Patties Foods buys up Australian Wholefoods

According to the AFR, Patties Foods has swallowed up South Australia’s Australian Wholefoods.

In what is looking very much like a pattern, Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), which bought out Patties Food in 2016 and then followed that up by buying Leader Foods, has now devoured Australian Wholefoods, thereby allowing it to push into additional categories of the food services sector.

Australian Wholefoods employs about 130 people and its says it produces more than 100,000 chilled ready meals every week.

The company has introduced a number of new product lines like Clever Cooks, a fresh-food brand free from artificial colours or preservatives.

The latest acquisition has triggered speculation that PEP will sell the combined food business it to Asian buyers, which, the AFR noted, have shown a “keen appetite for Australian food manufacturing assets in the last few years.”

Red meat: the next product to be revolutionised by 3D printing

 As the hype around 3D printing continues to grow, red meat has been identified as the next product that could benefit substantially from the technology.

 According to experts, 3D printing could result in added value to current secondary cuts, trims and products by developing “meat ink”. For example, the technology could be used in the aged care sector to create high protein and nutritious meals that can be presented in a range of shapes and sizes, and made more appetising than the traditional pureed food.

 One benefit of 3D printing meat is the ability to produce meat in a more sterile environment than traditional meat production, potentially avoiding contamination. It has also been cited as a potential way to boost food production for the world’s growing population.

 Yet experts have cited challenges; it will be difficult to achieve a genuine meat taste and texture, and there may be some reluctance for consumers to accept 3D printed meat.

 Overall however, there is increasing demand from markets who want personalised approaches to nutrients or textures, rather than the current whole muscle product.

 The 3D Food Printing Conference Asia-Pacific will discuss these issues and more, to be held on May 2 in Melbourne.

 

Australian researchers find way to stop food mould

West Australian researchers led by Dr. Kirsty Bayliss have discovered how to stop mould growing on fresh food.

Dr. Bayliss will be presenting her technology, titled ‘Breaking the Mould’, a chemical-free treatment for fresh produce that increases shelf-life, prevents mould and decay, and reduces food wastage, in the US.

“Our technology will directly address the global food security challenge by reducing food waste and making more food available for more people,” Dr. Bayliss said.

“The technology is based on the most abundant form of matter in the universe– plasma. Plasma kills the moulds that grow on fruit and vegetables, making fresh produce healthier for consumption and increasing shelf-life.”

Dr. Bayliss’s Murdoch University team has been working on preliminary trials for the past 18 months and are now preparing to start scaling up trials to work with commercial production facilities.

Dr. Bayliss said the LAUNCH Food Innovation Challenge was a “huge opportunity.”

“I will be presenting our research to an audience comprising investors, company directors and CEOs, philanthropists and other influential people from organisations such as Fonterra, Walmart, The Gates Foundation, as well as USAID, DFAT and even Google Food.”

“What is really exciting is the potential linkages and networks that I can develop; already NASA are interested in our work,” she said.

In an interview with ABC Online, she said “Food wastage contributes to a lot of the food insecurity as the US and Europe wastes around 100 kilograms of food per person every year.

“If we could reduce food wastage by a quarter, we could feed 870 million people.”

Dr. Bayliss said the technology also kills bacteria associated with food-borne illness, such as salmonella and listeria.

 

 

New Chilli Beef Pie from Four-N Twenty

 Four-N Twenty is launching its new Chilli Beef Pie, which has been developed for “adventurous eaters who are keen to try a new and exciting flavour”.

 The pie is made from chunks of eight-hour slow-cooked 100 per cent Australian beef, with a spicy chilli gravy, wrapped in a golden pastry.

 “Chilli has been identified as one of the key condiment flavour trends for 2017 and beyond,” said Four’N Twenty marketing manager, Mario Matchado.

 “Creating a spicy chilli version of our eight-hour slow-cooked Real Chunky Pie is sure to prove a winner with pie lovers this winter. So fire up your taste buds, the Four’N Twenty Chilli Beef Pies are hot!”

 The Chilli Beef Pie will be launched in selected petrol and convenience stores nationally from April.

 

 

Bosch Australia partners with Food CRC

While the recently-announced Food Agility CRC will be funded with $50 million over ten years along with $160 million in commitments from 54 partner organisations, Bosch Australia will be a lead technology partner and will apply its agriculture technology expertise and resource to projects in connected agriculture and automation.

