Natural Evolution to benefit from $18b food waste opportunity

A scorching afternoon in far North Queensland, boiling bitumen and a hand of green cavendish bananas crushed into dust by the wheel of the tractor. This was how Krista and Rob Watkins drove head first into an innovative use for the 500 tonnes of bananas destined for landfill in North Queensland each week.
Krista and Rob Watkins’ company, Natural Evolution is the first company in the world to commercially produce gluten-free flour from bananas. It now has an ever-growing range of highly nutritious food products produced from waste bananas and sweet potatoes. Ranging from its signature Green Banana Baking Flour, through to baking pre-mixes, health supplements, skincare, and now vodka.
According to a recent report published by the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, trading as Food Innovation Australia (FIAL), by creating value-added products from food waste, food and beverage businesses such as Natural Evolution could be contributing $18 billion in economic value by 2030.
“Being able to undertake scientific research was essential to our ability to scale up, increase our production capacity and expand our product range. I really encourage other businesses to tap into the collaboration and resource-sharing that FIAL makes possible” said Natural Evolution founder and managing director, Krista Watkins.
FIAL supports businesses such as Natural Evolution to innovate through connecting them with the funding and collaborative research expertise needed to commercialise innovative products and services.
“With the majority of Australian food and beverage businesses being small-to-medium enterprises, providing these businesses with access to the expertise needed to innovate is critical,” said FIAL general manager innovation, Dr. Barry McGookin.
Krista Watkins will be taking part in a live Q&A on collaborative innovation platform, the Food Matrix, on Thursday 19 November. Register via the Food Matrix. Natural Evolution was also featured in the fifth edition of FIAL’s Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations book.
 

Research highlights impact of food and beverage packaging

Packaging specialist Tetra Pak has released new research that revealed the carbon footprint of different food and beverage (F&B) packaging formats in Australia and New Zealand, with carton packaging having the lowest climate impact.
Commissioned by Tetra Pak and conducted by environmental consultants thinkstep ANZ, the new report “Life Cycle Assessment of Beverage and Food Packaging in Australia and New Zealand” is a market-first, independently peer reviewed comparison of the environmental impact of common packaging formats, including cartons, PET bottles, rPET (recycled PET) bottles, HDPE bottles, pouches, tin cans, glass bottles and glass jars.
It is important for F&B manufacturers to look at the carbon contribution of packaging across the entire life cycle of a package, in addition to end-of-life. The report revealed that the biggest contributor to carbon emissions is the source of materials used in the packaging.
Based on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere per package of 1L fresh milk, the report found that carton packaging has a climate impact of 51 grams – almost 12 times less than glass packaging (605 grams), 5.5 times less than PET (280 grams) and 3 times less than HDPE (164 grams).
Cartons performed the best compared to other forms of packaging because of its material efficiency (using less material) and its mass which is mostly fibre from a renewable plant source.
Packaging formats were analysed across their entire life cycle, including base material production, pack manufacturing, filling, transport, and end-of-life (recycling or landfill) impacts, to offer insight into their overall environmental impact.
Andrew Pooch, Managing Director, Tetra Pak Oceania said: “Food packaging plays a critical role in feeding the world’s population, but it is causing problems for our climate. Today, the global food system accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about the harmony between protecting our planet’s ecosystem and meeting the human need for food. As an industry, we need to start talking about minimising packaging impact from cradle-to-grave, if we are serious about sustainability.
It is critical for the F&B industry to explore new ways of producing materials, addressing their embedded carbon, and promoting carbon neutral materials.
Cartons have the potential to become the world’s most sustainable food package. Mostly made of paper, cartons have a far smaller contribution to greenhouse gas emissions compared to other packaging types. If we swapped Australia’s pasteurised milk from formats like HDPE bottles, rPET bottles and PET bottles to cartons, it would be the annual equivalent of taking more than 77,000 cars off the road.

