Bringing back the flavour

Store brought tomatoes can be bland. Recently scientists have discovered that it is because domesticated tomatoes are missing over 5,000 genomes compared to their wilder cousins, including the one that gives them their distinctive taste. Thanks to this research, store bought tomatoes may soon regain their flavour. This is not limited to tomatoes; many different products have lost unique properties over the years are now beginning to bring them back.

Tomatoes are an integral part of many recipes from pasta sauce, to shakshuka to the humble BLT. Giving them back their flavor will increase consumer satisfaction in products containing them, but how did we get to this place to begin with?

Over humanity’s 12,000 years as an agricultural society, farmers have selected certain strains of fruits and vegetables that demonstrated particular qualities — specifically fruit size, shelf-life and growth speed. This selective production has meant that certain qualities were encouraged while others were suppressed.

Due to the primitive nature of the science at the time it was also hard to fully understand the effects this would have. In the case of tomatoes, it made them bigger, last longer and grow faster but in return they lost the iconic flavor that made them so popular. Though we may imagine this happened recently it was during the earlier years of our modern era circa 1800, well before the advent of modern GMO’s, that tomatoes started to lose their flavor.

With modern techniques researchers were able to find the gene central to providing flavour to the fruit. Thanks to this development producers are now looking to re-introduce this forgotten flavour gene back into mainstream tomatoes. It is important to note that it was through a modern approach that this was achieved.

Many may believe that a rejection of modern applications means we can return to a more flavourful sustainable time, but this is far from the truth. Not only would rejecting modern methods be a step backwards in production, it would generate more waste and reduce sustainability. Control methods in modern applications and developments are a much more secure path for creating sustainable production methods.

Modern technology also allows food manufacturers to have more of an impact on the flavour of their foods. From keeping produce fresher for longer to making sure that precise amounts of ingredients are mixed while making a product these technologies allow for precise production of quality goods.

For example, smoking houses imbue smoky flavours into cured meats. However, good control is necessary to ensure that the meat receives an even cover of smoke during the process, or the product may end up with an uneven flavour. These steps may have been previously irregularly carried out due to the unbalance smoke distribution or lack of precision in the required timing to impart smoke flavour.

Technology such as manufacturing operations management (MOM) software allows for detailed control over a large production system. In the case of a smoking house it is able to balance fan motors to give the meat an even balance of smoke while also optimising power usage and timings.

With one in place a plant can achieve the production rate necessary to keep up with current demand while providing high levels of control that reduces waste. This is because the system will also be able to track the health of the plant and allow operation managers to take better predictive or preventative measures to lower waste.

MOM software also helps manufacturers become more agile, meaning that production lines can integrate steps that may have been in the traditional recipe but were removed, at the beginning of industrial production, due to being hard to integrate into an automated process.

These modern tools mean that we can actively bring back forgotten flavours without discarding the benefits of modern production methods and while remaining sustainable, allowing us to enjoy the best of both worlds.

2020 Master of Food & Packaging Innovation Intake now open

The AIP are pleased to advise that the Semester 1 intake is now open for the 2020 Master of Food & Packaging Innovation with applications closing 30 November 2019.

The Master of Food and Packaging Innovation is an inter-disciplinary degree that explores food processing, entrepreneurship and innovation in product and packaging design at an advanced level. The Master course is a joint initiative between the University of Melbourne and the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP).

  • Enhance your business acumen and creativity to lead the way in food design.
  • Learn the food science fundamentals of food processing, safety and quality.
  • Analyse innovative food product and packaging design, from concept to delivery.
  • Gain complementary business skills in project management, creative and critical thinking, value creation, entrepreneurship and leadership.
  • Investigate key industry research topics and their practical application in commercial settings.
  • Undertake an industry internship with a leading food manufacture.

Students will learn the skills necessary to develop valuable and innovative food products that address key issues such as transportability, durability, tamper proofing and perishability issues, as well as key environmental, economic, social and ethical factors.

Learning outcomes

  • A comprehensive understanding of inter-disciplinary food processing, product, innovation, entrepreneurship and packaging at an advanced level.
  • Cognitive, technical and creative skills necessary to play a key role within food companies and associated organisations.
  • Advanced knowledge and skills in the interdisciplinary field of food, food packaging and design innovation.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of environment, economic, social and ethical factors related to food production and packaging in Australia and globally.
  • Enhance theoretical and critical thinking skills to analyse and problem solve complex issues relating to food production and packaging.

Degree Structure
The Master of Food and Packaging Innovation is flexibly delivered via a combination of evening and intensive block-release classes as well as traditional semester based subjects. Classes are taught across the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, the Faculty of Business and Economics, the Melbourne School of Engineering, and the Melbourne Graduate School of Science as well as guest lectures by industry experts provide by the Australian Institute o

CSIRO looks at healthy broccoli lattes

Green, nutrient-rich coffees may be on the horizon after researchers have developed a powder made from imperfect-looking broccoli that would have previously been wasted.

The product, developed by Hort Innovation and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, packs a healthy punch with approximately one serve of broccoli in every two tablespoons of powder.

A Melbourne café became the first to experiment brewing a broccoli latte recently, with mixed reviews.

While broccoli lattes might not suit everyone, Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the powder could be used for smoothies, soups, baking and as a way of hiding broccoli from fussy kids in meals.

“With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand,” Mr Lloyd said.

He also said despite the increasing popularity of ‘superfoods’ and health and wellness, Australian diets are still poor.

“Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this,” he said.

The 100 per cent broccoli powder is made from whole broccoli, and produced using a combination of selected pre-treatment and drying processes to retain the natural colour, flavour and nutrient composition of fresh broccoli.

Lead researcher, CSIRO’s Mary Ann Augustin, said the broccoli was high in protein and fibre, and health-promoting bioactive phytochemicals, making it an ideal candidate for powder development.

“The powders are an option for farmers who want to produce value-added vegetable ingredients for the lucrative functional food markets,” Dr Augustin said.

“The broccoli powder has already been used for the production of extruded snacks with high vegetable content.

“Prototype extruded snacks with 20-100 per cent vegetable content were displayed during National Science Week at the Queen Victoria Market last year and were well-received by parents and even by kids.”

The broccoli powder, and associated extruded snacks, are being developed as part of a larger research and development project which aims to reduce vegetable waste by creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce.

The next steps, Dr Augustin said, are to take the powder into further product development and consumer sensory evaluation trials.

“The CSIRO team and Hort Innovation are discussing potential commercial applications with produce growers and grower groups across Australia who are interested in getting the powder on the market,” she said.

John Said, managing director of Fresh Select, a leading broccoli producer, is excited by the commercial opportunities available through the development of the value-added broccoli ingredients and products.

“I see this project as the emerging new food trend,” Mr Said said.

“Australians don’t eat enough vegetables and farmers across Australia will have access to an alternative market whilst improving farm yields and sustainability.

Being truthful about sustainable packaging claims

Honesty when it comes to claims on-pack is becoming more important as consumers start to question the sustainability of packaging.

