketing, and a key feature of the company’s culture is to encourage and listen to employee ideas.”

 

 

Read the full article in the February issue of Food and Beverage industry News

Machine automation controller

Omron electronics has released its entry level controller, NX1P, designed for small to midsize production machines. Based on the Sysmas (System for Machine Automation Control) platform, the controller features advanced motion control and networking for onsite IoT.

It is battery free and reduces machine maintenance, featuring an SD memory card slot to restore, back-up and verify data in the controller.

With one or two built-in option boards, there is no need to increase the size of the control panel for adding serial and analog communication.

This makes it a compact controller with push-in-plus terminals at the I/O and CPU unit to strengthen connection and save wiring time.

According to the company, these features together with a fast execution time of 3.3ns makes the controller an easy-to-use, high performance compact controller.

Moreover, the controller has built-in Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT ports. EtherCAT allows connection between I/O devices with a single cable providing control for up to eight servo systems, reducing wiring work.

Single-axis position control and four axes of motion control can also be achieved through electronic gear/cam and linear/circular interpolation. IO-Link master is enabled, meaning downtime is reduced and status of machines can be detected quickly and precisely.

New switchbox for food processing plants

The new GEMÜ 4242 combi switchbox is suitable for secure and fast applications in most food and other types of process plants.

It is small, compact and light, and is ideal for pneumatically operated linear actuators. With its integrated 3/2-way pilot valve made of anodized aluminium or stainless steel, the new combi switchbox 4242 from GEMÜ, the Ingelfingen-based specialist for valves, measurement and control systems, is especially designed for smaller and medium nominal sizes. It is particularly well suited for secure and fast applications with a stroke of 2 to 30 mm.

The design is compact and saves material, and in comparison with competitors’ products, it is much smaller. This has a favourable effect on pricing and provides protection for the environment at the same time.

Green engineering is part of the GEMÜ range. The pneumatic and electrical connections of the combi switchbox save  space and enable easy access as they are positioned in one direction. This means that the combi switchbox can be fitted quickly and easily without any great need for cabling, and there are no problems during servicing either.

Mounting and commissioning is made simpler by a speed-AP function. A manual override enables fast diaphragm change. This all saves time and money, and lowers the planning efforts.

The combi switchbox has a microprocessor-controlled, intelligent position sensor and an analogue, integrated travel sensor system. The combi switchbox provides extended diagnostics, and reports various programming, sensor and pneumatic faults using high visibility.

The end positions are programmed on site via the reed contact, using a solenoid on the top of the housing, but without a PLC connection. The position of the reed contact in the housing is clearly marked. The housing therefore need not be opened. Mechanical openings in the housing for buttons and switches are therefore not required.

Mother Earth to partner with Netball Victoria

Netball Victoria has announced that Mother Earth has formed a new partnership with our Clinics and Camps program in 2017.

Mother Earth is the flagship brand of Prolife Foods New Zealand, manufacturer and producers of the Mother Earth range of snacks, nuts and spreads including Baked Oaty Slices, Fruit Sticks and Brekkie on the Go!

“We are delighted to have Mother Earth partner with us for Netball Victoria Clinic and Camps in 2017,” said Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King.

“Mother Earth is the perfect fit for Netball Victoria with its wholesome range of snacks, nuts and spreads matching our desire to promote healthy and active lifestyle choices in the netball community.”

As part of the partnership Mother Earth will provide clinic funding, where children have fun improving their skills and making new friends.

King’s sentiments were echoed by Kevin Hawkes, general manager grocery & marketing Mother Earth.

“Mother Earth is thrilled to come on board as a major partner of Netball Victoria Camps and Clinics,” said Hawkes.

“We have always supported community and family through a range of programs including some junior and club level netball sponsorships in New Zealand.”

“This partnership is a perfect opportunity to invest in grass roots netball here as the Mother Earth brand increases its presence and investment in Australia.”

Aussie wine exporters celebrate ChAFTA’s anniversary

One year ago today, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) entered into force. From this date, Australian wine exporters could claim preferential tariff reductions through accompanying wine consignments with a ChAFTA Certificate of Origin.

Australian wine exports have had two tariff reductions since the entering of force of ChAFTA. For most wine, the rate has fallen from 14% to the current rate of 8.4% and will drop further to 5.6% on 1 January 2017, giving Australian winemakers a substantial competitive advantage over our European counterparts.

