NZ food sector remains strong

Leone Evans

New Zealand’s (NZ’s) food and beverage industry, including agribusiness, primary production and foodservice, is critical to the country’s overall economic performance.

As such, any changes in the food and beverage industry’s performance will materially impact on the national economy.

At present, the sector employs one in five New Zealanders.

It generates half of NZ’s mercantile exports, comprises 10% of gross domestic product and has grown 5.3% over the past decade (the same rate as the overall economy).

The productivity of the food and beverage industry is better than that of many other sectors, with agriculture having achieved a 60% increase in the last decade.

The sector itself capitalises on NZ’s natural advantages in food production including abundant rainfall, a temperate climate and the plentiful supply of arable land.

However, growth has come largely from productivity gains.

The sector faces the challenge of developing stronger technology and knowledge-based businesses and, as a result, will continue to be characterised as a basic agricultural industry until improvement is gained via increased research and development.

Industry at a glance

Like the economy as a whole, the food and beverage sector exhibits low capital intensity, relatively low levels of research and development investment, skill shortages, low levels of outbound foreign investment and limited access to global value chains.

The sector is dominated by co-operatives, comprising four of the five largest companies and accounting for over 50% of the total sector revenues.

Fonterra alone constitutes 40% of total sector revenue, the top 10 companies comprise 66%, the top 30 companies over 85% and subsidiaries of foreign owned multinationals constitute 24% of total sector revenues. Small-to-medium enterprises make up the remaining 25% of the industry.

International market

In terms of the international market environment, NZ’s food and beverage industry is facing rapid change with greater demand for products that foster wellbeing, meal solutions rather than just ingredients, and a greater emphasis on ethical and ecological standards.

Consumers and retailers have become more attuned to food safety issues, in terms of health concerns and food security, resulting in a convergence of food and health. Consumption patterns are also changing due to an ageing population in the West and an increasingly affluent Asia.

These changes are resulting in the acceleration of market segmentation as trade in processed products outstrips trade in bulk commodities.

In the UK, New Zealand’s fifth largest export market, environmental sustainability and ethical issues including fair trade, free-range and organic have gained increasing dominance on the public’s agenda.

This trend is also gaining momentum in some European markets and has the potential to extend to other parts of the globe.

Rising concerns over climate change have been linked to the food miles debate, which suggests the further a product has travelled the greater its environmental impact.

Retailers such as Tesco have announced that within the next five years labels on packaging will display a product’s carbon footprint. At present, this issue does not seem to have affected NZ’s trade with the UK. However, NZ exporters will need to carefully monitor and appropriately react to these important social issues and their potential impact on both trade and consumer purchasing decisions.

Opportunities

New Zealand has already established itself globally as environmentally conscious, particularly in food production, and its ability to effectively communicate this message and position to the international market will become increasingly important.

As a result of the global food industry consolidating into fewer and larger multinationals wielding the power of fewer and larger brands, NZ businesses will need to connect more effectively with global value chains in order to succeed in the international market.

In order to do this, the NZ food and beverage sector, which continues to be constrained by insufficient investment and expertise, requires more skilled workers and spending on research and development.

Food and Beverage Taskforce

In July this year, the NZ Government announced it’s response to the Food and Beverage Taskforce’s report Smart Food, Cool Beverage, which outlined the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector and the industry’s outlook, and committed to a work program of six key initiatives including $19 million for in-market assistance for the sector offshore.

The Government’s response also included improved infrastructure for new product development to help test and develop innovative food products, increasing the business capability of food and beverage exporters through an audit and mentoring program, and raising productivity and sustainability in pastoral industries.

Outlook

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will continue its involvement in the food and beverage innovation process, both in terms of product development and in-market infrastructure development, fostering an even closer working relationship with industry, universities, crown research institutes and Technology NZ.

Raising the international profile of the sector is also a critical element that will underpin sector growth in selected markets.

Looking forward, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will strive to protect and renew the core of the industry including agribusiness core competency, bio-security, food safety, market access, production efficiency gains, and improved productivity, while continuing to build the base.

