Australia ‘piggy in the middle’ of trade war between US and China

According to business information analysts IBISWorld, Australia stands to be caught in the middle of a trade war between the United States and China, as the world’s two largest economies launch increasingly retaliatory tariffs at each other. While some local industries may become more exposed to risk as a result, IBISWorld believes Australia will also have the rare opportunity to seize export market share in both markets.

“Australia is one of the best-placed countries in the world to reap the gains of a trade war, due to our natural advantage of having ease of access to maritime trading with both major economies,” said Mr Jason Aravanis, Senior Analyst at IBISWorld. “In addition, Australia has beneficial bilateral free trade agreements with both China and the US, which provide more stability to international trade.

“While the trade war presents opportunities for some sectors, others will likely be at greater risk, as Australia is being caught between its largest trade partner and its largest investor; between the economy we rely on and the nation we look to for our security.”

Why USA and China matter to Australia

According to IBISWorld, the United States and China are both vital trading partners for Australia, but for different reasons. China is Australia’s largest two-way trading partner, accounting for 17.7% of all imports into Australia and 29.6% of Australian exports in 2016-17. As such, the Australian economy is intrinsically tied to the performance of the Chinese economy. Many industries rely on Chinese demand for exports, or Chinese supply of imported production inputs.

The United States is Australia’s third largest trading partner, after Japan. However, the United States is the largest foreign investor in Australia, with over $860 billion invested in 2016. In contrast, China is only the seventh largest investor in Australia.

Australian winners

As China and the United States increasingly lock each other out of their domestic markets, certain Australian industries have the ability to seize market share.

“The Australian agricultural sector is likely to be one of the largest winners, as China has enacted tariffs on popular US food products,” said Mr Aravanis.

In 2017-18, China is expected to account for 25.1% of export demand in the Australian Wine Production industry, and this is forecast to grow in response to a 15% tariff imposed on US wines this month. Similarly, a 25% Chinese tariff on US soybeans will create massive opportunities for the Australian Grain Growing industry, particularly as China consumes about two-thirds of global soybean production each year. Rising demand for premium meats in Chinese households has led to strong growth in Australia’s Meat Processing industry, and this industry’s performance is expected to further improve as a 25% tariff is imposed on US meats. Other Australian agricultural industries are also likely to benefit, including fruit and seed industries.

According to IBISWorld, some Australian industries also have the opportunity to gain market share in the United States, however Australian exports are likely to encounter greater competition from other countries in this market, such as Canada, Brazil, and the European Union.

“As the United States has imposed a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminium from China, the Australian Black Coal Mining and Aluminium Smelting industries may experience greater demand from US clients. In addition, US tariffs on Chinese chemicals, medicinal products, and electronic components are likely to create opportunities for Australian firms,” said Mr Aravanis.

Australian losers

Despite the positive gains for some Australian industries, others are likely to be negatively affected by a trade war.

“On a macro-economic scale, a downturn in either Chinese or US GDP growth is highly likely to undermine the growth of Australia’s GDP. This could lead to an increase in unemployment, as well as a sustained hit to business confidence as the stability of trade liberalisation in undermined,” said Mr Aravanis.

“Some industries are highly exposed to the risk of a trade war. Major mining industries such as the Iron Ore Mining industry could be affected by a slowdown in Chinese economic growth, which would lead to far lower export prices and total demand. Tourism in Australia would also likely be negatively affected, as a hit to consumer confidence in both China and the United States would encourage consumers to postpone luxury expenses such as international holidays.”

Despite these challenges, IBISWorld believes the overall Australian economy is well placed should a trade war eventuate, at least relative to the conditions of other global economies. However, a trade war would likely lead to an overall decline in economic prosperity for Australia.

Tariffs imposed by China and the United States against each other:

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Australia and US to reap rewards from food safety agreement

Australian food manufacturers have been handed more freedom to export produce to the United States. Steven Impey considers the benefits this offers the sector.

Australia has entered into a bilateral Food Safety Recognition Agreement with the United States, which it is hoped will strengthen exports for food manufacturers between the two countries.