Australian wine exporters have made the most of the preferential tariff rates into China and China is now Australia’s most valuable wine export market. In the last 12 months, exports to mainland China have grown by over 50% per cent to just under $500 million. To put this in context, just a decade ago, Australian wine exports to China were valued at $27 million.

The trade benefits of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement, and the growing Chinese middle class’ increased interest in wine, have meant that more than a third of Australian wine exports priced $10 and more per litre FOB, are now destined for China (valued at almost $200 million and up over 60 per cent).

‘The demand for our premium wines in China shows no sign of abating and the next round of tariff cuts will give us a further advantage over our next biggest rivals in France’ said Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

He went on to say ‘The Australian Governments’ continued emphasis on pursuing trade opportunities and reducing market access barriers is welcomed by the wine sector and the benefits of this will flow on to rural and regional Australia over the next decade’.

Positive outlook for Australian sheep producers in 2017

The New Year should see the Australian lamb and sheep market benefit from reduced supplies and positive demand from domestic consumers according to the Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) 2017 Sheep Industry projections.

MLA’s Manager of Market Information Ben Thomas said lamb slaughter is projected to be 22 million head for 2017, down 2% from the estimated 2016 level.

“While this is a decline year-on-year, 22 million head is still in line with the long-term growth trend observed over the past decade,” Mr Thomas said.

“Breaking the annual processing down to a quarterly basis, it is anticipated that the June and September quarters will be when supplies are the tightest. Lamb availability in the March quarter on the other hand, is likely to benefit from carry-over stocks from the final months of 2016, when extremely wet weather delayed many lambs coming to market.”

Assuming average seasonal conditions and a return to normal lamb marking rates, the numbers of lambs processed are anticipated to increase to 23 million head by 2020.

Thomas said Australian lamb production for 2017 is projected to ease 2% to 492,000 tonnes carcase weight (cwt), and while this is a year-on-year decline, the volume is in the realms of record territory.

“The Australian domestic market is anticipated to remain the largest consumer and account for 48% of production, or 237,000 tonnes cwt, with many encouraging signs coming from the market,” he said.

“For instance, domestic per capita consumption has stabilised in recent years, while at the same time the weighted average retail price has been increasing.

“To put this in perspective, domestic lamb retail prices in 2016 averaged just 10 cents shy of the record high set in 2011, at $14.51/kg, and per capita consumption is 8% higher now than what it was then.”

On the export front, Australian lamb shipments are anticipated to ease 4% year-on-year in 2017, to 220,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt).

“While this will be the third consecutive year of slightly lower exports, volumes are still in excess of 200,000 tonnes swt – a level breached for only the first time in 2013. The major markets are likely to again be the US, China and the Middle East,” Thomas said.

A recovery in lamb exports is forecast from 2018, with volumes expected to reach a record 235,000 tonnes swt by 2020.

“The longer-term export outlook should be underpinned by further growth in demand in Asia, especially China, the US and the Middle East, a lower Australian dollar, diminishing New Zealand exports, and Australia’s projected growth in production,” Mr Thomas said.

“Uncertainty surrounds the impact of Brexit on access to both the UK and EU. If negotiations result in expansion of Australia’s meagre sheepmeat access to these markets, it could provide a significant lift to exports and prices.”

Dematic scores Asahi contract

Asahi Beverages, comprising some of Australia and New Zealand’s most successful beverage businesses, including Schweppes Australia, Asahi Premium Beverages, Independent Liquor and The Better Drinks Co., has awarded Dematic a contract to build a high bay warehouse storage facility.

The warehouse in Heathwood, Queensland, will consist of a satellite storage solution containing six aisles of six-deep satellite ColbyRack capable of storing 28,000 pallets.

The automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) will include six new Dematic RapidStore Storage Retrieval Machines (SRMs) with Dematic’s latest “free roaming” Automover satellite carts. The solution will also feature Skate Auto-loading Truck Docks, a pallet conveyor system, stretch wrapper, automatic barcode labelling, and a full case picking area.

“Dematic was selected by Asahi Beverages as their preferred logistics integration partner following an extensive tender process that assessed experience, comprehensiveness of offering, and local capability,” said David Rubie, Dematic’s Manager of Industry Logistics.

“We look forward to working with Asahi Beverages to deliver a supply chain solution that is a core component of their ongoing success.”