The essential sector

Knowing that you are able to walk into your local supermarket and buy what you want to feed yourself or your family and stock your pantry is something that we take for granted. Australia is fortunate that we make enough food to feed 75 million people, three times our population and that we have a strong and resilient food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector in our country.
COVID-19 has taught us all many things about our sense of community, our vulnerability and not to take this $127.1 billion food, beverage and grocery sector for granted. We realise now more than ever how essential it is.
When there was panic buying in early 2020, when shelves were stripped, this was equivalent to three Christmas buying periods all at once, on the same day, with no notice. Retailers and suppliers were caught unprepared, and shelves were emptied.
However, the 274,835 people who work every day to make the food, drinks and grocery items to ensure our shelves are stocked stepped up – they are our essential heroes. This sector went into overdrive straight away to help meet the runaway consumer demand, working 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to make the products that Australians were wanting. The shelves have not been empty since.
The supply chain was sorely tested. Speciality ingredients not made or found in Australia had to be acquired in other ways, or substitute supplies found, as borders closed.
Movement of goods across such an expansive country is always a challenge but the logistics sector met the challenge to move more products, more often. Workers in the factories, who are the most important asset to our sector, split shifts, implemented COVID-safe plans right away and socially distanced to help ensure transmission of COVID-19 was kept at bay from our essential sector. Everyone met the challenge to keep the supermarket shelves stocked.
Australia’s food, beverage and grocery manufacturing sector works hard, and it has had to. Rising input costs and market challenges have long been an issue for the sector.
Companies in Australia want to invest in capital and invest in more jobs. They want to buy the exceptional, high-quality raw commodities from Australian farmers, transform them into products, and then send them around the country for Australians to enjoy. And they also want to export them around the world, capitalising on the international appreciation for the high quality and safe food products made here.
This is how traditional supply chains work but there needs to be certainty for business to invest. Certainty, through a stable economy, a skilled workforce and access to markets.
There also needs to be a responsive domestic market too, which will help foster innovation and business growth. As the world modernises and becomes highly automated, this sector strives to do so as well. This will help ensure the sector remains competitive on the world stage, innovation will flourish and jobs will grow.
To do this, the Australian Food and Grocery Council has called for the Federal Government to implement a Food, Beverage and Grocery Site Modernisation Program that provides short-term incentives for the food, beverage and grocery manufacturing industry. It does so by bringing forward investment in manufacturing plant infrastructure and equipment through an instant asset write off, or grants program for smaller investments, and targeted and efficient investment allowance for larger investments.
Without investing to improve efficiency and innovate, there is a real risk that businesses will either need to reduce the scale of their operations or move offshore.
Taking the jobs offshore would result in job losses at a time when we need to ensure job growth. While nearly 60 per cent of the sector’s jobs are in metropolitan areas, around 40 per cent, or 108,000 jobs, depend directly on this sector in regional Australia.
This sector is the backbone to regional Australia and the bond in so many communities – it is the heart of the community. The jobs and support services in so many country towns and regional centres rely on the economic contribution the sector brings through the wages it pays and the flow on to other businesses servicing the sector or the people who work in it.
In turn, the sector also supports the community through social, environmental and other outreach programs and direct contributions. This might include supporting the construction of local assets being built like a swimming pool, donating to local soup kitchens or getting involved in environmental programs like tree planting. This is happening right across the country with the support of this sector.
At the same time as strengthening our local economies and communities, the sector has seen a growth in exports. In 2020, food and beverage exports have increased 5.8 per cent, led by 7 per cent year-on-year increase in food product manufacturing.
Supply chain dependencies and priorities within countries changed with COVID-19 but recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data proved that COVID-19 hasn’t destroyed
our global trade. So, the trajectory of a growing and strong export market should weather the pandemic, even though it has definitely complicated things due to geopolitical developments.
A strong international trade system is crucial to maintaining global food security while Australia can benefit through local economic stimuli. Trade helps to stabilise food prices and supply volumes, which in turn improves social stability across the globe. During the 2007-08 food price crisis, restrictions by countries on exports of certain commodities led to significant increases in world food prices and intensified the impact on food insecurity and poverty. To date, we have not seen a repeat of this food price crisis and trade flows have continued, albeit with some delays at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we like to know that we can walk into our supermarket and buy what we want on nearly every occasion, we also need to stop and realise what goes into ensuring we can do just that. Australians should be proud of the food, grocery and manufacturing sector here on our shores, for what it makes, supplies us with and the value it brings to our local economy and communities.