With the 2025 National Packaging Targets significantly shifting the packaging design landscape in Australia, a critical element that is coming up short is truthful and accurate environmental claims on-pack, and this issue needs to be addressed.

More than ever consumers are demanding brands to be honest about their sustainability journey, including the choice of wording and logos on-pack.

Gone are the days when you could get away with simply writing “recyclable”, “biodegradable” or “compostable” on pack. The use of statements like the “Do the right thing logo”, the recycle “Mobius loop” logo or the Plastic Identification Codes (PIC 1 to 7) just further confuse the consumer. The 2025 National Packaging Targets are now the perfect opportunity to review all environmental on-pack symbols and wording.
Changing the face of on-pack logos

Next time you are in a grocery store let me encourage you to pick up six different products and have a look at all the logos and symbols being used. You will see arrows, numbers, rubbish bins, lots of abbreviations for industry groups and governing bodies, and a whole lot of information that in truth means little to a consumer.

Plastic Identification Code (PIC)
The use of the Plastic Identification Code (PIC), or the symbol of the chasing arrow with a number in the middle, that is seen on most plastic packaging identifies the type of plastic the packaging is made of. For example, PET is classified as 1, HDPE is 2, PVC is 3, LDPE is 4, Polypropylene is 5, Polystyrene is 6, while 7 is Other, or mixed plastic types. This voluntary coding system adopted in 1990 assisted the collection, recovery and management of used plastics in Australia.

However, most consumers think it means they can put the plastic pack into the recycling bin even if it isn’t a recyclable plastic.

As a packaging technologist, designer or marketer could you honestly say that you know which bin each number should be placed? Do you know for a fact whether it is actually capable of being recycled through our facilities in this country, or that of your export market? Now imagine how confusing these symbols are to a consumer.

Do The Right Thing logo
The “Litterman” guy has been around for years. You will all know – even if it is subconsciously – the symbol of the man who throws the rubbish in the bin. While he is familiar to consumers, ask yourself what does the logo really mean? Does it mean that the product is recyclable or simply that you should be responsible and make sure the product goes in a rubbish bin at the end of life?

The “Do the Right Thing” slogan and symbol was a part of a marketing campaign launched in the 70s, which was intended as a “Don’t Litter campaign”.

According to Keep Australia Beautiful, “When the ‘Do The Right Thing’ campaign was launched, 80 per cent of people recognised the catch phrase and in 2015, only 38 per cent said they knew the phrase”.

So what does the symbol mean in the world of sustainable packaging and to consumers today? Are there more important and less confusing symbols that should be on-pack to ensure that packaging is placed in the right bin at end-of-life?

Confusing claims and wording
Another challenge within the sustainable packaging journey is when brands decide to use words like “biodegradable” or “compostable” on-pack. Having packaging that is biodegradable or compostable may seem to be a good environmental initiative, but stating this on-pack is often confusing to consumers. If there are no available consumer collection or composting facilities that will accept this type of packaging in the country of sale, then this type of wording can be misleading. The AIP has spoken to many people over the past couple of years who naturally assume that if the packaging says it is ‘compostable’ or “biodegradable” that all is right in the world.

The use of the term “biodegradable” also leads consumers to believe that, no matter where disposed, biodegradable packaging will disappear to nothing within a very short period. This can lead the consumer to erroneously believe it is acceptable to litter biodegradable packaging, or that it will solve the ocean plastics issues.

In the same way the use of compostable plastics, which may “compost” (biodegrade by micro-organisms in an oxygen environment) if placed in the right composting environment, can be misleading if consumers don’t have access to facilities for the collection and composting of compostable packaging with organic waste. Incidentally, the packaging may compost, but they do not create compost, i.e. nutrient-rich soil).

Before selecting compostable packaging, a responsible brand should be identifying whether there are facilities available to their consumers to collect compostable packaging with their organic waste. If there are, then communicate this information on-pack so consumers understand the end-of-life process.

There are two other options currently available for use of compostable packaging.
The first is being able to establish closed-loop facilities for the collection of compostable materials and certified packaging.

These closed-loop systems are designed to facilitate the collection and recycling of nutrient-rich organic material, such as food scraps, along with the certified compostable packaging and return the nutrients into the soil rather than allowing them to rot away in landfill.

The second option is to identify home compostable-certified packaging and encourage consumers to dispose of it via their home composting. However, the concern with this option is that many consumers will either contaminate the recycling system with this packaging or think they are doing the right thing and put it in the rubbish bin.

The Australian Bioplastics Association (ABA) provides a voluntary system to companies or individuals wishing to have their compostable and biodegradable plastics packaging certified.

There are two certifications available: Australian Standard 4736-2006, compostable and biodegradable plastics – “Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment” – and Australian Standard AS 5810-2010 Home Composting – “Biodegradable plastics suitable for home composting”.

Recyclable symbols and logos
There are so many variants of a recyclable logo or symbol that it makes your head spin, and, once again, consumers see these types of symbols on pack and naturally presume that they mean that the packaging is going to be recycled if placed in the correct bin. The question that needs to be asked is “can this packaging truly be recycled in the country where we sell the product?” The answer needs to determine the logos you use on-pack moving forward. Brands need to be re-designing their on-pack communication with honesty, clarity and clear and easy-to-understand explanations.

So where to from here?
In April 2018, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) launched a nationwide labelling scheme that will help consumers better understand how to recycle products effectively. The scheme will also assist brand owners to design packaging that is recyclable at end-of-life. In conjunction with partners Planet Ark and PREP Design, this scheme aims to increase recycling and recovery rates and contribute to cleaner recycling streams.

The APCO Packaging Recycling Label Program is a nationwide labelling program that provides designers and brand owners with the tools to inform responsible packaging design and helps consumers to understand how to correctly dispose of packaging. The two elements of the program are the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL).

Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)
PREP provides a way for brand owners, manufacturers and designers to assess whether an item of packaging could be classified as “recyclable” through kerbside collection in Australian and New Zealand. PREP produces a report for each project that is evaluated. A project will list the recyclability classification for each “separable component” plus the user may nominate a scenario where the separable components are joined at the time of disposal (e.g. bottle and cap). Combining technical recyclability and collection coverage, PREP provides the evidence base for applying the Australasian Recycling Label on-pack.

Australasian Recycling Label (ARL)
The Australasia Recycling Label (ARL) is an evidence-based, standardised labelling system that provides clear and consistent on-pack recycling information to inform consumers of the correct disposal method. The ARL is designed to be used in conjunction with PREP, which informs the user of the correct on-pack ARL artwork for each “separable component” of packaging. It is a simple and effective method to improve consumer recycling behaviours.

AIP Training
The AIP has also developed a number of training courses that will assist the sustainable packaging journey, including Tools to Help you Meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets: PREP and ARL, Introduction to Sustainable Packaging Design, Lifecycle Assessment Tools for Sustainable Packaging Design and The Future of bioplastics and compostable packaging.