“Our new Queensland high bay warehouse is another major step forward in the transformation of our customer centric logistics network,” said Tracey Wagner, General Manager, Logistics and Customer Operations, Asahi Beverages.

“We are pleased to be working with an experienced integrator such as Dematic on this crucial program.”

Harris Farm turns off the tap for cheap milk

Harris Farm Markets is removing all $1 per litre milk from its shelves across its 24 stores in New South Wales, in a bid to support the local dairy industry.

Harris Farm Markets will stock its own Farmer Friendly Milk range that will sell for $2.29 per two litres. The grocer is working with New South Wales-based farmer-owned cooperative processors who are transparent about their farm gate price, so they can ensure a fair price is being paid to dairy farmers with this new range.

Harris Farm Markets says that it believes milk is a beautiful, natural product and should be sold at a fair price that doesn’t see farmers selling their milk for less than the cost of production.

The retail price is reflective of the true cost of production, allowing Harris Farm to return 95 per cent of the sale price back to the cooperative and onto the farmers who own it.

Farmer Friendly Milk is a higher-quality milk (than its $1 per litre counterpart) with a higher butterfat content of 3.6 per cent, so it’s creamier, because there isn’t the price pressure on the processor to extract as much of the butter fat to create margin in other dairy products.

Harris Farm Markets Co-CEO Tristan Harris said the announcement this week comes after several months of planning to ensure the best product at the best price – for all parties – was going on shelf.

“We understand that people want good value on products that they use lots of every day. However, we believe most people don’t agree that it should be cheap at all cost, including the costs of lives and livelihoods of Aussie farmers,” Tristan said.

“We are charging $2.29 for two litres of milk. We still believe this represents great value for customers but not at the expense of farmers.

“As a family-owned business we knew we wanted to make a difference where we do have control, and after seeing the uproar from farmers, advocates and the public on $1 per litre milk earlier this year, we were compelled to change our approach to milk.”

The Farmer Friendly Milk is on shelves and available in the online store in two-litre bottles of full cream and lite options.

Harris Farm Markets said that it will continue to stock a wide range of milks from a variety of suppliers large and small, and continues to work with these suppliers on transparency around pricing to ensure a fair go for the participating farmers.

Fountain squeezes in new packaging just before Xmas

Australian sauce maker, Fountain, has today unveiled new packaging across its bottled sauce range, featuring new on-pack product information and imagery.

From December, the refreshed packaging will start to appear across the range, which includes a variety of sauces for every occasion, ensuring meals can be enriched with flavour at any stage of the cooking process, from start to finish.

The changes have been made based on loyal consumer insights that found home cooks prefer products to have clear labelling, in addition to useful tips and suggestions to help them to make decisions on which sauces to use at home.

The new coloured labels will now display key details such as whether a variant is gluten free or has no artificial colours and flavours and packaging has also been redesigned to demonstrate the comprehensive range of flavours, along with providing flavour inspiration to current and new consumers of the brand.

Although the packaging of the Fountain sauce range has undergone a makeover, brand manager at Fountain, Gillian O’Brien says that the trusted and much-loved Aussie recipes have not.

“At Fountain, we’re excited to unveil the new branding, which has been revamped to make the range easier to shop for and enable customers to make informed decisions.We can assure Australians that we have not changed any ingredients in the sauces that our consumers know and love – each sauce is still bursting with flavour.” she said.

The full range includes Hoi Sin, Hot Chilli, Mint, Satay, Soy, Soy & Honey, Spicy Red, Steak, Sweet Chilli, Thick Mint, Mild Mexican Chilli, Plum, Sweet & Sour, and Mustard, as well as its range of Tomato & BBQ sauces, which are available in a number of convenient formats.

Amcor unveils new PET stock bottle for dairy products

Amcor Rigid Plastics has launched a new collection of crystal clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) stock bottles and preforms for dairy, aseptic, and high-pressure processed (HPP) liquid beverages.

Amcor’s new stock bottle and preform collection represents one of the industry’s largest lines of dairy-specific products providing significant design flexibility based on a wide range of package shapes and sizes.

“Along with consumer appeal, our comprehensive PET package portfolio for dairy and juice provides brand owners and manufacturers with convenience and reduced product line complexity, enabling efficient and cost-effective product management, “ said Alex Warren, manager of marketing and strategic business development for Amcor’s Beverage Business Unit.

