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.

Snack Foods Award Finalists

The Snack Foods Award finalists include Absolute Organic Chips, CrunchTime, Curios, John West Tuna to Go, Nutrient Secrets, Select Harvests Lucky Nut Range, SunRice Chicken and Barbecue Flavour Rice Cakes Snack Packs and Sultry Sally Potato Chips. FOOD Magazine congratulates all the finalists in this category.

Absolute Organic Chips

Eco-Farms’ Chips are made using Australian vegetables to produce a healthy snack without the use of pesticides or chemicals. The Chips are presented in colourful packages with a mat finish to create an environmental feel, and come in four organic flavours, including beetroot, sweet potato, sweet chilli & sour cream, and lime & cracked pepper.


A range of three crunchy, tasty and nutritious cluster breakfast snacks, CrunchTime were developed just for kids, in line with school canteen nutritional guidelines. CrunchTime delivers a crunchy, tasty texture with real pieces of wholegrains and fruit. The innovative use of fruit flavours such as watermelon has seen a hugely positive response from kids, and the single serve sachets, which are convenient to give the kids either for breakfast or as a snack throughout their day, deliver portion control to what kids eat.


Breakfast skipping can be as high as 50% within the Australian population, and with the negative effects of missing breakfast significant, Curios aims to provide a convenient nutritious breakfast option for those missing the most important meal of the day. High in protein and fibre, low in fat (less than 5%), and containing 41% wholegrain, the breakfast cereal chip has no added MSG and no more than 20% added sugar. Curios is a totally new breakfast format and a world-first innovation.

John West Tuna to Go

A combination of the goodness of tuna with water crackers, to create a delicious snack to dip into at anytime. Each handy single serve is a generous 61 grams and a natural source of protein and Omega-3. Tuna to Go contains all natural ingredients, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. The perfect size for a handbag, work drawer or lunchbox, Tuna to Go is available in three popular tuna flavour combinations – Tomato & Basil, Lemon & Cracked Pepper and Plain.

Nutrient Secrets

Multi-functional foods are set to be the next big thing in the marketplace. Lots of ingredients which are naturally better for you, put together in small packages are the way forward. As with the original Slim Secrets range where a niche market was successfully found amongst a highly competitive one, the Nutrient Secrets bars cater for those more interested in nutritional value. Nutrient Secrets Smart Vanilla and Almond is a delicious, chewy snack bar full of nuts, with added flaxseed, ginkgo and a hint of vanilla flavour.

Select Harvests Lucky Nut Range

To relaunch the Lucky brand with a 50 year heritage, 34 SKUs of cooking nut and snacking products were redesigned, developing a uniform look across the total range. Photography on all packaging was used to enhance appetite appeal with tamper-proof clear seals on snack tubs ensuring product freshness and visibility. The nut, fruit & seed snacking mixes deliver maximum taste appeal for consumers, with a great balance of health and taste.

SunRice Chicken and Barbecue Flavour Rice Cakes Snack Packs

SunRice received many requests for convenient single-serve versions of their flavour rice cakes, with consumers looking for a healthier alternative to chips and traditional crackers for inclusion in school and work lunches. The SunRice Thin Flavoured Rice Cakes were then packaged into convenient three-packs of either Chicken Flavour or Barbecue Flavour. Five packs of each flavour are available in a convenient multi pack format. The product contains 100% Australian grown wholegrain brown rice and was specifically formulated to help meet the recommended daily intake of wholegrain cereals.

Sultry Sally Potato Chips

These baked, 97% fat free potato chips, made from Australian potatoes, and come in four flavours — Sea Salt, Thai Sweet Chilli & Lime, Salt & Vinegar and Cheese & Onion — and two pack variants (125g and 75g). The product was developed to address the need for a snack that met the increasing concern in the community for food that is low in fat. It was developed to be of real benefit in the daily fight against obesity, providing an exciting, flavoursome and nutritious snack experience. The Chips have no direct main-stream healthy product competitor that has a potato chip’s mouth-feel, taste and texture.

The Snack Foods Award is proudly sponsored by Earlee Products.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Lean powder processing – the key to survival

We are all citizens of the world, wanting to enjoy every style of food, wherever we may be. The result is that supermarket shelves are being filled with a huge variety of products, creating an ever-increasing demand for frequent product changes on manufacturers.

Most modern production plants built in the 90s employ a high degree of automation, but few have the ability to switch between product families efficiently. The conventional way to achieve greater flexibility is to reduce automation and employ numerous operators for simple, repetitive tasks. The problem with this model is that there are less and less individuals in the western world interested in production-based jobs.

Recently the general high salary levels have encouraged manufacturers to consider moving or outsourcing production to lower cost economies. Such a move, however, is not easy to realise and manage, especially for small to medium size enterprise, and the risk of failure is very high.

Ever-increasing transportation costs and the environmental impact of shipping produce around the world supports the argument for producing high variation goods close to where they are consumed. Maintaining research and development together with production is also more efficient.

Significant changes facing food processors over the last ten years are being generated by increased levels of consumer sensitivity. The most widespread issue is the need to separate potential allergens (proteins, egg products, nuts, etc.) from other ingredients.

Increasing ethnic requirements, such as Kosher and Halal, seriously limits the practicality of using conventional ‘high volume’ automated systems such as those adopted in the 90s. It also presents a significant burden in a manually operated plant, as the human factor has to be constantly managed to minimise the risk to product and brand.

Lean production theory offers a superb compromise — embracing sensible automation and providing almost instant changeover times by applying single-minute exchange of dies (SMED). There are ‘smart’ manufacturing methods available that, when correctly applied, bring benefits that far outweigh the apparent (and often non-existent) savings of relocating manufacturing to cheap labour territories.

Waste not

In the world of Lean Manufacturing, avoidance of waste is the driving philosophy. The reality for traditional food processors is often the opposite, with waste everywhere:

  1. Overproduction — mixing more than ordered because cleaning is such a burden;
  2. Waiting — operators and expensive process machinery standing idle whilst other parts of the process are being cleaned;
  3. Inventory — customer requirements for rapid and “next day” delivery resulting in huge finished goods and intermediate goods storage;
  4. Defects — from human error or equipment cross contamination causing frequent rework or at worst, risking the company brand value;
  5. Transporting — additional transportation to and from inventory storage and between processes to meet ‘peaks and troughs’ of market demand;
  6. Over-processing — technology selected on ‘worst case scenarios’ and applied to the whole, as opposed to applying sufficient technology for the application. The 80 — 20 rule applies in many cases to both process technology and level of automation; and
  7. Motion — unnecessary movement of people and product between processes due to poor process flow, with additional motion being caused by poor plant/factory layout.

The actual and potential cost associated with waste is enormous, leading to higher consumer prices and reduced profitability for producers. Moving the same wasteful process to a lower-cost economy is not the long-term answer. Smarter manufacturing without waste is the key to sustainable profitability.

Flexibility and efficiency

Many of the answers to the challenges presented to food producers lies in the use of an intermediate bulk container (IBC) system. A modern IBC System allows a greater degree of automation, whilst assuring batch traceability with a ‘one batch, one dedicated storage and process vessel’ system. This allows fast product changeover (SMED) and virtually unlimited flexibility to meet market demand without relying on campaign manufacturing philosophies and large process and finished goods inventory.

These solutions are by no means new. IBCs have been used for decades, but often had a poor reputation for bad design resulting in dusty and labour-intensive plants. The trend shift in the market place has forced most of the significant powder handling system suppliers to focus their development towards modular IBC systems. This has resulted in rapid technology improvements, some of which are described below.

Why use IBCs?

The process flow chart shown in figure 1 illustrates how a typical mixer has been separated from both the process of formulating the batch upfront and the time consuming packaging of final goods. In Lean terms, this means that the non-value-adding operations (cleaning, loading and unloading of the mixer) can be made external, allowing the mixer availability (OEE) to be close to 100% rather than 5-15% which is the norm with traditional in-line systems.

Along with huge productivity increases, the system becomes faster and easier to clean. It prevents cross contamination and allows full traceability of the batch — a major benefit with dramatically increasing product variety and cleaning regularity.

Final Packaging

Whether packing into 25kg bags for B2B trade or into consumer packs, the traditional focus has been on the number of packs per hour, with little or no consideration to the time it takes to clean the line when changing product. Such an approach is practically useless with today’s production challenges.

Cone Valve IBC solutions can re-fill any packing system without the need of a cross feeder to provide consistent top up. A well designed, complete consumer packing line can normally be wet washed in less than one hour, compared up to a full shift with traditional systems.

There are very significant developments with B2B packing to simplify these systems. It is now possible to pack direct from the IBC without any feeder at all, allowing complete end of line flexibility for minimal capital outlay. A system with an integrated sieve can be cleaned in minutes, allowing ultimate efficiency with even the most diverse production requirements.


The benefit of charging and unloading the mixer with IBCs is self-evident. Today’s trend is to use the IBC itself as the mixing vessel, totally removing the need for on-line cleaning, loading and discharge of a fixed mixer. IBC mixing has been used for decades across many industries providing the flexibility benefits described throughout this article.

