San Remo shoots goals with netball sponsorship

Pasta brand, San Remo, Macaroni Company has renewed its partnership with Netball Australia for a further three years, supporting the Australian Diamonds team.

San Remo first began sponsoring netball in 2008, throwing its support behind junior netball, the underage National Netball Championships, ANZ Championship and Australia Diamonds for the last five years.

The new three year agreement means the brand is a Gold Sponsor of Netball Australia until 2016, including throughout the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 World Netball Championships.

Michael Neale, chief marketing officer for San Remo said "We see netball as a fantastic vehicle for engaging with our target market – the Main Grocery Buyer – who is predominantly female.

"We also know that interest in netball, particularly in the Australian Netball Diamonds, far exceeds the 1.2 million regular netball participants who, like Main Grocery Buyers, are predominantly female."

Neale said San Remo carefully selected netball as an appropriate sport for it to be aligned with.

"One of the most appealing things about netball is the calibre of the elite players. The Australian Netball Diamonds stand out as fantastic role models – not just as athletes but as people. This is really important when you have a high quality brand with strong traditional family values. You can't be too careful about with whom you associate," she said.

The brand will promote its "Eat Pasta to Play" intiative throughout the sponsorship, encouraging people to consider pasta as a key food in preparing for and recovering from physical activity.


McCain finalises $82m Sara Lee acquisition

McCain Foods has announced its completed the acquisition of Kitchens of Sara Lee  (KOSL) Australia from Hillshire Brands, valued at $82 million.

The acquisition includes a manufacturing facility at Lisarow, NSW as well as license rights to the Sara Lee brand and certain intellectual property.

McCain Foods Australia/New Zealand managing director Steve Yung said, "Sara Lee is a great addition to our family of frozen foods and will provide a platform for growth. We are now focused on a smooth integration of the new business without disruption to our consumers and customers."

KOSL manufactures, sells and distributes a range of Sara Lee products including frozen desserts, super premium ice cream, pastries, frozen savoury meals and frozen fruit.


Salt levels in ready meals still too high: study

A study has found popular food brands are failing to reduce the salt levels in their products, despite the introduction of voluntary industry targets.

Published in the latest Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study found that from 2011, the salt content in an average ready meal sat at 37 percent of the daily recommended upper-intake, and 54 percent of the lower recommended intake.

This is despite the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health stating that, by last year, food brands should have met an interim target of 280 milligrams of salt per 100 grams, reports SMH.

Coles meals had actually increased their salt levels by 13 percent in the four years to 2011, with chilled meals containing 310 milligrams per 100 grams. SunRice and McCain meals had an average of 297 and 310 milligrams per 100 grams of salt respectively.

The study's author, Anthea Christoforou, urged the government's Food and Health Dialogue to set sodium targets specifically to prepared meals, as it has for other food categories.


Food mag awards in focus: Snack Foods and Ready Meals

The Food Magazine awards will return in 2013 and with entries closing on 24 April, now's your chance to have your product recognised by industry peers!

In this preview of the annual awards, we're looking at two categories: Snack Foods and Ready Meals.

The entry process for these categories is simple; all you need to do is submit details of your company and the product (name, website, address etc) as well as information on how the product is processed, its significance in the market, any details on export opportunities and what measures were taken to ensure food safety.

Images also need to be provided upon submission.

Criteria for these categories are:

Ready Meals
Meals that are ready to go, and do not require any additional ingredients. Ready meals include all the elements of a meal and require one or less steps for preparation. Products that can be entered into this category include microwavable dinners, pies and lasagnas.

Snack Foods
Snack Foods are foods which do not constitute an entire meal, and are eaten between main meals. They can be sweet or savoury but do not include many ingredients. Products that can be entered into this category include potato chips, cookies, nuts and dried fruits.

In last year's Food Magazine awards, the Snack Foods crown went to Morlife for its Dark Chocolate Coated Roasted Coffee Beans.

About the winner
Morlife aims to be a leader in the rapidly changing and developing industry of functional foods which are foods that provide a health benefit beyond ‘normal nutrition’.

“Functional foods must enhance health and well-being such as assisting in weight-loss, reduction of risk of disease, enhanced performance, physical athletic performance or memory/cognitive functions or help manage a chronic condition such as heart disease and diabetes,” Morlife explained.

Morlife is tapping into a broad market of people who are increasingly aware of nutrition and who seek to gain not only a great tasting product but one that offers a benefit in some way.

Morlife’s new dark chocolate coated roast coffee beans product aims to stand apart from other foods in the snack food market due to their high antioxidant levels. They are also free from gluten, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colours.