With the development of the 2025 National Packaging Targets, now is the time to stop and review all of your on-pack information to ensure that you are communicating effectively and honestly to consumers about your sustainable packaging.

Huge bounty from local and overseas vendors at Fine Foods Australia

Fine Food Australia opened to large crowds at Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC) with a massive range of products and services on display. This included a huge contingent from China, as well as other Southeast Asian nations such as Taiwan and Thailand, while the European contingent included representatives from Turkey, Italy, Spain and Germany.

As well as a bevy of taste sensations in both food and beverage, there were those exhibitors who also help with the packaging, safety and traceability of perishable goods. One such stand was occupied by barcode specialist GS1, who were having a busy day.

“It’s been really good,” said account director Andrew Steele. “For us it has been about getting our message out especially to the smaller companies that are starting up and they don’t know where to start, where to go or what to do. The most common issue people have is ‘how do I get a barcode?’, and ‘why do I need one?’

“Generally what we find at these sorts of events is that people come up with new, innovative type products but they don’t know what they need to do around barcoding and the like to get their products with some of the major retailers or online places like Amazon.’

And some of the other issues they are finding visitors are interested in?

“Traceability is becoming really big in food, as well as food safety and provenance. Consumers are certainly asking today more about what has gone into a product and they want to know the story behind it.”

A new player in the beverage space, AquaRush was busy all day. For the company, it wasn’t just about getting their product out there but also about finding local distributors as well as drumming up interest from overseas, according to national sales manager Marko Powell.

“We’ve had some really interesting bites from overseas,” said Powell. “We are looking for distributors for every state with our new range. We have nine new products out and today has been pretty full on that is for sure. All of these products we are introducing are new to the market so we are not copying anybody. Another stream we are looking at is selling some of our products as mixers for the liquor industry.”

Then there is Melbourne-based Cookers Bulk Oil who has had 100s of people go through its stand. The company has been on the go and made some good connections according to marketing manager Marianna Costa.

“The show has been fantastic,” said Costa. “We have been incredibility busy and meeting lots of people. We’ve had some good leads and numbers through. For us it’s about education and it’s about brand awareness. We want people to see and hear about our sustainability message at Cookers.’

Taking up two floors at the ICC, and with 900 exhibitors, the event has three more days to run.

 

 

CSIRO: four new technologies for food processing

The CSIRO’s Ciara McDonnell talks about new technologies that are having an impact on the food industry.

When people think of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO as it is affectionately known, most have images of boffins in white coats working in laboratories with Petri dishes, beakers and Bunsen burners busily inventing new gizmos and gadgets for an array of industries. And while this is accurate to a degree, it also is a multi-faceted institution that has more than 5,000 dedicated staff spread around 57 sites throughout the continent.

It has more than 690 patents including the one that encapsulates its most famous invention, wifi, and covers many research spectrums including mining, manufacturing and food. Most recent figures state that it returns about $4.5 billion to the Australian economy annually, and partners with more than 1200 SMEs per year. It’s a very busy place, and one that attracted Irish research scientist Ciara McDonnell to Australia.

McDonnell works at one of the three food sites CSIRO has set up throughout Australia. They’re at Werribee in Melbourne, North Ryde Sydney and Coopers Plains, Queensland, where she is based.

McDonnell spoke at a seminar at the recent FoodTech Expo held in Queensland. She talked about four food technologies that could have a lasting impact on the food industry.

Various Business Units in CSIRO welcome collaboration, and the Agriculture and Food Unit is no different.

“Coopers Plains is home to one of our food pilot plants that we share with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,” she said. “At that pilot plant, CSIRO have an emphasis on meat processing, so we have a suite of conventional pilot scale meat processing equipment. This can enable food processors to conduct trials at reduced batch sizes until the process is ready for scale-up. Then we assist companies with that scale up to ensure the best route to commercialisation.

“When we do any kind of R&D, we do take a multidisciplinary approach. We have a lot of expertise in house and we understand the importance of each aspect – from safety, nutrition, processing, food chemistry and more.’

Future trends are very important in the institution’s work because CSIRO want to conduct research with impact for current and future markets. And what are some of the pressing issues in the food and beverage space at the moment?

“We can certainly say that environment, sustainability, health, clean label and minimal waste are some of the top food trends that we drive towards,” said McDonnell. “CSIRO sees itself as bridging the gap between academic research and commercialisation into industry. We have access to a large suite of innovative processing technologies ranging from pulse electric fields, advanced spray and convection drying, high pressure processing, – the list goes on. In addition, we look after pilot scale conventional processing technologies as well.”

One way of gauging where a technology is at in terms of its development towards commercialisation is the Technology Readiness Level (TRL). This can be 1 or 2, which means it is at the beginning of its research level up to 9 or 10 where it is being commercialised.

High-Pressure Processing
High-pressure processing (HPP), which it is now commercialised for many food applications, was on the CSIRO radar almost 20 years ago. What exactly is HPP?

“HPP can offer an alternative to heat pasteurisation by inactivating microorganisms. A pre-packaged product is placed into a liquid-filled chamber where it gets treated, but there’s no re-opening of the pack, so no recontamination,” said McDonnell. “Pressure is applied instantaneously and uniformly so it is evenly transmitted throughout the product, usually at about 600 megapascals (MPa), or 6,000 bar, for a few minutes. The effectiveness of the process is dependent on the product type and its different properties like pH and water activity.

What makes HPP so attractive is that the high pressure affects non-covalent bonds only. This means that small molecules that give consumers health benefits, micro-nutrients, colour to the product and the flavour molecules, are unaffected. HPP offers a means of maintaining the fresh-like characteristics of the product – better colour, extended shelf life – it fits with the clean label and fewer additives trend that is now part of the food and beverage landscape. Currently, it is estimated that there are more than 2 million tonnes of HPP products produced per year globally. It is estimated that the industry will be worth about $80 billion by 2025. It is broadening into new product sectors, with its main application being shelf-life extension of refrigerated products.

However, McDonnell points out there is a catch. The technology doesn’t inactivate bacterial spores, whereas thermal pasteurisation can.

“So for those foods – low acid food, mainly with a pH greater than 4.6 – it will not work at reducing spore-forming bacteria” said McDonnell. “Any manufacturer that is interested in making products where spore control is required would have to limit the shelf-life, add preservatives, or the alternative is to heat the product, which could result in reduced flavour and nutritional value.”

McDonnell’s colleagues then started to experiment with a combination of heat and pressure, or, high pressure thermal processing (HPTP). They simultaneously applied moderate heat and pressure, and reduced the spore load with less overall thermal load than would typically be required to pasteurise or sterilise a product. What they found was that if they applied HPTP at 550 MPa for one minute at 87.5°C, they could achieve the same inactivation of Clostridium botulinum spores as a thermal-only process of 10 minutes at 90°C. They refer to this phenomena as HPTP synergy.

“You have less thermal load, so you are maintaining the nutritional molecules value, while achieving a significant increase in Clostridium botulinum inactivation” said McDonnell.