The challenge has always been in dealing with cohesive materials and even liquid addition — a significant requirement in the food industry. This has encouraged the development of new ‘high shear’ capabilities with IBC blending. It pushes the boundaries over fixed mixing technology more than ever.

The results of these developments are truly astonishing. Smart manufacturers commissioning a new project are likely to seriously consider the use of IBC mixing because of the wider lean benefits. Along with system flexibility and elimination of ‘in process’ inventory, one IBC mixer can achieve two to three times the capacity of a conventional fixed mixer, reducing investment cost and space requirements.

Batch Formulation

Formulating a batch of typically 10-20 ingredients is a very time-consuming and labour intensive task. Smaller operations cannot justify investment for automation, but simply try to improve the working environment. Larger manufacturing plants face the challenge of handling hundreds or thousands of ingredients.

Whilst Big Bags provide an appropriate distribution package for medium size components they offer limited in-house process / dosing capabilities. With a Big Bag formulation system virtually every product requires its own dosing position no matter how frequently it is being used, making the plant impractical in size and cost (capital and operational).

By decanting Big Bags into Cone Valve IBCs, the same level of automation can be achieved with a tenth of the space and a third of the cost over conventional systems. The Flexibatch dosing system, combined with smart manual systems for frequently changing micro ingredients, can radically reduce the labour requirement in the formulation area. It also eliminates the risk of human error at this critical part of the value stream.

A Lean approach

Equipment and system suppliers are constantly innovating to meet the challenges faced by their customers. Lean Thinking, combined with new technology, has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency and profitability in any business. Faced with the need to cut costs, management teams need to think carefully. Should production move abroad just to take advantage of cheap labour or could existing resources be used to manufacture more efficiently?

By adopting a Lean approach with the right technology, improved cash conversion times and reduced wastage could make it more profitable to re-engineer existing plants. But Lean manufacturing is a not just a physical change. The message has to be championed from the top to the bottom and with the endorsement of all. Lean is employed as a company-wide philosophy, not just a departmental project.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Breaking bread habits of Australia’s Manufacturers

The demand for consumer goods is generally positively related to real disposable income. This, however, is not true of staple products such as bread. IBISWorld presents an industry report on bread manufacturing in Australia.

Higher incomes facilitate the purchase of higher quality, more nutritious foodstuffs, and as real disposable income has increased in Australia, a tendency to purchase more protein and less carbohydrates has emerged.

In recent years, however, purchasing patterns have once again seen change as consumers have been prepared to purchase more expensive specialist breads. Changing lifestyles have also had an important impact on the demand for the products of the bread industry. In many cases the main meal of the day is no longer the evening meal, and consequently sandwich lunches have been replaced in popularity with hot meals eaten out.

The growth in home freezer usage affected bread consumption by reducing wastage and enabling shoppers to take advantage of supermarket specials, and this has depressed the average value of sales.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the calorific content of bread and bread products. However, increasing awareness of the links between certain foods and diseases such as cancer and heart disease have resulted in much greater awareness of the importance of high-fibre diets. This has encouraged the consumption of wholemeal and mixed grain breads.

The demand for a more varied range of bread and bread products has also been reinforced by the changing ethnic structure of the Australian population. This has had its greatest impact on non-factory bread production.

Taking more dough

During 2007-08 the Australian bread manufacturing industry recorded a revenue total of $2,020.3 million, an increase of 4.5% from the previous year. The industry, which comprises of around 135 establishments, employed 11,524 people who gained $539.7 million in wages and salaries.

Australia is the largest single market for locally manufactured bread, and Australians have traditionally been large consumers of bread goods. It is estimated that at least 90.0% of all households purchase bread, although consumption appears to be declining over the long term. In 1948-49, each Australian consumed an average of 64 kg of bread annually, but by 1998-99 per capita consumption had fallen to 54 kg per annum. In the future, rising competition from other food sectors may help to continue this ongoing decline.

Historically, Australian bread manufacturers have focused heavily on supplying the domestic market. The relatively short life of bread, its bulkiness and low per-unit value, continue to make exporting unattractive. As a result, the industry’s participation in the international market is minor.

In the twelve months to June 2008, Australian bread exports are estimated to be valued at $13.1 million and account for just 0.6% of total industry turnover, with New South Wales being the nation’s top bread-exporting state.

The industry is yet to fully take advantage of Australia’s reputation as a safe producer of food. Meanwhile, the technologically advanced nature of production in the industry add to the international competitiveness of Australian bread products.

New Zealand was the most dominant country that Australia exported to in 2006-07, accounting for 32.5% of the export market, followed by French Polynesia, which accounted for 30.7% of exports.

Think outside the bread-box

Traditionally, price has been the most important basis of competition since bread products have long been regarded as staple items and thus have not generated much interest from consumers. Today, price continues to be a major basis of competition, although greater marketing efforts by the industry have increased the importance of non-price competition.

Recent years have seen industry participants invest considerable resources in branding their products within particular segments. High-profile brands also often extend the life-cycle of products, resulting in higher sales.

Manufacturers are developing innovative new products, incorporating natural ingredients such as nuts, raisins, pumpkin, barley and vegetables, and introducing bread with functional qualities enriched with fibre and vitamins.

Outside the industry, bread manufacturers encounter competition from bakeries and other hot bread shops. The spread of franchises like Brumbies and Bakers Delight is weakening the competitive advantage of manufacturers. Today, consumers can expect standardised products from these outlets, much like factory-produced bread. However, baking franchises have also successfully tapped into increasing demands by consumers for high-quality, freshly baked bread.

Factory-bread makers also face significant competition from supermarket bakeries.

The best in sliced bread

The introduction of new technology and the adoption of greater automation are inevitably reducing the role of labour in the production process. This is especially true in factory baking where, in the last decade, high speed production lines have dramatically increased throughput, allowing manufacturers to significantly raise production without requiring corresponding increases in employment.

Most Australian bread makers lack the critical mass necessary to conduct basic research in food science. This is especially evident in the development of new functional bread products. In many cases, limited funds make the commercialisation of high-technology products in Australia difficult.

Whilst local product innovation is low, the industry has invested large sums in production-technology, especially automation. In the typical large-scale bakery or factory, there is now little manual labour directly involved in production. After the dough is mixed in large steel vats, it is sheeted and moulded by machine, then left to prove in a heated chamber before proceeding on a conveyor belt to the ovens where it is baked. After being taken from the oven, the bread is extracted from the tin by suction and is then sent off by conveyor belt once again, to the cooling cabinets. Fully mechanised slicing and wrapping machines have also been introduced. Finally, the bread is dropped into plastic trays ready for delivery.

The development of instant doughs and pre-mixes by upstream flour millers has had a positive impact on bread manufacturers. Both products have helped speed up production and reduce the degree of skill required of the baker. This has made small bakeries more competitive with major players in the last few years.

New firms wishing to compete against large-scale bread producers face many hurdles. The industry’s recent history suggests that small bread makers are most likely to prosper in the competitive environment by introducing sufficiently specialised products.

Loking ahead

One of the biggest threats facing the profitability of the industry is the ongoing consolidation of the retail food client base. The continuing reduction in the number of retailer buyers and the growth of giant food supermarket chains and use of category management practices is weakening the negotiating strength of the industry’s players in supply contracts.

Buying patterns are also changing as more large retailers elect to purchase from companies that can meet their nationwide, rather than just regional needs. Greater buying power and negotiating strength by the industry’s key client base is also resulting in increasing complex demands that can add to production and packaging costs.

Traditionally, most Australian consumers have based purchasing decisions on taste, quality, packaging, price and use-by-dates. However, the increasing sophistication of consumers in the past five years has driven greater product development than recent decades.

Leading industry players GWF and Burns Philp have been the first to take advantage of the developing functional breads market. GWF’s Tip Top Up range has captured 12% of the total bread market since its release in 2002. Meanwhile, Burns Philp’s Wonder White enriched bread has been the top selling bread in most Australian states.

The trend towards greater product diversity is expected to continue as the industry faces an increasingly dynamic and evolving marketplace. In particular, greater developments are expected in the area of organic food. This trend has already begun to take off in the U.K. and many European countries where consumers can now access a wide variety of organic products in major supermarket chains. However, the success of organic bread in the Australian market will depend on the availability of organically produced inputs such as milk powder and butter.

One of the biggest threats currently facing the Bread Manufacturing industry is the rising popularity of low-carbohydrate diets. The U.S. bread industry has already recorded lower sales due to the media publicity surrounding popular fads such as the Atkins Diet.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Australian industry is likely to face a similar situation as the media continues to focus on the correlation between bread consumption and weight promoted by diets, and Australian bread manufacturers will need to work hard to develop a cohesive industry strategy to combat falling sales caused by this trend.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Australian Packaging increases its slice of the pie

Privately owned, flexible packaging specialist, Australian Packaging (AP), has become the leading contracted supplier to the national pie and sausage roll industry.

