AFGC warns of tough times ahead for food makers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Tomra acquires Compac for A$65m

Norway’s Tomra Systems has agreed to a buyout deal of NZ$70m (A$65m) for Kiwi fruit sorting company Compac Holdings.

The 100 per cent acquisition of the Auckland based packhouse automation systems maker by Tomra will see it expand extend its global operations.

The deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

“Market forces have driven double-digit growth at Compac over recent years, and we have rapidly become a global business from humble New Zealand roots,” Compac chief executive Mike Riley said.

He also added that the merger will see Compac being able to meet the increasing demands for their products and services in a more “scalable and operationally efficient manner”. Executive vice president and head of Tomra sorting Volker Rehrmann explained,

“Compac serves complimentary food sorting markets, which is a very welcome addition to the Tomra sorting food business. We see our customers’ needs evolving and with our complementary solutions and an increased ability to leverage our combined food sorting technologies, we are ready to meet future customer needs.”

Despite the acquisition, Compac’s leadership will stay in place in the new structure, operating as a standalone entity while Tomra will still continue to offer its existing product portfolio.

Tomra has also said it will continue to invest in Compac’s R&D activities as the Norwegian group’s “centre of excellence for lane sorting” worldwide.

South Australia banking on a brandy re-branding

Making brandy cool again and appealing to millennials with a growing appreciation for boutique spirits are the goals of a new distillery opened today by a leading Australian beverage company.

Bickford’s Australia has launched a craft range of spirits under the 23rd Street label at a reinvented distillery in South Australia’s Riverland.

The 23rd St Distillery, on the street of the same name in the town of Renmark, has launched two brandies, a gin and a hybrid whisky.

The former Renmano distillery will also produce craft spirits under its own label as well as well-known Australian label Black Bottle Brandy, Australia’s second biggest brandy brand.

It is about a kilometre away from the St Agnes distillery, the maker of Australia’s biggest selling brandy.

Bickford’s, established in South Australia in 1874 and historically known for its cordials and syrups, has grown strongly into the alcoholic beverage market in recent years.

It bought VOK Beverages in 2002 and has steadily built up a portfolio of well-known spirits brands including Beenleigh Rum, Real McCoy, El Toro and Vickers Gin.

It bought the Black Bottle Brandy label from Accolade in 2011 and has until now been making it out of its Beenleigh Rum distillery in Queensland. Vickers Gin and the new premium Black Bottle Very Special Australian Brandy will also be produced at the new Renmark distillery, which is about 260km northeast of the South Australian capital Adelaide.

Bickford’s bought the Renmark site from Accolade Wines in 2014 after receiving more than $2 million in Riverland Sustainable Futures Funding towards the establishment of a spirit distillery in the region.

The 23rd Street Distillery is the result of a $6.6-million transformation and rejuvenation of the century-old landmark.

“With research suggesting the younger millennials are a discerning generation looking to bring quality and premium products into their repertoire, our focus is very much on boutique products of exceptional body and taste,” 23rd Street Distillery’s Head Distiller, Graham Buller said.

“We’re blending our distilling knowledge and expertise – along with all the delicious local produce of the Riverland on our doorstep and those of the Adelaide Hills just a few hundred kilometres away – to create fun, exciting and prime sprits for the liberated palate.”

The new generation 23rd Street Not Your Nanna’s Brandy (AU $50) has spent two years ex- Chardonnay oak barrels to impart rich colour, smoothness and length.

It is described as having vanillin sweetness on the front palate that gives way to vivacious honey and apricot flavours before finishing with soft oak spiciness. It’s a brandy with a new flavour profile and proposition the distillery hopes will encourage a new, younger breed to the category.

Buller describes 23rd Street Prime 5 brandy (AU$80) as “the ultimate in refined character” and “a rich and complex fruitcake-in-a-glass”. Aged up to eight years, portions of traditional double pot distilled liquor deliver sophisticated richness and roundness which, combined with portions distilled by the single pot process, add liveliness to an outstanding limited edition craft brandy.

For the brand’s Signature Gin (A$80), Buller individually infuses 10 botanicals – including traditional juniper and coriander – and complements them with invigorating freshness from local mandarins and limes to create what he terms “a layered palate and full-bodied mouthfeel”.

The hybrid whiskey is, in Buller’s words, “the realisation of my dream to achieve the best of both worlds and create the perfect blend of scotch and bourbon whiskies”.