University of Adelaide to offer courses for distillers and brewers

AUSTRALIA’S most comprehensive stand-alone university course specifically for distillers is being considered to feed into the nation’s booming craft spirits industry.

The University of Adelaide is looking to introduce the hands-on short course as well as one in brewing. The university has also flagged plans to more than double the size of its training winery, which is already the biggest of its kind in Australia. The expansion plan includes space for a distillery and a small brewery.

Professor of Oenology and Director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production Vladimir Jiranek said the University of Adelaide’s winemaking degree touched on distilled beverages as an elective subject.

However, he said he did not know of any other leading universities in Australia offering specific courses in distilling.

“Back in the ’50s and ’60s a lot of Australian wine production and exports revolved around fortified beverages and so the University of Adelaide had a still that was used to support that side of the industry,” Prof Jiranek said.

“We’ve now added to that by purchasing a characteristic Australian pot still.

“The unique feature of our set up is that the scale is fairly small so it fits in nicely with the volumes that most craft producers are generating.”

The existing winery, opened in 1996, has been the centrepiece of a wine hub that has about 150 researchers from the university and co-located partners in wine and grape science – about 70per cent of Australia’s total research capability.

The planned expansion would more than double the size of the winery to cater for the growing interest in the course.

Prof Jiranek said although the revamped winery would be better placed to teach the short courses, the university was looking to introduce something sooner.

“I would actually hope that if we are going to introduce a distilling short course that we do it sooner rather than later. We have the facilities to do it now but it would be nicer down the track when we have better expanded facilities.

“We’ve never had a brewing facility so a small-scale brewery would be a real asset. It would help support what’s happening in the industry with the explosion of growth in craft breweries and cider producers around the place.

“I’m sure we could run a short course in either distilling or brewing without too much trouble and fill the class the first time around but it’s just a question of whether there’s the longer term interest and demand in Australia to justify it.”

Auspack continues to grow processing for 2017

Processing machinery will continue to be a critical focus for AUSPACK 2017 with an impressive list of companies that have already signed up to exhibit and with an inaugural Processing Day held on Wednesday March 8, 2017.

According to Mr Luke Kasprzak, Portfolio Director – Industrial Division, Exhibitions and Trade Fairs, ‘companies such as TNA Australia, Heat & Control, Walls Machinery, Krones and JL Lennard are just some of the processing exhibitors returning in 2017,’

“In addition we have international processing companies such as Haver & Boecker and FB Propak as well as local Viking Food Solutions and first time exhibitors Aurora Process Solutions also exhibiting next year,” Mr Kasprzak said.

Within Packaging and Processing Week, AUSPACK will also feature an inaugural PROCESSING DAY on Wednesday March 8, 2017. “Multiple processing events will be held throughout the day with dedicated educational sessions, workshops, meetings and networking gatherings.

Processors and processing machinery suppliers will discuss issues industry is currently facing and learn how latest technology can help them to overcome those.”

“The processing equipment side of AUSPACK continues to grow with more processing content then ever before. This will add true value to the visitor experience at the show so we encourage anyone involved in processing to register and attend this main event for processing and packaging industries.”

AUSPACK 2017 will be held on the 7-10 March at the Sydney Showground and free registration is now open. To register, please visit www.auspack.com.au

Flexible optical sensors to control beverage quality

Researchers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have developed an innovative optical sensor using conventional tape, a low-cost and flexible material that can be easily acquired at stationery shops. It can detect variations of the optical properties of a liquid when is immersed. The sensor can be used to control both the quality of beverages and environmental monitoring.

Light from an LED is introduced in one of end of a piece of tape and the light that emerges from the other end is detected through a photodiode.

The light coupling to the flexible waveguide is mediated by a diffractive element using a grating with aluminum lines of nano dimensions; it is added to the tape through a simple process of “tear and paste.” Both ends of the waveguide can be easily adhered to the LED emitter and the light detector (photodiode).
Because of the flexibility of the tape, the waveguide can bend and is partially immersed in the liquid under examination. Due to the waveguide bend, part of the propagated light is lost by radiation.