Established in 1981, the company has grown rapidly, while constantly meeting growing market demands. During the 80s and 90s the focus of the company’s strength was primarily geared toward the snack and fresh food industry, and while these sectors still represents a large portion of turnover, investment in specific machinery has seen the Australian bakery industry efficiently serviced by this Caringbah-based company.

AP supplies the majority of the nations pie manufacturers with perforated and strip-perforated, heat-sealable polyester that is either plain or up to eight-colour printed. Investment in a state of the art, computer controlled Bielloni 8 Colour Flexo Press plus a bank of high speed perforators and slitters has seen the plant’s efficiency levels soar.

AP director, Ray Cranfield, has explained that these technical upgrades, coupled with ongoing support from raw material suppliers, have secured AP’s current status in the market. “We purchase a vast tonnage of film annually for the baking industry. This enables us to pass on substantial cost savings to our customers, without compromise to quality, service or lead times”.

AP expertise is not limited to pies and sausage roll wrapping. According to Operations Manager Vivienne Tasker, the past three years have shown remarkable growth for the company within the baking industry in general. “While some of our customers maintain a focus on pies and sausage rolls, others have incorporated cakes, muffins, donuts, baguettes and biscuits. A variety of our specialised, printed films are supplied to this market via our customer base to Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue as well as a rapidly expanding export market to the Asia Pacific region.”

AP has forged a successful path through what is perceived to be a highly competitive arena. When asked to explain this achievement in recent years, Company Director Dianne Anderson, upheld several reasons: “We implemented a management re-structure in February, 2007 and since then have increased our turnover by nearly 10%. Close to 8% of this increase has come from the bakery industry.

“Our production facility, under the management of Peter Barnes, has been purposely geared, both in terms of personnel and machinery, toward supplying this market. Secondly, we have stayed ‘under the radar’ of the majors. We rarely advertise and the majority of our work, from all sectors of baked goods, has been generated by word of mouth. Our equipment is geared to efficiently handle from 100 kilogram to 10 tonne runs.”

Although the company has broadened its import division during the past five years, 90% of the printed and perforated films supplied to the baking industry nationwide are produced on site.

Ready-made baked goods – the modern trend

Convenience food is enjoying continuing popularity and currently recording two-figure growth rates in the market. As consumers demand fresher goods, food processors are creating more refrigerated, ready-to-serve products that are easy to prepare and have a high quality taste.

To retain freshness and extend shelf-life as far as possible, refrigeration is not enough, and these products require packaging with a modified atmosphere.

This involves evacuating the pack, filling it with a special protective gas mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide and then closing it with an airtight seal. This limits the multiplication of germs in the pack, and preserves taste and quality for considerably longer. However, many products require individually developed solutions that go beyond the standard.

One-way pressure release

Freshly-rolled yeast dough for pizza is one example of this type of product. Yeast dough gives off CO2 when it ferments, but protective gas packages have an airtight seal. This means that the packaging ‘balloons’ and the customer mistakenly concludes that the product is spoiled.

To avoid this, the pack must release the excess CO2, but should not let in any oxygen from the atmosphere if sinking temperatures lead to a drop in pressure — i.e. it needs a one-way valve. The challenge is to find a technically and economically viable way to integrate a one-way valve into the packaging.

The solution is available in a special Multivac R 530 thermoformer. Thanks to the enormous range of construction options, the machine can be adapted to the individual needs of the customer.

Applying a valve

For this unusual precision process, the upper web is scored in a cross-shape in eight places. The valve sealer carriage then moves over the upper web, positioning a valve above each of the cross-shaped slits. Valves are sealed firmly to the upper web, completely covering the score marks.

The machine has already used heat and pressure to thermoform eight packing moulds from a lower web, and the packing moulds are hygienically filled from above at the loading section. The upper web is then positioned over the lower web providing one valve in each pack, and sealed together at the long sides — this allows gas flushing from the sides, which are still open. The packs are then evacuated, filled with protective gas, and finally sealed and separated.

This process provides a reliable technical solution to the problem of ‘ballooning’ packages. The one-way valve in each pack lets excess CO2 escape through the slit while maintaining an absolutely airtight seal with the upper film. The valve is discretely placed on the underside of the film so as not to attract attention. Gas flushing removes the oxygen stored in the rolls of dough from the packaging, leaving precisely the desired gas mixture inside.

Proven in practice

Despite the array of technically complex individual steps, the machine produces the large format valve packs with a very high cyclic performance, and thus functions economically. To achieve this, there is exacting quality assurance for the fully automatic procedure at several points: sensors check the valve and the pack contents are in the correct position, faulty packs are automatically sorted off onto the exit conveyor belt. A detector also finds packs, where the rolls of dough have been contaminated by metal during production.

The solution, developed by Multivac, proved itself in practice over a year of testing at Swiss Nestlé subsidiary, Leisi. This special machine now runs around the clock in three shifts, only stopping to change film or for maintenance. This year, Nestlé has brought in another R 530 with valve application device to extend production. This is where some further developments come in, such as modern IPC controls. The design has also changed slightly: the side sheets were removed for the length of the loading section, to give staff more room to move during filling.

Mirrored lines, padded packages

The Dutch bakery chain Bakkersland specialises in ready-made baked goods — manufactured from a wide range of dough and in a variety of sizes, from mini-rolls to baguettes. Here the quality of the packaging matters as the baked goods have to retain their quality until they reach the ovens of the consummers, requiring absolutely impermeable packaging with an extremely low residual oxygen content. Bakkersland also relies on the thermoforming machines by Multivac with six machines of type R 530 currently in use.

Multivac has coordinated the machines with each other in a special way, with all operational elements of the second line installed as a mirror image to the first line — such as the controls, film intake, etc. In this way the machine operator can keep both lines in view from the centre path between the packaging machines and complete all necessary tasks without first having to walk around the machines — creating a great increase in work efficiency.

The R 530 machines installed at Bakkersland reach an output of eight to ten cycles per minute. The product output depends on the size of the baked goods. For example, every hour the machines package up to 25,000 small rolls or 5,000 baguettes. The pre-baked products are guided to the lines directly after cooling off and are then automatically placed into the thermoformed packages. The packages are thensealed in a modified atmosphere, where a slight ‘balloon’ effect is accomplished: This padding protects the products from pressure and bumps.

The Multivac machines achieve a residual oxygen level of less than 0.2%. Together with the strong, tightly sealed seam, this offers the guarantee for a long shelf-life for the products. At Bakkersland, a seal testing station is also installed, which can detect and sort out the rare cases of leakage, thus minimizing sales rejects.

Special solutions are the norm

Creative packaging solutions are often not just functionally necessary. In the booming convenience market, product presentation at the point of sale plays a decisive role — an increasing amount depends on attractive packaging shape and design. This means that different products need different solutions.

This is why adapting industrial machines to individual customer requirements is the norm at Multivac.

According to Multivac Sales Manager, Dr Matthias Ehrat, “Multivac has been making thermoformers for challenging packaging for about 40 years, and we have become experts at configuring and installing complex machines.

“We work with our customers to produce solutions that find a way to carry out special packing tasks. The results are often bespoke products, precisely tailored to the application.”

Multivac’s new generation is among the prize winners of this year’s iF Packaging Award, awarded by renowned iF Industrie Forum Design. The award recognizes successful integration of innovative design with reliability, functionality, ergonomics and processing.

Exporters should strive to set value, not price

It seems like the era of cheap food is nearing an end. The global rice stocks are at a 25-year low, with many net exporters of rice like Vietnam, India, China and Cambodia restricting exports, while many net importers, including the Philippines and Bangladesh are struggling to find sufficient supplies.

Food prices have been pushed to a historic high. As disposable incomes are squeezed from all angles, demand for imported packaged food, in particular, is being reduced. As consumers review their eating habits, it seems like there is no end in sight to this emerging crisis.

Meat and poultry in China currently cost 46% more than a year ago, and in March 2008, the leading dairy producers were given the green light by the government to raise milk product prices by up to 14%.

The food sector is like a barometer which indicates consumer behaviour, aspirations, goals and evolution patterns of the market. “The current trend threatens to slow the long-term movement towards marketisation in Asian food markets by pushing consumers back to traditional, cheap and unpackaged food,” forecasts Euromonitor International’s senior analyst Damian Shore.

A closer look at the price-pinch

Governments across Asia have been swift in their reaction by reducing tariffs and trade barriers to encourage imports and relieve supply pressures in India and South Korea; banning or restricting exports of key commodities, such as rice in India and Thailand; increasing food subsidies and public sector wages, and sometimes even threatening punitive measures against what they describe as hoarding by intermediaries.

The Singapore government is advising consumers to buy local products or switch to house brands, and is casting the food net wider by scouring from non-traditional source countries for cheaper alternatives. New sources include seafood from Namibia, pork from Belgium, Chile and the Philippines, and poultry from New Zealand and Chile.

South Korea, as part of the wider trade deal to ward off the inflation threat, has decided to reopen its market to U.S. beef. This will have a direct negative impact on Australian imports, which accounted for almost 75% of South Korean beef imports last year.

China has gone a step further by adopting a more mercantile approach. It has banned the construction of new soybean crushing plants. Announcing the decision, China’s National Development and Reform Commission’s He Yanli, claimed that foreign ownership limited “China’s ability to negotiate prices and secure supplies”.