The Food Agility CRC will integrate the agile culture and processes of the digital economy through a whole-of-value-chain lens for fresh and processed food.

“Global food production needs to double by 2050 and the opportunity that presents to the Australian food industry is enormous,” says Mike Briers, CEO of the Food Agility CRC and UTS Industry Professor.

Bosch Australia said it is making significant investments in connected agriculture and food automation oriented activities in this region, including direct investment in Australian start-ups.

Most recently ‘The Yield’, an early stage Internet of Things (IoT) company focused on Micro-Climate sensing technology in Agriculture and Aquaculture. “

The Food Agility CRC will have a direct impact on the food and agriculture sector,” said Gavin Smith, Bosch President with responsibility for the region Oceania.
“There’s no better place than Australia to develop digital and automation solutions in food technology.”

Tumeric-rich Arkadia Golden Latte released

Arkadia Beverages has released a blend of high of turmeric, spices and organic panela sugar and called it Arkadia Golden Latte.

This turmeric blend is designed to be ready to drunk with hot or cold milk.

With no added dairy, vegan friendly and gluten and caffeine free, Arkadia Golden Latte is claimed to imbue the natural benefits of turmeric – often referred to as the most powerful herb on the planet for helping to fight a range of diseases.

Bellamy’s investors in class action

A shareholder class action against troubled infant formula supplier Bellamy’s has been filed in Victoria to give investors try try and claw back some of their losses.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn lodged the action in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Tuesday on behalf of aggrieved investors who bought shares between April 14 and December 9 last year.
It will be a new challenge for Bellamy’s brand new chairman, Rodd Peters, who was appointed after most of the board resigned or were dumped in a recent shareholder backlash.
The Tasmanian company has suffered a massive plunge in share price and flagged a significant drop in sales in China, and twice downgraded its full-year earnings forecast.

The rebel shareholders who dumped the board at a fiery meeting on February 28 said a turnaround would be complex.
But they said they had a plan to address problems related to product distribution and pricing in China.
Maurice Blackburn principal Ben Slade said the class action was a chance for investors to seek some justice.
“We’ve put together a comprehensive set of pleadings that we’ve now filed with the court, and we are confident that will give aggrieved shareholders the best chance possible of achieving financial redress for some of their losses,” he said in a statement.

Mechatronic drive awarded HACCP certification

 Understanding the extremely high standards that Australia’s food and beverage manufacturers work towards to ensure that consumers receive the highest quality products, SEW-EURODRIVE has announced the recent Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification of its mechatronic drive system MOVIGEAR type B, variant for wet areas.

Traditional machine components are not only difficult to clean thoroughly; they also generally require production areas to shut down – at least in part – for cleaning activities to take place. This procedure places strain on production timeframes, contributing to reduced product throughput affecting the overall profitability.

Machine components mounted in production or processing areas are often exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals. The shape of the component, its material composition and the method of substrate protection all play a large role in the cleaning efforts, likelihood of becoming a source of contamination and product longevity.

Designed specifically for the food and beverage industry MOVIGEAR for wet areas has a number of advantages over traditional drive solutions. Up to three core products can be assembled into a “self-draining” and compact housing: gear unit, motor and drive electronics (optional).

Combining the technical and practical advantages of all three drive components leads to an increase in the performance, efficiency and reliability. The MOVIGEAR product range can be easily integrated into most materials handling applications such as conveyor systems.

The smooth housing of the MOVIGEAR for wet areas is finished with a ‘HP200’ treatment which is burned-in-to the surface during the application process. Highly resistant to rigorous cleaning regimes, including chemical and high pressure wash down, the integrity of the surface finish eliminates the possibility of “paint-lift-off” often associated with traditional surface coatings.

The inherent anti-stick properties contribute to a reduction of debris build-up resulting in reduced cleaning efforts and system downtime. Standard inclusion of stainless steel shafts, fasteners and auxiliary fittings further enhances the MOVIGEAR for wet areas anticorrosive properties.

The totally enclosed non-ventilated mechatronic drive system is designed according to the principle of convection cooling, eliminating the need of a motor fan. Motor-fan noise spread of germs and bacteria due to air swirls are a thing of the past with the MOVIGEAR product range.