This curvature loss depends on the refractive index of the surrounding medium. Thus, it is possible to detect variations of the refractive index of the liquid by photodiode measurement of the optical power lost during the path of light through the immersed waveguide.
The refractive index of a liquid solution is related to both its physical and chemical properties, including density and concentration.

Thus, researchers can assess, for example, the maturation degree of grapes by measuring the refractive index of grape juice; it could also detect the alcoholic content of certain beverages. The sensor can be used in the food sector for process control and beverage quality, and in the environmental sector for water quality control.
The materials and components used to develop this sensor are common and inexpensive. Additionally, the assembly of the three main components of the sensor is simple and there is no need for instrumentation or specialized tools.

Therefore, the assembly can be carried out by non-qualified personnel.
Dr. Carlos Angulo Barrios, the lead researcher for this project, says, “These features, along with the flexibility of the tape, make this sensor very advantageous regarding other optical instruments for the detection of refractive index more complex, rigid and expensive, especially in field applications and on-site analysis of liquids in areas of difficult access.”
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-12-flexible-optical-sensors-quality-beverages.html#jCp

Ari Mervis appointed CEO and MD of Murray Goulburn

The Chairman of Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited (MG), Philip Tracy, today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Ari Mervis as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of MG and MG Responsible Entity Limited.

He will commence on Monday, 13 February 2017. Commenting on the appointment of Mr Mervis, Mr Tracy highlighted the Board’s desire for MG’s incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to possess extensive operations and consumer goods experience.

“After a comprehensive international search, the Board unanimously agreed that Ari was the ideal choice to lead MG at this critical juncture in its history. We are delighted to have secured a candidate with a proven track record of delivering results and operational success across multiple geographies,” Tracy said.

Mervis’ career with SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, began in 1989 and included senior positions in South Africa, Swaziland, Russia and Hong Kong. In his most recent capacity, Mervis was Managing Director of SABMiller in the Asia Pacific and CEO of Carlton & United Breweries in Melbourne, with responsibility for overseeing businesses across Asia Pacific including China, India, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining MG and see it as an enormous privilege to lead such an iconic business that plays an important role in the daily lives and livelihoods of so many Australians,”  Mervis said.

“Murray Goulburn is a great company, with a long and proud history. I am looking forward to partnering with MG’s dairy farmers, employees, customers and stakeholders to restore this great Australian co-operative, as we adapt to the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy industry globally.

“I look forward to working with the Board and Executive Leadership Team to ensure we strengthen MG’s position as Australia’s leading dairy company,” Mervis commented. In making the announcement Mr Tracy paid tribute to interim Chief Executive Officer, David Mallinson.

“As interim CEO, David has led MG with conviction and discipline during an exceptionally challenging period, focussing on the twin priorities of MG’s value-add strategy and achieving significant cost efficiencies to support stronger farmgate milk pricing for MG’s suppliers,” Tracy said.

 

Twinings releases new tea blend

Twinings has released a new blend, Twinings Morning Tea, created by Master Tea Blender Philippa Thacker and 10th generation Twining, Stephen Twining, due to hit shelves late January 2017.

“Speaking with dozens of Australian women during my recent tour around Australia, I discovered what women really wanted from a cup of tea was refreshment, and this was the inspiration for creating the new, Twinings Morning Tea said Ms Philippa Thacker, Twinings Master Tea Blender.

“Morning Tea is a blend of both high and low grown Ceylon teas from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. The high grown teas impart a refreshing character to the blend whilst the low grown tea gives colour, flavour and body, said Ms Thacker.

“Twinings Morning Tea has a clean flavour with no aftertaste, and can work equally well with a little milk, simply black or with a slice of fresh lemon”, concluded Ms Thacker.

New Kale chips suitable for gluten intolerance

Ceres Organics has introduced Kale Chips in ‘cheesy’, ‘spicy’ and ‘garlicky’ flavours.

Certified organic and packed with plant-based nutrients, Ceres Organics Kale Chips are made naturally with no chemicals, artificial ingredients or preservatives.

The range is suitable for people who are gluten intolerant or following paleo or vegan diets.

This snack is made with kale that has been massaged with a cashew and nutritional yeast mix, then dried at a low temperature to lock in the natural goodness.

Small manufacturers will get into the zone at foodpro

Australasia’s iconic food manufacturing event, foodpro, will be partnering with Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) in a brand new initiative: The Supply Chain Integrity Zone.