The packaging has also been a key aspect of attracting customers to the product with foil pouches that have a large surface area on the front to take up supermarket shelf space as well as images and information which reflect the health benefits.

Morlife has engaged in an extensive marketing campaign in order to increase export opportunities and have launched a website that is solely for the purpose on focussing on export trade … So far this targeted plan has elicited interest from countries in the Middle East and South East Asia with China ordering 49,600 pieces, which has a potential to create an extra $1 million per annum.

The 2012 Ready Meals award went to Creative Foods Solutions for its Emily's Kitchen Range, which features high quality meals produced by experienced chefs.

About the winner
Emily's Kitchen Range flavours include twice-cooked pork with beetroot relish, parsnip mash and cracked pepper jus; Portuguese chicken with white bean ragout; and saffron rice and Atlantic salmon with steamed jasmine rice & dill cream sauce.

The meals were launched nationwide in March 2012 and are currently in over 750 Woolworths stores.

The range is produced by hand, using meats supplied by Andrews Meats Industries and fresh vegetables, some of which are grown by the company.  The packaging used allows the consumer to heat the meal to restaurant quality within a few minutes.

Peter Cox from Andrews Meats who worked with Creative Food Solutions said that producing a quality product requires not only the best tasting ingredients but it also needs to meet safety standards.

“A lot of development has gone into the actual process as far as keeping the quality of the food at the level that we expect it to be at and also maintaining a food safe product.”

Although the meals all have a shelf life of 28 days they are made without the use of preservatives which is done by using a tray sealing machine which is new to Australia and enables the long shelf life.

When asked what the biggest achievement of the range is, Ian Hill of Andrews Meats said that it is the ease and satisfaction in the product that the customer experiences.

“I’d probably say producing a meal that anyone in the street can go and buy- microwave in three and a half minutes and hopefully get a ready restaurant type meal for minimal work, maximum flavour at a reasonable price.”

2013 – is this your year?
This year's awards will be presented at Sydney's Luna Park on 26 July, and will be a great opportunity for all finalists to not only have their product(s) on display, but also network with other industry members. Finalists will also receive coverage in Food magazine and on its website, including its twice weekly e-newsletters.

For information and entry details, click here.

The 2013 Food Magazine Awards are proudly brought to you by Platinum sponsor Heat and Control. Other sponsors include Flavour Makers, Janbak, HACCP Australia, Kerry Ingredients, Newly Weds Foods, Tronics, APPMA, Earlee Products and Kurz.


Baby Bites by Luke Mangan

Baby Bites by Luke Mangan is the first fresh baby food range in Australia that has been developed by a Michelin-star trained chef.

Product name: Baby Bites Toddler Pots

Product manufacturer: Baby Bites by Luke Mangan

Shelf life: 21 – 26 days (35 days from manufacture)

Lamb Pot Roast: Chicken stock, water, Australian lamb, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, celery, onions, tomato paste, potato flour, garlic, thyme

Chicken Paella: Chicken stock, water, Arborio rice, Australian chicken, onions, red pepper (capsicum), peas, parsley, garlic, smoked paprika

Chicken Casserole: Chicken stock, Australian chicken, water, Pearl barley, carrots, onions, celery, sunflower oil, potato flour, rosemary powder

Packaging: Cardboard outer, plastic bowl-shaped tub for easy serving

Product manager: Melanie Gill and Heath Molloy

Brand website:

What the company says
Baby Bites by Luke Mangan is the first fresh baby food range in Australia that has been developed by a Michelin-star trained chef.

The meals are made without any preservatives or additives so time-poor Australian mums and dads can easily serve their young children quality home-style food no matter how busy their day gets.

The new range of Toddler Pots includes three wholesome dishes: Lamb Pot Roast with Vegetables, Chicken Casserole with Pearl Barley and Chicken Paella, which are made in small batches and gently cooked so that young taste buds can enjoy the taste of real ingredients and freshly made, nutritious food.

The Baby Bites Toddler Pots are suitable for toddlers over ten months old and will be available nationally at Thomas Dux stores, or delivered to your door by Aussie Farmers Direct from mid-February 2013, RRP $3.95 for a 180g pot.


24 hours with Yummia

Yummia's founder, Mia McCarthy takes Food mag's Q&A and sheds some light on the joys and challenges of running your own food brand.

Name: Mia McCarthy

Company name: Yummia

Title: Sole trader

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life.
At the moment I run all aspects of the business. There is no typical day, although I do try and follow a general weekly plan in order to ensure everything gets done through the week. Although every day I have to exercise. This is really important for my sanity and I find I often do my best problem-solving and planning when sweating it out at the gym.