Leone.Evans@nzte.govt.nz

www.nzte.govt.nz

Handling bulk ingredients

When it comes to bulk storing ingredients, manufacturers must be able to integrate a system into their production areas seamlessly and efficiently. Celia Johnson speaks to Matcon Pacific business development director David Newell.

Q. What are the main trends in ingredients handling?

A. The method of preparing a batch, which normally involves the decanting of numer­ous 25kg bags and manually scooping minor ingredients, is usually very labour intensive.

Therefore, automating the formulation of the ingredients to prevent operator error and provide batch traceability is a significant trend.

There is also a trend away from decanti­ng raw materials from bags and towards receiving the pre-mixed ingredients in bulk from the supplier, which not only makes the plant more efficient but reduces the manu­facturing cost per kilogram.

Q. What are the main challenges associated with handling and storing ingredients?

A. Reducing dust contamination in the pro­duction area is a major concern and challenge when it comes to handling and storing ingre­dients.

The use of traditional bulk storage sys­tems, such as bulk bags, is the main cause of the problem.

The bags are often left sitting on the floor of a warehouse, become contaminated with dirt from the floor and are then taken into the production area for processing, placing the product at risk of contamination.

Suppliers of bulk storage systems are also challenged to provide manufacturers with systems that can easily be integrated into the production area while also providing inter-company transportation of pre-mixed products.

The bulk storage system needs to ensure the ingredients or premixed products are dis­charged efficiently in a contained way, without traditional flow problems such as segregation of a pre-mixed batch, bridging or rat-holing.

Q. How are these challenges being over­come?

A. Ingredients manufacturers may choose to incorporate a closed-system approach, com­bining a typical packaging system such as a CHEP or TNT container with a compatible hopper design that can be discharged or dosed into the production mixer.

Similarly, an Intermediate Bulk Container system (IBC) could be used for this purpose.

Once the container or IBC has been dis­charged it can be cleaned off-line or trans­ported back to be filled.

Q. What are the latest innovations and equip­ment that will benefit manufacturers?

A. Operator errors in ingredient preparation can be prevented and product recalls low­ered with an automated or semi-automated approach to ingredient formulation.

By using an IBC to discharge the product automatically, not only is the loading of the mixer simplified but the availability of the mixer for mixing more batches is increased, as compared with manual loading.

The IBC is loaded onto a discharge station above the mixer and will discharge the for­mulated batch in a controlled and hygienic manner.

The discharge station incorporates a pneu­matic actuator and an internal vibration to provide guaranteed discharge of even the most difficult flowing products.

The Matcon Flexi-Batch recipe formula­tion system is a way of formulating the batch to a known recipe by using a moving batch container located under the ingredients.

The ingredients can easily be changed or increased according to the production demands.

The Variable-Lift Matcon Discharge Hop­per provides a high accuracy dosing of the ingredient, typically down to 50g in a 100kg batch, while being a single machine cuts down on cleaning time.

Matcon’s IBCs are manufactured from FDA-approved polyethylene material and incorporate cone valve technology.

RVO supplies Matcon equipment in Aus­tralia.

On the shelf: organic salad

Ingredients: Organic Salad Mix: seasonal baby leaf salads; red and green oak, red and green coral, mignonette, red chard and mizuna

Shelf life: 10 days

Brand/product manager: Steve Skopilianos

Email: steve@ladybirdorganics.com.au

Packaging supplier: Biopak

Graphics package designer: Dzign Diezel Group

Frozen berry mix

Ingredients: Four Berry Mix: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries

Shelf life: two years

Brand owner: McCains

Brand/product manager: Derrin Johnson

Graphics packaging designer: Pinpoint Design Group

Microwaveable rice

Ingredients: cooked rice, sunflower oil, distilled monoglyceride

Shelf life: 18 months

Brand/product manager: Francesca Di Giorgio

Email: fdigiorgio@sunrice.com.au

Packaging supplier: Propak

Graphics package designer: Carpe Diem Design

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Multitest-i test frames and software

SI Instruments provides Mecmesin Multitest-i test frames and software measure loads from 2N to 25000N using intelligent load cells capable of collecting data at 2000 readings/second.