The barrels of Scotch and American bourbon – each with an average of five years’ individual maturation – are returned to bourbon barrels for finishing.

The new premium Black Bottle Very Special Australian Brandy is a blend of double and single pot distillation and matured for an average of eight years in a mix of French and American oak.

“We will also look to be creative and inventive, introducing new tastes and flavour combinations to the craft spirits industry that particularly resonate with millennials seeking maximum enjoyment by satisfying their sensory pleasures of savoury and sweet, bright and smooth, contradictory yet united,” Buller said.

“In addition, we hope to reignite brandy, give it a healthy dose of cool and engage consumers with a drink they thought was only for their nannas.”

Bickford’s Group Owner and Managing Director Angelo Kotses said the distillery was a chance for the company become a player in Australia’s booming craft spirits industry and leverage export markets.

“We looked at the international model where cognac all of a sudden became cool and consumption went up and markets such as Asia grew dramatically so it was an ideal time to look at that whole category again,” he said.

“Suddenly Renmark has become the centre of brandy in Australia and what we want to do is build the pie rather than take share from anyone else.

The new distillery’s production will centre on three restored vintage copper pot stills with the capacity to produce around 1500 litres – or about 11 barrels – of matured spirit during each run, positioning 23rd Street Distillery as Australia’s leading family-owned producer of branded spirits.

Kotses said having the marketing arm and manufacturing experience of a large beverage company, sufficient scale and existing buyers on hand globally was a boost for the new brands.

“What we’re seeing is the craft spirits guys can’t produce enough volume because of the equipment size and style,” he said.

“We’ve got this nice space where we can take advantage of scale and that also gives you a great quality product on a consistent basis that sometimes you can’t get with a small still.”

Published with approval from The Lead

Australian consumers demanding sustainably sourced seafood claims new research

Some 75 per cent of Australian seafood consumers believe in order to save the ocean, we have to consume fish and seafood only from sustainable sources, making it a top priority, reveals the Marine Stewardship Council’s annual report and independent research launched today.

This represents a significant shift in consumption habits as Australian seafood shoppers say they value sustainability over price, with 51 per cent willing to pay more for sustainably certified seafood, according to the report.

The new consumer data is the largest ever global analysis of attitudes to seafood consumption and was carried out by independent GlobeScan, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

“This research released in conjunction with MSC’s latest annual report shows Australian consumers are voting with their wallets to future-proof our oceans by opting for sustainably certified seafood.”

“This is not just a passing trend, it’s an evolution strongly driven by consumer demand that demonstrates greater engagement on traceability and consideration towards our food sources”, said Anne Gabriel, Oceania Program Director, MSC.

“With four out of five households (85 per cent) of Australians purchasing seafood on a regular basis, there’s an opportunity for consumers to make a tangible difference by choosing to source sustainable seafood.” In fact, noted Ms. Gabriel,

“Some 69 per cent of Australian seafood consumers state they want to know that the fish they buy can be traced back to known and trusted source.”

The consumer insights data also found that:

• A majority (54 per cent) of seafood consumers are likely to trust the source of the products if they are ecolabelled

• 71 per cent of Australians believe brands’ claims about sustainability need to be labelled by an independent org.

• Globally, 66 per cent of respondents are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, which is up from 55 per cent in 2014 and 50 per cent in 2013 (Nielsen’s The Sustainability Imperative, October 2015)

• 36 per cent of Australians say they are purchasing more ecolabelled seafood than a year ago

These figures support findings of the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, which showed that over the previous year, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability grew by more than 4 per cent globally, while those without grew less than 1 per cent.

A full copy of the report can be found here

Manuka Honey makers all abuzz over poor imitations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping Modern (Food) Manufacturing Secure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Insider Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Outside Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

This means any security system should be:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Forcepoint

www.forcepoint.com

 

 

 

Aussies diets leave a lot to be desired: CSIRO

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score report, released today, canvassed the dietary habits of more than 86,500 adults across the country over a 12-month period.

An early snapshot of the survey results released in August 2015 awarded the nation’s diet a score of 61 on a 100-point scale.

With almost 47,000 additional surveys completed since then that figure now stands at just 59 out of 100, confirming that Australian diets are worse than first thought.

“We have an image of being fit and healthy, but with a collective diet score of 59/100 that image could be very different unless we act now,” CSIRO Research Director and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes said.

According to the 2016 Healthy Diet Score, 80 per cent of respondents received an individual score below 70, which is a benchmark figure.

