Packaging exhibition to expand

Organisers of AUSPACK PLUS 2013 announced they will add 202 square metres of venue space at the exhibition due to high demand.

Visitors can expect to see over 240 exhibitors, representing 13 countries, 58 international exhibitors and taking up over 7000 square metres of floor space.

Every two years the packaging, food and beverage industries have the opportunity to see working packaging and processing machinery under one roof at AUSPACK PLUS.

According to Brad Jeavons, National Sales Manager- Labeling Systems, insignia, AUSPACK PLUS is considered to be the industry’s premier packaging event.

“Exhibiting at AUSPACK PLUS allows the opportunity to showcase our range of Domino, Bixolon, Datamax O’Neil, Zebra and Intermec labelling and coding solutions, as well as custom made labels,” Jeavons said.

AUSPACK PLUS 2013 will be held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park from Tuesday the 7th to Friday the 10th of May 2013.

Australia to host WorldStar Packaging awards

The Australian Institute of Packaging has been invited to host this year's WorldStar Packaging awards, to be held alongside AUSPACK  PLUS 2013.

According to Ralph Moyle, national president of the AIP, this is a unique opportunity for the Australasian packaging industry to be part of an international event.

"There will be an international contingent of WPO Board members and award winners from across the globe coming to Australia for this event and we would like to extend an invitation to the entire packaging community to be a part of this significant night," he said.

The 2013 WorldStar Packaging Awards will be held on Thursday 9 May at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, alongside AUSPLACK PLUS 2013.

The WorldStar Packaging Awards is run by the World Packaging Organisation and is now in its 45th year. Last year the event attracted 243 entries from 32 countries around the world.

The AIP will also be running its biennial National Technical Forum in the day on 9 May, with the theme ‘Global Packaging Trends’.

For more information head to

To read Ralph Moyle's column on the importance of Australia taking part in these competitions, and global packaging trends, click here.


Birds Eye goes green with new recycling partnership

Frozen food brand, Birds Eye, has teamed up with waste reduction group, RED Group, in an Australian first nationwide recycling scheme.

The REDcycle program enables consumers to recycle their Birds Eye packaging in REDcycle Station Bins, located at 370 Coles stores across the country. The plastic will then be converted into outdoor furniture, exercise equipment, traffic bollards and ramps for schools and parks with the help of recycled plastics manufacturer, REPLAS.

Tara Lordsmith, general manager of retail marketing at Simplot Australia, owner of Birds Eye, said, "We are delighted that Birds Eye is taking part in the REDcycle Program, helping to reduce the amount of Birds Eye packaging which may have otherwise ended up in landfill. Not only are we reducing the amount of waste in landfill, we are also contributing to the supply of furniture and outdoor equipment for local communities to enjoy."

During a 12 month trial of the program in Melbourne, 9 million plastic packaging items were rechannelled from landfill.

US food safety shake-up; Colombia’s coffee woes: Global News Bites

Global News Bites keeps you up-to-date on what's happening around the world in food and beverage manufacturing.

FDA proposes new food safety standards
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed two new food safety rules that will help prevent foodborne illness. The proposed rules implement the landmark, bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) … The proposed rules build on significant strides made during the Obama Administration, including the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped up testing for E. coli in beef as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety, which many producers, growers and others currently follow … The first rule proposed would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The FDA seeks public comment on this proposal. The FDA is proposing that many food manufacturers be in compliance with the new preventive controls rules one year after the final rules are published in the Federal Register but small and very small businesses would be given additional time. The FDA also seeks public comment on the second proposed rule released today, which proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. This rule proposes science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.

Improvement in Colombia coffee production 'urgently required': Agriculture Minister
Colombia's Minister of Agriculture on Sunday said that the government is dedicated and has proven its dedication to aiding the country's sluggish coffee industry. In a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo called the decline in Colombia coffee production in 2012 "troubling and disappointing" and that improvement in 2013 is "urgently required." Restrepo said that the administration remains determined to assisting Colombian farmers through this troubling period. The Minister of Agriculture noted that 75% of funds invested into the coffee industry come directly from the national government. Restrepo also mentioned the $33 per load subsidy farmers are currently getting to help offset the declining international price of coffee, which fell 26% in 2012. A calamitous 2012 production season caused the national government to directly subsidize farmers whose production numbers represented a 33-year low. The dramatic decline, according to the Communications Director for Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers [FNC], was due to a myriad of factors including global market fluctuation, torrential rains and a rising peso. Besides a shifting global market, a heavy rainy season "prevented flowering and sparked an increase in coffee tree diseases" which dramatically affected production goals. Despite the disappointing 2012 season, the Minister of Agriculture said he remained hopeful that the industry would rebound in 2013.

UK 'mega deals' at three-year high
The number of big deals increased from 24 to 39, helped by the £5bn acquisition of NDS by US software company Cisco and by the £4.6bn partial acquisition of Alliance Boots by US rival Walgreens. In total, such deals accounted for £128bn in 2012 and helped boost the overall value of deals by 4.8pc, from £231bn in 2011 to £242bn in 2012. The most active sector for large deals was food and drink manufacturing, followed by chemical manufacturing, and professional and business services. Deals included Diageo’s £1.3bn acquisition of Vijay Mallya’s stake in Indian drinks company United Spirits, as well as the £1.2bn sale of Weetabix to Chinese conglomerate Bright Food.