The machines are suitable for compression testing, deformation testing, extension testing, materials testing, packaging testing and top-load testing, among other things.

According to the company, the software is easy to use and ideal for routine analysis or sophisticated test routines.

SI Instruments

Mainland’s new cheeses

Ingredients: pasteurised milk, cream, salt, cultures, enzyme (rennet)

Brand owner: Fonterra Brands (Australia)

Brand manager: Tina Randello

Packaging supplier: Admark (Blue Cheddar), Film Chem (Creamy Blue)

Graphics packaging designer: Dow Design, New Zealand

Packaging reflects product shape

Ingredients: wholegrain cereals (oats, wheat), salt

Shelf life: 9 months

Brand owner: Uncle Tobys

Brand manager: Jane Truong

Packaging supplier: Amcor Cartons

Graphics package design: Cowan Design

Mouthful of chicken

Ingredients: chicken, flour (wheat, rice), milk solids, salt, gluten (wheat), vegetable oil, water, starch (wheat), vegetable powders (onion and garlic), mineral salts, soy protein concentrate, flavour (milk), thickeners, ground and extracted spice, yeast, flavour enhancer, raising agent, emulsifiers, antioxidants, vitamin (thiamin)

Brand owner: Inghams Enterprises

Brand manager: Kayvin Li

Packaging supplier: Carter Holt Harvey

Graphics package designer: Morton Branding Consultants

Vacuum packaging machinery

As food manufacturers’ turn to packaging formats that increase product shelf life, reduce storage space and are cost effective, the vacuum pack is in greater demand across various industries, including the food and beverage sector.

Vacuum packing allows products to be kept fresher for longer and opens up packaging design opportunities including high-quality printed graphics and innovative pack shapes.

According to machine suppliers Perfect Packaging, vacuum packing is ideal for retail packaging and is also a useful way to provide food service items.

“More cost effective than large cans, the pouches can be supplied with resealable zippers for convenience, are easier and safer to handle than cans and flexible packs reduce the enormous storage and disposal space that is required for cans,” Perfect Packaging business development manager Gary Anderson said.

Finding the right machine

When it comes to choosing between the multitude of vacuum packing machines available to food manufacturers, machinery supplier Perfect Packaging suggests three things: plan for tomorrow, not for today; keep flexibility as the key factor in any machine purchase; and avoid expensive agreements that force you to purchase the vacuum bags from the machine supplier.

As the food industry becomes a place of increasing competition and consolidation, packaging design, portion sizes and product composition are factors that must be considered when procuring new equipment.

Ranging from simple, manually operated hood machines to sophisticated, high-speed machines, vacuum packing machines are suited to small or large scale operations and now have the technological capabilities to meet a host of applications — be that packing peanuts, prepared meals or olives in brine.

High-speed automatic machinery

Perfect Packaging’s range of continuous motion rotary vacuum carousels from LeePack in Korea is suitable for numerous pack sizes and shapes, as well as a range of processed food products including vegetables in oil, meat, pasta and prepared meals.

The carousels work in a rotary motion, picking up pre-made pouches that are stored in a magazine or in-feed conveyor, transferring them by grippers to the filling stations and then moving them into one of the rotary vacuum chambers where a vacuum is created and the pouch sealed.

“As the LeePack carousels work with pre-made packs, manufacturers can be flexible in their pack design,” Anderson said.

“We have a lot of clients in the can filling industry that are limited to putting all their products into the same round can.

“With a flexible pouch machine, stand-up pouches, flat four-sided pouches, traditional vacuum bags and shaped pouches can all be handled on the same machine, allowing for flexibility and fast change-over times,” he continued.

Using pre-made packs, as opposed to forming the pouch in line, reduces the time required for changing from one pouch size to another or from one pouch design to another.