I have listed a few things that happen each week:

  • Manage supplies. Keeping on top of inventory and stock.
  • Investigate new business opportunities, following through with contacts and industry leads.
  • Processing orders, reviewing and invoicing all orders that are placed from customers.
  • Production days – we have a few production days per week, which involve busy days at the factory preparing and packing orders ready for dispatch. Because it's a fresh product we can't have stock sitting around for a long time, so we have to be really on top of orders.
  • Business planning – at least each week I sit down, and look at the business growth up until now, what worked and what did not.
  • Research, research, research. I'm always looking at other businesses and taking advice and reviewing how we can implement successful strategies into Yummia.
  • Paper work – on any given day there is hours of papers to be filed, bills to be paid, money to be collected!!
  • Accounting

What training/education did you need for your job?
Well lots I'm sure, but I have none! I started this company at 21 in my final year of university studying BA Dip ED (Primary), so all my training and education I have learnt through experience and on the field. A lot of trial and error! It is these real life experiences that have shaped the businesswoman I am today, and the one I want to be in the future, so lots more experiences to be had!

How did you get to where you are today? Give us a bullet point career path.

  • Graduated from High School in 2006.
  • Completed BA Dip ED (Primary Education) from Macquarie university in 2011.
  • I started Yummia in my final year of university study. After managing the two for a while, Yummia started to grow.

When I finished university I was able to invest in the business in a full time capacity. I initially made a personal investment of $10,000 into the business. I had saved this up through babysitting and working odd jobs throughout university. As the business has made more money we have re-invested this straight back into the business as well as a loan from my parents.

What tools and/or software do you use on a daily basis?
MYOB – this is by far the single most useful tool that my business uses. I received it as a birthday present because I could not afford it at the time and it's definitely been the best present I've ever received!

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
Yummia as a whole, being quite young I have not had many 'professional' experiences, but I am extremely proud that I have created and built this company from the ground up. I stated off as a uni student with an idea. I receive an extreme sense of pride knowing that Yummia has been created from nothing. That makes me really happy! Although we're still only just over a year old, so hopefully there will be many more happy moments to come!!

Biggest daily challenge?
Cash flow with accounts receivable, I'm slowly learning that people don't like to pay bills and it's a constant battle to chase payments and keep on top of outstanding accounts!

Maintaining sales in shops and positive customer relationships. When I had just a few small shops I was able to really nurture this growth and sales. I developed really strong relationships with all my customers, as we grow the personal connection gets diluted and we become just another product on shelves.

Biggest career challenge?
Logistics and delivery. This is something I constantly battle with, and getting product into shops quick enough to maximise shelf life. We are in the process of implementing a few procedures that will greatly increase shelf life for delivery time!

What is your biggest frustration in your job?
People not doing what they say they will do. I'm constantly following up with suppliers and contracts to ensure that deadlines are met and standards are maintained.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
All our products are quite new concepts to the breakfast market, we are not able to piggy-back off the category awareness that comes with other products. So educating the customers of our products.

Sustainable growth, meeting current demand and still having the capacity to greatly increase productivity.

Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
It's not as daunting as it looks. Compartmentalising different aspects of the business means the big picture does not overwhelm me or stop me from doing my job to the best of my abilities!

Click here to read more on Yummia's product range.

If you'd like to be part of Food mag's Industry Map Q&A, click here.


Yummia: Bircher Muesli & Breakfast Trio

Product name: Yummia: Bircher Muesli & Breakfast Trio

Product manufacturer: Yummia

Ingredients: rolled oats, natural yoghurt, fresh and dried fruits.

Shelf life: Fresh 2 weeks, and can be frozen for up to 6 months

Packaging: Individual portion size packs in tamper evident containers, with a carbon neutral cardboard wrap and spoon included.

Product manager: Mia McCarthy

Brand website:

Describe the product
Yummia is an industry leader in yummy and convenient breakfast products. All products come ready made, suitable for immediate sale and consumption. Yummia offers two distinctive and innovative product lines; bircher muesli and breakfast trio.

BIRCHER MUESLI – A traditional bircher muesli product with a twist. Already pre-made for convenience. LOW GI rolled oats, pre-soaked in fresh fruit and lush natural yoghurt. We do not soak our product in juice. NO ADDED SUGAR, ALL NATURAL.

BREAKFAST TRIO – An exciting and innovative product exclusive to YUMMIA. A triple layered product consisting of an oaty, almond base, with fresh fruit and natural jelly topped off with natural yoghurt. An exciting new mouthful with each bite! NO ADDED SUGAR, ALL NATURAL.