Udyami meet: Food processing industry in state under focus
The food processing industry in Bihar came under focus at the Udyami panchayat here on Monday, at which the entrepreneurs aired their problems and chief minister Nitish Kumar, who headed a team of ministers and top officials, promised to address them. Promoters and representatives of rice and wheat flour mills, rural agri business centres, processing units of maize, fruits and vegetables, biscuit manufacturing and edible oil processing units attended the meeting. The State Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB) has approved altogether 533 projects under food processing sector with the total projected cost of Rs 5942.74 crore. Of this, over Rs 762 crore has already been invested, said industry minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha after the meeting … The SIPB has also approved proposals for 28 new sugar mills at a projected cost of Rs 6507.86 crore, extension of 10 existing sugar mills for Rs 956.64 crore, establishment of ethanol plants at three existing sugar mills at an outlay of Rs 151 crore, said principal secretary, industry, Navin Verma.

Canadian Health Officials 15 E. coli Illnesses in Eastern Provinces
Canada’s eastern and adjoining provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are reporting 15 confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7. None of the illnesses have yet been traced to a source. Ten of the E. coli illnesses are located in central Nova Scotia, with five reported by the Capital District Health, two by the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, and one each by the Pictou, Cumberland, and Colcherster East Hants health authorities. On the other side of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, heath officials reported two cases were reported in the St. John region and three in the Fredericton region. Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer for New Brunswick, said it is not known if there is a common source for the cases. A number of possible sources are being investigated. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer for Nova Scotia, said that it would not be uncommon for there to be additional cases as it may take as long as ten days for some people to begin to experience symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 and get tested. One of the Nova Scotia patients experienced kidney failure, but along with the others is said to be recovering. In New Brunswick, four illnesses were treated by emergency room visits, and one victim was hospitalized.

Federal agriculture minister announces Canada-wide information hubs
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the government will phase in 16 information hubs for farmers, fishers and foresters needing advice on growing and selling their products. Ritz made the announcement at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratories in Saskatoon. He said the centres will have expertise on newly developed crop strains, strategies to increase yields and best practices related to food safety. For example, a canola company needing information on export regulations on food-grade canola will have one-stop access to the rules through a centre. The hubs are to be spread across Canada and are to specialize in an activity concentrated in a given region such as shellfishing in Moncton, N.B., and forestry in Burnaby, B.C. Ritz says producers located far from any centre will be able to get advice through a toll-free number or digital means.

Change4Life advertising campaign highlights sugar and fat in food
A graphic government television campaign highlighting the levels of sugar, fat and salt in everyday foods, including a cola bottle holding 17 cubes of sugar, and a wine glass full of fat from a large pizza, will be launched on Monday during an episode of Coronation Street. The adverts will bookend commercial food adverts, including from Asda, the Co-Op and Quorn, featuring their healthier ranges. The campaign is part of the Change4Life scheme. The public health minister, Anna Soubry, said: "We want to make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use." The government has been criticised in the past by many in the health sector for not introducing a mandatory simple uniform labelling system, but has finally won agreement from major supermarkets to introduce a traffic light system of labelling on a voluntary basis this year. Soubry said with England having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, there was more to do. "Making healthier, balanced meals on a budget can be a challenge for families. This new Change4Life campaign offers families free healthy recipes and money off those much needed cupboard essentials to encourage everyone to try healthy alternatives.

US Demand for Plastic Film to Grow 1.9% Annually to 16 Billion Pounds in 2016
US demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.9 percent annually to 16 billion pounds in 2016, with a market value of $19 billion. Expansion of the market will be fostered by an acceleration in economic growth and an increase in consumer spending, which will drive demand for film used in diverse applications such as retail sales, manufacturing, and construction. Advances will also be helped by an increase in the use of film in packaging, where it offers advantages in cost, performance, and source reduction over other packaging materials. The versatility of plastic film increasingly allows for the downgauging of packaging, reducing the amount of material needed and lowering production and shipping costs, while maintaining desired characteristics.


Mixed reaction on new health labelling laws

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation has approved proposals to regulate food manufacturers' products nutrition content and health claims.

These new regulations will create stricter controls over on-pack health claims, including the need to provide scientific evidence to support claims and meet specific eligibility criteria including nutrition criteria.

The move came on the same day the Gillard Government announced a range of measurers to bolster the strength of Australia's manufacturing sector – promising the first round of the $236 million Industrial Transformation Research Program will focus on food research.

Meeting in Brisbane on Friday the various ministers considered the review report for the draft Standard for Nutrition, Health and Related Claims provided by the Board of Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and agreed to enact new laws early next year that will regulate the voluntary use of nutrition content and health claims, general level health claims, and high level health claims.

These changes will force manufacturers to have health claims such as 'calcium is good for strong bones' to be supported by either pre-approved or industry self substantiated, while the higher level health claims, such as 'calcium reduces the risk of osteoporosis' will require pre-approval by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

"All health claims will be required to be supported by scientific evidence and will only be permitted on foods that meet specific eligibility criteria, including nutrition criteria," the ministers said.