Compliant with IE4 (Super Premium Efficiency) standards, a major benefit of the MOVIGEAR is the impressive energy savings potential.

 

 

Food industry penalty rate change applauded by business

The Australian Industry Group has welcomed today’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) Penalty Rates Decision.

“The Commission has accepted Ai Group’s evidence and arguments to re-set penalty rates in the fast food industry to better align them with the characteristics and needs of 21st century workplaces,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.

“Ai Group represented the fast food industry in the case.  A great deal of evidence was presented from Ai Group members, McDonalds and Hungry Jacks, and from relevant experts.”

“A very high proportion of employees in the fast food industry are young people who have study commitments during normal business hours.”

The Commission accepted Ai Group’s evidence that young people often prefer to work in the evenings and on weekends, and that many prefer to work on Sundays rather than Saturdays.

“In the fast food industry, weekends and evenings are peak times. Regular business hours have little relevance to businesses in the fast food industry and, therefore, penalty rates that were designed many decades ago around regular business hours need to be re-set.”

“In the Decision, the Commission has recognised that existing Sunday penalty rates in the fast food industry are not fair for employers and no longer relevant.”

“The new penalty rates will be phased in over at least two years to reduce the impact upon employees.”

“The five-Member Full Bench, headed by FWC President, Justice Iain Ross, made their decision on penalty rates in the fast food industry after a case which continued for over two years. The Full Bench carefully weighed up all the arguments and evidence and arrived at a fair and sensible outcome.”

“What is important now is that the decision by the independent umpire is implemented as soon as possible, and that all parties accept the outcome,” Willox said.

Food safe rectantgular connectors

Mencom’s T-Type Hygienic rectangular connectors are designed for installation on food industry machines and systems.

The food safe and self-extinguishing thermoplastic material is easily cleanable and resistant to the cleaning and sanitising agents commonly used in food processing factories.

There are two series available in the Hygienic enclosures, T-Type/H and T-Type/C. T-Type/H is designed for production lines applications and features the HNBR rubber sealing gasket that has excellent resistance to both chemicals and animal/vegetable fats.

T-Type/C is designed for low-temperature applications, and the sealing gasket is made of silicone rubber that is not only resistant to chemical agents and fats, but also low-temperature resistant as low as -50°C.

The Hygienic enclosure series is IP66 and IP69 rated to withstand rigorous high-pressure, high-temperature washdown procedures.

Norco leads with domestic violence leave

According to the ABC, In what has been described as a landmark reform, New South Wales dairy cooperative Norco has introduced paid domestic violence (DV) leave for its employees.

Norco chief executive Brett Kelly said it sends the right message on an important social issue.

“You need to look after your employees and it is really important that we have the environment that people can feel safe and an employer that really does care,” he said.

The 121-year-old farming cooperative will now provide three days of paid leave for its workers experiencing domestic violence to access medical appointments, legal proceedings, and other matters, said the ABC report.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union helped negotiate the deal alongside the meatworkers union and said it was a landmark decision and particularly significant to occur in the food manufacturing sector where shifts were more regimented.

New Cacao Peanut Crunch from Bounce

Bounce has announced their latest addition to the Bounce Bites range – introducing Cacao Peanut Crunch.

Made from 100% nut butter combined with crunchy peanuts, sweet dates and rich cacao, this delicious creation is naturally preserved with coconut oil and rosemary extract.

The little nuggets of goodness are gluten free, GMO free, vegetarian friendly and cold pressed. Bounce is the natural and convenient way to get your sweet fix.

Teresa Boyce, Bounce Nutritionist says, “It is so important that there are healthy snack options available and Bounce has created just that.

Made with 29% peanuts, these delicious bite size pieces are perfect for active, busy people looking for a quick grab and go option. “Australian made with minimal ingredients, nothing artificial, and no refined sugar, new Bounce Bites Cacao Peanut Crunch is a delicious and nutritious alternative to processed, sugary confectionary,” adds Teresa.

Some health benefits of cacao and peanuts include:

• Cacao is a great source of magnesium, which helps to keep your heart healthy, boosts energy, alertness and stamina

• Cacao is rich in antioxidants while being a natural mood elevator

• Peanuts are a good source of Vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese

• Peanuts contain many nutrients and are rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats

Perfect for grabbing on the go, packing for a lunch box or desk draw snack, or saving for an after dinner treat, Bounce Bites are the new guilt-free indulgence.

