The green packaging trend

Presentation Packaging marketing director, Samantha Lewers, has said that the industry is experiencing a strong growth in this sector as businesses try to become more environmentally conscious.

“There has been a massive shift in thinking over the past few years with customers genuinely concerned about what products are made of, and if they are recyclable and biodegradable. This has led the industry to seek new solutions for customers,” she said.

“The majority of customers today are interested in using the most environmentally friendly product they can afford for their business. While these options are generally more expensive than plastic alternatives, the market understands end-users expect environmentally friendly packaged products wherever possible.

“There has been a definite increase in the amount of cardboard and paper products being sold as businesses are experimenting more with these options. It’s also becoming an easy way for businesses to improve their green credentials.”

Lewers said Presentation Packaging had made a significant investment in sourcing environmentally friendly packaging for some of the more popular packaging requirements.

“We offer sandwich wedges that are made from recyclable material, easily compostable and biodegradable. The window face is also unique, made from PLA film, developed from corn, ensuring every element is environmentally friendly — unlike most options in the market place that still feature plastic windows. It also answers the aesthetic needs of customers.”

The company has also launched recyclable wrap and tortilla sleeves, a product unique to the Australian market.

“These sleeves are a new way for wraps to be presented, doing away with the hassle and mess of wrapping and bagging. They also make the product easier to handle for the end user.”

The sleeves are available in a variety of sizes in white or kraft finish.

“Businesses are after the opportunity to buy great looking packaging without the expense of custom manufacture or having to spend time dealing with overseas suppliers. We constantly scour the world for great packaging solutions we can bring into Australia, as well as internally developing products to fulfil market needs that we identify.”

Australia’s ready to eat

Time is of the essence. How to save it? Where to cut corners? What to spend the precious little on? Food manufacturers are tapping into these consumer concerns and the market is being flooded with ready to serve, ready to heat, and ready to eat, prepared meals.

The increase in working mothers, single parent families, and single households, as well as rising consumer awareness about health and nutrition in recent years has meant a move towards healthier prepared meals. Food manufacturers are producing low-carb, gluten-free, low-fat, no dairy, low GI, high protein meals and more, to fit every health fad currently out there, and consumer response is high.

The world’s microwavable foods market is forecast to reach $78.8 billion by the end of the decade, according to a recent report pub­lished by Global Industry Analysts Inc. The report, titled ‘Microwavable Foods: a Global Strategic Business Report’, discusses the prevailing trends, issues, demand fore­casts, and activities that affect the industry.

The attractive factors for this market are taste, food quality, and convenience. Con­sumer lifestyle has been, and continues to be, the crux behind product innovation and development efforts for the industry. The consumption of foods designed specifically for microwave cooking is projected to grow in view of product innovations correspond­ing to changing lifestyles and eating habits.

The demand for microwavable foods is projected to exceed $9.0 billion in the Asia-Pacific region by 2010.

This research clearly proves that the market for fresh convenience meals is significant and Australian manufacturers plan to capitalise on this trend with a great variety of new ideas in fresh, high quality food.

A passion for perfection

Dari and Yehiel Kaplan are known for cook­ing nothing but the best. With a combined experience of over 50 years, the couple has produced exactly what was missing on Aus­tralia’s shelves — quality, healthy products, with a look that reflects their simplicity.

Pilpel Fine Foods was established in December 2004 with the motto of adding nothing that was not essential to the flavour. This is why Pilpel’s range of dips, pestos, soups and curries are all gluten-free, contain no dairy, no egg, no animal fat, no preserva­tives, and no artificial colours or flavours. The entire range is therefore a suitable addi­tion to a vegetarian or vegan diet, as well as for people with various food sensitivities and allergies.

The range of dips, with which Pilpel first burst onto the market, are a great indication of the uniqueness of these products. “We never compromise,” Yehiel has said in the past. “We don’t take shortcuts and we do use expensive ingredients.” This approach stands true till today. Yehiel originally started studying cooking in his home country of Israel. “I still remem­ber the most important rule being written on the board: don’t compromise on quality.” Yehiel has not forgotten this lesson.

Today Pilpel’s point of difference is “the freshness of the pure, fresh vegetables which are not frozen, not dehydrated, and not powdered. We’re working with the highest quality ingredients — extra virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs and spices.”

Before making a decision to open the busi­ness, Yehiel spent several years research­ing the market. “I saw dips on the shelves, and was disturbed by what was going on,” he said. “For example, simple avocado dip which, when you see the percentage, is only 2% avocado, and all the rest is nothing. You see this and you understand that people are getting a very bad product. I wanted to <[lb]>provide a product that was real food.”

After receiving what Yehiel has called an unbelievable response to their range of dips, Pilpel decided to expand into soups and curries. “I was doing research when I started these soups, and I discovered that one of the com­panies, coming from New Zealand, is actually using all Chinese frozen vegetables and dry vegetables, while claiming their goods are organic. I strongly doubt that there is any­thing organic coming from China.”

For Yehiel, using all Australian vegeta­bles and fresh ingredients is about more than just taste. “As an ex-kibbutz farmer, I under­stand what a drought means. I understand how important it is to support the farmers at this time by buying fresh produce from them, and not getting the imported frozen vegetables. The flavour of the fresh vegetables is a lot higher, and so is the impact.

Yehiel understands that the market for ready and prepared meals is only going to expand, and appreciates the niche appeal of Pilpel. “A lot of people, especially a lot of young people, are working quite hard and coming home late. There are two things hap­pening as a result. Either they are buying take-away meals, or they’re buying a ready meal, shoving it in the microwave and having it in front of the TV. And that’s it.

“A lot of people are really quite lazy to cook. Also I believe that a lot of people are look­ing for the value for money. And that is why we created something that is high quality.