"The new Standard aims to ensure that consumers can have confidence that health claims are evidence based.
"When gazetted, food businesses will have three years to meet the requirements of the new Standard."

During this three year grace period FSANZ will carry out additional work such as the refining of the nutrient profiling scoring criteria, and the development and implementation of processes to maintain scientific currency of pre-approved food-health relationships.

Industry support

The new regulations have been supported by CHOICE, which stated that the decision, and the nutrient profiling score, is positive for consumers and helps to provide an objective benchmark for food healthiness.

“These nutritional criteria were agreed following extensive work by the independent regulator and provide a robust and objective approach to determining which food products are healthy enough overall to carry health marketing claims,” CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just said.

Following the announcement Uncle Toby's will move to ensure all of its 44 breakfast cereals meet the new criteria.

The manufacturer explained that it is part of the company's wider five year plan to reduce fats, sugar, and sodium in its products.

"Today, we are committing to consumers that by the end of January our entire range of UNCLE TOBYS cereals will meet the nutrition eligibility criteria of the new standard, meaning that every one of our cereals could carry a health claim,” Uncle Toby's nutrition manager Nilani Sritharan said.

Falling short

Despite agreeing with the move, CHOICE felt that the decision to allow food manufacturers to evaluate the evidence behind the health claims, as opposed to independent regulators, damages consumer confience.

“This is a major step backwards from an earlier proposal that would have required the independent regulator to scrutinise new claims, which was scuttled after an intense industry lobbying campaign,” Just said.

“When we look at what happened in Europe, where the European Food Safety Authority rejected 80% of the health claims put forward by food companies, we can see that the food industry has a very different idea of what constitutes scientific evidence to independent regulators."

The backlash

However the move by the government group has not been universally welcomed.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) was quick to slam the new regulations, claiming that it "will stifle innovation and industry competiveness".

"Today’s decision by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation to impose additional regulation on nutrition content and health claims will result in unnecessary costs, discourage innovation and reduce trade competitiveness of the food processing sector," it said.

AFGC chief Gary Dawson decried the new regulations as regressive step, saying that "the Australian food processing industry needs policy reform that bolsters business competitiveness. Unfortunately the Commonwealth and the majority of members of the Forum on Food Regulation have ignored the advice of the AFGC and those states representing the bulk of the food manufacturing sector.

“The new Health Claims Standard is a disproportionate response to a non-issue that will discourage innovation in food products, increase regulatory costs, discourage investment and ultimately pose a competitive disadvantage for domestic manufacturers."

He went on to say that “this decision comes just two days after the Government announced its commitment to reduce red tape and review unnecessary regulation. It is also inconsistent with the broader policy emphasis on reshaping the manufacturing sector to take advantage of the Asian Century.

“In the current difficult trading environment any additional regulation or impost that adds to costs runs a high risk of pushing production and jobs offshore.

“Instead of streamlining approvals, the new standard will impose an onerous substantiation process that goes well beyond equivalent regulation in Europe or US.”

On the sidelines

While the main focus was on the new health and nutrition claims, the food minister also noted progress for labelling across a number of different areas.

Regarding front of pack labelling, the ministers said the collaborative process to develop a new rating system has progressed well.

They also noted that the review of the Policy Guideline on the Addition of Caffeine to Foods is underway, with public consultation on the Policy Guideline scheduled for March next year.

The agreement for an Australian standard on country of origin labelling to include all unpackaged meat products was welcomed by CHOICE.

“We know Australian consumers have a strong desire to know where their food is produced, and this is a welcome move to close one of the key country-of-origin loopholes,” Just stated.

Minister at the forum also sought to push a review on the proposed standard for low THC hemp as a food, with ministers to seek advice from the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Services.

Woolworths to present at AIP dinner

Woolworths will be shedding light on its packaging techniques and trends at an upcoming dinner hosted by the Australian Institute of Packaging.

Speaking on 27 February at Oatlands Golf Course Club House in Sydney, Woolworths Limited's environmental manager, Kane Hardingham will join Daniel Bone, global director consumer insights, Datamonitor, as presenters.

Hardingham will present a paper on Woolworths' packaging trends, looking at balancing efficiencies, costs and sustainability for retailers and suppliers.

In his work, Hardingham works with sustainable packaging specialists to implement processes to review packaging on own-brand products and to introduce packaging improvements.

Datamonitor's Daniel Bone will speak about the 10 new pack innovations from Packtrack, Datamonitor's packaging innovation platform.

Bone will explore and challenge the economic difficulties brands face and will provide detail on real opportunities these packaging innovations could provide.

To book your place email for a booking form or head to


Entries open for APPMA scholarship

Entries are now open for the fifth annual scholarship program organised by the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association, together with the Australian Institute of Packaging.

The scholarship will offer a packaging engineer the opportunity to complete a diploma in Packaging Technology.

Mark Dingley, chairman of the APPMA, said "The Diploma in Packaging Technology is a Level 5 qualification which is internationally recognised for those wishing to pursue a career in the packaging industry or for those who are already in the industry and who wish to extend their knowledge and expertise.