The Bounce Bites range also comes in three other flavours: Blueberry Banana Bliss, Coconut Almond Kiss and Coconut Cacao Delight.

What will Aussies be drinking these holidays?

New data reveals Australia’s beverage trends, from beer and spirits to zero alcohol

Beverage purchase data from pubs and bars across major Australian cities reveals the types of drinks we may be consuming at functions in the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s.

At these establishments, beer is Australia’s favourite beverage – even among women – and is mainly consumed at lunchtime and in the afternoons. Spirits are our second favourite – and is surprisingly the number one category among women, surpassing wine purchases – and is mostly consumed late at night.

The analysis was carried out by Clipp.co, Australia’s leading and fastest-growing mobile-payment and deals app for bars, pubs and their restaurants. Clipp took alcohol-purchase data from 55,000 customer orders across more than 600 establishments Australia-wide.

The data compares beverage purchases across four categories: beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks. While beer makes up 45 per cent of all beverage purchases, surprisingly spirits not wine is our next favourite at 33 per cent of all beverage purchases. Wine is third on the list, at 19 per cent of all purchases, and non-alcoholic drinks make up just four per cent of purchases.

When it comes to enjoying a beverage or two over Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t have to be at the cost of your holiday or present fund according to Greg Taylor, co-founder of Clipp. The app offers Australians significant discounts on the cost of food and drinks at bars, pubs and restaurants around the country.

“Many Aussies spend this time of year catching up with friends to send off the year that’s been and toast the year ahead, and a lot of us feel the impact of these social outings on our back pocket,” he says.

“January is often a tight month financially as this is when the festive season catches up with us. This data confirms that we love a drink, generally no matter the cost, but by taking advantage of menu specials and happy hour, as well as deals apps and sites – like Clipp – we’re going to get the most bang for our buck and ring in the new year with one less financial concern or resolution to make.”

Beverage trends between men and women

There is a notable difference between men’s and women’s drink purchases. Nearly 55 per cent of all beverage purchases among men is beer – the highest proportion (an average of 64% of all purchases) of which his consumed at lunchtime and in the afternoons. While spirits make up 30 per cent of all beverage purchases by men, this increases to 55 per cent late at night. Wine makes up just 12 per cent of purchases among men.

Surprisingly, spirits top the list of beverages among women, at 36 per cent of all purchases, and increasing to 53 per cent of all purchases late at night. Beer follows closely, at 35 per cent of all purchases, and increasing to 43 per cent of purchases among women at lunchtime. Wine makes up 25 per cent of all beverage purchases among women.

Trends in spirits

Vodka and whisky are the favourite spirits across the nation, making up just over 20 per cent each of all spirit purchases. Vodka is the favourite spirit for all age groups up to age 49, averaging 24 per cent of all spirit purchases. Bourbon is the favourite spirit for Aussies in their fifties (41% of spirit purchases in that age group) and whisky is a favourite for the over sixties, at 42 per cent of spirit purchases.

Trends in wine

White wine is the favourite wine nationally, making up an average of 43 per cent of wine purchases across the major cities. Among women, white wine made up 46 per cent of wine purchases. White wine is a winner among under-20s (83% of all wine purchases) and those in their 50s (52% of all wine purchases).

Queenslanders and West Australians are the biggest white wine drinkers (51% of wine purchases in each State). White wine is also a favourite in South Australia and Victoria, at 48 per cent each of wine purchases. NSW residents are bucking the trend by preferring red wine (48% of all wine purchases).

Trends in beer

Craft beer accounted for 45 per cent of all purchases nationally, with regular beer coming in second at 40 per cent. Melbourne takes the craft beer crown, with the highest percentage of craft beer purchases (55 per cent) against just 34 per cent of regular beer purchases. Perth comes in second, with 48 per cent of craft purchases and regular beer at 35 per cent. Sydney is third, with 46 per cent of craft beer purchases and regular beer at 39 per cent.

In contrast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin are holding onto their love of regular beer, with this category accounting for 59 per cent, 63 per cent and 65 per cent of all beer purchases respectively.

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.