“All you do is take the old stock off the in-feed magazine, introduce a new design or different sized pouch and it’s ready to go again,” Anderson said.

The LeePack carousels offer a variety of different filling methods, enabling food items traditionally stored in cans, such as fruit pieces in syrup or soups, to be vacuum packed in a flexible pouch.

With the rapid growth in prepared meals, the requirement for double shot dosing, adding two different items at the point of packaging, has increased.

The LeePack machines have up to three filling stations, allowing for combinations of solids, liquids and powders to be filled into each individual pack.

“We recently installed a machine at a company that produces semi-dried vegetables in oil,” Anderson said.

“There seems to be more and more interest in the prepared meal sector and technological advances in vacuum packing machinery, like the high speed range, is at once meeting this need and driving the trend.”

Vertical pouch packaging

Cryovac, a specialist in perishable food packaging technologies, uses a process called vertical pouch packaging (VPP) to pack products such as fruits and vegetables in brine into hygienic and highly resistant flexible pouches, extending product shelf life.

According to Cryovac, the extreme external pressure created in a vacuum packing machine can cause bubbles to form in the pack and can cause the liquid to be sucked out or evaporated.

As such, VPP does not create a vacuum but an airless pack.

The process involves vertically loading hot or cold products such as a metre-long tube of fruit and syrup into Cryovac’s VPP Onpack 2070 packaging system.

This is instead of loading horizontally, as is necessary with a rotary chamber vacuum machine.

Rollers then squeeze the excess product out of the seal area and seal the pack immediately to create a hermetic seal.

Manually operated machinery

Depending on the size and production specifications of a company, manually operated vacuum packing machinery may be a better option than high-speed automatic machinery.

Vacutec, an Australian supplier of complete vacuum packing systems, offers a range of Euro-Pak equipment, including small bench-top units for delis and large double chambered machines for high quantity outlet applications.

Fitted with Busch vacuum pumps and equipped with specifically designed computer programs that offer nine different settings for nine different products, the Euro-Pak range is ideal for small- to medium-sized food companies and is suitable for different pouch sizes.

The nine-setting program function allows for simple and precise operation by multiple users and ensures that different products are vacuum packed appropriately.

“Tailoring the settings ensures the vacuum pack performs at an optimum level, achieving maximum shelf life and preventing surface spoilage during transport or storage,” Vacutec managing director Peter Steinmann said.

The ability to individually program packing requirements for various items means a number of people can use the same machine with ease, saving time and making production more efficient.

Reliable pumps

Vacutec highlights the importance of considering the quality of the vacuum pump when determining the best vacuum packing machine for a particular operation.

Described by the company as the heart of the machine, they recommend a high-quality pump, such as those used in the Euro-Pak range, be chosen over cheaper alternatives.

A reliable pump will last the lifetime of the machine and reduce maintenance costs.

“Despite being highly sophisticated, Busch pumps operate on a simple principle,” Steinmann said.

“As there are less moving parts inside these pumps compared with others, there is less chance of them breaking down.

“If the pump dies, you might as well throw away the entire machine, particularly if it is a bench-top model,” he said.

With cheaper pumps it is not uncommon for them to break down within the first two years of use.

However, the Busch pumps are said to last the lifetime of the machine, approximately 10 to 15 years for a small bench-top model and longer for the double chambered machines.

With food prices increasing in Australia and as the food sector continues to consolidate, vacuum packing can reduce costs along the supply chain and provide products with a point of difference.

As a result, competition in vacuum packing machinery has significantly increased during the last five years in line with demand.

www.perfectpackaging.com.au

www.cryovac.com.au

www.vacutec-australia.com

NZ functional ingredient

A New Zealand functional food ingredient has captured the attention of European and Australian consumers, with its inclusion in unique, high-end products.

The functional ingredient, Glucagel, is manufactured by GraceLinc, a New Zealand food ingredient company and subsidiary of the New Zealand government-owned research company, Crop & Food Research.