"The Diploma prepares students to take responsibility for packaging operations at any level through the supply chain. The qualification is comprehensive, and provides an opportunity to study the principles of packaging, packaging materials and packaging processes."

There are two target groups for the scholarship:

1. People currently employed in parts of the packaging industry who want to broaden their knowledge and take on greater levels of responsibility.

2. People who already have an undergraduate degree who want to continue their studies focusing on packaging technology

Application forms are now available for the APPMA 2013 Scholarship program and can be accessed by emailing or or visiting either or

Submissions close on 22 March with the 2013 winner announced during the APPMA Awards of Excellence, held on 8 May during AUSPACK PLUS 2013 at the Sydney Showground.


Global sales hike for food processing machinery

Food processing machinery sales across the globe are set to rise by 7.3 percent per year, hitting $53.3 billion in 2016.

A study from market research group, The Freedonia Group, claims that the Asia-Pacific will lead the trend with an average of 9.5 percent growth per year from 2011 to 2016 –  thanks to the strong Chinese market.

Increased demand for processed foods in developing countries, as well as increases in personal wealth, is responsible for the growth, with demand for value-added foods like chocolate and mear in countries like China and Brazil prompting manufacturers to broaden their manufacturing capabilities.

As reported on, Freedonia said industrial baking equipment is a key growth area at the moment, accounting for one-fifth of all food processing machinery sales last year, with expectations that this segment will post the largest value gains heading into 2016.

"Rising personal incomes will spur increased demand for processed foods and a dietary shift toward more costly, non-staple items, while advancing industrialisation in these nations will make it more efficient to process basic foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts by machine rather than manually," Freedonia said. "Sales of food processing machinery in other developing areas of the world will, generally speaking, climb at a healthy pace."

The market research group has also found that global demand for green packaging is one the rise, set to reach $212 billion in 2015.

Green packaging, which comprises recycled content, reusable and degradable packaging, is projected to rise 5.7 percent per year to 2015.

While recycled content packaging will remain by far the largest product type through the forecast period and beyond, this segment will see the slowest increases due to the maturity of products such as metal cans and glass containers. On the other hand, above-average demand growth is expected in reusable and degradable packaging. In particular, demand for degradable packaging will continue to see double-digit annual growth rates, despite only accounting for one percent of the overall green packaging market through to 2015.

The Asia-Pacific region will see above-average gains and remain the largest regional market for green packaging in the world, with some of the fastest growth rates expected to be seen in Asia, specifically India, China and Indonesia.


Is shrink-wrap on a cucumber really mindless waste?

Veterans of the packaging industry have debunked the myths and misconceptions about packaging in a new book, which aims to show why wrapping isn’t just a marketing tool.

“People have an awful lot of preconceptions about packaging,” says Stephen Aldridge, one of the book’s authors.

For instance, wrapping up a cucumber seems mighty unnecessary, until you see the research that proves that a wrapped cucumber lasts over three times longer than an unwrapped one.

A longer life therefore means less deliveries, less energy costs, and, coincidentally, less waste.

In a world where we throw out as much as 50 per cent of the food we buy (often because it perishes), the importance of extending a product’s shelf life can’t be underestimated.

Click here to read more about Aldridge’s book at The Independent.

Malik takes out AIP scholarship

Now in its fourth year, the Australian Institute of Packaging, in conjunction with Cormack Packaging, has presented its scholarship to Nancy Malik, a UTS Sydney student.

The scholarship is given to one of 20 students in the Cormack Innovation Awards and gives the winner the opportunity to undertake packaging education through AIP-run half day training courses and conferences.

The scholarship recipient also wins an all expenses paid trip to attend either the AIP biennial National Conference  in either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, or the biennial AIP National Technical Forum, which is held alongside AUSPACK PLUS and alternates between Sydney and Melbourne.

The winner also receives complimentary registration to three half day training courses in NSW and a free one year membership to the AIP.

Nancy Malik from Sydney's UTS is this year's AIP Scholarship recipient.

"It is wonderful to be at the frontline of innovation in packaging and the AIP Scholarship is a great opportunity for me," she said.

"I have always had a passion for plastics and for common-type products and fulfilling the needs of everyday people. FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) is an area I would like to be involved in. I have been interested in packaging and really enjoyed an internship I completed at a consultancy firm working on packaging, seeing  how things evolve in a 3D form and how packaging affects the way that someone uses a product."

Malik was also a Highly Commended winner in the Cormack Packaging Awards for her 'Fairy's Castle' design, which is a two-part packaging solution aimed at children. Part one is a hygienic, touch-free plastic housing to be mounted on a wall at a child-friendly height, and part two is a Colgate junior pump pack, re-engineered to dispense an appropriate amount of toothpaste for a child.


FSC-labelled packaging gains momentum worldwide: Tetra Pak

Food packaging and processing company, Tetra Pak, has announced that this year, more than 20 billion of its packages around the world have donned the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label.

Up from around 8.5 million in 2010, the label certifies that the paperboard used for the packaging materials comes from responsibly managed forests and other controlled sources.

