Ensuring almond pollination can continue during border closures

The critical pollination period for Australia’s billion-dollar almond industry has arrived and it is important that beekeepers freighting their livestock are able to cross borders.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said it is vital that agricultural services, such as the pollination services provided by bees, are allowed to get to where they need to go.

“The border restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 should be managed in a way to protect lives while allowing essential agricultural cross-border transport, including beehive movements,” Minister Littleproud said.

“As the weather warms up, it is critical that beekeepers are not impeded unnecessarily from undertaking their role in supporting the almond industry. The last thing we want is agitated bees at a border crossing.

“Almost 100 per cent of the almond industry is based along the Murray Valley, and all producing regions have had extremely low COVID-19 cases and no new cases for months. Both beekeepers and almond producers have COVID-19 risk mitigation plans in place.

State and territory governments continue to advise the Australian Government of the work they are doing to support agriculture on all sides of the borders.

“I commend the well-established relationships between governments and the apiary industry ensuring these issues are identified and addressed quickly and appropriately,” Minister Littleproud said.

Rotary Dryer Roaster for nuts and meat snacks

The latest innovation in roasting technology from Heat and Control, the Rotary Dryer Roaster (RDR), will provide snack and prepared food operators with an end-to-end solution for the dry roasting of nut, seed and dry meat products like beef jerky.

The RDR multizone convection dryer/roaster system uses the technological advances in dry roasting so food processors can continuously process high volumes of foods.

“This latest addition to Heat and Control’s catalogue reinforces our strength in thermal food processing technology and provides snack and meat manufacturers with even more options, as well as confidence, that they can consistently produce high-quality product,” said Jim Strang, CEO for Heat and Control International.

“We have been offering the latest technology and the highest quality equipment since 1950, and the Rotary Dryer Roaster is the latest example of our continued commitment to develop solutions that empower our customers,” said Strang.

RDR for nuts
The RDR advances Heat and Control’s snack line capability, enabling food manufacturers to take advantage of the cost saving benefits a single source supplier can offer with a solution for seasoned and coated nut snacks, including frying, dryer/roasting, seasoning, coating, conveying, weighing, packaging, case packing, inspection, and controls.

The RDR gives operators control to dry or to roast in a continuous, gentle, and sanitary manner with optimal quality and uniform results.

“The RDR provides high volume convective airflow combined with gentle rotary motion that ensures that all product is uniformly treated with heated air. Operators have full control over the roasting or drying process variables, enhancing the finished products’ colour, flavour, and texture,” said Greg Pyne, Heat and Control sales manager, Australia.

“While this is new equipment for the industry, processors see the potential,” explained Pyne. “They recognise the benefits of the continuous process, the consistency and repeatability of the process, and the savings resulting from reduced labour and floor space requirements.”

Unlike static rack ovens, as product is gently tumbled in the RDR, heated air circulates through the product bed to facilitate uniform drying/moisture removal or roasting. The design handles the raw product in a continuous, high-density manner through a unique flighted drum that ensures positive motion.

Features include a drum design that facilitates continuous first-in-first-out product flow and independent fans and burners in multiple convection zones, which provide complete process control that can be tailored to various products. An externally mounted drum drive design provides access for internal clean-in-place piping and nozzles which provides for automated thorough cleaning.

RDR for meat products
Along with nut products, the RDR is also suitable for applications such as the drying of meats and poultry to create jerky and meat chips, as well as drying pet products to create food and treats.

While Australia has yet to see the same levels of growth as other markets for natural/protein based snacks, consumers are looking for different food options, with demand for jerky on the rise. According to intelligence agency Mintel, the UK and US have achieved 50 per cent growth in the jerky market from 2011 through to 2016. Australia is poised to follow suite for similar growth, with a wave of niche, start-up operators entering the market. Australia is also home to the fourth largest paleo-market in the world.

Jerky snacks are rich in protein, and are becoming more readily available in retail outlets and online as a substitute for cooked meats. Different product flavours, such as chili and lime, teriyaki or smoky chorizo, are also attracting consumers into seeking jerky as a protein rich option when its snack time.

Globally, the meat snack market was worth $6.4 billion in 2017, and is estimated to exceed $29.5 billion by 2025, according to PR Newswire. The growing middle class across Asia are seeking more premium meat-based snacks that are sold in accessible locations for time-poor customers. As the Australian beef market has a reputation in Asia for being a high-quality product, there is demand for the export of Australian beef jerky products, providing manufacturers the opportunity to grow their business internationally.