Security in the supply chain is vital to the food manufacturing process with traceability and audit compliance a priority; however smaller manufacturers often find it costly to comply.

The majority of technologies for traceability are often geared to larger manufacturers, which causes obstacles and barriers for smaller players in the industry.

In response to this, foodpro and FIAL have launched the Supply Chain Integrity Zone, a new initiative focusing on solutions available for small manufacturers who produce pre-packaged goods for sale to the consumer.

Companies across the various stages of the supply chain will be represented, allowing visitors to discuss end-to-end solutions with suppliers best suited for their business.

The zone will also include a series of seminars covering the latest technology, capabilities and insights.

“The Supply Chain Integrity Zone is a really important and exciting addition to foodpro” says Peter Petherick, foodpro Event Director.

“Foodpro has supported Australia’s manufacturing needs for 50 years, and it’s important we continue to respond to the industry as it changes. It’s become clear that there are an increasing number of smaller manufacturers whose needs, although similar to the bigger companies, must be met in more specific ways. The new zone serves a purpose for solutions and importantly, for discussion and engagement. With a focus on improving traceability and supporting audit compliance, the benefit to the industry will be incredible.”

The zone will feature companies that offer solutions specifically for smaller manufacturers who produce less than 10,000 units a week with a focus on areas including: materials in, processing integrity, packaging integrity, shipping & receivables and quality management solutions for traceability. FIAL is directly supporting the zone with the objective of increasing industry capability and compliance.

FIAL was established to foster commercially driven collaboration and innovation in the Australian food and agribusiness industry.

They are industry led and take a collective approach to ensure productivity, profitability and resilience in the food and agribusiness sector. Along with the partnership with FIAL, foodpro 2017 will also host wider discussions around innovation and the food industry with the annual AIFST (Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology) Convention.

Over 400 delegates are expected to attend the Convention’s 50th year to hear about topics such as the future nutritional needs, technology driving innovation, regulations related to imports as well as a roundtable discussing financing innovation and growth in the food industry.

For more information see: https://www.foodproexh.com/

PET bottle making stability increased with less energy

Production lines for still beverages utilising nitrogen dosing can now also take advantage of the Sidel StarLite PET bottle base with the launch of the Sidel StarLite Nitro version.

The new base ensures bottle resistance and stability, even under extremely high temperature conditions, while also providing benefits in terms of both lightweighting and energy saving.

The new non-petaloid StarLite Nitro base utilises a unique shape that significantly increases base resistance and stability.

This means the new base design can simultaneously increase PET bottle rigidity by enhancing resistance to the internal pressure created by nitrogen dosing, even in harsh conditions, while lowering package weight and energy consumption.

It also offers packaging design differentiation and optimised aesthetics, importantly without compromising product safety. The StarLite Nitro base takes all the benefits of the StarLite base, introduced in 2013 for the production of still and carbonated beverages bottled in PET, which has been recognised as the ‘Best Environmental Sustainability Initiative’ at the 2013 Global Bottled Water Awards.

The Sidel StarLite Nitro base ensures improved PET bottle quality without compromising strength and increases stability throughout the entire supply chain. It enables producers to increase bottle resistance to deformation in any production environment.

“The large and stable surface upon which the bottle stands, combined with other structural elements within the bottle design, enables the formed PET bottle to better withstand the internal pressure caused by the addition of nitrogen and improves bottle stability during conveying, depending on the wall thickness of the base,” says Vincent Le Guen, Vice President, Packaging & Tooling at Sidel.

Heineken’s partnership with Royal Croquet Club extended

Following a successful Sydney debut last weekend, Heineken is set to bring its Heineken Saturday event to the rest of Australia, and in turn, extending the partnership with the Royal Croquet Club.

The next stop for the event of the beer brand will be Melbourne on 17 December, before rolling out at Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane over the first half of 2017.

Nada Steel, Marketing Manager, Heineken Lion Australia, said, “Bringing Heineken Saturday to Sydney for the first time proved to be a big success. As part of our ongoing commitment to deliver unique world class Heineken experiences for our 18-29-year old consumers, we are excited to extend our relationship with Royal Croquet Club and take Heineken Saturday across Australia.”