"With more consumers and retailers demanding environmentally sound and ethically produced products, brands that carry the FSC label can attest that their products are packaged using material that has passed the toughest standards of responsible forest management," said Charles Brand, vice president marketing and product management at Tetra Pak.

In Australia, three Tetra Pak customers are launching proucts in FSC-labelled cartons: Freedom Foods and its Australia's Own Organic almond, rice and soy milk; Emma & Tom’s new 1L long life package for its Quenchers with Benefits range of juice product; and Harvey Fresh’s 2L milk and juice products.

Noel Ayre, managing director of Tetra Pak Oceania said, "Our long term goal is to offer all our customers the option to use FSC-certified material for their cartons. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, and are seeking sustainably sourced products."

In Australia and New Zealand, Tetra Pak has sold 13.3 million FSC-labelled packs to date. Other countries which have taken up FSC-labelling include Argentina, which has 1.8 billion FSC-labelled Tetra Pak packages (representing 70 percent of total Tetra Pak packaging) and the Benelux which has 1.2 billion FSC-labelled Tetra Pak packages (about 60 percent of total Tetra Pak packaging material).

In a recent survey of 6,600 consumers in 10 countries conducted by Euromonitor for Tetra Pak, around half said that the absence of information about the environmental profile of a product was an issue in their purchasing behaviour. And the same proportion said they find on-pack logos helpful in understanding the environmental impact of beverage packages.

The first Tetra Pak package with the FSC certification label was launched in the UK by Sainsbury’s in 2007. Today it is being applied by retailers and brand owners in 39 countries, including China, the USA, Canada, across South America and throughout Europe.


Pallet manufacturers to merge into CABKA Group

CABKA and Innova Packaging Systems are to merge under the umbrella of the newly founded CABKA Group.

The CEOs of both companies made the announcement on 19 November and said that until a joint brand is announced, the labels of pallet manufacturers CABKA and Innova Packaging Systems (IPS) will remain intact.

The merge will see the new group become a broad-based provider of plastic pallets, boxes and pallet boxes, with company entering the new group with their own niche market; CABKA focuses on inexpensive one-way pallets for export and IPS concentrates on higher-priced multi-way pallets.

The merge is expected to enable both companies to improve their market positions and become more effective in developing innovations.

"We want to organically grow together by way of a strong range and continuous innovation-based expansion," said Gat Ramon, director and management spokesperson of the new CABKA Group.

"For example, we are going to set up a production line complete with recycling plant for mixed plastics in the vicinity of Ypres, Belgium."

The companies are also a good geographical fit. While CABKA has a strong presence in Germany (Weira, Berlin), North America (St. Louis) and Spain (Valencia), Belgium-based IPS (Ypres) serves the Benelux countries, as well as the UK, Ireland, France and Spain.


Pro-Pac acquires two companies

Continuing its consolidation strategy today Pro-Pac Packaging acquired the business and assets of Source and Sell and Stronghold wholesale.

To date, Source and Sell have supplied packaging products to the food industry while Stronghold Wholesale is a niche distributor of industrial strapping, stretch wrap and tape products.

The combined revenue of the two acquisitions is estimated to be $10 million per annum.

Commenting on the acquisitions was Pro-Pac’s CEO, Brandon Penn, who said they provide “good cross-selling opportunities as both businesses bring together new customers and new products”.

“The purchase of these businesses provides Pro-Pac with further critical mass at the respective regional operations,” he said.

The announcement comes after Manufacturers’ Monthly reported PaperlinX would acquire Canterbury Packaging NZ.

The New Zealand firm is a distributor of industrial packaging consumables, hygiene, safety, and hospitality products, and has an annual turnover of around $2.9 million.

At the time Andy Preece, ANZA region executive general manager, stated that "the acquisition of Canterbury Packaging is a small but significant further step in our diversified products strategy.

"This acquisition will provide a building block for Spicers NZS to diversify….the additional packaging consumables will build on the existing strong market position of Spicers," Preece said.

Wikicells Opens First Outlet Selling Food Packaged in Edible Skin

Edible packaging company Wikicells has opened its first store.

Earlier this year we reported on Wikicell Designs and their development of a revolutionary new food packaging inspired by fruit’s edible skin, with the company recently announcing plans to open their first outlet.

Wikicell’sdeveloped their technolgy to change the face of food packaging, and will demonstrate it with a small snack bar next to the Musee de Louvre in Paris, slated to open in March 2013.

A second outlet is slated to follow, opening near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Massachusetts-based start-up worked with a Paris-based firm to try and mimic natural foods, such as grapes and apples, which are protected by an edible skin.

Some of their inventions include bite-size cheeses and yoghurt balls encased in the 100% biodegradable skin, which could potentially deliver additional health benefits.

A spokesman for the company told FoodProductionDaily that “the membrane adds taste and vitamins to the product”, and was conceived as a reaction to the over-packaging of foods and the huge amount of waste this creates, most of which ends up as landfill.

“Today it has gone so far that is has become a real problem.  Now the technology has become available to create a new kind of packaging.”

The company is looking to extend their vision to a huge range of products, including ice cream and even cocktails enveloped in the edible skins and has generated a huge amount of interest, winning the Special Jury Award for Innovation Given at the SIAL 2012 International Food Conference and securing $10 million in investment capital.