2016 CSIRO-HDS_Aussie diets fail the test

 

“If we can raise our collective score by just over 10 points, we help Australia mitigate against the growing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a third of all cancers, Professor Noakes said.

“All people need to do is halve the bad and double the good. In other words, halve the amount of discretionary food you eat and double your vegetable intake.”

People across Australia, in all occupations and age groups were invited to participate in the online survey between May 2015 and June 2016.

CSIRO researchers have used this information to create a detailed picture of the country’s eating habits.

The closest we get to meeting Australian Dietary Guidelines is the fruit food group where 49 per cent of respondents meet the recommended intake.

That means one in two of us still have room to improve.

But of greater concern is dietary performance in regard to discretionary, or junk foods.

Just 1 per cent of Australians are abstaining from junk food, while more than one third admitted to eating more than the recommended maximum allowance.

“We find that there is often a tendency to under-report on certain types of food, so in all likelihood that figure is even higher,” Professor Noakes said.

The report showed that women have better nutritional levels than men (60 v 56/100).

Construction workers were among those with the poorest diets, while public servants, real estate agents and health industry workers reported some of the healthiest eating patterns.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score also tracked food avoidance in diets for the first time, and found that approximately one in three Australian adults are avoiding one or more foods such as gluten, dairy or meat.

To get involved CSIRO is asking people to undertake The Healthy Diet Score – a free online assessment which evaluates diet quality and identifies individual areas of improvement, as well as providing a personal diet score out of 100.

“It is never too late to eat better and increase your score, and the nation’s,” Professor Noakes said.

“We encourage people to also take the test regularly to ensure they are improving their eating behaviour and overall health and wellbeing.”

 

2016 CSIROHDSAustralias average intake of discretionary foods exceeds

New food grade grease improves bearing performance

Schaeffler Australia has introduced FAG Arcanol FOOD2 grease which is designed to be sturdier and more energy saving than other lubricants on the market.

The latest FAG Arcanol FOOD2 grease not only meets strict sanitation standards, but also copes with high stresses and ambient conditions. It is also kosher and halal certified.

“Bearings typically used in the food and beverage industry are tapered roller bearings and angular contact ball bearings.”

These are bearings that are subjected to the most extreme stresses, so reducing friction is a big advantage which improves the bearings’ starting behaviour and reduces power consumption,” says Mark Ciechanowicz, Industrial Services Manager, Schaeffler Australia.

“The other major advantage of the FOOD2 grease is that it maintains its fluidity in cold environments, as low as -30 degrees Celsius. This is important for food and beverage manufacturers working with refrigerated environments,” said Ciechanowicz.

Aussie wine scoops three gold CWSA Awards

Calabria Wines has outclassed the competition at the recent China Wine & Spirits Awards, taking home three Gold Medals from the competition, including the prestigious Double Gold.

The company’s 2013 Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz was awarded the superior Double Gold, while the 2014 Three Bridges Durif & 2014 Three Bridges Barossa Valley Shiraz both won a Gold Medal.

“We are very proud of the success we have yielded for our Barossa wines. We have worked extremely hard to produce high quality wines from this region and the C.W.S.A accolades reinforce our long term commitment to the Barossa Valley” commented Calabria Wines third generation family member and Sales & Marketing Manager, Andrew Calabria.

Calabria Wines have been producing Three Bridges Durif for 15 years and it is the company’s most celebrated product.

Sacmi beverage & packaging plans to conquer Asia

Sacmi Group, a plant engineering provider to Indonesian industry will be attending the Plastic & Rubber Indonesia (Jakarta, 16-19 November 2016) to show existing and potential customers its comprehensive solutions range, which has improved in terms of product versatility and process automation.

Thanks to decades of experience developed in the closures field, Sacmi is able to provide all the intrinsic advantages of a technology with outstanding productivity and the lowest energy consumption on the market.

It was, in fact, starting from this technology that Sacmi successfully developed applications such as the new high quality, ultra-light containers obtained with compression blow forming.

Sacmi’s modular labellers designed to work efficiently and in parallel across multiple technologies and labelling systems go hand in hand with a full range of solutions that ensure total quality control on the production line, at every stage of cap, preform, label and primary packaging production.

Designed and developed by the Group’s Automation & Service Division.

These systems are equipped with high-definition image acquisition devices and advanced software to ensure all-round high-speed product quality control, directly on the line.