A world of cheaper alternatives

NTUC FairPrice Singapore’s Director of Integrated Purchasing, Tng Ah Yiam, has stated that “despite rising inflation, our house-brand items continue to be 10 to 15% cheaper than comparable brands in the market.”

The mantra for shoppers is to choose frozen meat over chilled meat at 50% less, and to switch to different grades of rice which cost up to 20% less.

“Source diversification has always been our strategy to stabilise prices and food supply. We will continue to expand our sources of supply from various countries,” said Tng. FairPrice’s house-brand rice from Vietnam is 20% cheaper than rice from Thailand, and its olive oil from Italy is 30% cheaper than other brands from Spain.

“Since we launched the 5% Housebrand discount scheme, sales of our Housebrand products have grown by close to 40%,” Tng remarked.

Time to re-think strategies

Australian exporters need to fight back with a ‘forward plan’. The answer is not an easy one, but according to Euromonitor International, corporate strategies to carve out export opportunities could include:

  • Reformulating products to reduce production costs;
  • Reducing pack sizes;
  • Simplifying manufacturing processes by reducing product proliferation;
  • Rationalising production facilities;
  • Shifting production into higher margin segments, such as baby food; and
  • Targeting lower income consumers with ‘inferior’ (in the economic sense) goods.

Austrade New Delhi’s Trade Commissioner, Michael Carter, told FOOD Magazine that in Indonesia, importers are price-sensitive but “there is no indication of a move away from Australian food exports”, as Indonesian importers are more concerned about maintaining supply of Australian foods for delivering the quality-point to their consumers.

This has been facilitated by efforts from Australian exporters to explain the reasons behind the higher prices, such as extended drought conditions, diversion of land use from food crops to biofuel crops, and higher production costs as a result of high oil prices.

Due to the Thai-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), import tariffs for over 5000 line items have been eliminated since 2005, and although Thailand is, at this time, focussing on US products due to the currency situation, Australian-made products will certainly be considered and looked to for the long run.

Despite intense competition from the Indian food processing sector, the Bangalore retail project has been launched by Austrade and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). The first shipment of Australian processed foods across 11 categories and +160 SKUs is likely to hit the retail shelves in Bangalore shortly.

Value over price

There are no definitive short-cuts to surviving in a market where the price-bar is constantly upped. Thus, the name of the game is to strategise, reformulate plans and innovate further. Euromonitor International suggests exploiting reduced tariff barriers to increase exports, re-doubling efforts to reduce costs, concentrating on higher-value segments of the market and investing in marketing to increase the value of brands.

Carter also cautions exporters not to downplay the importance of marketing and brand-building and to have forward plans building in the margins or variances across the manufacturing cost (labour, material and production cost) for the next three to five years. Australian exporters need to improve the run-rate on production flow, readily renegotiate packaging contracts, and regularly review the price-forwarding arrangement so that there is continual focus on reviewing the pricing structure.

In conclusion, Carter said that “most successful companies set apart from others by building around quality in terms of products, and weaving it into a more effective marketing and branding activity.”

Manali Pattnaik is a freelance journalist for FOOD Magazine.

Austrade guides Australian businesses into new markets

The Australian food and beverage industry is recognised worldwide for its healthy image, offering high quality products with innovative manufacturing and packaging technologies.

Austrade’s chief economist, Tim Harcourt, has said that the number one driver of the worldwide food industry is the desire by consumers for fresher, healthier and more nutritious foods, such as organic, chemical-free and additive-free products.

“Australia’s reputation as a clean, green, healthy and disease-free environment, has also given exporters a competitive edge over othercountries,” according to Harcourt.

“Figures from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry show that Australian food exports grew from $17.4 billion in 1998-1999 to almost $24 billion in 2005-2006, declining to $23.3 billion for 2006-2007, largely because of the drought.

“While the world food industry is affected by fluctuating economies and environmental challenges, innovative Australian food exporters are turning barriers into opportunities.

“This has seen Australian exporters tap into many international markets and turn small businesses from humble beginnings into global export success stories,” said Harcourt. With a network of more than 115 overseas locations in over 60 countries, Austrade provides a number of dedicated and tailored services to Australian exporters.

This includes practical advice, market intelligence and ongoing support (including financial) to Australian businesses looking to develop international markets. Austrade also provides advice and guidance on overseas investments and joint-venture opportunities and helps put Australian businesses in contact with potential overseas investors.

Bringing home the baking

Austrade’s US based food and beverage team leader, Mark Berwick, has said that Australian baked goods are quite popular in the US and there are significant opportunities in two main categories.

“The first (opportunity) being baked goods that are healthier and less processed when compared to their counterparts in the US, such as Mountain Bread, which offer an alternative range for the health-conscious consumer,” explained Berwick.

Victorian based, Mountain Bread, which commenced exporting its range of flat bread varieties to the US in 1999, now exports its products to other international markets, including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Dubai and across Asia.

“The other category is specialty baked goods which offer the discerning consumer a unique and high-quality product. The Old Colonial Cookie Company’s shortbread and the range of waferthins crackers produced by Valley Produce Company and Waterwheel are successful examples,” Berwick said.

Gran’s Fudge, which began over thirty years ago as a small family business, is a prime exporting example.

Located in the heart of the Shoalhaven dairy region south of Sydney, it is exporting its range of over 25 flavours of fudge internationally, which includes the UK, Japan, Singapore, Canada and South Africa.

Berwick notes that the underlying key to success is to research the marketplace and the culture of the country, and to learn the language of trade, freight, quarantine and food labelling requirements.

Sarkis Khoury is the senior media advisor, corporate marketing and communications, for Austrade.

2008 Gluten Free expo

Following the 10,000-strong support for the 2007 Gluten Free Expo, the event is back, bringing the best of gluten free goodies to consumers on Friday 22 August and Saturday 23 August, 2008 at Sydney Olympic Park.

Now in its fourth year, this feel-good family expo has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2005, with a tremendous growth of products and consumer interest making its advent a huge success.

Originally designed for those with coeliac disease, but now appealing to health conscious consumers state wide, the expo offers visitors new options for cooking, snacking and entertaining.

From beer to bread, cakes to crispbread, the brave new world of gluten free food replaces heavy breads and starches with light rice, nut and soy based alternatives.

Gluten is the composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin that commonly exists with starch, in some of the grass-related grains we eat such as wheat, rye, and barley.

While gluten is regularly found in the processed foods and condiments we take for granted, consumers and the food service industry can now experience a world of gluten free options stretching from newly invented products to well established house hold names.

“This is a unique event in the Coeliac’s calendar as sufferers can walk in and eat or taste anything in the show without having to worry about what they’re eating,” said Coeliac Society President, Graham Price.

“All food items are gluten free, with delicious cakes, pizzas and other delicacies available to them once they are inside. Importantly people suffering from Coeliac disease can also get great ideas that will make all the difference in helping them preparing foods that are desirable and truly healthy for them,” Price said.

More than 70 product stalls will be on display at the expo, along with numerous cooking demonstrations and expert talks.

In Australia today there are over 250,000 suffers of Coeliac disease and it is estimated that about one in 100 people in Australia suffers from the disease. With many people still undiagnosed, the increasing numbers have fuelled the availability of gluten free products on the market today.

The awareness of the need for gluten free products is no longer relegated to a special section of the supermarket. Now the sale of many products is integrated into the mainstream supermarket and cafe presentation with food proudly displaying ‘gluten free’ on its packaging.

The Expo is sponsored by Coles, Eskal, Basco Gluten Free Foods, Muffin Break and Country Life Bakery.

Gluten Free Expo 2008

FREE Admission

Friday August 22, 4pm to 8pm and Saturday August 23, 9am to 5pm

Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park

For more information contact:

The Coeliac Society

Produce of Heaven

A consortium of premium food and wine producers from North West Tasmania, the largest food and beverage region in Tasmania, has announced development of a $4million agricultural business park in Devonport. The agribusiness park will ensure regional producers can leverage the growing number of export opportunities within Australia and in overseas markets, such as India, Dubai, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The Park is part of a unique suite of support activities planned for the region under the Produce of Heaven banner which are expected to grow the annual value of agribusiness in the area from $445M to $578M.

With development commencing immediately and to be completed in 2009, the Produce of Heaven Business Park, will encompass office facilities, a commercial test kitchen and flexible packaging facilities. It will also serve as the head office of Produce of Heaven’s marketing and distribution activities.

The Produce of Heaven consortium has access to 55 businesses and up to 200 farmers and includes the iconic King Island, Tasfresh, Webster, Ghost Rock winery and Petuna seafood brands along with a number of premium products rarely seen on Australian supermarket shelves due to their powerful export potential.

Privately funded, the business park is the first development of its kind within Australia — representing a commercial collaboration between producers and the private sector. With the strong export growth anticipated for the region, the Produce of Heaven consortium hopes to expand the Park in the next five years.