John West orders Greenpeace video off YouTube

The dispute between Greenpeace and John West continues to gain momentum, with the environmental campaign group accusing the tuna company of “censorship” after it was forced to remove a video from YouTube.

The Greenpeace spoof ad, which according to the campaign group, showed edited raw and bloody footage of the fishing method used by John West incorporated into the latest John West television commercial.

But John West has complained that the spoof video is a breach of copyright and ordered Greenpeace to remove it.

“Today’s censorship proves that John West would rather cover up the fact that they needlessly kill threatened juvenile tuna, sharks, rays and even endangered sea turtles than live up to their sustainability rhetoric and update their fishing practices,” Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said in a statement.

“Greenpeace is demanding John West commit to stop using ‘fish aggregating devices' (FADs).

”Fishing with FADs and giant nets is indiscriminate – at least 10 per cent of each haul is 'bycatch,' such as baby tuna, sharks and turtles.

“This rate is ten times higher than nets set without FADs.

“Australian brand Safcol has already switched to more sustainable fishing methods.

“Greenseas and Sirena have also pledged to stop using destructive FADs.

“The biggest brand John West, however, has refused,” Pelle said.

“Even John West UK and John West Germany has listened to its consumers and committed to tuna fished responsibly. Meanwhile John West Australia is denying the gruesome reality that they needlessly kill marine life for every can they produce.”

Pelle slammed John West’s primary advertising slogan, “John West picks the best,” saying it is misleading.

“Unfortunately for them, the John West myth is busted. John West don’t pick the best, they pick whatever is cheap even if it is at the cost of sharks, baby tuna and turtles,” he said.

This incident comes just two days after John West tuna owner Simplot responded to its negative listing on the Greenpeace canned tuna guide 2012, saying it “has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years.”

The annual list compiled by environmental campaign group Greenpeace ranks tuna brands according to their efforts to implement and maintain sustainable fishing practises.

This year it ranked John West towards the bottom of the list, saying “John West is the largest seller of tuna caught using destructive FADs [fish aggregating devices] in Australia.”

“It is having the most damaging impact on marine life so John West is the stand out culprit of Australia's tuna industry,” Greenpeace continued.

“It has a responsibility to do better."

What do you think about FAD's? Should fish companies be forced to comply with more sustainable fishing practises?

Drinking, smoking down but obesity rates up

Australians are drinking and smoking less but putting on weight like never before, a national survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has found.

Results from the ABS Australian Health Survey, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive health survey ever, were released on Monday.

First Assistant Statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Dr Paul Jelfs, said that 63% of Australians were now overweight or obese.

“Men were more likely to be overweight or obese (70%) than women (56%) while one-quarter (25%) of our children are overweight or obese,” he said in a statement.

Around one in five men and one in seven women are smokers and just over 16% of adult Australians smoke every day, a decrease of almost three percentage points in four years, the survey showed.

“Australians are also drinking less, with a drop of 1.4 percentage points in the number of people drinking more than two standard drinks on average per day,” Dr Jelfs said.

Professor Sandra Jones, Director of the Centre for Health Initiatives at the University of Wollongong, said that this was the second consecutive period in which there was a decline in the proportion of adults who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average – a fall from 21.9% in 2004-05 to 20.9% in 2007-08, down to 19.5% in 2011-12.

“This is a very positive outcome, and is likely the result of a combination of factors – including increases in the price of alcohol, effective social marketing campaigns, and increasing public concern about the health and social effects of excessive alcohol consumption,” said Dr Jones.

However, it is important to consider long term as well as short term risk, she said.

“First, in relation to ‘lifetime risk,’ this reduction brings us closer to – but still well above – the 2001 figure of 18.6% of adults who consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average,” she said.

“The fact that 44.7% of Australians aged 18 years report drinking at a level that increases their risk of ‘alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion’ at least once in the past year suggests that we still have a long way to go before we can claim that Australians are drinking safely.”

The Conversation

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Toblerone’s confusing labelling lands it on Choice Shonky List

There’s a lot of debate around lately about the labelling laws in Australia, but Toblerone really takes the cake with its strange claims, which made it the only food product to make it onto Choice’s Shonky Awards 2012 list.

The 400 gram bar of the famous Swiss chocolate says on the label that there are 16 serves of deliciousness inside. But there are actually on 15 pieces!

The consumer watchdog was baffled by the labelling but maintained their sense of humour about the head-scratching portion sizes.

“Picture, if you will, a gathering of 16 people, ready to tuck into their 400g bar of Toblerone, which conveniently contains 16 serves – according to the packet,” the Choice report says.

“But as servee number 15 takes the last pyramidal piece, a problem becomes apparent: 16 serves but only 15 pieces.

“Clearly this logistical nightmare of mountainous portions can only be solved by breaking out the Swiss Army knife (which is why they were invented*), cutting one-sixteenth off every single piece and giving the resultant nougaty-chocolate crumb collection to the sweetless sixteenth.

“Either that, or it’s all-out chocolate war.”