A new healthy snack by Carman’s

Product name: Roasted Nut Bars

Product manufacturer: Carman's

Ingredients: Carman’s Roasted Nut Bars with Almond Hazelnut & Vanilla Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, glucose, pumpkin seeds, honey, rice syrup, puffed rice, psyllium husk, cinnamon, natural vanilla flavour. Carman’s Roasted Nut Bars with Almond, Cashew & Cranberry Almo

Shelf life: approx 12 months

Packaging: 95 percent recycled cardboard with individually wrapped bars in plastic

Product manager: Mandy Carr

Brand website:

Describe the product
Carman’s nut bars are a healthy and handy snack to keep in your handbag, glove box, gym or laptop bag for easy sustenance on the run.

The new nut bars are available in three varieties: Almond Hazelnut & Vanilla, Almond, Cashew & Cranberry as well as Macadamia, Coconut & Apricot. Each bar is full of wholesome nuts and seeds and is less than 200 calories per serve.

RRP $4.99, pack of 5 bars


Grain power: how Carman’s became a $50m empire

Ask Carman's founder Carolyn Creswell how she turned a tiny muesli producer that she bought for $2,000 into a $50m global brand and she'll say all it took was a bit of luck and a lot of guts.

"When I was at school my parents worked hard for my education but didn't give me any pocket money, so I had lots of part-time jobs, and one of those was making muesli one day a week. After about six months the owners said they were going to sell and whoever bought it might keep me, or might make the muesli themselves and I'd lose my job. So I thought 'well, I know the product, why can't I buy this little business?"

So as a complete business novice, that's exactly what 18 year old Creswell did, together with her workmate Manya van Aken – each paying just $1,000 for the business.

This was in 1992, and two years later Creswell bought out van Aken. Ever since she's been at the helm of Carman's Fine Foods, which manufactures muesli, nut bars, oats and biscuits.

"It was really hard. It took a long time to be able to earn money myself. For a while I had to keep having second jobs, as well as trying to do the muesli. It was hard. It was shocking. The first five years I was so broke, and I thought 'what am I doing? this is crazy," Creswell told Food magazine.

But this must be a distant memory now. Today Carman's Fine Foods is turning over an average of $50 million a year, and is exporting to 32 countries including the US and the UK, as well as being used by leading airlines and having a presence in Coles and Woolworths. Not to mention the fact that earlier this year Creswell was named Telstra Business Woman of the Year.

Private labels
While it's no secret that many Australian food and beverage manufacturers see supermarket private labels as a serious threat to their own livelihood, Creswell doesn't believe her business is threatened.

"I think anyone that put their head in the sand and didn't think that private labels were coming was just being unrealistic. I think we all knew they were coming – it was just about how you adjusted.

"For us, it's about owning that premium brand and offering a point of difference. There are a lot of people that think private labels are evil and terrible, but if I was in their shoes I'd be promoting them as well. There is absolutely still room for brands. People don't buy private label products to feel warm and fuzzy and to feel that they've got the depth and integrity that a brand they love gives them," she says.

Creswell insists private labels give manufacturers the chance to be more innovative about how they promote their products.

"Private labels are not in the most innovative space. They're much more mainstream and that gives this clear niche to other players," she says. "It's never going to be a situation where we walk in and the whole supermarket is private labels."

Building trust
So what makes Carman's products stand out on the shelf? According to Creswell it's all about building a story and creating trust. Making your customers aware that you're there for them is imperative, she adds.

"If something goes wrong, how do you deal with it? The greatest opportunity for us is when someone rings up and says "I only got five muesli bars in my box and not six". All of a sudden we're able to prove to them what kind of company we really are, and so from that customer interaction you can build a very loyal customer who loves you for life.

"It's not about having a 1800-number or treating everyone in a cookie-cutter way, it's about saying 'we hear you, we are talking to you and we are here for you.'"

Carman's, a Cheltenham-based business, also builds trust by marketing itself as a 100 percent Australian owned company.

"We've now got a new logo, which is a family owned Australian business logo [from Famliy Business Australia].

"Everything is manufactured here and we're 100 percent Australian owned. The only thing is that not every single ingredient is Australian. As much as we can we source Australian but it depends if it's something that we manufacture here in commercial quantities at a reasonable price," she says.

Add to the mix that the Carman's range is actually good for you and you've got a brand – already 20 years old – which is well positioned to stand the test of time.

"It's about saying that our products taste good and are good for you. We don't say that we're the most cutting edge health food company. We're saying that we'll try and keep numbers out as much as we can, we'll try and keep ingredients lists as simple as we possibly can. We say your food should come from the kitchen and not the chemist, so we're very conscious of using ingredients you might have in your pantry at home.

"I've been very careful about what Carman's will and won't do."

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