Stainless steel pipe conveyor for food makers

Exair has added smaller and larger sizes to the air operated 316 Stainless Steel Threaded Line Vac conveyor product line, which is designed to convert ordinary pipe into a powerful in-line conveying system for food products, pharmaceuticals and other bulk materials.

The 316SS Threaded Line Vac is now available with NPT threads for use on 3/8 NPT through 3 NPT pipes.

Featuring large throat diameters for maximum throughput capability, these conveyors are designed to attach to plumbing pipe couplers, sanitary flanges and other pipe fittings.

Available from Compressed Air Australia, the 316SS Threaded Line Vac conveyors eject a small amount of compressed air to produce a vacuum on one end with high output flows on the other. Response is instantaneous.

Regulating the compressed air pressure provides infinite control of the conveying rate. Construction is durable Type 316 stainless steel to resist corrosion and contamination.

The 316SS Threaded Line Vacs can withstand temperatures to 204ºC.

Nine sizes are available. Applications include gas, grain or ingredient sampling, part transfer, hopper loading, scrap trim removal, tablet transfer and packaging. Other styles and sizes are available to suit hose or tube.

Additional materials include aluminium and abrasion resistant alloy. 316SS Threaded Line Vacs are CE compliant and solve a wide variety of conveying applications.

Australia’s newest distillery made Pozible by crowdfunding

Australia’s newest distillery, Cape Byron Distillery has launched its first spirit, Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin via Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible.

Created by Eddie Brook and acclaimed Scottish distiller Jim McEwan, Brookie’s captures the unique tastes and flavours of sub-tropical New South Wales.

The distillery itself is nestled in the very heart of the Brook family’s macadamia farm and is surrounded by a lush rainforest.

A traditional “dry style” Gin, Brookie’s is a balanced combination of the traditional and local native botanicals, trickle distilled in a custom hand-made copper pot still.

Jim McEwan said, “We’re bringing a new level of excellence to distillation. When you taste this gin, it tastes pure. You’re tasting a bit of nature, you can taste the salt air, you can taste the fruits and flowers of the rainforest, it has the warmth of the personalities associated with family distillers.”

Brookie’s is a gin also has a strong environmental message. Over the past 30 years the Brook family have planted over 35,000 native trees, mostly sub – tropical rainforest trees. Today the farm is thriving eco system.

A percentage of the profits from every bottle sold will support the work of the local Big Scrub Landcare group, whose sole mission is to protect what’s left of a mighty rainforest and to encourage new plantings.

 

Coke hires Jennifer Aniston for new Glaceau campaign

Coca-Cola South Pacific has announced that Glaceau smartwater’s new Australian summer campaign will be fronted by Jennifer Aniston who has been brought on board as brand ambassador.

Following the successful launch of Glaceau smartwater in Australia earlier this year, Coca-Cola said Aniston will be front and centre of the campaign, appearing across large format iconic out of home displays that include full wraps of Melbourne and Adelaide trams, as well as national billboards in high impact locations.

In addition to Aniston, the Glaceau smartwater summer campaign will also include product trials that will be driven through one of Coca-Cola’s largest ever sampling programs in Australia.

Glaceau smartwater has also partnered with Westfield to activate targeted sampling at selected NSW and VIC Westfield shopping centres, getting in front of their target audience as they do their Christmas and New Year shopping.

Glaceau smartwater is available in 12x700ml sports cap lid packs from a wide range of retail channels including grocery, independents and other outlets.

Riviana releases pressed pear juice in a 1 litre Tetra Pak

Pressed Pear Juice from Riviana has been released in a 1 litre Tetra Pak.

According to the company, Riviana Pressed Pear Juice is made from quality fresh pears which have been pressed against a fine sieve to extract the juice.

The cloudy appearance underscores the fact that it is not made from concentrate and has not been diluted with water.

“We don’t ‘produce’ juice – we press and then pack it,” explained Riviana Foodservice Channel and Strategy Manager Nick Dymond.

“Taking this approach ensures quality and flavour and makes the product much more appealing than reconstituted juice.”

The shelf-stable packaging with convenient resealable screw cap is designed to ensure ease of use.