Produce of Heaven Director, Mark Baker commented on the significance of the development for the region, explaining that the business park will not only improve the export opportunities for the local producers, but will also have a flow on benefit to the broader community within the region.

“To be truly competitive in a global market, our producers need to have the best of product, packaged and presented to global standards. The Produce of Heaven Business Park is part of a whole of product manufacturing strategy and allows the region’s producers to take advantage of the value added opportunities. It offers North West Tasmanian producers properly accredited facilities to improve the shelf-life of their products and to develop, trial and test great new food opportunities which will in turn open up greater export opportunities.

“The Devonport region is growth hormone free and has a lot of produce which is pesticide free. This provides lot of value-added opportunities with seconds (i.e. bruised apples that cannot be sold as is, but can be made into apple juice) and nutraceuticals in particular; however there has never been the properly certified facilities to produce these products until now. When I travelled to Taiwan last year with a few of the local producers, we identified the potential to supply these value added services facilities.

“Produce of Heaven was created to enhance economic development, investment and community environment for Tasmania’s North West region. The business park facilities will accelerate growth opportunities in the region and help us put the pure produce on the world’s map,” explained Baker.

The Produce of Heaven initiative officially launched to more than 180 guests from key national and international locations on 19th May 2008 as part of a three day experiential launch event set in Devonport, Tasmania — the heartland territory for Produce of Heaven growers and producers.

For further information contact:

Emily Venardos

02 9270 0200

Nanofood for the future

Once a far-fetched fantasy a long way into the future, nanotechnology is set to have a huge impact on our lives in the here and now. With developments of materials and devices that can monitor blood, detect environmental pollutants and store energy better, nanotech is becoming an integral part of our ever-changing world.

One of nanotech’s most immediate effects will be felt in our food with companies worldwide conducting research using nanotechnology to develop foods with new possibilities in tastes, textures, packaging and enhanced nutrient absorption.

A recent report by International lobby group, The Friends of the Earth (FoE) found that 104 foods, food contact materials and agricultural products containing nanomaterials are now on sale internationally.

Nanotechnology is now used to manufacture some nutritional supplements, flavour and colour additives, food packaging, cling wrap, containers and chemicals used in agriculture.

Some products containing nano-sized particles are already on the market. In America and Europe, nano-sized ingredients have been added to some fruit juices, processed meats, diet milkshakes and baby food.

“We know manufactured nanomaterials are already in some products found on Australian supermarket shelves and used in Australian kitchens,” FoE Nanotechnology Project’s report co-author Georgia Miller said.

“Packaging for Cadbury chocolates, antibacterial kitchen wipes and cleaning sprays, and refrigerators sold by Samsung, Hitachi and LG Electronics now contain manufactured nanomaterials.”

The nanofood sector is led by the US, followed by Japan and China. Asian countries, particularly China, are expected to be the biggest market for nanofood by 2010.

Food packaging using nanotechnology is more advanced than nanofoods, with products on the market that incorporate nanomaterials that scavenge oxygen, fight bacteria, keep in moisture or sense the state of the food.

Plastic incorporating nanoparticles of clay or oxides of metals such as zinc and titanium have already been used to package meats, cheese, confectionery, beer, fruit juice and soft drink overseas.

The fact that nano additives are already part of our products is leading to growing calls for better safety assessment and regulation of nanotechnology in food.

According to report co-author Dr Rye Senjen, the worry is that “Australian laws do not require manufacturers to declare whether or not their products contain manufactured nanomaterials, or to conduct new safety tests on nano ingredients.

“Australian regulators have no way to know how many nano foods may be on Australian supermarket shelves and no way to check whether or not they are safe.”

The UK government’s Central Science Laboratory’s Dr Qasim Chaudhry, says engineered nanosized particles and other structures are used to develop new tastes, textures, and nutritional qualities, as well as improving shelf life and traceability of food products.

The main concern to consumers from nanoparticles in food packaging is through their migration into food and drinks, says Dr Chaudhry. Currently, however, there is not enough information to adequately assess the risk of these additives and ingredients.

With this uncertainty in mind, hasty action should be avoided, especially where food and drinks containing nano-ingredients are likely to be consumed in large quantities by a significat proportion of the population.

Size counts

Complicating the issue is an ongoing debate about the exact size of particles that have the potential to cross into the body’s cells.

While the nanoscale usually refers to structures under 100 nanometres, FoE points to evidence that structures of 300 nanometres can actually also present risks and should be checked for safety.

It has also been shown that particles smaller than 70 nanometres can reach the nucleus of the cell and possibly disrupt the DNA.

Gut reaction

Because current regulations do not fully cover nanotechnology in food, the European food science professional body, the Institute of Food Science and Technology, recently recommended that nanoparticles be treated as new, potentially harmful materials, until testing proves otherwise.

An expert in international nanotechnology regulation, Monash University Professor Graeme Hodge, warns against a “gut reaction” to nanotechnology without considering and assessing all the evidence.

“Don’t panic up front,” he says, adding that the use of nanotechnology in some areas will be “quite benign.” According to the Professor, a host of standards guarding food safety are already in place. “We’re not coming at the question of nanotechnology from a blank slate,” he explained.

Professor Hodge has helped the Australian government to prepare a report on nanotechnology to identify possible gaps in Australian regulations. Australia is one of the few countries to have done this.

However, he does say that it is too early to know if new regulations are really required, especially since international standard-setting bodies are only now officially defining the characteristics of nanomaterials.

A federal health department statement on behalf of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said that “no policy has been developed in regards to a specific regulatory response to nanotechnology.

“FSANZ is not aware, nor has it been made aware, of any commercially sold foods in Australia that have been developed using nanotechnology.”

The statement says FSANZ is gathering information and discussing the food safety implications of nanotechnology with international bodies and is yet to determine if a risk assessment is required for nanotechnology in foods.

The statement continues by confirming that “robust regulatory arrangements to ensure the safety of food” are in place.

To nano or not to nano?

Few studies have been carried out on the toxic effects of nanoparticles, and most deal with the risks of breathing them in, rather than consuming them, says Dr Chaudhry.

Although one of the benefits of nano-technology may be to increase absorption of nutrients from food, there are infinite unknown consequences, such as a possible change in the balance of nutrients in the body.

“It is also of concern that the introduction into foods of nanoparticles designed to carry dietary supplements could lead to the introduction of foreign substances into the blood,” he explained.

An example of this problem is Nanosilver which is good at killing bacteria. However, no research has been published about the possible effects of Nanosilver on the beneficial bacteria in our bodies.

“There is an urgent need for research into the behaviour of foodstuffs, both manipulated and processed at the nanoscale and the properties of manufactured nanoparticles introduced into foods whether deliberately or as the result of contamination.”

Apart from the many safety issues and questions around this modern marvel, one thing is certain – nanofood will make it even more unlikely that people will eat fresh, sustainably produced food, bringing with it an endless array of debates about priorities for our modern lifestyles.

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Innovation & technical knowledge for Queensland success

With its focus firmly fixed on ‘business intelligence’, coding and marking specialist Matthews has expanded its Queensland operations, growing staffing levels and overall business.

Matthews’ David Alexander explained that “Queensland has a very vibrant economy. Incentives from the Queensland Government have driven a lot of business growth – particularly in the industrial sector – with many companies relocating here, along with key staff for those and other firms.

“As far as that goes, Matthews’ move to expand its Sunshine State operations were quite timely.”

The who’s who

Among the multi-national and corporate customers Matthews serves in Queensland are Coca Cola Amatil, Cadbury Schweppes, National Foods (Berri), Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Parmalat, Golden Circle, General Mills, Goodman Fielder and Weston Milling. Other industrial customers include James Hardie and Iplex Pipelines.

Alexander said that while Matthews has grown in Queensland, they still have the flexibility of their smaller roots.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve increased our resources in the state to ensure our ability to support and care for our customers has not diminished,” Alexander explained. “For Matthews, our accessibility has been up there with product knowledge and product line-up as a reason for winning some key accounts.

“Often, however, smaller manufacturers have exactly the same needs regarding traceability and gaining business intelligence from their systems, rather than mere compliance. For instance, we’ve had very successful installations into Coastal Hydroponics, Lockyer Valley Packaging, Erie Australia, Vikind Australia and Rockcote, just to name a few.

“It’s the Matthews’ ethos that coding, marking and data-capture systems must do more than just scrape in as offering ‘compliance’. In some cases, a company might only need a stand-alone coder, and that’s fine, we can give them the best to suit their needs simply because we’re a full-line supplier.

However, we win many installations on our innovation with what data can be captured, and how to give the company a real ‘intelligence’ in its data. And this doesn’t just win us installations, it wins us customers who keep coming back.”

Further Queensland growth

Alexander emphasises that “in Victoria and NSW, Matthews has been around for more than 30 years, with a significant presence of staff, and hence a strong customer base.

“We’re in the terrific position in Queensland now that our reputation has grown to the point that people are recommending us and offering their installations as reference sites.

“We pride ourselves on technical performance but those recommendations are among the highest compliments that we can be paid.”

Profit in a bottle

The three Fs behind the growth of the bottled water industry – Fashion, Flavour and Function – are revealed by business information analysts IBISWorld.