But there was another catch. As mentioned, the CSIRO sees itself as bridging the gap between research and commercialisation. And it knows that companies that have invested in HPP, have units without heating ability, and this limits the scope of products it could potentially process; in fact, there are no HPP machines available at commercial scale that have heating capability.

“In order to commercialise the HPTP, we need some processing adaptation,” said McDonnell. “CSIRO developed an insulated HPP canister that, after a pre-heating step, can be inserted into a conventional (cold) HPP unit to deliver a HPTP process. This is something that is going to be licensed by CSIRO and it will allow HPP units to be adapted with a simple drop-in solution.”

Ultrasound
Another technology finding its feet within the food industry is ultrasound processing. It has commercial applications in several processes in the food sector including emulsion breaking and separation, mixing, , homogenising and degassing products.

How does it work? Ultrasound pressures can be created in gas or liquid media  at frequencies in the range of 20 to 100 kHz with traditional transducer devices. As the soundwave travels, it oscillates above and below atmospheric pressure. When this occurs in a liquid, any microscopic gas bubble, which can be dissolved gas as well as water vapour, present in that medium will go through the cycles where it expands and contracts until it reaches an unstable size. It then goes through a final cycle, this causes the bubble to implode on itself. This is known as cavitation. It is not visible to the eye, but it is a very destructive microscopic mechanism. There are other effects caused by ultrasound, such as microstreaming, caused by the sound waves as well as the cavitation, that can be used for a range of applications. During the last decade CSIRO has created applications with frequencies from 400 kHz to 2 MHz, where smaller and larger amount of bubbles are created. In such cases, very mild cavitation occurs, if any, as bubbles do not reach their unstable state and transition back into compression.

CSIRO has filed a patent application based on the innovative application of ultrasound to dry foods far more gently with less energy consumption for sustainable manufacture of premium food products & ingredients.

The ultrasound-assisted drying technology has been shown to be highly effective in intensifying low temperature drying (from 40°C to below freezing) of various food materials (e.g., fruits, coffee, and meat products) resulting in up to 57 per cent reduction in drying time (i.e., corresponds to 54 per cent reduction in energy consumption) with better product quality by minimising thermal degradation.

The technology can be applied to enhance the drying processes of other heat sensitive non-food materials (e.g., bio-pharmaceuticals, medicinal crop, petfoods, etc.), providing further commercialisation opportunities across a broader sector. The patent also covers a novel use of the system in pretreatment processes for improved drying efficiency.

CSIRO is currently partnering with equipment manufacturers to develop and build a pre-commercial pilot prototype of the system to help prove its scalability and commercial viability.

CSIRO has also patented a process that enables oil recovery during both aqueous based edible oil extraction processes and oil refining by application of high frequencies beyond 400 kHz, also known as megasonics. The megasonic equipment is now commercially used in the palm oil industry to recover 200,000 litres extra crude oil per annum in a traditional palm oil plant or an additional 1 per cent oil loss reduction (saving about USD 500,000 per annum). The process consists of passing pre-macerated oil palm fruit through the megasonic unit to enable oil removal from the vegetable biomass, thereby enhancing oil recovery after the centrifugation step. The technology has also been proven to aid the olive oil process. A megasonic treated olive paste can provide an additional 4 per cent oil recovery at 3 tonnes of olive paste per hour, with a payback time of 3 years in a middle sized olive oil plant. Another use of the technology is in avoiding oil losses during the refining process by treating the emulsified oil with megasonic waves before gum removal. The technology has enabled reducing up to half of the oil trapped in gums, obtained as a refining process by-product.

Pulsed Electric Fields
Another innovative processing application is pulsed electric fields (PEF) processing, which is based on placing the food between two oppositely charged electrodes.

“If you imagine a bacterial cell filled with charged ions – positive and negative – and we apply very short pulses of very high voltage so we don’t generate heat. Typically, we apply several thousands volts for a few microseconds – this results in the ions moving towards the oppositely charged electrode until they permeate the cell membrane of the bacterial cell,” said McDonnell. “Just like HPP, it is a way of targeting those micro-organisms without affecting any molecules that contribute to flavour, colour and nutritional value of a product.”

The technology is high on the TRL scale as it has already been commercialised for fruit juice use. It can extend shelf-life significantly for preservative-free juices, while preserving nutrients. In addition, it has helped companies achieve up to 6% increase in extraction yield.

‘’We’ve looked at other applications, like non-thermal milk pasteurisation and improving the texture and quality of meat.”

Shockwave
Shockwave technology is the most novel of all those discussed by McDonnell because it is at proof-of-concept stage. It is the CSIRO’s newest investment, with the government entity having acquired a second commercial prototype, the first outside of Europe.

The idea of shockwave technology first came for meat applications around 1997 when scientists decided to put pre-packaged meat under water and detonate explosives to see if they could  tenderise meat.

“When I spoke about HPP I was talking about static application of hundreds of megapascals,” said McDonnell. “With shockwave technology, high pressures are applied for a shorter time – micro seconds. In previous studies, 100gms of explosives, placed underwater, were used to tenderise meat. Scientists thought, ‘this is great, but how can we commercialise something with explosives?’ For that reason the speed at which the idea progressed has been slow because, as you imagine with explosives, there were a lot of safety concerns.”

In 2001, dielectric discharge came into being, which helped recreate the shockwave. The technology uses two electrodes to generate a similar effect to the explosives. The scientists put voltage through the electrodes and the resulting arc causes very high pressure under water.

“We have acquired a commercial prototype from Germany, which can allow for continuous processing by a conveyor system. We can place a product on it, allowing it to go into the water tank, exposing it to shockwaves and come out at the other side,” said McDonnell. “At the moment, we have a lot of concepts to prove with the technology.

“We think it might cause tissue disintegration so we could accelerate the tenderisation of meat. The first application we are studying it for is meat processing through an Australian Meat Processor Corporation-funded project.”

McDonnell said that when it came to modelling and pressure, the scientists aimed to understand shockwave distribution in the treatment chamber and to identify the area of maximum impact.

“We used the information from the modelling and conducted trials with meat. We had a tenderisation effect which was measured objectively using a Warner Bratzler shear test, where the peak force required to cut through treated meat samples is recorded,” she said. “And now we are working towards optimising this effect.”

McDonnell is hopeful that a lot of these technologies will come to fruition. Some will take longer than others to be realised, but that is the nature of science and discovery.

“There is a future for some of these novel technologies as they provide an opportunity for clean labelling, either by changing the food structure or inactivating microbes,” she said. “Certain applications have already been commercialised and there are good opportunities for all these technologies to be taken up by the food industry. Who knows what else is to come from TRL 1 when new ideas are generated at research? They all certainly fit with the trends we are aware of, and they could help with regard with things like having less waste. It could allow us to have more food for increased food demand. Also, with globalisation we need extended shelf life to reach new markets so it will really help us on the supply chain and yield, as well as having healthier products and more efficient and sustainable processes.”