John West lands top sustainability award

Solidifying its position as Australia’s most sustainable tuna brand, Simplot Australia owned John West, was awarded the highest accolade at the 2016 Banksia Sustainability Awards, in Sydney recently.

John West Australia, the only national supermarket brand to be recognised in the awards this year, won the Communication for Change Award, followed by the prestigious 2016 Banksia Gold Award, which reflects the ‘Best of the Best’ across the categories.

Earlier this year, alongside the WWF-Australia (WWF) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a world leading brand commitment was made, to help end unsustainable fishing methods within the canned tuna industry in Australia, thanks to Pacifical, supplied by the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, controlled by the PNA (Parties to the Nauru Agreement).

The alliance with WWF, MSC and Pacifical and Simplot’s supplier network, is the result of years of the entities working together to find a way to overhaul John West’s supply standards within Australia, moving towards a more sustainable future for the world’s oceans.

Simplot Australia Managing Director, Terry O’Brien, said, “We feel privileged to have been awarded such an accolade in Australian sustainability. The category shift has been years of work alongside our partners, to truly lead the industry, consumers and the environment, towards a more positive future. We look forward to continuing the work, as we move into the next phase of ensuring a positive future for our oceans.”

The Banksia Awards is the longest running and most prestigious acknowledgement of commitment to sustainability in Australia. They recognise Australian individuals, communities, businesses and government for their innovation, achievement and commitment to sustainability.

NZ chefs join forces to help launch sustainable seafood app

Forest & Bird is preparing to release a consumer guide to sustainable New Zealand seafood this Thursday, with the support of a number of that nation’s cooking personalities.

The Best Fish Guide is a mobile app which uses a traffic light system to guide consumers in their purchasing decisions for 87 different fish species.

“I believe the entire culinary community can play an important part in safeguarding the future of our oceans – by raising awareness of the vulnerability of many of our seafoods, helping people make ocean-friendly choices and sharing ideas about how to cook lesser-known species,” commented Chef and publisher Annabel Langbein who has added her voice and a custom recipe to the guide.

The guide is built on comprehensive, independent research, and will show which seafood species are caught most sustainably, and which are having the worst impact on the environment.

“New Zealanders have been shocked this year by revelations of illegal and destructive fishing practices, so we’re really pleased to offer a simple, accurate guide that cuts through the talk and lets consumers make a genuine difference for our ocean,” said Kevin Hackwell, Forest & Bird Campaigns Manager.

“Only half of 1% of our marine environment is protected in no-take reserves. On land, 30% of the environment has conservation status and this should be the same for the sea. Thirty percent of our marine space needs to be protected in no-take marine reserves.

“In the meantime, consumers can use their purchasing power to send a message to retailers and the fishing industry that they want sustainably fished seafood.”

 

Feed the world and save the environment

A James Cook University scientist has come up with a novel approach to feed the world’s growing population and look after the environment at the same time.

JCU’s Professor Iain Gordon is the lead author of a new book outlining how agriculture and the environment can benefit each other.

He said the need is pressing. “Feeding the world’s growing human population is increasingly challenging, especially as more people adopt a western diet and lifestyle.

“It’s thought that meeting the food needs of nine billion people in the future will require over 120 million hectares of land being converted to cropland in developing countries alone.”

Professor Gordon said that means things have to change.

“We’ll end up with lose-lose if we continue on as we are. Nature will be relegated to a small percentage of protected areas. Agriculture will have to be highly intensified relying on large amounts of inputs of fertiliser, herbicides, pesticides and water, with significant negative impacts on nature.”

He said there are substantial political barriers to change, with environment a lower priority than agriculture within all levels of government, but alternate ways of operating are available.

“We could, as one example, provide habitats for pollinators on agricultural land. We’d avoid the situation they have in China where, because of the large amounts of pesticides used, much of the fruit grown in that country now relies on people hand-pollinating the trees. That’s a massive labour investment when nature could do the job for free.”

Professor Gordon said what the book proposes is different from ‘nature-friendly farming’ where farmers instigate practices such as setting aside farming land for biodiversity.