Glucagel is a high-purity barley beta-glucan ingredient.

Barley beta-glucan is a soluble fibre which is widely recognised for its heart and digestive health benefits.

Glucagel’s appeal lies in its ability to be added to foods to provide health benefits without changing the sensory appeal of foods or the production process.

“This, combined with its high purity, is attracting multi-national food companies to our ingredient,” GraceLinc chief executive John Morgan said.

Italian food company Barilla evaluated a wide range of competitive offerings before selecting Glucagel and are including a heart health claim on the packaging of their new bread and brioche, which is part of their new Alixir healthy food range.

Glucagel is distributed in Australia by CSR Ethanol.

For further information, contact John Morgan.

Oz exports soar

Demand from China, India and Russia is opening doors for local manufacturers of processed foods, seafood and wine.

Australia’s annual food and beverage export revenue of $24 billion is predicted to rise as new export markets create opportunities for manufactur­ers of processed foods and pre­mium dairy products, seafood and wine.

Austrade, the Australian Government’s export develop­ment agency, said while traditional export markets including Japan, US, UK and New Zealand remain strong, developing economies with emerging middle class con­sumer populations such as China, India and Russia are of growing interest.

This is despite fears that ongoing drought conditions and the Australian exchange rate will restrain growth in the food and beverage industry.

Factors including rising incomes in China, India and Russia, and awareness of international food trends are contributing to export growth in these markets. The spread of international supermarket chains across Asia and a trend toward wholesome, convenient food is also driving demand for Aus­tralian processed food.

“In China, Australia has long been a supplier of com­modities including grains, but over the past two years we have seen sales of Australian bottled wine taking off and have had buyers from China wanting a whole range of grocery lines for supermarkets and specialty food stores,” Austrade’s senior export advisor Gary Hullin said.

“Products like biscuits, con­fectionery items, honey, macadamias and non-alcoholic beverages are in strong demand from China because of the dif­ferences in packaging, quality and taste of these Australian products compared with what is produced and sold locally.”

The growth of supermarket chains in India’s more affluent cities has also contributed to demand for processed foods including sauces, snack bars and cake mixes.

“While modern retailing is only just taking off in India, accounting for approximately 1% to 2% of total food retail­ing, it is an area that will gain momentum as it has in other parts of Asia,” Hullin said.

The poor quality of India’s refrigeration and cool chain currently limits export to dried, shelf stable grocery items.

In Russia, however, Austrade has identified an increase in beef, wine, premium dairy prod­ucts and seafood.

Independent research con­ducted by Austrade showed product quality, freshness of produce, health and nutrition­al value, taste, and food safety as driving the success of Aus­tralian food exporters in exist­ing and emerging markets.

“Australia is recognised internationally as growing and producing clean and natural food products as well as adher­ing to strict quality control and food safety standards,” Hullin said.

www.austrade.gov.au

Gary.Hullin@austrade.gov.au

TraceTech: free registration

Members of the food industry that have not already registered for tomorrow’s TraceTech conference can register today for free.

The supply chain and logistics event will take place from October 23 to 24 at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney, and will involve over 15 sessions by industry experts including:

Food & Agricultural Case Studies chaired by Nick Smale, CSIRO with Aaron Iori, Meat & Livestock Australia.

Logistics Sessions chaired by our own David Doherty, SCLAA and featuring Gerry Wind of CHEP, Renzo Bevinetto & Brett Armitage of IFC Global Logistics

Technology Sessions chaired by Frank Dorrian, RFIDba, with Sean Sloan GS1, and a panel with Scott Austin, Sunshine Technologies, Dave Ffowcs Williams Blackbay and Sean Sloan

Packaging Sessions chaired by Ray Chappelow FAIP, Scale Components with Mark Luft, AAIP – Dy-Mark, Phil Biggs, Matthews.

Cold Chain Sessions chaired by John Howell, RWTA with Colin Baskin, Comvita, Don Richardson Ceebron and Dr Nick Smale CSIRO.