One of the biggest issues in jerky production is lack of efficiency in the drying process, due to the amount of time it can take to dry the product with consistent taste and quality. Food processors can expand their portfolio to capitalise on new opportunities because the RDR gives operators control to dry or to roast product in a continuous, gentle, and sanitary manner with optimal quality and uniform results.

Australian walnuts to be sold into India

Australian walnut farmers will now be able to sell into the Indian market following the signing of a market access agreement between the two countries.
Federal agriculture minister David Littleproud said he was thrilled Australia’s walnut growers now had access to India and its 1.4 billion people.
“Many Australians don’t realise a scientific market access agreement is often the hardest part of getting access to a new market,” Littleproud said.
“Getting scientists from two countries to agree on how to stop any threat of diseases or pests being exported from one country to another can be very difficult.”
Littleproud said that the government spoke to industry through the Hort Innovation Australia prioritisation process. Walnut market access was nominated as a key priority.
“Since then our agriculture counsellor in India has worked with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the walnut industry to get this access,” Littleproud said.
“Agricultural counsellors win trade outcomes and that is why we boosted the number of counsellors we have in key markets in the 2017-18 budget.”
The minister said that, with India already a large export market for Australian almonds, there was huge potential for our other nuts to be exported there also. Australia exported over $22.5 million worth of walnuts around the world in 2017-18.
“Around 1.4 billion people live in India – more than 50 times the number of people in Australia – so it’s a huge market we’ve accessed for our walnut growers.”
Trade can formally commence once the import conditions are officially gazetted by India. In the interim, 10 trial shipments of walnuts can be sent to India.

A plain English approach to dealing with food allergies

Food allergies are atypical immune system responses to certain foods (normally proteins). According to research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, in Australia about 10 per cent of children and two per cent of adults have food allergies.

To help these people avoid known allergens, food and beverage products sold in Australia and New Zealand must, by law, list them on their labelling. There are 10 ingredients on this list, namely –  peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame seeds, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and lupin.

Plain English Allergen Labelling
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the statutory authority charged with food standards, is in the process of reforming allergen labelling requirements. The aim of this exercise, which FSANZ is calling “Plain English Allergen Labelling”, is to make labels simpler and clearer for both consumers and food businesses.

FSANZ CEO Mark Booth said the proposal will address a lack of regulatory clarity that has led to unclear wording on some food labels.

“At the moment, some food allergens must be declared on food labels whenever they are present as an ingredient, food additive or processing aid,” he said. “However, there are no requirements about how the declarations must be made.”

More specifically, FSANZ wants to consider the terminology used on mandatory ingredient lists as compared to declarations made elsewhere on labels. It also says that, as it stands, unclear terminology is sometimes used for labelling fish, crustacea and molluscs; as well as tree nuts and cereals containing gluten. In addition, technical language, which some consumers may be unfamiliar with (e.g. sodium caseinate which is sourced from dairy) is sometimes used on labels.

Any changes won’t be immediate and will follow an extensive consultation process. In March, FSANZ called for submissions on the Plain English Allergen Labelling proposal. While the deadline for submissions had passed when this magazine went to print, a second consultation (including draft amendments to the Food Standards Code) will follow, either late this year or early next year. Any possible legislative changes would follow that release.

Australian nut innovators meet world-first innovation challenge

To inspire food manufacturers globally and encourage key decision makers to incorporate more macadamias into their innovation pipelines, The Australian Macadamia Industry Marketing Program has created a world-first platform to drive innovation and new demand for macadamias.

Years of research demonstrates consumers’ overwhelmingly positive and emotional responses to Australian macadamias, and that adding macadamias elevates a food product and makes it more premium.

The Australian Macadamias Innovation Challenge attracted pioneers in new product development, ranging from students to professionals in fields including food technology and innovation. Each submitted creative concepts for a new packaged food product highlighting macadamias within three key categories – bakery, snack and snack mixes, and ice cream, and within two cuisine profiles – Asian or Western.

Australian Macadamias’ market development manager Lynne Ziehlke said the Innovation Challenge is all about driving new demand for macadamias amid increasing global supply.

“We know that global production is increasing and that consumers want to see more products with macadamias. This challenge is about inspiring food manufacturers across the world to take advantage of these opportunities,” said Ziehlke.

“Australia is leading the charge; our industry is really proactive and innovative in this space. We’re driving demand and the innovation agenda to benefit both the Australian and global macadamia industry.

“It’s exciting that the Innovation Challenge final has taken place in Australia’s largest macadamia growing region, and we were honoured to have a selection of growers taking time out from their busy harvest preparations to attend.”