“There is a simple saying that says ‘cheap is very expensive’ and that is my belief. That was my belief from the very beginning. We make good, high quality dips, soups, curries, and pestos. Yes, they are expensive but whoever buys them appreciates them and understands that they’re getting real value for money.”

Creative solutions for every day

With its roots firmly planted in the hospitality industry, providing first class products to some of the countries top hotels and restaurants, Peter Cox and his team at Creative Food Solutions has developed a range of cooked meal products for ALDI under the Specially Selected brand.

The product range includes a selection of meals produced from 150 day grain fed Angus beef medallions and fresh chicken breast, each available in three styles. The Black Angus beef and fresh hormone- free chicken breasts are grilled prior to being topped with freshly made sauces and cooked sous vide for 12 hours in a Simple Steps tray.

The product range has been developed to provide a full main course meat portion for two people. Each of the products contains two 180 gram beef medallions, or two 200 gram chicken breasts — the same size as most restau­rant meal mains. By selecting from the range the consumer can have the main component ready for the table in just three minutes.

These products also allow the consumer to vary their meal selection by changing the side dishes served with the meal, and pro­viding endless combination for all seasons.

According to the Creative Food Solutions general manager, Peter Cox, the company has “sourced the Black Angus beef from the Margaret River region in Western Australia as part of Andrews Meat Industries Angus Cattle program. This program allows us to control the cattle from the planning at the farm through the processing, and then to the kitchen.

“Our chicken breasts are all hormone, steroid and chemical free, keeping with our philosophy of fresh and natural products,” he explained. “As we are a team of chefs, we produce all of the sauces from scratch, using fresh veg­etables and all natural ingredients. This process gives the finished product a ‘non- commercial’ look and more of a home-made appearance.” This is an important point of difference for the company.

After months of research and development on packaging with Cryovac, Creative Food Solutions decided on the Simple Steps pro­gram as the Vacuum Skin Packaging (VSP) provided both brilliant presentation and a perfect microwave reheat with a unique self- venting system. This system allows the customer to heat the product quickly, avoiding drying out or turning the product into rubber, without piercing the skin of the packaging and without having contents of the meal explode all over the inside of the microwave.

As the meal heats, select­ed areas of the package vent if the pressure builds past a set point. The skin will collapse over the product after heating, allowing for easy removal and serving.

The VSP packaging system allows the product to be sauced and cooked in the tray, providing extended shelf life without the need for preservatives.

“The skin forms a tight seal over the product keeping everything in its place during the cooking process, the transportation to each of the stores and all the way to the customer’s fridge,” said Cox.

“One of my concerns with the packaging sleeve was that the photos on the outer were a direct representation of the product and its ability to be presented by the customer as seen in the picture. All of the photos were taken using the product reheated directly from the tray and garnished with items that anyone could make very quickly.”

Serving up variety

Fresh food producer Mrs Crocket’s Fast & Fresh has responded to consumer demand with the release of a new range of all fresh, all natural, gourmet soups and risottos, following extensive industry research.

The new, restaurant-inspired meals are presented in convenient, consumer friendly packaging.

Mrs Crocket’s business development and innovation manager, Shelley Davidson, said the decision to redevelop the range was part of the manufacturer’s constant strategy to align itself with changing consumer trends and offer greater options to retailers for convenience food offerings.

“Mrs Crocket’s has been operating within this industry for several years and are determined to be the market leader in terms of our innovation and understanding of customers. We believe extensive customer research is vital in our business activity and currently employ eight team members who are dedicated to product innovation,” she said.

“This range was in development for over three months. The products are made with only the freshest Australian ingredients and feature no artificial colours or flavours to ensure that while consumers are enjoying delicious, restaurant-quality meals, they are also packed with nutritional value.

“We understand that constant redevelop­ment is essential to maintain the interest and loyalty of our customers and aim to keep the range interesting with new flavours.”

Mrs Crocket’s Fast and Fresh is Aus­tralia’s largest manufacturer of chilled con­venience soups, capturing a solid portion of a market worth approximately $14 million and growing at 27% per annum.

The range also features new microwave­able packaging which make the individual servings more manageable for consumers, and merchandising more practical for retailers. Mrs Crocket’s spe­cialise in dressed and leafy salads, prepared risottos, mashes and soups.

The company has recently launched a convenience food range in selected ser­vice stations as part of an ongoing strategy to offer healthier and tastier options to the growing convenience food market.

“We understand consumers are becoming increasingly time-poor and health conscious so we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to meet these changing needs and offer better alternatives to the market,” said Davidson.

“People don’t normally expect to find such healthy gourmet foods at a service station so it’s fantastic that busy consumers can now pick up a meal as they fill up the tank or head to and from work.

“The grab ‘n’ go products are perfect lunch or dinner solutions for people who enjoy nutritious gourmet meals but don’t always have the time to prepare them at home. That’s why we use only the freshest, highest-quality produce to ensure our meals are healthy and nutritious as well as tasting great and saving consumers time.”

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Digging through China’s bureaucracy

China’s burgeoning middle and upper classes have a big appetite for Western-style food and beverage products, which they associate with an affluent lifestyle.

Due to factors such as geographical proximity, educational ties and a large migrant Chinese community, China’s population of 1.3 billion people is shaping up to be a major export opportunity for Australian food and beverage producers.

However, we’re not there just yet.

To put things in perspective: in 2005 Taiwan imported $850 million of food and agricultural products from Down Under. Last year China imported just $324 million worth of food and live animals. Nevertheless, Austrade figures show that between July 2007 and January 2008, exports of dairy, honey and eggs nearly doubled to over $80.7 million and 12-month meat exports also rose from $30.7 million in the previous year to $49.4 million.