These premium bottles are aesthetically-pleasing, easy to handle, and meet the needs of on-the-go consumers. They are spill-proof and offer higher quality and better sealing than competitive containers. Convenient sizes meet today’s busy consumer lifestyles and enable healthier, controlled portion sizes.

The large, comprehensive product line enables multiple applications and one-stop shopping for manufacturers thanks to the availability of three shapes, four bottle capacities, three finishes, and three filling types, according to Amcor.

Multiple applications for each SKU enable efficient and cost-effective product management. The stock bottle collection also offers compelling shapes and sleek premium designs which help brand owners achieve differentiation on the store shelf.

The new dairy bottle portfolio delivers high performance and is designed to maximize process efficiencies while applying industry-leading technologies including the lightweight Bericap Aseptic finish.

Superior sealing is achieved due to the tight tolerance of the finish, product spoilage is virtually eliminated, and secondary packaging and distribution costs are reduced. For brand owners and co-packers, Amcor’s superior vacuum absorbing technology provides bottle stability even during challenging altitudes and temperatures encountered during transportation and distribution.

 

Nice to meat you: 3D printed meat is on its way

By using a meat extract as ink, layer-by-layer, a food could be created that is as soft as butter and like meat, packed with nutrients. In a report by ABC news, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) was alerted to the possibility of 3D printed red meat after seeing it done with chicken meat in Germany.

Currently they have investigated a way to turn every last bit of meat from the bone into a high value product and believes it is feasible with a high protein ink or powder could be used in a 3D printer.

“You could have a sugar ink, fat ink and by using those different ink pots you could create a food that is catered to a specific calorific and protein value,”

Sean Starling, general manager of Research, Development and Innovation at MLA, said.

The 3D printed meat would be targeted at people who have trouble chewing and swallowing and suffer dysphagia, those nutrients are hard to get.

MLA had found in Germany has 3D printed food in 1,000 nursing homes, and 3D printed food would be more appetising than pureed food.

CSIRO looks at 3D printer created foods

“We believe the biggest opportunity is for people who have trouble consuming a full bodied steak, the aged and disabled, who can’t eat highly textured and highly interconnective muscle foods,” Starling said.

“We’re thinking you could still print a steak, you’ll get the perception of a steak, the taste of a steak, but it will be almost like butter to chew through and swallow.”

According to ABC news, the CSIRO’s team leader in Meat Science Dr Aarti Tobin said the combination of gels and starches with the meat ink will have to produce something delicious. Dr Tobin said the CSIRO Meat Science team had worked on recombined meat from a meat paste.

“The cubes were nice and soft, looked like diced meat, once you put it into your mouth you just pushed it against your palette and they fell apart and formed a nice poultice.”

Auspack continues to grow processing for 2017

Processing machinery will continue to be a critical focus for AUSPACK 2017 with an impressive list of companies that have already signed up to exhibit and with an inaugural Processing Day held on Wednesday March 8, 2017.

According to Mr Luke Kasprzak, Portfolio Director – Industrial Division, Exhibitions and Trade Fairs, ‘companies such as TNA Australia, Heat & Control, Walls Machinery, Krones and JL Lennard are just some of the processing exhibitors returning in 2017,’

“In addition we have international processing companies such as Haver & Boecker and FB Propak as well as local Viking Food Solutions and first time exhibitors Aurora Process Solutions also exhibiting next year,” Mr Kasprzak said.

Within Packaging and Processing Week, AUSPACK will also feature an inaugural PROCESSING DAY on Wednesday March 8, 2017. “Multiple processing events will be held throughout the day with dedicated educational sessions, workshops, meetings and networking gatherings.

Processors and processing machinery suppliers will discuss issues industry is currently facing and learn how latest technology can help them to overcome those.”

“The processing equipment side of AUSPACK continues to grow with more processing content then ever before. This will add true value to the visitor experience at the show so we encourage anyone involved in processing to register and attend this main event for processing and packaging industries.”

AUSPACK 2017 will be held on the 7-10 March at the Sydney Showground and free registration is now open. To register, please visit www.auspack.com.au

Flexible optical sensors to control beverage quality

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have developed an innovative optical sensor using conventional tape, a low-cost and flexible material that can be easily acquired at stationery shops. It can detect variations of the optical properties of a liquid when is immersed. The sensor can be used to control both the quality of beverages and environmental monitoring.