 

 

Food and Hotel Malaysia 2019 to showcase latest food developments

The 15th Malaysian International Exhibition of Food, Drinks, Hotel, Restaurant & Foodservice Equipment, Supplies, Services and Related Technology is all set to take place from 24 to 27 September.

Also known as Food and Hotel Malaysia 2019 (FHM 2019), the event, which aims to catalyse the development of the food and hospitality industries in Malaysia, will cover 22,000 square metres of space at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre with 1500 participating brands / companies from 50 countries and 10 Country/National Pavilions. The four-day mega event is expected to draw more 28,000 trade visitors related to the food and hospitality industries from around the world, cementing the country’s position as a food and beverage hub of international repute.

Packed with conference programmes, technical seminars, educational talks, cooking demonstrations and displays of various types and ranges of produce and services FHM 2019 promises to be bigger and better, compared to preceding instalments of the show.  The trade event will leverage on key tech-driven strategies, with a keen realisation that strategic acquisitions are essential to ensure that this competitive marketplace remains current.

Participants can look forward to a myriad of opportunities for growing food and hospitality businesses while enabling industry players to stay on top of changing customer needs such as keeping in touch with the next generation of food production and understanding the ever demanding preferences of millennial consumers.

“Every edition we promise a bigger and better showcase than the one before and FHM 2019 is certainly gearing up to be quite unlike any other instalments in this series which resulted in a considerable take-up of additional hall space compared to previous shows,” said Mr Gerard Leeuwenburgh, Country GM of Informa Markets Malaysia on behalf of the organisers.

“An ideal avenue for companies targeting the Malaysian market, this is the only platform that offers participants direct access to crucial buyers from the hotel, restaurant and foodservice industries, bringing them the tools to sustain and expand their businesses. Our track record certainly speaks for itself and I am pleased to say that FHM 2019 is expected to see transactions taking place over the three days estimated to be between RM1.8 billion to RM2.2 billion – more than any other instalment in this series,” he added.

Among the new features of FHM 2019 are an Agriculture Pavilion and the highly anticipated Robotic Food Zone, alluding to the adaption of new technologies which have the demonstrated ability of increasing productivity and efficiency levels in the industry.

As in previous shows, FHM 2019 will once again be held alongside Culinaire Malaysia, where the crème-de-la-crème of Malaysia’s top chefs will compete in the “Malaysian Battle of the Chefs”. Culinaire Malaysia features over 1,500 entries and an assemblage of more than 1,000 culinary professionals, showcasing a stunning display of skills and talents in various disciplines and categories.

Also being held concurrently with FHM 2019 are the high profile In4Tec Food Innovation Conferences, which will include a plethora of conferences, among them the Food Innovation Conference 2019, Persidangan Inovasi Makanan Tempatan 2019, China-Malaysia Agri Food, Visit Malaysia 2020 & Beyond Conference, Malaysian Farm to Fork & Durian Conference, Persidangan Pengusaha Makanan 2019, Wilayah Persekutuan, Food Truck Malaysia 2019 and the Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship Skills Training. The In4Tec Food Innovation Conferences are also supported by Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based and Ministry of Federal Territories.

Other highlights which participants can look forward to at FHM 2019 are the B2B business matching sessions, a VIP Buyers hosted programme for top buyers across the ASEAN-region and live cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs which leverages on the FHM tradition of collaborating with world-renowned chefs at previous shows.

“With its multifaceted and all-encompassing character, there will certainly be something for anyone and everyone related to the food, beverage and hospitality industries, making FHM 2019 a truly unique event in itself that is definitely not to be missed,” said Mr. Leeuwenburgh.

FHM 2019 also comes at an opportune time as the country gears up for Visit Malaysia Year 2020. In 2020 Malaysia expects to see 30 million tourist arrivals, who will spend an estimated RM100 billion. FHM 2019 therefore certainly accelerates Malaysia’s preparedness to meet these demands while promoting entrepreneurship at every level in an inclusive manner,” said Mr Leeuwenburgh.

Organised by Informa Markets, Malaysia FHM 2019 is endorsed by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and is supported by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), and The Malaysian Food & Beverage Executives Association (MFBEA).

Watch out UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog – DoorDash has arrived

DoorDash, the largest on-demand food platform for door-to-door delivery in the US, announced today its official launch in Australia, beginning with Melbourne. This marks the company’s first market expansion beyond North America.

Australia’s ‘foodie capital’ will be the first to experience the unparalleled convenience DoorDash will bring to the food market, with Melburnians benefitting from a greater selection of restaurants than ever before. Thousands of restaurants will be available for delivery through DoorDash – in addition to hundreds for pick up – across the CBD and inner suburbs, with plans to expand to the outer suburbs in the coming weeks.

DoorDash’s launch taps into Melbourne’s love of food and food delivery apps. At launch, customers can order from well-known brands such as Nando’s, Betty’s Burgers and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, as well as local independent restaurants including misschu, Bay City Burrito and exclusive partners Cedar Bakery and Il Gusto.

Melbourne isn’t alone in its enthusiasm for on-demand access to food from favourite local restaurants, with the rest of the country continuing to embrace the ease and convenience of food delivery. In fact, almost two million Australians aged 14+ (9.8 per cent) use meal delivery services in an average three-month period.

“We are excited Australia is our first international expansion outside of North America,” says DoorDash general manager, Australia, Thomas Stephens.

“We dove deep into the Australian market and quickly realised two things; restaurants want more from their delivery partners, and not all Melburnians have access to the selection that they should expect.”

“We’ve built a lot of product and expertise to solve these problems in North America. Combining that experience with a tailored approach just for Melbourne, we’re excited to grow the market here. We’ve built a service for Australian eating habits with a simple focus: provide more access to Melburnian’s favourite foods,” Stephens said.

Along with a wide selection of Melbourne’s finest eateries, DoorDash offers a superior delivery experience plus a unique ‘pick-up’ function allowing users to collect their meals on the go in addition to ‘group ordering’ for big groups.

“Working collaboratively with restaurant owners of all business sizes, customers and Dashers, our priority is accessibility to a delightful food delivery experience for all. From Melbourne, we aim to continue our expansion efforts throughout Victoria and Australia through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020,” Stephens added.

Nando’s CEO, Craig Mason says, “Nando’s is a great choice when you’re wanting something tasty but not keen to cook. With over 80 restaurants across the city and outer suburbs, we’re excited to be partnering with DoorDash to offer our customers even more flexibility around how they enjoy their favourite meal.”

Bay City Burrito’s Owner and Chief Burrito Designer, Gary Mink says, “At Bay City Burrito, we pride ourselves on the quality of our ingredients, whether it is our locally-sourced produce or imported tortillas. It has been refreshing working with the team at DoorDash who have taken the time to understand my business and set me up for success on their platform to get incremental orders from both their delivery and pick-up product.”

Global Table Conference: John Kerry calls for smarter agriculture to feed growing population

The former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, warned that feeding a rapidly growing world population would be one of the greatest challenges of climate change.