Austrade’s Shanghai business development manager, Stella Cai, has said that “food and beverage exports to China are a stable and steadily growing area. Some products such as wine, dairy and meat are already quite strong and beyond emerging, and there are other areas that are more niche, such as packaged and processed foods.”

As well as the hunger for Western-style luxuries that are apparent among Asia’s affluent classes, Cai said the interest in Australian food and beverages is also being driven by an awareness of healthy eating and a knowledge of the issues about local domestic production versus imported. “Some local product quality cannot compare with imported products” she explained. “For example, consumers know that local honey and milk is not good, so they are keen to import honey and milk from New Zealand and Australia.”

Exporting to China has many advantages for Australian food and beverage companies. Firstly, there’s the opportunity to get in at the start. Being geographically close to the market, there is quicker freighting and logistical times which means that products can be fresher. Although the exchange rate is not as favourable as it once was, Australian products are still less expensive when compared to European imports.

While the reasons for trying to gain a foothold in the Chinese market are compelling, there are also significant challenges. According to Cai, “market access is a major obstacle. There are product categories such as fruit, poultry, and white and game meat (such as kangaroo, emu, etc) that just aren’t allowed in.

“Another one is distribution. China is still developing distribution and cold chain and logistical networks aren’t as sophisticated as Singapore and Hong Kong.”

Other challenges include very strict labelling requirements and formulations. All labels must be printed in Chinese characters prior to export to China — it can’t be done at the distributor. Formulations are more variable. Chinese consumers feel Australian chocolate is too sweet but because volumes are low at the moment it is difficult to change the formulations.

When it comes to processed foods, like chocolate and biscuits, there’s also a preference for smaller packaging. “Chinese consumers often buy imported products as a gift to friends or family members, so packaging is very important. In Australia most packaging is quite simple so it is sometimes very hard to satisfy the Chinese consumer. They think the packaging is not colourful and fancy enough,” explained Cai.

While corruption has been an issue in the past, Cai has said it is much less so now. “The Chinese Government has made a lot of progress in controlling and addressing the whole issue of kickbacks, bribes, etc, and is committed to making the business environment much more transparent. As China is developing, things are becoming more competitive, which is helping address that issue as well. But relationships are still very important. It’s all about mates.”

Coffee anyone?

When master roaster and CoffeeMasters owner, Andrew Gross, decided to expand into the Chinese market he found himself a ‘mate’ — a retired army general’s son who was studying in Australia.

Gross was attracted by the size of the market, the possibilities inherent in being there at the start of the boom, and China’s proximity to Australia. “Shanghai, just Shanghai, has twice the population of Australia all in one place,” he said. “And it’s only two hour’s time difference. I don’t have to stay up till 1am to have a conversation with my business partner.”

Gross’s business partner has been able to simplify much of the work inherent in setting up a business in any foreign country. However, China’s rampant bureaucracy was still unavoidable.

“I was in China, and they said ‘prove that you’re you.’ I said I’ve got a passport where the Australian Government says that I’m me. ‘Yes, but we need something from the Chinese consulate’ they said. I said I have a visa where the Chinese consulate also agrees that I’m me according to my passport.

“I had to come back to Australia, get an affidavit signed off by my solicitor, get it notarised, put it in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs and then put it in front of the Chinese Consulate in Australia and then take it back. If I wasn’t going backwards and forwards frequently, it would have been a nightmare.”

Darren Baguley is a freelance journalist for FOOD Magazine.

Pringles are not potato chips

A British judge has ruled that Pringles are not potato chips, even if they do look and taste like them.

The judgement means that unlike regular crisp makers Pringles manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, is exempt from paying VAT on the product.

The High Court passed its ruling after an inquiry into the ingredients, manufacturer, packaging and public image of the tube-packaged snack.

The judge allowed an appeal by Proctor & Gamble against a VAT Tribunal decision that Pringles should be standard-rated at 17.5 % as falling within the definition “potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch”.

Most foodstuffs are zero-rated for the tax, but Revenue and Customs argued that Pringles fell within the “potato crisp” exception. Procter & Gamble pointed out that, unlike potato crisps, Pringles had a regular shape “not found in nature” as well as a uniform colouring and texture and a “mouth melt” taste.

The judge said a potato product “must be wholly, or substantially wholly, made from the potato”. Pringles, he said, were made from potato flour, corn flour, wheat starch and rice flour together with fat and emulsifier, salt and seasoning, with a potato content of around 42 %.

For further information contact:

Procter & Gamble

Honeycomb flavouring straws

Sipahh Milk Flavouring Straws have responded to consumer demand by releasing a new honeycomb flavour in addition to those currently available — including chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, banana, caramel and choc-mint. Sipahh has also enhanced its packaging design and brand personality to be more appealing to the lucrative teen market.

Honeycomb was the most requested flavour in a consumer feedback survey conducted by Sipahh, winning over 60% of votes. The new straw will be the only honeycomb milk flavouring product available on the Australian & NZ market, making it a first for Australians by providing them with greater choice in the category beyond the usual chocolate or strawberry flavoured milk options.

The honeycomb product will lead the way with enhanced, new packaging specifically designed to appeal to young teens or ‘tweens’, aged 10-15 who are key consumers in the category. It features updated design and colours with greater stand-out on shelf for retailers.

The honeycomb launch will be supported by a national PR campaign targeting mums which will highlight the health benefits for tweens who drink more milk.

Statistics show that kids aged 10-15 decrease milk consumption in favour of sugary soft drinks, however it’s at this time of life when they need more milk for calcium to support growing bones. The campaign will communicate the health benefits of Sipahh and tell mums that it’s a great way to overcome milk rejection by tweens.

Sipahh straws are rated as a green ‘everyday’ food by the Australian School Canteens Association.

The new Honeycomb Sipahh milk-flavouring straw is now available through Woolworths and Safeway stores nationally priced $3.49 (RRP) for a pack of ten straws.