This financial year, it is expected that the bottled water manufacturing industry will grow in revenue by 9.1% to $460.6 million, on the back of rising health consciousness, strong disposable income and warm weather.

Natural spring water and purified water have been the fastest growing beverage types in Australia, increasing by an average of 10.1% year on year for the past six years. Mt Franklin is the dominant Australian brand in the natural spring water market, while Pump leads the purified water sector. Both are manufactured by Coca Cola Amatil.

Designer drops

There is, however, more to the industry’s strong performance than meets the eye, according to IBISWorld Australia’s general manager, Robert Bryant.

“Because of the homogenous nature of the product, producers need to invest substantially in branding, advertising and promotional activity to differentiate their offering, and to attract and retain consumers who would otherwise substitute readily between waters,” said Bryant.

“As a result, we’re seeing growth in the so-called ‘premium’ section of the industry, with some manufacturers promoting their water as superior in an attempt to extract higher margins.

“Furthermore, manufacturers have recognised the importance of bottle design as a basis of competition, and innovation in this area has helped target style-conscious customers with products such as market leader Coca Cola Amatil’s new Sparkling Mt Franklin in a small blue-tinted glass bottle.

This café-targeted product will compete with established European brands such as Perrier and San Pellegrino and CCA is banking on image-conscious café clientele being willing to pay a premium price for a more appealing-looking product.”

Bryant explained that following on from trends abroad, bottled water had the potential to become as much a fashion accessory as a beverage, predicting savvy producers will establish niche operations supplying limited market segments with specialist and top of the line products.

“Females between the age of 14 and 35 are the biggest consumers of bottled water and both the media support behind a brand, the bottle design and the label play a part. Women are also more diligent than men at drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day, as well as being, on the whole, more health conscious.”

Function over fashion

Alongside premium waters, Bryant said ‘functional’ water was another area driving industry revenue, with products making unique health claims targeting consumers who switch drinks during the day depending upon their immediate needs.

“The creation and promotion of sports waters and other near waters has helped bottled water to win market share from high-sugar soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks, a trend we anticipate will continue.”

Growth will come from a low base, however, with traditional bottled water currently holding 51% of the market, followed by bulk packaged water (14%); mineral water (14%); purified water (12%); sports water (8%); and other functional waters with just 1%.

Functional waters – encompassing sports, flavoured, near and enhanced waters – compete as substitutes for soft drinks, as they are flavoured but do not have a high sugar content like soft drinks. As the industry matures and consumers become more informed, these sub-segments should become more clearly defined in the market.

“The rapid introduction of new products, and new packaging, make this an extremely dynamic industry, and Australia’s low level of bottled water consumption compared to many developed nations suggests the market still has potential for a high rate of sales growth before reaching saturation,” Bryant added.

Thirsty Italians

Australians consume approximately 12 litres of bottled water annually per person, compared to world-leaders Italy with 183.6 litres per capita.

“While our consumption is much lower than many developed nations, and we expect it to rise rapidly, it’s unlikely Australian bottled water consumption will ever reach these heady levels since many countries with particularly high consumption patterns either have less reliable public water or much higher real incomes,” explained Bryant.

As for where we drink it, South Australia has the highest reliance on bottled water for drinking with 13% of households using it as the main source. New South Wales is next with 8.8%. With desalination plants in the pipeline in both New South Wales and Victoria, these consumption patterns may change in the future with concerns – particularly from Victorians – about the impact of desalination on the quality of their famed tap water.

But for most people, Bryant said, drinking bottled water is about convenience, health consciousness and higher disposable incomes.

Water to go

The bottled water industry has gained from the increasingly frantic pace of life. With people trying to accomplish more each day, with less time for rest, and the rising preference for convenient snacks, dining out and takeaway meals, bottled waters are becoming an important source of revival and a convenient fact of life. As people spend more time away from home, they need to purchase water when tap water is unavailable.

Although a number of brands of bottled water have been tested and shown to have no health benefits above those of tap water, many consumers won’t be convinced.

Tougher times ahead?

Looking ahead though, Bryant said there would be some significant challenges facing the industry, mostly in the form of competition from private labels, dental care, environmental concerns, imports and mounting packaging costs.

“Supermarkets’ push into private labels will start to hurt the industry as more ‘home brand’ waters come onto the market, and retailers achieve gross profit margins of up to 60% on private label bottled water,” predicted Bryant.

“As consumption of bottled water by children increases, so too will concerns about the impact on their teeth – with tap water currently providing their main source of fluoride.

“Increasing environmental awareness, and concerns about the effects of manufacturing bottled water will also place pressure on the industry – with studies showing that it can take up to seven litres of water and a litre of crude oil to produce one litre of bottled water.

“In addition, over the next few years packaging costs, particularly for PET resin, will rise, putting pressure on profit margins. This is another reason manufacturers will ramp up investment in developing higher priced premium spring waters and functional waters (in order) to partially offset cost pressures,” Bryant added.

While historically import competition has come from New Zealand, recent products brought in from Fiji suggest that competition is likely to become more fierce in coming years.

“The number of competitive producers in the Pacific region is rising, and competition will follow suit given the relatively low transport costs and abundance of quality water sources in the region,” said Bryant.

Yet on the flip side, given the success of Wattle Spring in the UK, IBISWorld believes there are further opportunities for Australian bottled water manufacturers to exploit our national brand equity in export markets, although only the top end of the market, because of the limiting costs of exporting water.

What’s in contact with your food production?

Over the past sixty years, Atlas Copco has pioneered the development of oil-free air technology, resulting in a range of oil-free air compressors to suit applications that refuse to compromise when it comes to 100% oil-free clean air.

After being involved with compressors for the better part of a century, in 1967 Atlas Copco introduced oil-free compressors, and has recently achieved a new milestone, setting the standard for air purity as the first manufacturer to be awarded ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0 certification.

In 2001 the ISO 8573-1 compressed air standard was revised in order to address the needs of critical applications where pure air was essential. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, electronics and textiles had to exclude any risk of contamination and the severe consequences that could follow, such as spoiled or unsafe products, production downtime and damage to brand and reputation.

The revision established a more comprehensive measuring methodology. And to the existing purity classes a new and more stringent class was added: ISO 8573-1 CLASS 0.

Using rigorous testing methodologies and having all possible forms of oil carry over measured across a wide range of temperatures and pressures, the respected German testing authority TÜV found no traces of oil in the output air stream of Atlas Copco’s Z range of oil-free compressors. Atlas Copco thereby became the first compressor manufacturer to receive certification for a new industry standard of air purity.

According to Atlas Copco Compressors’ Luka Popovac, “Atlas Copco felt it was important to independently verify that our oil-free compressors are actually 100% oil-free so that customers who have these demanding applications could be sure.”

Temperature effect

One aspect influencing the performance of compressed air systems is temperature. When using oil-injected compressors with oil removal filters, oil carryover through filter media increases exponentially according to the temperature at the filtration interface. Filtration performance is usually specified at 25°C.

If the ambient temperature in the compressor room increases to 30°C, the compressor outlet temperature could be 40°C with the oil carryover 20 times the specified value. Such temperatures are not unusual even in colder countries, where the compressor room temperature is substantially higher than that outside.

Temperatures also cause an increase in the vapour content of the air, some of which can carry through to the end product. Moreover, high temperatures shorten the lifetime of activated carbon filters. An increase in temperature from 20°C to 40°C can cut filter lifetime by up to 90%. Even worse, the activated carbon filter does not warn the user when it is saturated. It will simply allow oil to pass on to processes.

For Atlas Copco’s oil-free compressors, air quality is independent of temperature.

Compressed Air in food

Compressed air is used in two ways within the food manufacturing process. The first is Energy Compressed Air, where the air acts as a medium for storing and transmitting energy to drive the pneumatics in the factory, including conveyor belts and packing machines.

The other way is so called Process Compressed Air, in which it is an active ingredient in the production process. Examples include using compressed air for moulding of tablets, pasta formation and fermentation.

Compressed air is also used to control the valves and actuators in automated lines for filling, packaging and bottling. Oil in the air builds up and will find its way to these components, causing jamming and production stoppage. In addition, the components continuously vent out the air, which can come into contact with the end product.

Compressed air is also used in pneumatic conveying where it pushes foodstuffs, such as powdered milk or cocoa powder, along pipes. Here oil contaminant will mix with the powder and spoil the product. It is also used to clean bottles, packages and moulds prior to filling. Besides being a health hazard, oil in the compressed air will contaminate the food containers and alter the flavour of the end product.

Many food and beverage production facilities also generate Nitrogen which is then used to prevent the oxidisation of foods, i.e. to stop food going stale. Typically compressed air is used to generate the nitrogen. If there is oil in the compressed air, the membrane used to separate the nitrogen quickly breaks down.

“Oil is the enemy of the nitrogen membrane, therefore oil contamination can lead to an expensive replacement bill,” explains Popovac.

Another use for compressed air is to cool down baked goods after they emerge from the oven. Contamination of the air spoils these end products leading to rejections and production losses.