Sacmi also provides an efficient parts service via its two companies in Indonesia.

High speed production camera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food for thought: feeding our growing population with flies

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing the nutritious black soldier fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A swarm of environmental benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you buy black soldier fly feed?

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

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

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

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

The Conversation

Bryan Lessard, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CSIRO

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

Drop the ‘xenophobic’ attitude to trade says AIFST

At the recent 49th Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Convention in Brisbane, most leading Australian food and agribusiness industry experts agreed that while innovation is the key to ensuring a viable future for the food and agribusiness industry, the concern around foreign investment is impacting markets and hindering the collaboration.

The panel, chaired by former ABC journalist Peter Couchman, comprised some of the industry’s leading decision-makers, including Peter Schutz (FIAL), Michele Allan (Science and Innovation Australia), Richard Katter (Ernst & Young), Dr André Teixeira (CSIRO), Terry O’Brien (Simplot), Janice Rueda (Archer Daniels Midland), Dr Ben Lyons (TSBE) and Alastair Maclachlan (Preshafruit). Chair of AIFST, Peter Schutz said the Australian food and agribusiness industry needs to work collaboratively and allow for investment in the industry.

“We need all components of the industry – including the business community, farmers, agribusinesses and the wider supply chain – all working together seamlessly.

“There is a lot of xenophobia in Australia, but we need these foreign markets to invest in the Australian food and agribusiness sector because they will guarantee us markets.

“This lack of collaboration culture within Australian food and agribusiness is impacting our readiness for engagement with the huge market potential of the emerging Asian middle class,” said Mr Schutz.

The panel agreed the Toowoomba region in Queensland is leading the way in food and agribusiness collaboration, and the rest of the nation needs to follow suit. “The Toowoomba and Surat Basin area is a stand-out region in terms of collaboration across universities, government and the production and agribusiness industry, opening up the region directly to international markets,” said Mr Schutz. CEO of the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) Dr Ben Lyons said that while Toowoomba is part of Australia’s leading agriculture region in terms of production and innovation, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of collaboration.

“We have a number of opportunities opening up to the local food and agribusiness market in Toowoomba, such as the opening of the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport servicing the Toowoomba region,” said Dr Lyons.

“This has given us the ability to export fresh meat from Toowoomba at 5pm that will arrive in Shanghai by 7am local time, to be served in a high-end Shanghai restaurant that night. This makes everything much more immediate.

“Australia as a whole needs to step away from being insular and become more open to foreign ownership and investment. Australia has had a mindset of protectionism in the past. I was quite upset by the Kidman ownership decision, because what impression about investing in Australia does that send to China?” he said.

Terry O’Brien, Managing Director of Simplot said the resistance to innovation and new ideas comes down to a number of Australian agricultural and food production companies being family-owned.

“I do a lot of work in Tasmania, where the farming and agricultural land has been passed through many generations. This creates a fear of growing new products including new varieties as they feel they haven’t been tried and tested.

“This region almost has to wait for the current generation to stop and the younger generation to step up to utilise their new technical skills and their ability to think collectively,” said Mr O’Brien.

New report shows growth of lactose-free dairy markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

New country of origin food labels are finally here

Australia’s new country of origin food labelling laws come into effect today, helping Aussie consumers find out more about their food.

The Australian Made Campaign’s (AMCL) famous Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) kangaroo logo will feature on most new labels, along with a bar chart showing what proportion of the ingredients come from Australia.

It’ll give shoppers a better understanding of how much of their food is sourced locally. The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia.

“The new system is compulsory for all food products produced for sale in Australia. Consumers will gradually start to see the new labels roll out, with a two year phase-in period to allow companies to redesign, reprint and apply the new labels before the 30 June 2018 deadline, when the new system will become mandatory.

Companies will still be allowed to sell products with the existing labels after 1 July, 2018 providing the labels were applied before the cut off date.”

Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, said the scheme will greatly improve clarity and consistency for Australian consumers.

“A tighter system for food labelling, coupled with a better understanding of that system by consumers, will give Aussie shoppers more confidence in what they are purchasing and provide Australian farmer and manufacturers with a much needed leg up,” Mr Harrison said.

“It removes that old phrase which nobody liked, ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients.” AMCL believes the widespread use of the AMAG logo will also strengthen the logo’s connection to Australia and help boost sales of genuine Aussie goods in domestic and export markets.