The amount of food wasted was not sustainable with the impact of climate change and the world’s population set to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion in the next 35 years, said Kerry, in his opening keynote address at the Global Table conference at Melbourne Showgrounds on Tuesday morning.

The three-day food innovation and agribusiness summit brought together global industry leaders and innovators from the Asia-Pacific, America, Europe and the Middle East, to discuss the future of food.

While a third of all food went to waste in wealthy countries, nearly half of the 8,000 child deaths each day globally were caused by lack of food, said Kerry, who succeeded Hillary Clinton as secretary of state for the last four years of the Obama administration.

“Right now today every one in nine people wakes up in the morning with hunger pains and they go to bed with an empty stomach,” Kerry said. “We have to increase food production by 60 per cent between now and 2050 just to keep pace.”

READ MORE: How climate change could change the face of Australian agriculture

Growing more food was only part of the challenge, said the former Democrat Party presidential nominee, who lost his 2004 bid for the White House to George W. Bush by only one state.

“We have to become better stewards of the land. The truth is we are not smart enough that way,” Kerry said. He also called for improvements to food storage, transport and distribution.

Switching to renewable energy sources was an urgent priority to address climate change, Kerry said.

“Anybody who persists in putting before people the notion that you have to make a choice: you either get to have jobs and prosperity or you can protect the environment and the future, that’s a lie,” he said.

Reducing emissions and choosing renewable energy remained the best solution to combat climate change.

“The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It’s not some pie-in-the-sky thing. Basically it’s called energy policy. That’s the solution to climate change: energy policy.

“The choices of how we produce electricity, how we transport ourselves from place to place, how we do industry without polluting.”

Growth in premium livestock feeds spurs by-product demand

Livestock feed company, Castlegate James Australasia, is seeking to purchase greater volumes of by-products from food manufacturers, and establish new suppliers, due to strong growth in demand for its high-performance products.

Castlegate James Australasia has been working alongside the Australian food industry since 1923, buying by-products from large FMCG food and beverage companies and converting these organic ingredients into highly sought-after premium livestock feeds.
The company supports many of Australia and New Zealand’s most respected food industry suppliers and large-scale livestock producers, converting what some may see as surplus into nutritionally balanced, performance-based feeds for the dairy, cattle and sheep markets.

Castlegate James Australasia’s Group CEO, Steven Chaur, is a 30-year veteran of the Australian consumer food industry and claims the growth potential for re-purposing or upcycling food industry ‘by-product’ into high-performance livestock feed is both on-trend and exponential.

Importantly, demand for improved on-farm performance, animal welfare and feed reliability are driving interest in and sales of the company’s unique product offer on both sides of the Tasman.

“Each year across Australia and New Zealand, we will convert over 700,000 tonnes of consumer food by-product into quality livestock feeds that would otherwise not be consumed. The ingredients include high quality materials generated as part of a food production process such as production line trimmings or grade-outs, out of specification, over production or unused raw materials. It’s all perfectly good quality and safe but it can’t be used for consumer product and there is increasing pressure on food companies not to add to landfill.”

Many of the ingredients purchased for the company’s unique feed rations include packaged bread, biscuits, dough, yeast, vegetables and fruits, brewers’ grains, food grains and nuts, flour, dairy powders and even confectionery. These ingredients are then formulated by the company to make a unique balanced ration depending on the livestock application and farm productivity goal.

“Our nutritionally balanced feed is produced from high quality, consumer grade food product inputs and because it’s been already fully or partially processed, the ingredient digestibility and calorific value tends to be superior for livestock, relative to a conventional grains based stockfeed, delivering better energy, protein and fibre in a way that increases weight gain, marbling scores or improved milk production. It’s a joy to see livestock chasing the feed wagon. Even cattle like confectionery, in moderation, or the sweet smell of brewers grain.”

Castlegate James operates 10 high volume production facilities across Australia and New Zealand, servicing both suppliers and customers through fast lead-times and unique processes that can efficiently de-package retail ready or bulk packaged foods. The company is planning production investment in both Australia and New Zealand over the coming 3 years to meet increasing livestock customer demand, as well as pursing innovative new high value markets.

“Because a large amount of the by-product that we purchase is branded perishable food, our production sites tend to be state based close to both the customer and supplier, ensuring we can handle significant volumes reliably and operate a fast turnaround to ensure the best quality feed is delivered to our large-scale farm customers, who demand reliability and consistency. Critically, we ensure our suppliers can operate efficiently by providing a professionally managed and timely on-site collection service, as well as confidentiality in dealing with branded packaging materials.”

Demand is growing rapidly for the company as it continues to explore new sources of by-product supply from food manufacturers, food retailers and QSR franchise operators.
“Importantly, we are not a site services company so we don’t manage general waste. We are every bit a premium food manufacturing company, we just feed livestock instead of consumers. We pay a premium for the consumer food grade ingredients used in our livestock feeds and so we have high expectations on suppliers for reliable supply and quality. In turn, we provide a consistent commercial service to our ingredient suppliers.”
“It is a win-win relationship and we’re delighted to play a key role in helping to make a unique contribution to food industry sustainability and support an important livestock value chain,” Chaur said.

Coke campaign to reiterate recycling commitments

Coca-Cola Australia has launched a new campaign to thank Australians for recycling. It follows the announcement earlier this year that seven out of 10 of Coca-Cola’s range of drink bottles in Australia will be 100 per cent recycled plastic by the end of 2019.

In April, the company announced its largest ever investment in recycled plastic for drink bottles. The move means that all its plastic bottles, 600ml and under, will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic by the end of the year. This includes all brands from Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite to Powerade, Pump and Mount Franklin.

The change also means that Australia will be the first country in the world where all Coca-Cola Classic bottles, 600ml and under, will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic on an ongoing basis.

READ MORE: Coke funds initiative to tackle marine pollution

Director for sustainability at Coca-Cola Australia, Christine Black, said, “We are the largest drinks company in Australia and we have a responsibility to help solve the packaging problem. “Coca-Cola in Australia has made a significant commitment to investing in recycled plastic but there is more to do. Australians help every time they recycle a drink bottle.

“We want to see a strong, viable recycling industry in Australia and we can play our part by encouraging Australians to recycle and then to use recycled plastic in our bottles wherever we can. By recycling as often as possible, Australians can help us to use recycled plastic in our bottles.

“When a company as large as Coca-Cola combines our marketing expertise to encourage recycling with a commitment to using recycled plastic, our plastic bottles can become bottles again and again,” she said.

Winners of food safety awards announced

The winners of the 2019 APAC Food Safety Awards were announced at a dinner on August 21 in Sydney. It was part of the annual APAC Food Safety Conference, held on 20-22 August.

The APAC Food Safety Awards recognised winners across three categories: Innovators in Food Safety, Leaders of the Future, and Ross Peters Award for Excellence in Food Safety.

“On behalf of SAI Global and the APAC Food Safety Conference team, we’d like to congratulate these outstanding individuals and organisations for their contributions to ensuring the safety of our food supply in Australia and New Zealand. We think it is important that their work in the industry is recognised and rewarded. We should all aspire and strive for excellence in making a positive impact to improving our food safety culture,” said John Rowley, CEO of SAI Global Assurance.