For full details of the conference sessions or to register, click here.

www.tracetech.com.au

Opinion: beginning of the end for cans?

On a recent trip overseas, the UK news reported that sales of canned produce in the UK were down 8% over the past year.

This caught my attention.

After all, the can, or tin as it is referred to in the UK, is an iconic form of packaging that is incredibly useful.

Invented in 1810, canned food allowed stock cupboards to be filled for the entire win­ter and it played a part in keeping people fed during the Second World War when food was scarce and trade difficult.

The decrease in sales is thought to be the result of the UK Government’s ‘5 a day’ campaign that, much like the Australian Government’s ‘7 a day’ campaign, advocates intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, the sales of which have increased.

Also thought to have played a part in the downturn of canned food’s fortunes is the difficulty faced by older people in open­ing cans.

For those with arthritis, even the pullback tops used on many cans these days can be awkward.

So does this signal the demise of canned produce?

Today, there is a multitude of processing and packaging options available, many of which offer benefits such as taking up less space on pallets and reducing transport costs such as vacuum packing.

In October FOOD Magazine there is a host of articles outlining the features of vacuum packing equipment and bags, offering food manufacturers advice and tips on getting the best out of the process.

Water goes pink for charity

Ingredients: mineral water

Brand owner: Coca Cola Amatil

Brand/product manager: Joanne Pitsikas

Packaging supplier: Le Mac Australia Group (sleeve), Amcor Closures (closure), Oberland Glass (bottle)

Graphics package designer: Design Nucleus

Workshop: packaging & shelf life

A workshop on polymer packaging and shelf life in Melbourne on November 14th-15th 2007 will be lead by Dr Gordon Robertson, FAIP, in association with the Australian Institute of Packaging.

Decisions about which polymer to chose or what the effect on shelf life will be if a change is made in package dimensions or polymer type are often based on trial and error or intuition.

This course is an attempt to fill that gap with respect to plastics packaging by discussing the basic principles behind polymer selection, deteriorative reactions in foods and shelf life.

The workshop will provide attendees the opportunity to construct connections between food chemistry, packaging design and polymer science to expand their knowledge base and competence.

Participants will identify key packaging decision-making processes and will validate their new knowledge to reframe package challenges and make winning food packaging decisions.

Learning objectives

  • To understand the properties of the key plastics polymers available for food packaging;
  • To comprehend the major plastics processing methods;
  • To appreciate the key deteriorative reactions which determine end of shelf life;
  • To solve food packaging challenges in package design and plastics material selection;
  • To justify and appraise package design and plastics material selections as related to shelf life.

Details

Melbourne: 14th-15th November

Medina Executive Flinders Street

88 Flinders Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Dr. Gordon L. Robertson, FAIP, was Foundation Professor of Packaging Technology at Massey University where he taught food packaging courses for 21 years. He then spent 11 years with Tetra Pak in Asia. Now he is an adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland and a consultant in food packaging based in Brisbane, Australia. Dr Robertson is the author of the definitive textbook on food packaging, the 2nd edition of which was published last year by CRC Press.

For further details and a registration form please contact Dr Robertson directly.

Protecting food innovation

Australia’s leading branded food manufac­turers and marketers are to be congratulat­ed on their achievements in a very competi­tive market.

However, even the most successful companies will be aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Not least of these arise from the private label business: its growing sophistication, the increas­ing number of private label products, and com­petition for space on the retailers’ shelves.

The threat to brand owners is that private label operators will quickly assimilate inno­vations, focusing the market on price alone as a differentiator and discouraging invest­ment in all but superficial innovation.

The value of brands is tied up in intellec­tual assets: brand names, logos, pack design, manufacturing technology and know-how, product design and formulations.

It is likely that the most successful mar­keters of the future will be those most adept at protecting and leveraging these assets.

In particular, with the present trend toward out-sourcing and contracting research and development and product development services, it is inevitable that greater use of formal intellectual asset protection strate­gies will be key to effective intellectual asset management and commercial advantage.