Light from an LED is introduced in one of end of a piece of tape and the light that emerges from the other end is detected through a photodiode.

The light coupling to the flexible waveguide is mediated by a diffractive element using a grating with aluminum lines of nano dimensions; it is added to the tape through a simple process of “tear and paste.” Both ends of the waveguide can be easily adhered to the LED emitter and the light detector (photodiode).
Because of the flexibility of the tape, the waveguide can bend and is partially immersed in the liquid under examination. Due to the waveguide bend, part of the propagated light is lost by radiation.

This curvature loss depends on the refractive index of the surrounding medium. Thus, it is possible to detect variations of the refractive index of the liquid by photodiode measurement of the optical power lost during the path of light through the immersed waveguide.
The refractive index of a liquid solution is related to both its physical and chemical properties, including density and concentration.

Thus, researchers can assess, for example, the maturation degree of grapes by measuring the refractive index of grape juice; it could also detect the alcoholic content of certain beverages. The sensor can be used in the food sector for process control and beverage quality, and in the environmental sector for water quality control.
The materials and components used to develop this sensor are common and inexpensive. Additionally, the assembly of the three main components of the sensor is simple and there is no need for instrumentation or specialized tools.

Therefore, the assembly can be carried out by non-qualified personnel.
Dr. Carlos Angulo Barrios, the lead researcher for this project, says, “These features, along with the flexibility of the tape, make this sensor very advantageous regarding other optical instruments for the detection of refractive index more complex, rigid and expensive, especially in field applications and on-site analysis of liquids in areas of difficult access.”
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-12-flexible-optical-sensors-quality-beverages.html#jCp

Methane from food production – the next wildcard in climate change

Methane concentrations in the atmosphere are growing faster than any time in the past 20 years. The increase is largely driven by the growth in food production, according to the Global Methane Budget released today. Methane is contributing less to global warming than carbon dioxide (CO₂), but it is a very powerful greenhouse gas.

Since 2014, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have begun to track the most carbon-intensive pathways developed for the 21st century by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The growth of methane emissions from human activities comes at a time when CO₂ emissions from burning fossil fuels have stalled over the past three years.

If these trends continue, methane growth could become a dangerous climate wildcard, overwhelming efforts to reduce CO₂ in the short term.

Methane concentration pathways from IPCC and observations from the NOAA measuring network (Saunois et al 2016, Environmental Research Letters). The projected global warming range by the year 2100, relative to 1850-1900, is shown for each pathway.

In two papers published today (see here and here), we bring together the most comprehensive ensemble of data and models to build a complete picture of methane and where it is going – the global methane budget. This includes all major natural and human sources of methane, and the places where it ends up in methane “sinks” such as the atmosphere and the land.

This work is a companion effort to the global CO₂ budget published annually, both by international scientists under the Global Carbon Project.

Where does all the methane go?

Methane is emitted from multiple sources, mostly from land, and accumulates in the atmosphere. In our greenhouse gas budgets, we look at two important numbers.

First, we look at emissions (which activities are producing greenhouse gases).

Second, we look at where this gas ends up. The important quantity here is the accumulation (concentration) of methane in the atmosphere, which leads to global warming. The accumulation results from the difference between total emissions and the destruction of methane in the atmosphere and uptake by soil bacteria.

CO₂ emissions take centre stage in most discussions to limit climate change. The focus is well justified, given that CO₂ is responsible for more than 80% of global warming due to greenhouse gases. The concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere (now around 400 parts per million) has risen by 44% since the Industrial Revolution (around the year 1750).

While CO₂ in the atmosphere has increased steadily, methane concentrations grew relatively slowly throughout the 2000s, but since 2007 have grown ten times faster. Methane increased faster still in 2014 and 2015.

Remarkably, this growth is occurring on top of methane concentrations that are already 150% higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution (now around 1,834 parts per billion).

The global methane budget is important for other reasons too: it is less well understood than the CO₂ budget and is influenced to a much greater extent by a wide variety of human activities. About 60% of all methane emissions come from human actions.

These include living sources – such as livestock, rice paddies and landfills – and fossil fuel sources, such as emissions during the extraction and use of coal, oil and natural gas.

We know less about natural sources of methane, such as those from wetlands, permafrost, termites and geological seeps.

Biomass and biofuel burning originates from both human and natural fires.