For further information contact:

Sophie Winton


Case-less milk jugs reduce costs

A new milk container being sold in the US does not require crates or racks for shipping and storage thereby reducing costs.

Sam’s Club, the second largest wholesaler in the US, have already shifted to the new milk containers. The new containers are a square shaped gallon, which represent a packaging change consistent with the transformation of milk from pitchers to glass bottles in the late 1800’s and then cardboard cartons to plastic gallons in the early 1950’s.

According to Sam’s Club the square or case-less milk jugs do not require crates or racks for shipping and storage. Instead, the newly designed milk gallon is self stacking because the spout is flatter and each gallon can rest on another during transport, as well as while on display.

It’s estimated that trucks used for shipping can accommodate up to 9% more milk — 4,704 gallons per truck, or approximately 384 more jugs — without any metal racks (according to initial research with a limited number of suppliers). In addition, the flat top and wider spout do not come in contact with other equipment during filling reducing the risk of possible contamination.

Sam’s Club reported that the new case-less jug also delivers cost savings of between 10 and 20 cents to the consumer.

“This is an exciting change for Sam’s Club Members and the dairy industry,” said Sam’s Club vice president of merchandising, Heather Mayo. “There are many efficiencies and benefits to case-less milk jugs and one of the best advantages is that we can pass on the lower cost to our members and they benefit from the extended shelf life and added freshness.”

There are a handful of milk producers across the US currently set up to offer the new case-less gallons and Sam’s Club is seeking to expand distribution when more producers adapt to the new packaging. Other stores are looking at buying the new milk jugs, with consumer complaints that they are more difficult to pour the only reported downside.

For further information contact:

Sam’s Club

Food packaging’s next generation

Engineered nanoscale materials (ENMs), which contain novel properties that might offer benefits for use in food packaging, raise new safety evaluation challenges for regulators and industry, according to a report released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

The food-packaging industry, food companies and consumers all share an interest in ensuring that any possible safety questions are identified and are carefully evaluated and resolved before marketing packaging materials that contain ENMs, according to the report authored by former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy official, Michael Taylor.

The PEN-GMA report, ‘Assuring the Safety of Nanomaterials in Food Packaging: The Regulatory Process and Key Issues’, was a result of an effort by experts from government, industry and the public interest community to examine the path of a number of hypothetical nanotechnology food packaging applications through the current regulatory system. The regulatory system for food packaging is scientifically rigorous and extraordinarily complex, both legally and scientifically. This initial analysis provides a better understanding of the potential regulatory issues on the horizon for nanotechnology-enabled packaging.

“The system is not widely understood and legitimate questions have been raised about how it would apply to nanoscale substances used in food packaging,” said Taylor, who is currently working as a research professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

“Those companies developing ENMs for use in packaging will need to work closely with FDA and EPA to make sure the questions identified in this report concerning potential risks are answered.”

Consumer acceptance of the use of nanomaterials in food packaging is very important and will be greatly dependent on the demonstrated benefits and safety of the new packaging products, according to PEN Director David Rejeski.

“The benefits of using nanomaterials in the next generation of food packaging are nothing short of amazing, but we have to make sure these materials will not pose any harm down the line,” Rejeski warned.

Nanotechnology could have the potential to reshape the food packaging industry in the decades ahead and these product scenarios will help set a roadmap toward both regulatory and consumer acceptance successes.

“Clearly, nanotechnology offers tremendous opportunities for innovative developments in food packaging that can benefit both consumers and industry,” GMA’s chief science officer, Robert Brackett, added.

“However, before these packaging innovations can be brought to market, we must ensure that the food-packaging industry, through working closely with government, understands the regulatory framework currently in place along with its many requirements.”

For further information contact:

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Ilapak and Linco Food Systems team up

Wrapping and packing machinery supplier Ilapak has terminated distribution with TNA and appointed Australian agent Linco Food Systems to operate in the New Zealand market through The Sutton Group.

Linco Food Systems is a privately owned company that was established in Sydney in 1975 to service the poultry processing industry in Australia, NZ and the South Pacific. In 1995 a Packaging Division was created with an agency agreement for the Ilapak range of equipment to service the needs of existing Ilapak customers and also to expand the company into new food markets outside of the poultry industry.

Linco offers its customers service in both the sales and after sales environment and supports products with installation, commissioning, maintenance, training, and spare parts service.

“We have expanded our national coverage to include offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide and we have 10 highly factory trained service engineers to support our range of equipment, along with in house design drafting capabilities,” said a company statement.

“Linco Food Systems has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Ilapak and with our dedicated team, it is our mission to forge long term partnerships with our customers and we look forward to servicing our customers, old and new, well into the future.

The Sutton Group is a privately owned company based in NZ. It has been active in the the food, beverage and dairy industries, both in NZ and abroad. The group provides a range of skills and services relating to machinery purchases, installation and commissioning of a project from a mechanical and electrical perspective.

For further information contact:

Linco Food Systems

Change to labelling laws

Exporters of pre-packaged food to Hong Kong are urged to make themselves aware of new regulations covering nutrition labelling.

The changes relate to information about nutritional information and claims included on food labels.

While they do not take effect until mid-2010, the new regulations are already being adopted at the trade level so that non-compliant packaging may not be accepted for sale.

More information about Hong Kong’s food laws can be found at

For further information contact:

Hong Kong Legislative Council

Showcasing world’s food factory

India’s first summit for representatives of the processed food industry will be staged in New Delhi on 17 and 18 July.

The country’s leading body for business and industry, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is organising the ‘Processed Foods — Advantage India 2008’ to promote the ranges of processed food available in ‘the food factory of the world’.

India is the world’s second largest producer of food, and ranked fifth internationally in production, consumption and exports.