Allergen Bureau, the peak industry body representing food industry allergen management, was the winner in the Innovators in Food Safety category, which recognises an individual or organisation that has exceled in developing innovations in technology, process, procedure and training in the food safety space.

Hayley Pfeifer, laboratory technician at Riverland Almonds won the Leaders of the Future award, which includes a food safety learning scholarship for food courses with SAI Global to the value of $10,000. Riverland Almonds is a South Australian company, and one of the three major handlers of almonds in the country. Winning this category requires entrants to demonstrate a background or experience that shows a unique perspective on food safety, a drive towards continuous improvement and leadership potential through vision.

Allied Pinncale’s national quality manager, Hazel Hughes, took out the top spot in the Ross Peters Award for Excellence in Food Safety. Allied Pinnacle is Australasia’s largest end-to-end bakery-ingredient supplier and producer of flour, break, cake mixes and cooked bakery products. Hazel wins the Ross Peters Award for her outstanding achievement in food safety. Hazel and her team have worked tirelessly over the past few years to ensure all of their sites and personnel have the highest level of food safety standards and have installed a positive food safety culture.

Flowmeter helps with quick media changeover

Food safety and hygiene were in the news in June this year when eight brands of milk were recalled in Victoria and New South Wales amid fears that they had been contaminated by cleaning fluid.

Production plants need to be cleaned regularly when changing over batches or products. However, at the same time, the production process should be carried out as efficiently as possible.

The FLOWave flowmeter from Bürkert Fluid Control Systems offers extended functions, including the fast and precise detection of media changeovers. As a result, production steps can be clearly separated from each other and waste can be reduced without negatively impacting on hygiene.

The FLOWave flowmeter enables the precise detection of changeovers between different liquid types during food production. Especially in rinsing processes, rapid differentiation between product and rinsing water, or chemicals used in the CIP cleaning processes, ensures efficient process control and a high level of quality.

The device thus continuously measures the temperature-independent density factor. Based on this measured value, valuable products such as milk can be quickly and reliably differentiated from the cleaning liquid. Compared to conventional time-controlled processes, product waste can be minimised and costs saved. In addition, the amount of waste water treatment required is reduced as less product enters the waste water.
The flowmeter works according to the SAW method (Surface Acoustic Waves). This patented technology can also be used to measure the transition between beer or pre-mixed alcoholic beverages and water. FLOWave utilises the propagation speed of the surface acoustic waves in the liquid for this purpose. The speed increases with the addition of alcohol and sugar. This also leads to an increase in the density factor of the liquid compared to water. However, the actual density of the liquid hardly changes depending on the alcohol and sugar content, since sugar increases the density while alcohol reduces it.

The transition between beer or pre-mixed alcoholic beverages and water is therefore often very difficult to measure with conventional density meters.

The density factor not only indicates the media changeover between product and water, it also differentiates between liquids with varying contents of sugar. The SAW technology allows additional data to be obtained from the medium. In addition to the temperature, the flowmeter automatically detects possible gas bubbles and outputs the values in percentage terms. Possible process faults can thus be eliminated quickly and effectively.
SAW technology does not require sensor elements in the measuring tube. This means there are no pressure drops, sealing problems or dead spaces that would otherwise interfere with cleaning.

The sensors thus meet the highest hygiene standards and facilitate the qualification and validation of production and cleaning processes.

The Bürkert flowmeter also supports digital communication with direct connection to most fieldbus types such as Ethernet IP and Profinet, via a platform that guarantees simple transmission of FLOWave sensor data to all common fieldbuses. The maintenance-free, lightweight and yet robust meters can be mounted in any position.

Laura Huddle appointed head of commercial for Deliveroo Australia

Online food platform Deliveroo has appointed Laura Huddle as head of commercial in Australia.

Huddle joins Deliveroo after more than nine years at event technology platform, Eventbrite, where she joined as employee Number 20 and held multiple roles including head of sales and business development for Asia Pacific and head of marketing – Australia and New Zealand.

Huddle will oversee Deliveroo’s relationship with the more than 11,000 restaurants on the platform in Australia, as well as focus on growing the number of restaurants with whom Deliveroo partners. The appointment comes as Deliveroo continues to expand the restaurants on its platform, having more than doubled the number of partner restaurants in the past 12 months.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be joining Deliveroo, a company that is focused on transforming the way people think about and experience their favourite foods. Partnering with and enabling the success of Australia’s best and most-loved restaurants is key to this,” said Huddle.

“There’s no doubt that the traditional restaurant sector is changing as consumers are looking for both the convenience of on-demand food delivery and an amazing dine-in experience. I’ll be focusing on ensuring that Deliveroo can best position our partner restaurants to succeed across both.”

During her time at Eventbrite, Huddle opened the Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong  markets, drove experimentation within the small and medium business segment, and led APAC sales to achieve globe-leading performance.

Allergies: why traceability in food is important

Allergies are a life-altering and life-threatening condition. Daily, up to 20 per cent of patients with allergies face the fear of fatal reactions. Currently worldwide, seven per cent of children have been diagnosed with allergies, compared to just three per cent of the adult population. This  increase demonstrates the need for the food industry to do more to prepare for growing levels of dietary delicacy.

Food manufacturers need to understand this delicate balance, but there are often many barriers stopping them from reporting accurately. From food fraud to confusing or conflicting legislation, the barriers to effective traceability are diverse. However, the risk to consumers is high – even one mistake can cause potentially fatal consequences.

Traceability
Traceability is the ability to track food through all stages of production, processing and distribution. Most legislation requires producers to be able to trace products one step backwards and one step forwards, at any point in the supply chain. This means that as long as every part of the supply chain is reliable it is hard for ingredients to be mislabeled. It’s simple in theory but can often be a difficult concept to implement.

Food manufacturers need to be compliant with the ISO 22005:2007 standard for traceability in the feed and food chain. However, due to the complexity of modern supply chains, it is harder, but also more vital than ever to have a good overview of the complete process.

To this extent, it is good practice for a food and beverage producer to trace every single ingredient throughout the whole of their supply chain. Not only will this have good business applications, because fully understanding a supply chain will drastically reduce the cost of a recall, but problematic steps or points of contamination will become easier to trace, cutting down the number of products that need to be recalled.

Technology
There are tools available to improve traceability, including automated control systems that allow manufacturers to give their product a digital, trackable passport. Recording the details of production digitally through automation systems and feeding them into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software or Manufacturing Operations Management suite (MOM), will create a comprehensive digital trace.

ERPs and MOMs work by integrating all facets of a business into a single database, allowing an in-depth view of business operations. The systems can then break down a production plant into distinct steps, meaning plant managers can easily identify when a contaminate, or potential contaminant, is present. Producers can then state exactly what is in their product and plant managers can accurately understand how many batches need recalling if issues do occur.