For Australia in particular, it is likely that the recently introduced Innovation Patent system will be increasingly used to protect the incremental, but important, product and packaging developments that might not have been protectable under patents in the past.

In addition, the recent overhaul of the Reg­istered Design system is likely to make it more useful than it may have been in the past for effectively protecting product and packaging design innovations.

Taco patent

The Old El Paso Stand’N’Stuff taco shell is a great example of how a useful, marketable product development can be protected by the innovation patent in Australia.

General Mills Marketing Inc. owns a certi­fied (enforceable) innovation patent (no. 2006100568) entitled ‘Square Bottom Taco Shell’.

This patent allows them to stop any com­petitor making or marketing any free-stand­ing taco shell which has the key elements of a flat base attached to upright sides — regard­less of any other feature or the appearance of the competitor’s taco shell.

This is not a high-tech develop­ment, but it is a useful and mar­ketable point of difference which can be protected.

Contact Adam Hyland, Watermark, for more information.

AIP focusses on MAP

The Australian Institute of Packaging’s September meeting, held recently in Melbourne, focussed on Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP).

Brian Day, food tech client services manager at Food Science Australia and an acknowledged global expert in MAP technology led the discussion.

MAP is used to inhibit microorganism growth, inhibit oxidation and extend shelf life in a wide range of food products.

The growth of single individual lifestyles and time-poor consumers has been a driver in the need for fresh food that comes in a package.

Chilled products such as meat and some ready-to-serve meals are packaged using MAP techniques but the technology is also a major participant in the supply chain.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are despatched in shipping containers that have liners made of MAP material and refrigerated pantechnicons and export containers have MAP technology added to the refrigeration systems.

Day emphasised that the success of MAP is dependant on good cold-chain husbandry as once the package is opened, or even leaking slightly, all benefits are lost.

MAP, utilising a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, can inhibit mould growth and the correct gas mixture maintains the red colour in meat, but inhibits microorganisms that cause spoilage.

MAP is often used in conjunction with oxygen scavenging and moisture absorbing technologies.

The critical message from Day was to seek advice from the gas suppliers and the packaging companies that specialise in MAP before utilising this packaging format.

Two experts in material supply and technology followed Day’s presentation and supported his opening comments: Gareth Reynolds, sales manager — Australia & New Zealand for Cryovac Food Solutions, and Tony Whelan, regional sales manager ULMA [Packaging] Australia.

Make the National Packaging Covenant work for you

Greenstreets Environmental Resources specialises in assisting companies compile statistics and prepare detailed action plans and annual reports in relation to their obligations under the National Packaging Covenant (NPC).

Over the past seven years the organisation has assisted a wide range of European and Australian companies, allowing them to concentrate on their core activities.

Its current client base includes companies such as Cadbury, Compass, GlaxoSmithKline, Sony and many other international firms.

Greenstreets has recently opened a dedicated Australian office to offer consultancy services, and a software product to assist signatories swiftly and accurately meet their key performance indicators (KPIs) while providing a transparent and auditable data trail.

The software also facilitates the input of the required data into the annual Industry Data Aggregation System (IDAS) online KPI Survey.

The organisation aims to empower its clients to prepare annual reports and statistics going forward with minimal cost and disruption to their core activities, while making them aware of cost savings related to packaging waste management.

Greenstreets can provide the following services to assist manufacturers, brand owners and members of the packaging supply chain:

  • Carry out packaging audits to ensure accuracy and completeness in line with the NPC’s requirements.
  • Review current systems and reporting tools.
  • Extract all available data within the company as required to prepare KPIs and apply this as a baseline for the statistics submitted for the period under review.
  • Prepare an internal report showing a full audit trail from the source data to the conclusions highlighted in the KPIs.
  • Prepare an action plan.
  • Provide one on one and online training for staff with responsibilities in relation to the NPC.
  • Present KPI analysis to senior management when required.
  • Provide ongoing support in performance improvement and preparation of action plan reports.

For further information contact Robin Tuckerman.