Adeline Wong, a professional entrant who created Macadamia Mind Food Bars, and student Kinga Wojciechowski who created Miso Caramel Cookies, each won a trip to SIAL Paris 2018, the world’s largest food exhibition.. The team behind Macci Ice Cream, Ashna Gobin and Leonardo Bohorquez, won a $5,000 cash prize.

Wong, Gobin, Bohorquez and Wojciechowski were selected as the standouts based on their excellence in key criteria – including taste, presentation of product, insight behind the innovation and originality in the market.

The entries were judged by four leading industry representatives – Pam Brook, co-founder of Brookfarm, Australia’s leading producer of gourmet macadamia cereal and snack products, Nick Palumbo, founder and co-owner of Gelato Messina, Dr. Barry McGookin, food technologist, PhD in Food Science, General Manager of Innovation FIAL, and William Peterson, owner of Infinity Bakery.

The judges were impressed by the high standard of the finalists’ entries and excited by where they could lead. Pam Brook said that all the judges found the depth of innovative thinking from the entries incredibly exciting.

Up until now global production of macadamias has been relatively limited, only representing about one per cent of global tree nut production, but in recent years there has been a wave of new investment in growing macadamias which will see a flourish and macadamias become more available globally.”

We hope that macadamias will represent closer to five per cent of the tree nut market within the next 10 years. Our vision is to see many more products manufactured using Australian macadamias, and the Innovation Challenge was created with this in mind,” she said.

The Judging Event and winner announcement ceremony took place at Harvest, Byron Bay on Thursday 1 March.


Go Natural Nut Delight raises the bar in healthy snacking

Go Natural has announced that its flagship Nut Delight snack bar has achieved an impressive 4.5 health star rating, making it one of the healthiest and tastiest snack bars available on the market.

Based on a combination of Australian peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts and naturally sweetened with Australian honey, Go Natural’s Nut Delight is free from preservatives, artificial colours and flavours and contains no gluten, cholesterol or Trans fats.

A source of dietary fibre, protein and other essential nutrients, each 40g bar of Nut Delight contains over 70 per cent of nuts plus other phytochemicals such as antioxidant compounds and plant sterols.

Various studies have linked the rapid consumption in nuts over the last few years with improved heart health, better weight control, lower cholesterol and even a reduced risk of cancer.

Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating around 30g of nuts a day but an additional 10g of nuts a day can be used in place of other healthy fat foods as well.

According to Go Natural General Manager Joel White, Nut Delight bars are naturally low in sodium and saturated fats to help lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy heart.

“The new food standards code, together with the recently introduced health star rating, will help consumers have faith in the health claims that are being made, so they can make the right decision for a balanced and nutritious diet. Go Natural is really proud to now demonstrate that our Nut Delight product is one of the healthiest choices out there,” White said.

The new food labelling standard 1.2.7 for Nutrition, Health and Related Claims requires that in order for a product to make high and general level health claims, the product must meet the nutrient profiling scoring criterion set by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Part of Go Natural’s wide range of healthy snack bars, Nut Delight can be found in the health food aisle in all the leading supermarkets and across a variety of other retail outlets, such as convenience stores and petrol stations. 

Sale of raw apricot kernels now prohibited: FSANZ

The retail sale of raw apricot kernels is prohibited as from today, when changes to the Food Standards Code come into effect.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said FSANZ has found that raw apricot kernels (both with and without skin) pose an acute public health and safety risk.

“Raw apricot kernels contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are broken down to release cyanide when eaten,” McCutcheon said.

“There have been a number of cases of cyanide poisoning related to consumption of apricot kernels, with some consumers eating them believing they can help cure or prevent cancer, although there is no credible evidence that is the case.”

The prohibition does not apply to apricot kernel-derived ingredients, which can be shown to be safe to use as ingredients in other foods.

In September 2015, the FSANZ Board approved a proposal to prohibit the sale of raw apricot kernels. In November 2015, Ministers responsible for food regulation agreed to adopt the changes, which will be gazetted today.

Lucky Cashew Meal

Product Name: Lucky Cashew Meal

Product Manufacturer: Lucky Nuts

Launch date: 8/10/15


Shelf Life: 6-12 months

Packaging: Plastic Bag

Brand Website: https://www.luckynuts.com.au

Describe the product: Introducing Lucky Nuts Cashew Meal, the first cashew meal to hit supermarket shelves in Australia. 

Made from cashews (and nothing else) and packed full of essential nutrients including zinc, protein, iron and magnesium, Lucky's Cashew Meal is incredibly effective in reducing the risk of heart disease and reducing muscle soreness after a work-out, while the high level of zinc boosts your immune system – fighting off infection. 