While more than 50 million Americans sufferer from chronic allergies every year, this number is expected to double by 2025. With the rate of people with allergies rising, manufacturers need to prepare their systems for even more detail and reporting for customers. Installing robust traceability can help eradicate unintended allergic reactions, building strong consumer trust and ultimately saving lives.

 

Farmer Power launches new fund raising campaigns

Farmer Power,  has just launched two fund raising campaigns in partnership with APCO Australia to help promote and fund an educational campaign for the public and as a signal to the government to inform them on the issues within the dairy industry.

According to the news release by Farmer Power, they have said that the financial hardships that farmers are facing will not stop at Victoria but will also eventually impact on everyone, both personally and financially, if it is not addressed.

It has been reported across several news sources that rural businesses in dairy farming regions are in trouble with farmers being in debt. This was speculated to be due to the trickle-down effect of last year’s dairy crisis.

 

These campaigns are aimed at gaining assistance from the business fraternity in supporting Farmer Power in their endeavours.

They are also aimed at building support from both the public and businesses to bring about positive change for Dairy Farmers, but not only dairy farmers, but also regional businesses and rural communities which are all being directly  impacted by this crisis.

Automated food sorting machines to grow at seven per cent CAGR by 2021

Technavio market research analysts forecast the global automated food sorting machines market to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of close to seven per cent during the forecast period, according to their latest report.

The research company’s analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global automated food sorting machines market:

  • Retrofit activities carried out in aging food processing facilities
  • Rising demand for food products and shorter delivery cycle
  • Implementation of standards applicable to food processing

The food industry is the oldest industry that has gone through several revolutions such as Green Revolution, White Revolution, and Pink Revolution. Depending on the type of food products manufactured, there have been several changes in the methods of food processing witnessed in the industry. However, the introduction of automation in the industry is transforming the aging industry by integrating new methods and technique, according to Technavio.

“Automation has allowed the industry to reduce the manual work, improve hygiene, and speed-up the process. Also, realising the cost benefits achieved in terms of return-on-investment in the long run, small and medium-sized enterprises too have switched to automated machines to optimise industry operations,” says Sushmit Chakraborty, a lead analyst at Technavio for automation research.

Rising demand for food products and shorter delivery cycle

The improving economy of developing nations has witnessed a rise in the demand for different food products and changes in eating habits. To serve the growing need for food, the food industry is required to reduce the process time and delivery time. This can be achieved by reducing the process cycle time and implementation of automated machines.

Implementation of automated machines has drastically reduced the process time and increased the quality of food products manufactured. The demand for various food products such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, oils and fats, and meat and seafood can be fulfilled by integrating the processes that require minimum process and cycle time.

“Automated food sorting machines are used for different food items, thus making the processes faster and more hygienic. Industrial automation and information analytics allow the user to extract the data and perform the activities more accurately and fast, thereby reducing the delivery cycle,” says Sushmit.

Implementation of standards applicable to food processing

The food industry must adhere to food and safety standards that regulate and monitor the food quality. For every food product manufactured, there are a set of quality standards that are to be maintained during the manufacturing process. Traditionally, food industry involved manual efforts during the manufacturing processes. However, to achieve the quality standards decided by food safety and standard authority, it is necessary for food manufacturing companies to rely on food processing equipment.

Automated food sorting machines provide speed and allow the industry to optimise the quality standards. The improved quality achieved by implementing automated machines and integrating methods with artificial intelligence will result in the further growth of the market.

Image: BBC Technologies’ CURO 16

Patties CEO says more takeovers on the table

Australia’s ready-meal sector will surpass $1 billion in the near future and a shift towards healthier eating is playing a major part, it has been claimed.

Paul Hitchcock, CEO of Patties Foods, has said the company is seeking new acquisitions with projections showing the huge growth in the market. 

Having recently acquired Australian Wholefoods, he also believes the sector is now providing far more than TV dinners” and told the AFR it will grow by more than 10 per cent annually.

“The category is still relatively new,” Hitchcock told the AFR. “It’s trending toward $1 billion but we’re not there yet.

The chilled ready meals category grew by 13 per cent in the past year for the retailer “as customers continue to look for convenient and affordable meal solutions”, according to a Woolworths spokesman.

“Busy lifestyles mean consumers are attracted to convenience meals by their relatively low cost, ease of use and variety,” a spokesman for Coles added.

Patties Foods was acquired by the provate equity firm Pacific Equity Partners for $231 million last year.

Beston brings back its Parmesan cheese

Beston Global Food (BFC) has announced that its Parmesan cheese is back in production at Murray Bridge after a five-year hiatus.

Beston this week began production of its first batches of the popular hard cheese destined for consumers across the country, and overseas.

BFC Chief Executive Officer, Sean Ebert, said while the Company’s specialist cheesemakers were currently busy crafting the first batches of Parmesan, they would also soon be moving into other varieties of hard cheese including Gruyere, Raclette and Tilset.

“Since opening our Beston Pure Food factory at Murray Bridge, we have had numerous inquires from our existing customers in Australia seeking locally made European-style hard cheeses. Hence, we have refurbished and returned the former hard cheese line, with a production capacity of 250 tonnes per annum, back into production and brought it to export standard. This has included the installation of a state-of-the-art maturation room and has created additional employment at the factory,” Ebert said.

“There is strong demand for these top quality cheeses in the Australian market.”

“Not only are we creating great cheese but in the process, we are creating jobs. Parmesan production alone required five additional staff while our wider expansion in hard cheese represents 15 new local jobs,” he said.

In June last year, the State Government announced it was providing $2.5 million to Beston for the development of its state-of-the-art cheese processing facility. South Australian- based Beston provides high-end premium foods in the dairy, seafood, meat and health & nutrition areas.

BFC chariman Dr Roger Sexton said that the recommissioning of the hard cheese facility at Murray Bridge was part of the organic growth strategy of BFC and represented another significant step in the further broadening of the revenue base of the company.

 

 

 

Love Beets juice comes in two flavours

Love Beets’ Beet Juice is a new range of drinks available in two flavours – Natural Beet and Cherry Berry Beet. Both can be used as a base in smoothies, dressings, summer drinks or straight from the bottle for the ultimate veggie hit!

A fresh and convenient addition to local green grocers and markets, Love Beets Beet Juices can be merchandised for on-shelf display (refrigeration required after opening).

OneHarvest Marketing and Innovation Manager Helen Warren said consumers’ interest in wholefoods was at an all time high.

“As wellness and wholefoods continue to be front of mind for many consumers, the demand for convenient healthy options continues to grow,” said Warren. “Our two new juices give our customers a tasty and convenient healthy juice option to drink straight from the bottle or get creative and add to a variety of recipes.”

Like the complimentary Love Beets range, these juices offer consumers a fuss-free way to boost smoothies and summer drinks. With three beets per 250ml bottle, both varieties are gluten free with no added sugar and have all the power house health benefits of beetroot. Being full of antioxidants and nitrates, regular consumption of beetroot can help promote a healthy heart and boost stamina and endurance.

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