India today is set to meet and deliver to the tastes of international consumers, and has maintained global standards for the packaging and delivery of processed foods.

For further information contact:

Confederation of Indian Industry

Turning waste plastic bottles into food packaging

Plastic recycling has been improved with a revolutionary plant in London being the first to recycle waste plastic bottles back into useful food packaging material.

Closed Loop Recycling will take 35,000 tonnes of recovered plastic bottles, including milk and soft drink bottles and turn them back into recycled raw material for new food and drink packaging. The plant will divert a significant amount of waste from landfill. The first customers to purchase the recycled food grade plastic from the plant include Coca-Cola and prominent UK retailer Marks & Spencer.

Closed Loop believe that the new plant is a very exciting step forward for the recycling industry. “This plant represents the evidence that the UK is undergoing a recycling revolution — until now there has been no facility to recycle bottles back into plastic food packaging”, explained Closed Loop Recycling managing director, Chris Dow.

“The industry and consumer are now viewing recycled plastic in a completely new light, it is no longer waste, it is a valuable resource. In addition, each plastic bottle that we recycle reduces the bottle’s carbon footprint by around 25%.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Londoners want to be green and recycle more, so it is welcome news that this state-of-the-art recycling plant in Dagenham is now open to recycle tonnes of the capital’s plastic waste that was previously destined for landfill. This is good for London and good for the environment.”

Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE) is supporting the scheme, as part of its wider environmental commitments. Coca-Cola Enterprises managing director, Hubert Patricot, said the company is keen to support such initiatives as they look to the future. “Sustainable packaging is something we are committed to. We have a goal to use on average 25% recycled PET across CCE’s European operations by the end of 2010.

“We are delighted that Closed Loop Recycling’s plant in London will help us purchase recycled PET in the UK. It’s very encouraging to see a process that allows waste to be collected from UK consumers, reprocessed locally, with the recycled product being put back to use in our factories across the UK.”

Using leading edge technologies, Closed Loop Recycling will turn what may have been previously exported to developing countries at low value or discarded into landfill into new material suitable for food and drink packaging. Thus, creating a circle of constantly recycled plastic.

For further information contact:

Closed Loop Recycling

A juice by any other name

Following legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Federal Court has declared that Nudie Foods Australia Pty Ltd made misleading claims about two of its juice products, Rosie Ruby and Rosie Blue, and breached the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Nudie represented that the Rosie Ruby juice was solely Cranberry Cloudy juice and the Rosie Blue juice solely Cranberry Blueberry juice when in fact both the juices predominately comprised reconstituted apple juice: 80 per cent in the case of the Rosie Ruby juice and 78 per cent in the case of the Rosie Blue juice.

The misleading representations over the fruit juice content appeared on Nudie products supplied through national supermarket chains and independently owned shops throughout Australia between July 2007 and 30 January 2008. The claims were also repeated in advertising campaigns in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane using signboards on buses and trams, street posters and postcard flyers.

The court declared in consent orders that Nudie breached sections 52, 53(a) and 55 of the Act. The settlement between Nudie and the ACCC, agreed to by the court, resulted in an injunction restraining Nudie from repeating the conduct for a period of three years. Nudie also agreed to publish corrective advertisements, establish an education, training and trade practices compliance program and pay ACCC costs.

In welcoming the decision, ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel noted Nudie’s cooperation to conclude the proceedings, but suggested companies take more care in the way they advertise their products. “This case is another warning to companies that they must consider carefully what claims are being made about a product on its labelling and in marketing,” he said. “Consumers are entitled to expect fruit juice producers to provide an accurate reflection on the products packaging of what is contained within.”

“The ACCC will continue to be vigilant in this area to protect consumers and will not hesitate to take enforcement action, including action in the Federal Court, against traders who make false or misleading representations to consumers, as has been demonstrated by this case.”

For further information contact:

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Keep spring water Cool

Cadbury Schweppes is re-launching its Cool Ridge still spring water brand, with a brand refresh that hit shelves this month, incorporating a new pack design and a new product positioning.

The new packaging has been developed to maintain the ‘natural’ heritage of the brand which consumers previously associated with the image of a blue waterfall. On the new pack, this has been translated to a pebble surrounded by flowing water, providing Cool Ridge with a cleaner, fresher look and increased stand out on shelf.

The new brand positioning has been developed to emphasise the fact that Cool Ridge is and always has been locally sourced Australian water, and aims to differentiate the brand from competitors by reinforcing that Cool Ridge is simple, quality Australian still spring water with no gimmicks or pretentions.

Cadbury Schweppes director of beverage marketing, Darryn Wallace, said that a brand refresh for Cool Ridge was a very positive step. “Cool Ridge has always been a strong performer within our stable of beverages, it has very broad distribution in a category which continues to grow year on year, and with the improved shelf presence of the new pack design we expect to see solid growth.”

The new look Cool Ridge hit shelves from mid-June, with roll out across all distribution channels including grocery and impulse in the following formats:

• 350ml: RRP $1.90

• 600ml: RRP $2.50

• 1.5L: RRP $3.60

• 12 x 600ml Fridge Pack multipack (grocery only): RRP $9.99

For further information contact:

Danielle Collavino

Keep Left PR

Gourmet on the run

A desire to retail ready-to-heat meals to busy commuters has turned into a rapidly growing business for 26 year old Brisbane entrepreneur, Alison Price.

Unable to locate a catering company willing to supply quality meals cooked fresh daily to a budget, Price decided to set up her own kitchen and production facilities to support her idea.

Despite a total lack of commercial kitchen and food experience, Price has managed to assemble a team and production facility capable of producing up to 500 meals per day, cooked fresh from scratch.