Lucky Nuts Cashew Meal is a great alternative for wheat-free cooking and baking. It's also incredibly versatile – a nutrient rich addition to smoothies, curries and tasty power balls.

Contact Email: rhys@projectpr.com.au

Majans InfuZions

Product NameMajans InfuZions

Product Manufacturer: Majans Pty Ltd

Launch date12th October, 2015

Ingredients (as listed on the packaging)

Thai Sweet Chilli Flavoured Potato Mix

Potato Mix [Potato (58%), Wheat, Salt, Sugar, Paprika, Turmeric], Sunflower and or Canola Oil, Seasoning [Sugar, Acidity Regulator (262), Yeast Extract, Spices, Flavour, Salt, Maize Starch, Anti-Caking Agent (551), Vegetable Oil].

BBQ Rib Flavoured Prawn Crackers
Prawn Cracker [Tapioca, Wheat, Sugar, Salt, MSG, Oleo Paprika], Sunflower and or Canola Oil, Seasoning [Sugar, Dextrose, Salt, Natural Flavour, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Yeast Extract, Smoked Salt, Cocoa Powder, Vegetable Powder, Spice, Vegetable Oil, Anti-Caking Agent (551), Flavour Enhancer (635)].

Sour Cream & Herb Flavoured Veggie Straws
Veggie Straws [(Vegetable – 71%) Potato, Spinach Powder, Tomato Powder, Beetroot Powder, Salt, Beta Carotene], Sunflower and or Canola Oil, Seasoning [Milk Solids, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Vegetable Powder, Salt, Yeast Extract, Cheese Powder, Flavour, Sour Cream Powder, Herb, Acidity Regulators (330, 270, 327), Anti-Caking Agent (551), Vegetable Oil].

Shelf Life: 180 Days/ 6 Months

Packaging: BOPP laminate (BO Polypropylene)

Country of originAustralia

Brand Websitehttps://majans.com

Describe the productWith less than 100 calories per recommended serving size, the InfuZions range has been developed in response to rising consumer demand for premium quality snacks that are light, tasty and contain no artificial colours or flavours.

The range is launching exclusively at Woolworths in three exciting product and flavour combinations:

BBQ Rib Flavoured Prawn Crackers
Thai Sweet Chilli Flavoured Potato Mix
Sour Cream & Herb Flavoured Veggie Straws

The InfuZions brand has been developed as a collaborative effort between Motor Brand Design and Majans. Dark, moody background colours position the products clearly in the adult indulgence space while bright and vibrant variant colours and ingredient cameos give strong appetite appeal.

Contact Email: nikki@ignitemotor.com

Macfarms launches easy open Macadamias

 Inspired by the booming trend in China, those nutty geniuses over at MacFarms have launched Macadamias that can be consumed directly from the shell using a unique key in the pack. – Easy Open Macadamias (Roasted & Salted in the Shell).

Macadamias are rich in good monounsaturated fats and fibre, as well as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals containing high levels of essential nutrients iron and magnesium, however unlike opening peanuts or pistachios, it takes some serious manpower to extract a Macadamia from its shell; 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to be exact, making it the hardest nut in the world to crack.

Available in a 350g stand-up resealable pouch, every Macadamia has a groove in its shell, which can be opened using a small metal key included in each pack. Simply insert the key into the slit and lever to crack open the shell to reveal the nutty treasure inside.

Grown and harvested on home soil, MacFarms Easy Open Macadamias are available for limited seasonal release in the fresh produce section of Coles supermarkets from October, while stocks last.

The world goes nuts for Aussie almonds

According to the Almond Board of Australia, almonds have become our most valuable horticultural export, with annual export sales surpassing $AUD422 million last year, which is an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year.

This is on top of massive growth over the past five years, where export sales increased almost 250 per cent.

Future predictions note that in 2015-16, export sales will reach $AUD600 million.

In fact, the almond industry is set to become Australia’s most valuable single commodity horticultural industry, generating around 10 per cent of Australian horticulture’s gross value.

India is Australia’s largest overseas market for almonds, followed by
Spain, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

According to Ross Skinner, CEO of the Almond Board of Australia, “The recent Free Trade Agreements with Japan and Korea combined with the industry’s focus on promoting the Australian almond brand in these countries has resulted in promising gains of 295% and 145%, albeit off a low base.”

“The China and India FTA’s will be very advantageous to the Australian industry as these are two of the largest almond markets in the world and the removal of tariffs will make a significant impact on returns from these markets,” Mr. Skinner stated.