Global methane budget 2003-2012 based on Saunois et al. 2016, Earth System Science Data. See the Global Carbon Atlas at https://www.globalcarbonatlas.org.

Given the rapid increase in methane concentrations in the atmosphere, what factors are responsible for its increase?

Uncovering the causes

Scientists are still uncovering the reasons for the rise. Possibilities include: increased emissions from agriculture, particularly from rice and cattle production; emissions from tropical and northern wetlands; and greater losses during the extraction and use of fossil fuels, such as from fracking in the United States. Changes in how much methane is destroyed in the atmosphere might also be a contributor.

Our approach shows an emerging and consistent picture, with a suggested dominant source along with other contributing secondary sources.

First, carbon isotopes suggest a stronger contribution from living sources than from fossil fuels. These isotopes reflect the weights of carbon atoms in methane from different sources. Methane from fossil fuel use also increased, but evidently not by as much as from living sources.

Second, our analysis suggests that the tropics were a dominant contributor to the atmospheric growth. This is consistent with the vast agricultural development and wetland areas found there (and consistent with increased emissions from living sources).

This also excludes a dominant role for fossil fuels, which we would expect to be concentrated in temperate regions such as the US and China. Those emissions have increased, but not by as much as from tropical and living sources.

Third, state-of-the-art global wetland models show little evidence for any significant increase in wetland emissions over the study period.

The overall chain of evidence suggests that agriculture, including livestock, is likely to be a dominant cause of the rapid increase in methane concentrations. This is consistent with increased emissions reported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and does not exclude the role of other sources.

Remarkably, there is still a gap between what we know about methane emissions and methane concentrations in the atmosphere. If we add all the methane emissions estimated with data inventories and models, we get a number bigger than the one consistent with the growth in methane concentrations. This highlights the need for better accounting and reporting of methane emissions.

We also don’t know enough about emissions from wetlands, thawing permafrost and the destruction of methane in the atmosphere.

The way forward

At a time when global CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels and industry have stalled for three consecutive years, the upward methane trend we highlight in our new papers is unwelcome news. Food production will continue to grow strongly to meet the demands of a growing global population and to feed a growing global middle class keen on diets richer in meat.

However, unlike CO₂, which remains in the atmosphere for centuries, a molecule of methane lasts only about 10 years.

This, combined with methane’s super global warming potency, means we have a massive opportunity. If we cut methane emissions now, this will have a rapid impact on methane concentrations in the atmosphere, and therefore on global warming.

There are large global and domestic efforts to support more climate-friendly food production with many successes, ample opportunities for improvement, and potential game-changers.

However, current efforts are insufficient if we are to follow pathways consistent with keeping global warming to below 2℃. Reducing methane emissions needs to become a prevalent feature in the global pursuit of the sustainable future outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The Conversation

Pep Canadell, CSIRO Scientist, and Executive Director of the Global Carbon Project, CSIRO; Ben Poulter, Research scientist, NASA; Marielle Saunois, Enseignant chercheur à l’Université de Versailles Saint Quentin; chercheur au Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace; Paul Krummel, Research Group Leader, CSIRO; Philippe Bousquet, Professeur à l’université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, chercheur au Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l’environnement (LSCE), membre de l’Institut de France, auteur contributif d’un chapitre des deux derniers rapports du GIEC, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines – Université Paris-Saclay , and Rob Jackson, Professor, Earth System Science and Chair of the Global Carbon Project, Stanford University

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

Beef jerky brand moo-ving at a rapid rate

Launched in 2012 by northern NSW-based company New World Foods is a snack food company on the move.

According to Managing Director  and the brains behind the brand, Don Nisbet, he always had the ambition to develop a range of snack food products and a legends brand.

Around five years ago, the Local Legends concept came into his head.

“The Bob Marley album Legend inspired me to create the brand as he’s obviously a legendary guy. The first concept artwork featured Mohammed Ali on the back of the packs because the idea was to associate legendary people with the brand.

“A lot of these people came from a difficult background and went on to become household names but we wanted a brand that could connect local people too so as it transpired we brought that in” he said.

The company has seen growth year on year of 25 per cent plus including expanding internationally.

Nisbet and his team became involved with a local grassroots AFL club and enlisted a legendary player, Danny Frawley, to launch the brand.

The company was set up to on the basis of every unit sold meant money was donated back into football allowing the Local Legends brand to connect to local people.