She places a high value on processes and her production team’s ability to manage the kitchen to minimise wastage. Ten10 Eats works closely with suppliers and many ingredients arrive pre-portioned and within a specified weight range. The kitchen orders only what needs to be cooked to stock retail stores. Spreadsheets track the pre-cooked and yield weights of ingredients resulting in accurate meal costings.

“The cold room is left almost totally empty twice a week”, she said.

Unsold meals are frozen and Ten10 Eats helps schools, sporting clubs and community groups with frozen meal fundraising drives.

When cooking ten different meals fresh daily, menu design has also been important. “We’ve changed a few menu items along the way to streamline our kitchen processes.”

Price says one of their other big lessons has been staffing. “Labour costs are one of our biggest spends and we’ve worked hard to come up with ways to be more efficient yet not sacrifice on quality”.

Meals are cooked and chilled during the day by Chef Manager Michael Edmonds and his team. Kitchen Assistants work after school packaging and labelling meals, serving customers, washing up, and cleaning the kitchen ready for the next day’s food preparation.

“Running a business with mainly Generation Y staff and an average employee age of just 17.5 years is another challenge,” said Price.

One of the cornerstones of the business is an online Wiki with fully documented procedures and staff checklists.

“We’ve made a conscious decision to give staff lots of responsibility,” she explained.

Sixteen year old staff are regularly left unsupervised to run their shift without manager supervision.

“All our retail staff spend their first few weeks in the kitchen, helping to cook and package the meals.” Staff are given the opportunity to work in both stores, and Price says this constantly challenges them and gives them a better understanding of the ‘big picture.’

With a 91% staff retention rate they must be doing something right.

The finished product is a testament to taste testing panels, nutritionists, and a head chef with a passion for food. A menu of ten sumptuous dishes caters for various appetites and diets including vegetarian, low fat, and gluten-free options. “All our meals are sold fresh not frozen, and everything is designed to be microwaved.” The high end version of bangers and mash with caramelized onion, green beans and shiraz jus is just as popular as the signature dish of ricotta gnocchi with artichokes and eggplant in a sage and tomato sauce.

One other point of difference for Ten10 Eats is that they don’t add anything to their food to make it look better or keep for longer. “Everything is real food cooked from raw ingredients just like you would make at home,” Price said.

Lucky Brisbane city commuters get to pick up meals from conveniently located stores in the CBD and on major arterial roads. Even better, Ten10 Eats also operates a meals delivery service, with daily deliveries to inner city areas and weekly deliveries further out of town. We’re increasingly time-poor, but want to be healthy and eat well. Ten10 Eats works for busy people by providing balanced meals on the run.

Ten10 Eats seems to be a recipe for success, recently shortlisted as a finalist in the Best Food Retailer section of the 2008 National Retail Association Awards.

“Being put on the same list as incredibly successful food franchises like Boost Juice, SumoSalads, Healthy Habits, and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar is as good or better than winning any award”, said Price.

For further information contact:

Ten10 Eats

Alto hits the high spot

Take sunshine, bracing high country air, constant warm days and cool nights — add careful grove management and a dash of Australian ingenuity — and you have ALTO Olives — producers of an integrated range of exceptional quality Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Table Olives.

The ALTO portfolio is crafted from the finest quality olives sourced from selected groves located high on Australia’s Great Diving Range. These sites have been specifically chosen to ensure significant elevation, a critical factor in ensuring the consistent quality and flavour profile of both ALTO Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the complementary range of table olives.

ALTO Extra Virgin Oil is blended predominantly from two Tuscan-origin varieties — Frantoio and Leccino — to create a range of styles. The flagship oil is the award-winning ALTO Robust, a first cold decanter pressed fresh, fruity, multipurpose oil characterised by lifted green apple and herb aromas and an intense resonant palate with balanced pungency and bitterness supporting a spicy, clean lingering finish.

Its companion oils are ALTO Delicate with subtle grassy aromas and mild pungency, and ALTO Lemon a tangy citrus enhanced, full-bodied oil. Analysis of all ALTO Extra Virgin Olive Oils reveals they are particularly rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, and display desirable ratings for free fatty acids and peroxide, attributes that are a reflection of the high altitude origins.

The new ALTO Olives range also encompasses a selection of handy-pack ALTO Table Olives. The three current products are ALTO Natural, ALTO Bush Herb and ALTO Chilli, all crafted from Australian grown olive varieties including Kalamata, Volos and Manzanillo, which are naturally cured in sea salt, rain water and cider vinegar. Each unique olive medley is subsequently marinated with Australian grown ingredients.

“The ALTO Olives brand was created to showcase the exceptional quality of high altitude cultivated Australian olives. Already the portfolio has achieved significant accolades, both in Australia and overseas, a vindication of the company’s significant investment in its development,” said General Manager Kate Notley.

The simple, striking ALTO package, created by Sydney graphic designer Stephanie Martin, won a Gold Medal in the American Graphic Design Annual 2008, and the ALTO Robust Oil was awarded Silver Medals at both the 2007 Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition and the 2007 Australian Olive Association Olive Oil Awards.

“The artisan ALTO range represents both quality and value, and the eye-catching packaging is intended to set the portfolio apart from other Australian origin olive products,” said Notley. ALTO Extra Virgin Olive Oils and ALTO Table Olives are currently available from selected gourmet food stores and independent supermarkets in NSW and ACT where they are distributed by Nicholas Foods.

For further information contact:

Kate Notley

General Manager

Biodegradable packaging appointment

Biograde Limited, an Australian supplier of resins derived from renewable resources for the plastics packaging industry, has appointed Marplex Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of global company Orica Limited, as its Australian distributor.

Biograde, which has been named exclusive supplier of biodegradable packaging to the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, supplies a range of renewable hybrid resins and certified biodegradable resins derived from corn starch and holds a strong patent portfolio for its innovative technology. The sustainable hybrid products allow customers to reduce the carbon footprint and oil dependence of their packaging. The biodegradable range reduces use of petrochemical materials and delivers functional benefits such as compostability, flushability, anti static, odour barrier and soft touch feel.