The 200g range has 15 pieces and 8 serves, the 50g has 11 pieces and 2 serves, neither of which can be divided equally easily.

“Yep, it’s as cuckoo as a clock!” Choice says.

“But still we buy them, leaving Herr Tobler yodelling all the way to the Swiss bank.
“Only the 100g mountain range can be divided in the sane, diplomatically neutral and mathematically pleasing manner of which we might imagine the Swiss would be proud, having 12 pieces and 4 serves.

“No knives, no war, no crumbs.”

John West hits back over place on Greenpeace sustainable tuna list

John West tuna owner Simplot has responded to its negative listing on the Greenpeace canned tuna guide 2012, saying it “has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years.”

The annual list compiled by environmental campaign group Greenpeace ranks tuna brands according to their efforts to implement and maintain sustainable fishing practises.

This year it ranked John West towards the bottom of the list, saying “John West is the largest seller of tuna caught using destructive FADs [fish aggregating devices] in Australia.”

“It is having the most damaging impact on marine life so John West is the stand out culprit of Australia's tuna industry,” Greenpeace continued.

“It has a responsibility to do better.

“Improvements in traceability are welcome, but John West has taken a step back on labelling.”

While Greenpeace recognised that John West has “good traceability,” “supports marine reserves” and has “100 per cent skipjack tuna, mostly from the Western Central Pacific Ocean, it noted the company’s failings as “the biggest seller of tuna caught using destructive FADs with purse seine nets,” and that its “labelling does not include the catch area or fishing method.”

Woolworths, Coles and Sole Mare were also at the bottom of its list and Greenpeace Ocean Campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said in a statement that while tuna companies worldwide have made the improvement to their operations reduce by-catch of marine life, Greenpeace hopes that “major Australian companies such as John West will do the same” this year.

John West released a statement saying it is a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) position on FADs and that all its tuna products will all be sourced sustainably by 2015.

“We are aware that Greenpeace has made claims to the media regarding the sustainability of John West tuna products and in particular the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs), a device used to attract fish,” a John West spokesperson said.

“John West has been working towards improving the sustainability of John West’s products for many years and in 2012 we were proud to announce our partnership with the world’s largest independent conservation organisation, WWF.”

John West slammed the Greenpeace statement that it had 10 per cent by-catch, labelling it false.

It said that the current level of John West by-catch from FADS was 2 per cent.

“The majority of tuna used in our products is sourced from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean purse seine fishery (tuna used in our Pole and Line range is sourced from the Maldives),” the spokesperson said.

“Data collected by independent scientific observers shows that non tuna species comprise less than 2 per cent of the catch in this fishery.

“In addition last year over 60 per cent of fishing activity was undertaken without using FADs – a device used to attract fish.”

“Sustainability is a journey that we embarked on many years ago and is something that we are passionate about. We will continue to work towards improving the sustainability of our seafood products in order to reach our 2015 goal.”

What do you think of John West's statement? Do you think fish companies need to do more to improve sustainable fishing practises?

Bioplastics Pavillion at AUSPACK PLUS 2013

Today we announce plans to continue with the successful Bioplastics Pavilion that was introduced in 2009 to allow key industry experts to come together under one roof to help the visitors understand bioplastics.

The Bioplastics Pavilion will consist of members of the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA); which is the peak Industry body for manufacturers, converters and distributors of bioplastic products and materials throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The Association represents Members in the promotion of and advocacy for Member’s products and materials.

Previous Bioplastics Pavilion displays at AUSPACK PLUS generated significant interest in this merging market place and the members have come back again to continue to promote their unique and sustainable offerings from the bioplastics family of materials.

Companies that have already signed on to be a part of the pavilion include BASF Australia, Chem-Supply, Nature Works, Sun Australia Environmental Materials,  Innovia Films, Novamont and Cardia Bioplastics. Other ABA members such as Because We Care will have a separate exhibition stand in the same area as the pavilion.

Rowan Williams, Business Director, Australia and New Zealand, Plastics, BASF Australia added that they are proud to once again showcase their comprehensive range of sustainable packaging solutions at AUSPACK PLUS 2013.

“BASF provides a number of products that can help its customers to improve the sustainability of packaging. Examples include the partially bio-based, compostable polymers ecovio® and ecoflex®.” Williams said.

Stephen Morris, Business Development Manager, Chem-Supply added that their decision to exhibit within the bioplastics pavilion is designed to promote of Chem-Supply’s new agency for compostable plastics – FKuR GmbH (Germany).

“Compostable plastics is growing faster than the industry average and will, with time, constitute a significant part of the local market. FKuR’s expertise is compatibilisation of biodegradable polymers to optimise mechanical and composting properties.  As one would expect, they have a high level of expertise, prompt technical support and a product range suitable for the Australian market place. Products include film and injection moulding grades,”

“BioFlex film grades have excellent strength and sealing properties. Injection moulding grades are based on cellulose and derivatives and can offer clear or wood effect finishes. Our objective is to broaden the available range of biodegradable materials, which will assist in the growth of Bioplastics.”  Morris said.

Warwick Hall, Novamont SpA, added that they will also be joining the pavilion.