A breath of fresh air

“Globally it has been well accepted that the best practice is to use an oil-free compressor in the food industry,” says Popovac. “Many of the major brewers and food producers have now changed over to oil-free.”

There are, however, still manufacturers who believe that oil-injected compressors with oil removal filters can deliver oil-free air. This solution is often referred to as “technically oil-free air”. However, even under optimum conditions and with several stages of oil removal, the air quality with regard to oil is suspect.

To achieve even barely acceptable air quality with oil-injected compressors, it is necessary to have air cooling devices and several stages of oil removal with multiple components. A failure of any of these components or inadequate maintenance can result in oil contamination.

“Another perception that exists among some food and beverage producers is that you can get away with using an oil-injected compressor by filling it with food-grade oil,” explains Popovac.

“The thinking is that it’s much cheaper to do it this way, so what’s the problem?

“We think it is important that people are aware of the real risks associated with that oil, which is continuously in contact with metal parts and transferring minute metal shavings. That oil then goes down the line and potentially touches the products somewhere along the line.”

With oil-injected compressors there will always be a risk of contamination and the possibility of severe consequences for the business.

Upgrading to oil-free

Although many major manufacturers throughout the world have upgraded their machinery to oil-free, Australia is still behind the mark. The real issue, according to Popovac, has been people putting the initial capital costs ahead of the risk and maintenance costs that build up over time.

“What is happening overseas, in countries such as the UK, is that the food retailers are placing more stringent requirements on their suppliers. This is in turn forcing the food industry to evaluate how they produce their products.”

Atlas Copco Compressors Australia Technical Support Engineer, Nashaat Bakhit says that “whether it’s food-grade oil, mineral oil, any sort of oil, after a period of time the oil will become oxidised and its properties will degrade quickly. Even if it’s a food-grade oil, once it starts losing its properties, it’s not going to be a healthy choice in compressors.

“If we compare to oil used for frying hot chips, in time it degrades and then the taste of the chips will change. Because of various factors, including heat, the oil properties start to change.”

While many major companies have already looked at converting to oil-free, the small-to-medium businesses in food production are reluctant to consider it.

However, as Popovac points out, “anybody that has a risk-minimisation or a food safety strategy in place should really examine their processes and see where the risks lie. Not every application has compressed air coming in contact with the food, but if after doing a risk assessment you find several areas where that’s possible, then you need to examine what the consequences of contamination will be.”

With food-grade oil there may only be a tiny amount coming in contact with the food, but in terms of product quality, the flavour and colouring can still be affected.

Although an oil-free compressor is initially more expensive to purchase than an oil-injected compressor, there are significant savings in maintenance costs to be realised.

A final consideration that may not be immediately obvious is the environmental impact of using oil. According to Popovac, “a standard oil-injected machine will need its oil changed regularly, resulting in hundreds of litres of oil being disposed into the environment. An oil-free compressor will at most use a modest amount of gearbox oil.

“Especially if you are running a number of compressors over a lot of hours, you are consuming a significant amount of oil which needs to be disposed of – hopefully in an environmentally friendly way. By using oil-free compressors you will dramatically reduce your company’s impact on the environment.”

Amcor upgrades with integrated safety

An innovative integrated safety control system, founded on Rockwell Automation’s GuardLogix, helps fast-track a safety upgrade at Amcor’s NSW beverage can manufacturing facility, while simplifying operation and optimising efficiency.

High-throughput manufacturing processes that produce millions of units per day often rely on sophisticated process equipment and control systems to help ensure uninterrupted production. In such applications, the effects of production stoppages can be crippling. Unscheduled downtime, due to emergency stoppages and shutdowns caused by breaches of safety systems, can impact the company’s bottom line in a matter of minutes.

Leading the way in high-volume manufacturing is global packaging giant, Amcor. The company produces a range of innovative packaging solutions using a variety of plastics, cardboards, glass and metals.

A significant proportion of Amcor’s Australasian operation is devoted to the manufacture of aluminium beverage cans. Across Australia and New Zealand alone, Amcor produces over two billion beverage cans per year. Its manufacturing facility in Revesby NSW is equipped to produce nearly 2.5 million aluminium cans per day, and is a vital element of the company’s global packaging network.

As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to safety, Amcor recently embarked on a safety upgrade at the Revesby facility. The safety upgrade included a transition to Allen-Bradley control systems, and the redesign and replacement of the facility’s legacy safety control system architecture. As the upgrade was to be implemented without impacting production, Amcor enlisted local system integrator, IGR Consulting to obtain a fast-tracked safety control solution.

Amcor can

Amcor’s Revesby facility employs the ‘draw and wall iron’ (DWI) process to manufacture its aluminium beverage cans. This production method involves forming shallow cups from aluminium sheet, and stretching or drawing the cup’s walls to form an open-ended can. A combination of fast-moving precision machinery and sophisticated control systems is used to consistently manufacture large quantities of product.

Rolled aluminium sheet is fed into a press, which cuts out discs and forms them into shallow cups using a ‘blank and draw’ die and ‘draw horn’. These shallow cups are conveyed to one of the plant’s 11 aluminium can bodymakers, where a can-shaped mechanical ram forces each individual shallow cup through a series of circular dies. The bodymaker’s ram moves up and back at high speed, forming up to 250 cans per minute. Each time the can-shaped ram retracts, the can is stripped off the ram head and dispatched into a bucket elevator which transports it to the trimming machines.

The trimming machine’s roll-cutters trim the can wall to a pre-determined height, leaving a smooth edge. A separate device is used to roll the freshly-cut edge to form a flange, suitable to receive a lid or closure. The cans are then washed, etched, decorated, packed and shipped to various beverage manufactures.

Streamlining safety

The first stage of Amcor’s site-wide safety and control upgrade is due for completion by mid-2008. Prior to the ‘in progress’ upgrade, the plant’s 11 bodymakers and trimming machines were controlled using individual conventional programmable logic controllers (PLC).

Each bodymaker/trimmer pair was equipped with its own PLC interlocked with a separate hard-wired safety control system. A second PLC was employed at each machine pair to accommodate high-speed control applications.

According to Amcor beverage cans engineering manager, Chris Hilton, the safety upgrade provided Amcor with the opportunity to implement a more streamlined safety control solution.

“We needed a more user-friendly system with advanced diagnostic and troubleshooting capabilities. Our production schedule didn’t allow for a prolonged design and installation process, so we enlisted the services of control and automation specialists.”

IGR Consulting developed a new integrated safety and standard control solution, founded on the innovative Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controller from automation group, Rockwell Automation. Featuring two-processor safety architecture, the Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controller helps to provide integrated safety and conventional control within the one platform.

“This is a more elegant solution compared with the previous safety control architecture,” said IGR Consulting project engineer, Karl Schiesser.

“Both standard and safety control of each of the 11 bodymaker/trimmer pairs will now be managed by 11 individual GuardLogix controllers. The high-speed of the Logix platform means that the second PLC is no longer required. This integrated control architecture helps provide Amcor with increased levels of safety functionality and enables easy system expansion.”

Staying online

The GuardLogix controller is at the centre of Amcor’s new integrated ‘safety-plus-standard’ control solution: a seamless network of controllers, Category 4-compliant DeviceNet Safety communications and distributed I/O. EtherNet/IP connectivity provides interlocking between machines, and links the GuardLogix controllers to the factory’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

Several Allen-Bradley InView message displays connected to the GuardLogix controllers via an RS232 serial port, provide operators with detailed system diagnostics and allow straightforward monitoring.

“They allow on-site technicians to carry out fault analysis without having to directly access the GuardLogix program code,” explains Hilton. Previously, access to Amcor’s 11 bodymakers and trimmers was guarded by three separate hard-wired pneumatic guarding systems, each incorporating a series of relays and pneumatic switches.

“If a guard was opened, the air was cut off and the pressure switch was tripped, activating the safety response,” said Hilton.

“On occasion, these pneumatic switches would fail in the open position, raise a ‘false alarm’ and cause the line to shut down.”

This system was replaced with a range of safety switches and devices wired back to local I/O, connected to GuardLogix controllers via a DeviceNet Safety communications network.

“With the GuardLogix integrated control system, troubleshooting false alarms and product jams is much easier,” said Hilton.

“Previously, when a safety alarm was activated, a technician would have to visually inspect each machine-guard in the group to locate the breach. Now, the GuardLogix controller allows us to immediately pinpoint the tripped switch. Our response time is quicker and downtime is minimised.”

Programming and installation

According to Schiesser, the combination of distributed I/O and the DeviceNet Safety network helped to improve site installation and wiring time. “Using an integrated control solution like GuardLogix means that Amcor doesn’t have to duplicate its safety and standard inputs. This means less wiring and less I/O. Local machine-mounted I/O and the use of a single communications network for both standard and safety communications also helps minimise wiring and streamlines installation.”

The completely integrated nature of GuardLogix also provided Amcor with programming advantages.

“GuardLogix really is a step ahead of other systems. As the architecture is already set up, developing and expanding the system is uncomplicated,” said Hilton. “We were able to develop both the standard and safety control system code concurrently. This was a real time saver.”