“To tailor biodegradable and sustainable hybrid resins for specific customer requirements in the cost conscious packaging market, we need a distributor with the skills to contribute to product development,” said Biograde Managing Director, Dr Frank Glatz.

“Marplex has a strong foot print in the packaging industry, good application skills in film and injection moulding and a long and successful history of developing markets. The Biograde portfolio will complement this. In a society increasingly aware of environmental and global warming choices, Australia’s packaging industry must learn about using ‘green’ resins for their packaging.

“The Biograde product mix allows brand owners and retailers to choose materials that best suit their packaging life cycle and sustainability strategies. Our certified resins are proven performers by international standards, including Europe’s EN 13432, USA’s ASTM D 6400, Japan’s Greenpla, and Australia’s AS 4736,” said Dr Frank Glatz.

Brand owners seek cleaner, greener packaging solutions Marplex General Manager, John Cunning, said Biograde is a natural selection for Marplex because their products offer the market technical excellence and choice across a range of applications. “Marplex has a commitment to growing its sustainable product range. With the Biograde portfolio, we will service the Australian packaging industry with a comprehensive list of resins that offer full functional benefits. They can be processed using existing equipment for injection moulding, extrusion and film blowing, and foam products.

“Biograde resins deliver what others promise. With increased consumer awareness of environmental issues, increased debate about government regulation and taxes on packaging, major brand owners and retailers are seeking sustainable packaging solutions to better position their products. Marplex believes that Biograde is poised for strong growth,” said John Cunning.

Dr Frank Glatz said the oil price peak is a strong driver in the move away from fossil based resins. “As global demand for finite oil resources grows, brand owners and retailers want new cost effective packaging options that also meet the environmental demands of regulators and consumers,” he said.

“With our product development capability, and the technical skills brought to the partnership by Marplex, Biograde looks forward to offering brand owners and retailers seeking sustainable packaging a full suite of sustainable hybrid and biodegradable solutions,” said Dr Frank Glatz.

For further information contact:

Dr Frank Glatz

Managing Director

Biograde Limited

Hot Fill PET bottles can be light weighted

Sipa of Veneto, Italy is a global leader of PET Stretch Blow Moulding Machines for the production of PET bottles and has developed light-weighting technologies for ‘hot fill’ PET bottles used in the juice, tea, isotonic and flavoured water markets.

Sipa has been involved in on-going weight reduction development for hot fill PET beverage containers over the past eight years for both single stage and two stage technologies. Depending on the technology chosen in conjunction with the bottlers filling process, bottle weight reductions of up to 30% are being achieved.

Capable of being filled at up to 90°C with modern filling equipment, Sipa can significantly reduce the weight of the traditionally heavy hot fill PET bottles.

As an example a Sipa customer in Vietnam is producing a 26gm, 500ml bottles filled at 88°C using a 38mm non-crystalline reinforced lightweight neck finish. Typically the same bottles in the Australian market are in the 32-35gm range.

Bottlers can save approximately Euro 130,000 per annum for every gram reduction on a filling line operating at 24,000 bph on a continuous production basis.

Sipa also provide PET packaging solutions for beer, liquor and other beverage sectors that were traditionally devoted to glass and metal can packaging.

Sipa recently appointed HBM Plastics & Packaging Technologies as their exclusive partner in Australia and New Zealand for sales and service backup.

For further information contact:

Gary Brown

HBM Plastics & Packaging Technologies

Geoff Kelly

HBM Plastics & Packaging Technologies

Wayne Brown

HBM Plastics & Packaging Technologies

Dairy Award Finalists

The Dairy Award finalists include Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy Yogurt, Ice Crème Caramels, New Kraft Singles and Pauls All Natural. FOOD Magazine congratulates all the finalists in this category.

Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy Yogurt

This range of everyday premium yogurts were developed to revolutionise the sweetened yogurt category by introducing a premium quality product which delivered innovative packaging and superior flavour and texture, to appeal to both current yogurt consumers and bring new users into the segment. The product meets consumers’ needs for a genuinely thick and creamy, low fat yogurt.

Ice Crème Caramels

Serendipity Ice Cream presents a new, frozen self-saucing ice cream. The challenge in developing the product was to create a syrup that was solid enough when frozen that it would not be affected by the subsequent covering with ice cream, but was still liquid enough to pour over the ice cream section of the dessert when unmoulded for presentation to the diner. The result is a unique product that goes from freezer to place in around 25 seconds and beautifully presents as a stand-alone dessert.

New Kraft Singles

The new range of Kraft Singles meet more grown-up taste preferences and provide dairy goodness. Available in Extra Tasty, Swiss and Light ‘n’ Tasty, in 205g and 410g packs, New Kraft Singles have a stronger flavour and a firmer texture — meeting older kids taste preferences, without losing the convenience of individually wrapped slices. The Singles contain no artificial colours or flavours, have half a glass of milk in every slice, as well as 21% calcium RDI per slice. Enriched with vitamin D to assist with calcium absorption, they come in a unique foil packaging and are easy to find on supermarket shelves.

Pauls All Natural

This 98% fat free flavoured milk has nothing artificial added to the ingredients, and is preservative free, high in calcium and with low-GI. Given the increased consumer focus on a healthy lifestyle and all natural products, Pauls All Natural was developed to appeal to the older beverage consumer who would normally be exiting the flavoured milk category due to health/weight concerns and a developed taste for less sweet flavours. Pauls All Natural comes in three flavours, including Banana & Honey, Malt & Honey and Malt & Chocolate.