“Nature-friendly farming is about supporting biodiversity on agricultural land without necessarily focusing on the potential benefits that biodiversity can play in supporting agriculture. The focus has been on protecting one from the impacts of the other. We’re arguing now that nature and agriculture can, and should, work together and ultimately benefit from one another.”

The book, Food Production and Nature Conservation, will be launched on November 22.

The key to future food supply is sitting on our cities’ doorsteps

Our food systems are under increasing pressure from growing populations, diminishing resources and climate change. But, in a new report, we argue that city foodbowls – the agricultural land surrounding our cities – could supply more secure and sustainable food.

The final report of our Foodprint Melbourne project outlines a vision for “resilient city foodbowls” that can harness city waste to produce food, reduce dependence on distant sources of food and act as a buffer against increasing volatility in global food supplies.

But to do so we need to start planning now. Food is a basic human need – along with water, housing and transport – but it hasn’t been high on the planning agenda for Australia’s cities.

Growing food, and jobs

Australia’s city foodbowls are an important part of the nation’s food supply, particularly for fresh vegetables.

Melbourne’s foodbowl produces almost half of the vegetables grown in Victoria, and has the capacity to meet around 82% of the city’s vegetable needs.

Nationally, around 47% of highly perishable vegetables (such as lettuce, tomatoes and mushrooms) are produced in the foodbowls of the major state capitals, as well as eggs, chicken and perishable fruits such as berries.

New analysis by Deloitte Access Economics has shown that Melbourne’s foodbowl contributes A$2.45 billion each year to the regional economy and around 21,000 fulltime-equivalent jobs. The largest contributors (to the economy and to jobs) in Melbourne’s foodbowl are the fruit and vegetable industries.

Other research estimates that agriculture in Sydney’s foodbowl contributes around A$1 billion to the regional economy. The flow-on effects through the regional economy are estimated to be considerably higher.

City foodbowls at risk

City foodbowls are increasingly at risk. Our project has previously highlighted risks from urban sprawl, climate change, water scarcity and high levels of food waste.

Melbourne’s foodbowl currently supplies 41% of the city’s total food needs. But growing population and less land means this could fall to 18% by 2050.

Australia’s other city foodbowls face similar pressures. For example, between 2000 and 2005, Brisbane’s land available for vegetable crops reduced by 28%, and Sydney may lose 90% of its vegetable-growing land by 2031 if its current growth rate continues.

These losses can be minimised by setting strong limits on urban sprawl, using existing residential areas (infill) and encouraging higher-density living.

However, accommodating a future Melbourne population of 7 million (even at much higher density) will still likely mean we lose some farmland. The Deloitte modelling estimated this will lead to a loss of agricultural output from Melbourne’s foodbowl of between A$32 million and A$111 million each year.

Protecting our food supply

Australia’s city foodbowls could play a vital role in a more sustainable and resilient food supply. If we look after our foodbowls, these areas will strengthen cities against the disruptions in food supplies that are likely to become more common thanks to climate change.

The New Urban Agenda adopted in October 2016 at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, or Habitat III, emphasises the need for cities to “strengthen food system planning”. It recognises that dependence on distant sources of food and other resources can create sustainability challenges and vulnerabilities to supply disruptions.

Resilient city food systems will need to draw on food from multiple sources – global, national and local – to be able to withstand and recover from supply disruptions due to chronic stresses, such as drought, and acute shocks, such as storms and floods.

Our final report presents a vision of a resilient city foodbowl for Melbourne.

In this future vision, highly perishable foods continue to grow close to the city. City waste streams are harnessed to counter decreasing supplies of water and conventional fertilisers, and increased investment in delivery of recycled water creates “drought-proof” areas of food production close to city water treatment plants.

Eco-Innovation Lab, Author provided

If Australia’s cities are to retain their foodbowls as they grow, food will need to become a central focus of city planning. This is likely to require new policy approaches focused on “food system planning” that addresses land use and other issues, such as water availability.

We also need to strengthen local and regional food systems by finding innovative ways to link city fringe farmers and urban consumers – such as food hubs. This will create more diverse and resilient supply chains.

The Conversation

Rachel Carey, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne; Jennifer Sheridan, Researcher in sustainable food systems, University of Melbourne, and Kirsten Larsen, Manager, Food Systems Research and Partnerships, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.