According to Nisbet, jerky is an honest, wholesome and funky product that fit the existing brand.

“I’ve been running New World Foods for many years and with protein being such a necessary staple, it was the perfect tie in to give the brand a healthy image” he said.

“I spent a lot of time looking at the whole sport supplement space and seeing products that called themselves health foods but were loaded full of synthesized protein.

“What we’re offering is a very natural protein” he said.

The company has seen growth year on year of 25 per cent plus including expanding internationally.

As of this month, Local Legends Original Beef Jerky is the brands’ highest selling unit. The company recently signed a deal with Snack Brands Australia to be distributed into their network ensuring increased exposure.

For the future Don said his intention “was to make Local Legends the leading meat snack brand in the country. We’re going to take the brand into other areas including some exciting new products and, in the next calendar year, the brand will take on a refreshed look.”

Packaging & supply chain bodies pack Xmas hampers worth $120,000

Last Friday , over 170 people from the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), the Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) and the QLD Supply Chain and Logistics Conference (QSCLC) spent their Christmas Party packing over 1100 hampers for Foodbank to provide to those in need during the holiday season.

The hampers included 800 family hampers, 200 ladies packs and 110 children’s packs. The total value of the hampers was over $120,000 worth of items that were either donated, or the funds raised for, by the industry.

According to the AIP, the hampers would not be possible without the continued support from the industry including Campbells Arnotts, Colgate, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Edex, Tip Top GW Foods, All Purpose Transport, Office Max, BDO, APPMA, Orora, Linde Forklifts, Tip Top Foodservice -GW Foods, Coles and Department of Housing and Public Works.

Over the last five years, the team has packed 5400 hampers to the value of close to $660,000 for people in need and looks forward to even more hampers in 2017.

Ari Mervis appointed CEO and MD of Murray Goulburn

The Chairman of Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited (MG), Philip Tracy, today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Ari Mervis as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of MG and MG Responsible Entity Limited.

He will commence on Monday, 13 February 2017. Commenting on the appointment of Mr Mervis, Mr Tracy highlighted the Board’s desire for MG’s incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to possess extensive operations and consumer goods experience.

“After a comprehensive international search, the Board unanimously agreed that Ari was the ideal choice to lead MG at this critical juncture in its history. We are delighted to have secured a candidate with a proven track record of delivering results and operational success across multiple geographies,” Tracy said.

Mervis’ career with SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, began in 1989 and included senior positions in South Africa, Swaziland, Russia and Hong Kong. In his most recent capacity, Mervis was Managing Director of SABMiller in the Asia Pacific and CEO of Carlton & United Breweries in Melbourne, with responsibility for overseeing businesses across Asia Pacific including China, India, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining MG and see it as an enormous privilege to lead such an iconic business that plays an important role in the daily lives and livelihoods of so many Australians,”  Mervis said.

“Murray Goulburn is a great company, with a long and proud history. I am looking forward to partnering with MG’s dairy farmers, employees, customers and stakeholders to restore this great Australian co-operative, as we adapt to the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy industry globally.

“I look forward to working with the Board and Executive Leadership Team to ensure we strengthen MG’s position as Australia’s leading dairy company,” Mervis commented. In making the announcement Mr Tracy paid tribute to interim Chief Executive Officer, David Mallinson.

“As interim CEO, David has led MG with conviction and discipline during an exceptionally challenging period, focussing on the twin priorities of MG’s value-add strategy and achieving significant cost efficiencies to support stronger farmgate milk pricing for MG’s suppliers,” Tracy said.

 

Twinings releases new tea blend

Twinings has released a new blend, Twinings Morning Tea, created by Master Tea Blender Philippa Thacker and 10th generation Twining, Stephen Twining, due to hit shelves late January 2017.

“Speaking with dozens of Australian women during my recent tour around Australia, I discovered what women really wanted from a cup of tea was refreshment, and this was the inspiration for creating the new, Twinings Morning Tea said Ms Philippa Thacker, Twinings Master Tea Blender.

“Morning Tea is a blend of both high and low grown Ceylon teas from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. The high grown teas impart a refreshing character to the blend whilst the low grown tea gives colour, flavour and body, said Ms Thacker.

“Twinings Morning Tea has a clean flavour with no aftertaste, and can work equally well with a little milk, simply black or with a slice of fresh lemon”, concluded Ms Thacker.