China finally opens market to Aussie stonefruit

As Australia’s stonefruit season gets underway, growers have high hopes for a prosperous year with more than 5,000 tonnes of nectarines being exported to the Chinese mainland market for the first time.

Following more than a decade of negotiations, Chinese authorities granted market access to Australia in May, representing the first major new market open to the Australian stonefruit industry since exports to Canada commenced in 2000.

If all goes well, mainland China will join the industry’s existing main export markets Hong Kong, Middle East and Singapore, which currently receive more than 10,000 tonnes of fruit annually.

John Moore, CEO of Summerfruit Australia, said “Chilean white nectarines will also be sold in China and we see this as our biggest competitor. However, for the first time ever, Australia is making white nectarines available on supermarket shelves. This will be a brand new consumer experience for mainland China and we’re excited to see how it goes.”

“A major driving force in our export success is Australia’s clean, green image and food safety standards. Consumers demand premium, high quality and healthy products and Australian branded items are well received at the top end of the market,” Mr Moore said.

Australia is still the biggest market with more than 80,000 tonnes of peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines consumed locally each year.

Early season’s bounty comes from sub-tropical Queensland and northern areas of Western Australia and New South Wales and is followed by crops from mid to southern New South Wales and Western Australia, parts of Victoria like Swan Hill and the Riverland of South Australia. Fruit from cooler climates are last to market.

Typically in season from October to March, summer stonefruit supply is based on a staggered flow of different varieties, each lasting only a week or two which means there is a fresh, new variety at green grocers and supermarkets each week.

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.

Management education, not just tax cuts, needed to create jobs and growth

Company tax cuts are a key component of Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison’s plan to drive growth in jobs and wages, spurring on the Australian economy.

There’s no question that tax cuts and lower energy prices will enable companies to keep more of the money they make. But it’s not more money per se, but what they do with that money that will enable them to grow.

Should they spend money on hiring more people, developing new products, do more marketing, change the packaging, or expand the factory to manufacture more product for export?

These are the kinds of decisions all CEOs of medium-sized companies must make. But many CEOs are uncertain about what to do to grow and are fearful of making wrong decisions. No CEO wants to make a decision that sends the company into decline, so there’s a tendency to “circle the wagons” and try to protect what they have or make incremental moves from which they can quickly retreat if things go wrong.

In these situations, lack of money is less of a gating factor than lack of knowledge. The good news is that when CEOs are taught the basics of growth, understand how to create a growth strategy, and are given tools that enable them to simulate the impact of a decision, they make decisions quite rapidly and begin to grow – and then they hire people and jobs are created.

Two years ago we launched our first growth program and began working with a group of 10 companies from all over Australia representing ten different industries. They had revenues between A$5 million – A$50 million, 5 – 200 employees, and the CEOs wanted to grow but weren’t sure how. Over the two years since they entered our program, they increased their aggregate revenue by 93%, profit by 100%, and are exporting into 12 new countries.

But, most importantly for policy makers wanting to create jobs – these ten companies have added 146 new jobs. That’s an average of 14.6 jobs, over two years, per company.

What if each of the 220,000 medium enterprises in Australia added half as many jobs over the next two years? That would result in more than one million jobs.

Promoting company growth can be achieved by helping managers figure out:

  • What’s the best growth strategy for this company?
  • What changes are needed in marketing and sales?
  • What changes are needed in the way we lead and manage?
  • Are the right people in the right positions to drive growth?
  • What kinds of people, with what kinds of skills and experiences, are needed for future growth?

Although a tax cut could be the fuel for the growth, company leaders come to our growth program because they need help thinking through which growth strategy makes sense for their business. They want to learn how to improve their leadership, tune their organisation, become more efficient, and rev growth.

Money alone will not create the numbers and kinds of jobs required to boost the economy. CEOs and MDs in our programs tell us that learning what to do, when, why, and in what order has given them the confidence to take the risks required to grow their companies and hire more people.

In short, we need to focus as much attention on the management education of founders, CEOs and MDs of medium-sized companies as we do on providing them with more money. Once they learn how to grow their companies, they will definitely need money to become the engines of growth, and they will certainly hire more people, creating the jobs we all want.

The Conversation

Jana Matthews, ANZ Chair in Business Growth, Director, Centre for Business Growth, University of South Australia

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

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’.

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