Exported food is not required to carry the new labels so businesses wanting to use the AMAG logo on their products can do so under a licence with AMCL.

Shoppers will also continue to see the AMAG logo on all other types of Aussie products with AMCL to continue administering and promoting the logo as a voluntary country of origin certification trade mark.

Australia’s drinking quantity decreases but quality increases

Australians say they are drinking less but better with our per capita spend on alcohol rising as we seek out more premium alcoholic beverages, according to a new report released today.

The emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) Alcoholic Beverages Trends & Insights Report* found that half of people aged 18 years and over say they are drinking less now than they used to.

There is also a move to premium beverages, with the dollar value of liquor sales rising 1.5%^ in 2015, which means Australians are spending more on their favourite drink. Australia is an overwhelmingly wine and beer drinking nation. Wine is our most popular drink, although men up to age 65 prefer beer, the emma data has found.

Cider is our third most popular drink, followed by scotch or whiskey, with other varieties well behind. Women opt for wine more than twice as often as other drinks, whereas men are more varied in their consumption patterns.

White wine edges out red as the most consumed at 43% of adults, compared to 41%, while 23% enjoy sparkling wine or champagne.

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Alcohol is still very much part of Australian culture, with three quarters of adult men and women consuming an alcoholic beverage in the past four weeks.

“The trend towards drinking better offers growth opportunities to premium brands that can tap into the mindset of these consumers.

The move by Australians towards more premium beverages and spending more as a result, underscores the importance of effective brand positioning and marketing.”

Perceptions of quality and value change as people age and emma data shows that older people are more likely to believe that Australian wine is better than that from overseas.

They were also less likely to try foreign beers, preferring homegrown brands. There has been a shift in places and occasions where Australians prefer to drink, which changes by age and life stage. The majority of Australians prefer to drink at home, which was most prevalent among 30-32 years olds at 87%.

Venues where alcohol is consumed differ among various age groups. For example, among 24-26 year olds, 61% drank at a friend or relative’s house, while 19% of 18-20 year olds drank at a nightclub.

Among older people, 50% of 45-47 year olds drank at a restaurant or café, while 36% of 54-56 year olds drank at a bar or pub and a third of 66-68 year olds preferred RSLs, bowls or an AFL club.

According to Ipsos’s consumer segmentation, there are four key segments that represent 35% of Australia’s adult population who are the most likely to drink any alcohol more than once a week.

They are the ‘Educated Ambition’ (highest earners and most educated), ‘Social Creatives’ (young, affluent urbanites), ‘Serene Seclusion’ (people at or near retirement living in regional and rural areas) and ‘Conscientious Consumption’ (middle and upper class families) segments. *

The report draws on data from emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) to explore the changing mindsets, preferences and behaviours of Australian adults towards alcohol. emma interviews more than 54,000 people each year. ^ IBISWorld Liquor Retailing in Australia, March 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cadbury sends off Australian Paralympic Team to Rio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report highlights new directions for packaging

‘New directions’ in packaging and labelling technology are a strong feature of today’s market – and the latest is digital direct-to-container print. It may, indeed, be a disruptive technology, as the new Direct Digital Printing Technology for Labeling & Product Decoration AWAreness Report 2016 demonstrates.

This latest addition to AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ portfolio of assessments of aspects of global label printing market provides a valuable resource for all interested in, or already committed to, this 21st-century product identification technology.

Eliminating entirely the need for a label on rigid or semi-rigid containers, direct digital print offers brand owners a new palette of opportunities — including economies of scale, shorter route to market, and enhanced levels of brand presentation and promotion, such as personalization.

However, this is a technology in its infancy, and further technical and commercial innovation and a broader supplier source at all levels can be expected.

The report posits that the total potential volume growth of the global label market could be negatively affected, losing market share to direct container print.

Pressure-sensitive and wet glue labels are the leading candidates for replacement, but sleeving and in-mould labels will not be immune.

Substitution of labels in all technologies will, says the report, represent the equivalent of 0.5%-1.0% of the global label market by 2019/2020.

Complete with an industry-wide survey of the technology’s present status and future opportunities, and a directory of equipment, inks, and ancillary manufacturers, Direct Digital Printing Technology for Labeling & Product Decoration AWAreness Report 2016 represents an expert overview of a key packaging market development.

The report may be ordered online via the AWA Alexander Watson Associates website, www.awa-bv.com, along with details of the company’s full range of market research and consultancy services and events.