The Dairy Award is proudly sponsored by Columbit.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Meat & Smallgoods Award Finalists

The Health & Wellness Award finalists include Fishers Beef Sirloin, KR Castlemaine Shaved Meat Range, Microwave Beef and Teys Gold MSA Steaks. FOOD Magazine congratulates all the finalists in this category.

Fishers Beef Sirloin

This product was created in answer to a consumer-driven need for more consistently tender products. The Sirloin is lightly infused with a teriyaki marinade. Fishers Meats have taken budget beef striploin and turned it into a steak that compares favourably with most of the top grades of sirloins while being retailed at about 75% of the cost. The product is delivered frozen, boasts a massive 730 day shelf life, and is a unique entrant in the current Australian market.

KR Castlemaine Shaved Meat Range

KR Castlemaine has recently launched an innovative new four-pack design into the dairy-case section. Comprising a range of shaved hams, chicken, turkey and salami products, the new format offers the consumer convenience and freshness with either 4 x 30g portions or 4 x 50g portions. The four-pack is neatly held together with a new-look outer sleeve, which is a revolutionary design for the smallgoods category, delivering key benefits to the retail trade.

Microwave Beef

Increases in the number of working women and changing trends in ethnicity have led to greater indulgence in microwave cooking. For those with time constraints, who are on the lookout for easy meal solutions, taste, food quality, and convenience are attractive factors. Cargill’s Microwave roast beef is an innovative new beef product that is ready-to-cook and guarantees a juicy, soft and tender textured meat. The product is presented in microwave-safe packaging for microwave cooking or can be removed from the packaging and roasted in a conventional oven.

Teys Gold MSA Steaks

The packaging of the MSA Steaks is visually appealing and increases customer’s awareness of MSA beef. The fact that it is also thermoformed increases the shelf life of the product for up to six weeks, which then gives the retail sector plenty of time for the consumer to purchase the product. The individually boxed 300 gram MSA Steaks appeal to the high-end retail sector, giving the option and opportunity to purchase a conveniently packaged, restaurant quality steak.

The Meat & Smallgoods Award is proudly sponsored by Siemens.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Ready Meals Award Finalists

The Ready Meals Award finalists include ALDI Specially Selected Restaurant Meals, Birds Eye Lightly Seasoned Fish Fillets, I&J Fish Strips, Microwave Beef, Organic Bubs, Pitango Organic and Carbon Neutral Risotto Range and Fresh Curry Meals and Wild Rocket, Baby Spinach and Salad Mix. FOOD Magazine congratulates all the finalists in this category.

ALDI Specially Selected Restaurant Meals

In conjunction with ALDI, Creative Food Solutions have developed a range of ready-to-heat-and-serve restaurant quality meals for the retail market. Each product contains two portions of either 180 gram, Boneless Breast of Chicken or 180 gram, 150 day Grain Fed, Angus Beef Medallions served with a variety of freshly made chef-quality sauces. The range covers cuisines from classical (Beef Medallions in Green Pepper Corn Sauce) to modern Australian (Beef Medallions in Forest Berry and Port Wine) and Asian influenced (Chicken Breast in Roasted Peanut Satay).

Birds Eye Lightly Seasoned Fish Fillets

Birds Eye’s 100% skinless and boneless fish fillets are lightly seasoned in herbs, spices and crumbs. They come in a range of flavours: Lemon & Cracked Pepper, Garlic & Parsley and Sea Salt, are a good source of Omega 3, contain no artificial colours or flavours, and have the Heart Foundation Tick. With more fish and less crumb than regular crumbed fish portions, Birds Eye Lightly Seasoned fish fillets are available in 400g packs of 4 fillets, not as a complete meal on their own, but rather as a meal component.

I&J Fish Strips

Fish Fingers are a traditional format over 50 years old that have started to lose some relevance with consumers in the face of alternative options. I&J Fish Strips are an evolved offer, designed to cater for a broader range of usage occasions. The Strips are made from fish fillets coated in seasoned crumbs. The product range caters to versatile ways for consumers to enjoy fish and was developed as a move away from traditional formats to invigorate the category.

Microwave Beef

Increases in the number of working women and changing trends in ethnicity have led to greater indulgence in microwave cooking. For those with time constraints, who are on the lookout for easy meal solutions, taste, food quality, and convenience are attractive factors. Cargill’s Microwave roast beef is an innovative new beef product that is ready-to-cook and guarantees a juicy, soft and tender textured meat. The product is presented in microwave-safe packaging for microwave cooking or can be removed from the packaging and roasted in a conventional oven.

Organic Bubs

A range of ready-to-serve children’s meals made from 100% certified organic fresh ingredients, Organic Bubs’ meals are prepared by hand in small batches, using home-style cooking methods such as steaming, baking and slow cooking. Using the finest Australian-grown produce from certified organic growers and wholesalers, ingredients are cooked fresh and immediately snap-frozen to lock in all their natural flavour, colour and nutrients, and to avoid over-processing.

Pitango Organic and Carbon Neutral Risotto Range and Fresh Curry Meals

Pitango are the world’s first fresh meal manufacturer to become carbon neutral with carboNZero certification. Using premium ingredients grown in the New Zealand’s south island, and importing premium organic ingredients from hand-picked sites around the world, Pitango’s gourmet meals are made with the highest quality ingredients, and are presented in stylish packages with artwork to emphasise the products’ unique benefits.

Wild Rocket, Baby Spinach and Salad Mix

Ladybird’s organic, pre-packed salads were created to fill a void in the marketplace for quality, quantity and continuous supply of organic salad mixes. Because leafy greens absorb chemicals far more readily than other vegetables due to their surface-area-to-volume ration, the ingredients in these salads, which are organic and not sprayed with pesticides, are far safer to eat. The salads are packaged in a new compostable material, made from corn, and creating a perfect, healthy fusion – inside and out.

The Ready Meals Award is proudly sponsored by Kerry.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.