GuardLogix uses RSLogix 5000 programming software and allows users to program and manage their safety control system using familiar standard control methods. “It provides us with real on-screen info, not a coded database hidden somewhere in systems like our previous PLCs,” explained Hilton.

Early success

With four GuardLogix-based control systems installed and online at the Revesby facility, Amcor is nearly half way through its safety control upgrade. According to Hilton, the IGR Consulting team was a real key to the success of the project. “They were on hand to install and commission the first system and train our technicians. This has been invaluable, providing our on-site team with the necessary skills to successfully implement the remaining systems.

“We understood the importance of making this plant-wide control transition as seamless as possible,” said Schiesser. “GuardLogix allowed us to simulate real-life control scenarios and view system architectures, without making any physical connections. This made it an efficient way to train Amcor staff.”

Further system support is provided by Rockwell Automation in the form of TechConnect – Rockwell Automation’s site-wide technical support for its hardware and software products. Hilton envisages further applications for the GuardLogix solution. “Once again we’ll be able to save time and resources by developing conventional and safety control concurrently, using the GuardLogix controller.”

Goulburn Valley gets the tick of approval

With research showing over half of Australians are not eating their recommended two servings of fruit per day; Goulburn Valley has announced a new health initiative, in the hope of encouraging Australians to eat more fruit.

Having met the Heart Foundation’s strict nutritional standards, Goulburn Valley is the first to obtain the Tick of approval on can and fridge pack ranges of fruit. To celebrate this great achievement the brand will soon introduce the iconic Tick logo on their 825g and 1kg packaging, along with other nutrient claims, which had not been previously communicated.

“Despite the improvement in Australia’s fruit consumption it is disappointing to see that 50 per cent still need to eat that second serve. I hope incorporating the Tick on Goulburn Valley will help consumers recognise it as a healthy, tasty and convenient fruit option,” comments APD leading nutritionist and sports dietician Karen Inge.

The Heart Foundation Tick helps consumers identify healthier products within a category and is one of the most trusted sources of nutritional information. The Heart Foundation recognises that Goulburn Valley fruit provides a nutritious and convenient alternative to fresh fruit. Packed full of essential nutrients to sustain energy throughout the day, fruit plays an important role in maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle.

“The Heart Foundation recognises that eating your daily recommended intake of fruit is an important part of a healthy eating plan, and not always easy to achieve. We are pleased Goulburn Valley has the Tick — we hope this will make it easier for Aussies to eat their two serves of fruit a day and have a positive impact on their wellbeing,” comments Food Supply Operations Manager Coral Colyer.

Goulburn Valley fruit is a quick and convenient option, locking in essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre — as nature intended. Low GI and free of preservatives, artificial flavours and sweeteners, the Goulburn Valley range is available from all major supermarkets nationally.

For further information contact:

Anna Salter

Goulburn Valley

The latest in can innovation

Alcoa, the company that invented the pull-top aluminium can, has announced that it has worked with Ball Corporation and Coors Brewing Company to introduce the Vented Wide Mouth Can — the industry’s first-ever can with a built-in vent that enables consumers to enjoy a smoother pour.

“In 1962, Alcoa invented the first pull-top aluminum can, which revolutionised the beer and soft drink industries,” said Alcoa Rigid Packaging Division Vice President and General Manager, Ann Whitty. “This latest invention allows consumers to drink beer out of a can while enjoying a smoother pour, delivering a draft-like experience by reducing the vacuum.”

Alcoa, Ball and Coors worked to develop the 204 diameter Vented Wide Mouth end and testing and trials were conducted at Alcoa and Ball to deliver the invention.

Coors Brewing Company and Ball Corporation are joint venture partners of Rocky Mountain Metal Container, LLC, and jointly operate Coors’ can and end facilities in Golden, Colo., one of the largest aluminium can manufacturing facilities in the world. The 204 Vented Wide Mouth Can ends for Coors are produced in Golden, Colo.

About Alcoa

Alcoa is the world leader in the production and management of primary aluminium, fabricated aluminium and alumina combined, through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry.

Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa’s businesses to customers.

In addition to aluminium products and components including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems. The Company has 97,000 employees in 34 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Reinforcing pallet ownership rights

CHEP Australia has settled a dispute with a Victorian food wholesaler regarding the use of CHEP’s distinctive blue pallets.

CHEP attempted to resolve the matter through commercial negotiations, however when these negotiations failed CHEP commenced legal action to protect the rights of its shareholders and customers.

This is the fourth dispute over pallet ownership that CHEP has successfully resolved over the past 12 months.

CHEP succeeded in asserting its rights to immediate possession of pallets in two court cases in New South Wales — the first against a fruit and vegetable retailer and the second against two food wholesalers. A third case, in Western Australia, was settled out of court.

CHEP’s Terms of Hire state clearly that it remains the owner of its equipment at all times as part of a managed, reusable, returnable packaging solution.

Only CHEP’s customers and their respective agents are entitled to use CHEP’s equipment. Neither CHEP’s customers, nor any other person, are entitled to buy, sell, modify or otherwise exchange CHEP pallets.

President of CHEP Australia, Paul McGlone, welcomed the latest outcome because it reinforced CHEP’s commitment to maintaining equity for all customers. “The courts have sent a powerful message that CHEP property remains CHEP property. Those who seek to gain an advantage by attempting to use CHEP assets, like pallets, without being a CHEP customer will be caught out,” he said.

McGlone said CHEP will take any and all action necessary to maintain equity of its pallet pool and to protect its customers. “The unauthorised use of CHEP assets erodes the value of our managed, returnable, reusable system, and creates unnecessary control burdens and costs on our legitimate users,” he said.

About CHEP

CHEP offers managed returnable and reusable packaging solutions to companies across the globe. Since 1956, our technology and know-how has helped some of the world’s best known brands including Procter & Gamble, SYSCO, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle, Ford and GM get to market.

The company’s supply chain solutions help customers store, protect and move goods from production to point of consumption in a safe, cost efficient and environmentally sound way. Whether moving raw materials, meat, fresh food, bulk liquids, car parts, or consumer goods, technology and thinking are applied to make goods movement leaner, greener and safer.

For further information contact:

Cate Binet

Manager, Brand and Communications

CHEP Asia-Pacific

Drink to the planet’s health

As of 2008, FIJI Water offers a carbon negative product. The production and sale of each bottle of FIJI Water actually results in a reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 120% of the bottle’s carbon footprint.

This means remaining carbon emissions that cannot be managed out of the product lifecycle will be mitigated through a portfolio of forest carbon (e.g., reforestation) and renewable energy offset projects developed jointly with global conservation organisation, Conservation International.

These verifiable and permanent carbon offsets will exceed total company CO2 emissions by 20%, making it the first bottled water product to truly go beyond carbon neutral to leave a negative carbon footprint.

Every bottle of FIJI Water makes a difference.

– A 500ml bottle of FIJI Water removes 60 grams of CO2eq from the Earth’s atmosphere, which is equivalent to turning off the lights before you leave home for the day;

– A 1L bottle of FIJI Water removes 115 grams of CO2eq from the Earth’s atmosphere, which is equivalent to shutting down a laptop computer overnight.

Across the board globally, in 2008 FIJI Water expects to achieve a net reduction of over 20,000 tonnes of CO2eq in the atmosphere. That will have the same affect as:

– Taking over 3,500 passenger vehicles off the road; or

– Planting over 500,000 trees.

To measure its carbon footprint, FIJI Water calculates its carbon emissions across every stage in the product lifecycle: producing raw materials for packaging, transporting raw materials and equipment to the plant, manufacturing and filling bottles, shipping the product from Fiji to markets worldwide, distributing the product, refrigerating the product in stores, restaurants, and other outlets, and disposing/recycling of the packaging waste.

Consumers will now have access to the above information and more on how FIJI Water is measuring its carbon footprint with product lifecycle emissions data and analysis for each of the company’s products at

Call for editorial submissions

Have you got an exciting new product or innovative processing technique that you want to share with others in the food and beverage industry?

FOOD Magazine invites food manufacturers and processors to submit editorial for the magazine and the FOOD website, highlighting the novel developments at your company that are contributing to the growth of both your business and the Australian food and beverage sector at large.

Food scientists and packaging manufacturers are also encouraged to contribute editorial that will be of benefit to others in the industry, including new trends and technological advances.

June FOOD Magazine

The June issue will focus on the Baked Goods industry and include a FoodPro preview.

Baked Goods manufacturers or companies implementing novel, or efficient food safety practises are invited to submit editorial.

FoodPro exhibitors are welcome to submit 100 word editorial pieces on their upcoming displays at FoodPro 2008.

New products

FOOD Magazine also invites machinery suppliers to send in new product information for each of the magazine’s sections including Ingredients, Packaging, Processing and Safety.

In November, there will be a focus on coding and labelling equipment.


The deadline for June editorial is Friday 9th May.

All editorial and new product information should include a high resolution, colour image that is at least 118 pixels/cm or 300dpi at postcard size.

Material can be sent to editor of FOOD Magazine, Lena Zak.