“As a founding member of the ABA and a manufacturer of the Mater-Bi® range of starch based bioplastics resins, Novamont SpA is looking forward to exhibiting at AUSPACK PLUS 2013,” Mr Hall said.

“The applications for Mater-Bi® bioplastic are many including shopping and boutique bags, organic waste collections bags, biodegradable agricultural film and packaging. Within the ABA pavilion at AUSPACK PLUS 2013, visitors will be able to see packaging and other products made in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world using Mater-Bi® bioplastic resin. AUSPACK PLUS 2013 will present an ideal opportunity for participants in, and customers of, the packaging industry to see some of the continuing and newer application for Mater-Bi® bioplastic along with those from other ABA member companies.” he said.

AUSPACK PLUS 2013 is a ‘must-attend’ exhibition on the Australian Packaging and Processing calendar and will be held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park from Tuesday the 7th to Friday the 10th of May 2013.

AUSPACK PLUS is owned and presented by the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), Australia’s only national packaging and processing machinery organisation.

Maggie Beer slams supermarket dominance

Celebrity chef and food producer is the latest industry insider to accuse the major supermarkets of failing to support Australian food growers and manufacturers.

“So many Australians seek the cheapest alternative in food, and perhaps this is exacerbated by the big two [Coles and Woolworths], our duopoly, that pits one against the other in price wars, that see the farmer suffer. We have to do something about that,” she told the International Year of Co-operatives conference in Port Macquarie last week.

Beer’s pate, quince paste and ice creams sell through major supermarkets and independent retailers at a higher price than other comparable item, due to their high quality standard and use of Australian ingredients.

She said that while most Australians say they support Australian made and owned products, their purchasing behaviour proves otherwise.

''It's interesting Australians say they will support Australian-made and Australian-grown, but will we?”

“We support what's marketed most, and we so often support what's cheapest, especially with food.''

Beer was awarded an Order of Australia this year, after finding recognition for her cookbooks and television series focussed on cooking.

Beer has echoed the statements of Independent Queensland MP Bob Katter, who earlier this year told Parliament that the major supermarkets are killing our farmers.

''If we don't support our farmers, we will not continue to enjoy the freshness and the diversity of the produce we have now,'' she said.

''I have to say flavour, seasonality, ripeness, can not travel a long way.

Beer is in a good position to comment on the realities of farming, since she owns a farm in South Australia’s Barossa Valley with vineyards, olive groves, quince orchards and a soft fruit orchard.

“I know we live in a global market, but our local farmers can not compete against the imports of a global market when it comes to the cost of our labour.

''It's important that we pay a proper wage to a farm worker that not only sustains a family but sustains farming communities – whole communities.''

Terry Toohey Australian Dairy Farmers Director, told the Food Magazine Industry Leaders Summit earlier this year that the impact of Coles and Woolworths’ price wars will continue to drive farmers away.

"The retail actions are certainly impacting the dairy farmers in a negative way, this combined with the uncertainties and other factors [impacting] dairy or other farming, it's making it unattractive for the next generation, because it's not profitable for my children,” he said.

"If I was old and had children ready to take over the farm, I will tell them blue in the face not to come into agriculture.

“And that's pretty sad after 107 years on the one farm."

“It’s an unfortunate reality that milk price is a dollar.

“[It’s] simply unsustainable for all involved in the fresh food market.

“You can see the dairy farmers’ dairy families already suffering for Coles’ tactics.

“Given the sheer size of the supermarket duopoly, over 75 per cent of the market is between the two powers, and they are wielding that Australian marketplace and the majority of Australian suppliers, particularly to the fresh food industry,” he said.

“In NSW, my state, I see farmers being asked to sign contracts for 3 cents a litre than their previous contracts," he said.

“This will have astronomical effects on fund and profit margins.”

“In my case I’ll have 40 per cent of my tier 2 of milk [purchased] at 18 cents [per litre].

“The cost of products is 40 cents [per litre].

“So, you start to look and say, I’m only one person, there are 800 dairy farmers in NSW alone.”

Beer also joined the myriad of critics of Australia’s current labelling laws, saying they make it very difficult for consumers to understand which products are locally-grown.

''We were bottling some of our olives,” she explained.

“The salt came from South Australia and we had some of our own red wine vinegar in the jar and we were labelling it and then we found out we could not say 'Produce of Australia' because the jar came from overseas.''

Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith, who launched his own food company over a decade ago, has also voiced his concerns about the ability for local companies to compete against cheap imports.

“The freedom we’ve usually had in Australia is that you could go to a supermarket and decide if you wanted to buy Australian, imported, high-quality, low-quality, it was up to you," he said earlier this year.

“ALDI has taken that decision away.

“The problem is that because so many of us go to ALDI because the prices are cheaper, Coles and Woolworths will copy.

“The reason ALDI’s so successful is you can’t compare a price.

“What Coles and Woolworths will do to compete with that, which they must do because they have Aussie mums and dads as shareholders and the board will get the sack if they don’t keep making profits each year, so they will go to more and more products where you can’t compare a price.

"I call that ‘extreme capitalism,’ and it’s a disadvantage to consumers."

Do you agree with Maggie Beer's comments? How can we fix this problem?

Image: Australian Traveller