Similar agreements have already strengthened Australian food exports with Canada and New Zealand, which – just as the Turnbull Government hopes to achieve in trade relations with the US – moves to recognise comparable food safety regulations.

Australian food exports to the US exceed $3.7 billion annually, according the latest figures from IBIS World Australia – with meats and meat preparations contributing more than $3.4 billion each year.

The agreement, which was announced by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) in April, aims to improve competitiveness for Australian food product manufacturers in the US market by reducing the number of in-country audits and placing compliance on the shoulders of the exporting country.

As it currently stands, regular onsite visits and a certain rate of import inspection is required, while further testing on the products’ arrival in the US does come at a cost.

As a result of the new agreement, Australia will apply less stringent inspection and testing of products imported into Australia from the US.

“The upshot is that this will greatly simplify Australian exports to the US through greater reliance on our national food control systems that ensure the production of safe food,” said Greg Read, head of exports from the DAWR.

“This is good for our businesses, as it positions Australia as a safe source of food supply for the US market that will place our exporters in a position of benefit compared with other exporting countries that have this agreement.

“These preferential processes will encourage trade between our two nations that can only be good news for our farmers and growing their profits.”

Not all foods are included in the agreement. However, most canned foods, seafood, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juices, confectionary, baked goods and pet foods are included.

Nathan Cloutman, IBIS World’s senior industry analyst, explained which areas of Australia’s food production sector is likely to benefit most.   

“As one of only three trading partners with this agreement, domestic exporters have now improved the perception of quality of Australian foods in the US market,” he said.

“The agreement is likely to boost food product exports to the US, which is particularly good news for exporters of fruit and nuts (such as oranges and almonds), vegetables (such as mushrooms), sauces, dairy products, chocolate and confectionery.

“Australia has benefited from its strong food safety processes that ensure that domestic food products are safe to eat and of a high quality.”

Domestic food producers operate under a strong regulatory environment that ensures that food is of a high quality.

For example, the Food Standards Code developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand places strong labelling requirements on manufacturers.

In addition, all food manufacturers are required to take reasonable steps to establish whether their raw ingredients contain any genetically modified food.

‘Made in Australia’ label ranked #14 globally

 

A study by statistics firm Statista researched 43,000 consumers from 49 different countries to determine the world’s most respected ‘Made in’ labels. According to the study, Australia ranks 14th.

Germany ranked first, receiving 100 index points, closely followed by Switzerland with 98 index points.

Other nations in the top five include the EU as a whole, the UK and Sweden.

Australia’s 14th place ranking puts the nation just above New Zealand (ranked 15th), and below the Netherlands (ranked 13th).

At the end of the spectrum were China on 28 index points and Iran on 27 index points. Statista noted the irony of the fact that Germany scored the top rank, considering that the

‘Made in’ label was introduced by Britain at the end of the 19thcentury to protect its economy from “cheap, low quality and sometimes counterfeit” imports from Germany.

Australian fruit destined for Chinese retailers

Winha Commerce and Trade International, the Australian paddock-to-plate Chinese retailer and wholesale food company, has announced that it will use its participation in a new Australian agricultural research centre to help create new products for the Chinese market.

Last month Winha announced it would be a foundation partner in Ausway College to be created in Deniliquin, which aims to become Australia’s leading agricultural research facility in Australia. Winha hopes to ensure that Australian agricultural producers can develop products that will be sought after by Chinese consumers.

“China is the world’s top fruit consuming nation, but at the moment not all Australian fruit is represented in the country. We need to ensure there are more pears, plums, mangos and other specialised fruits like star fruit created and produced for the Chinese market,’’ said Winha Chairman, Jackie Chung.

“Chinese consumers love the quality of Australian produce, but they also have slightly different tastes and likes to Australian consumers, so we must work with Australian fruits producers to create the right looking and tasting fruit to sell into China,’’ he said.

To illustrate its intentions to continue to promote Australian food in China, Winha has also announced it will import locally made Crystal Nest, Australia’s finest bird’s nest, into China.

Crystal Nest founder James Liew said: “We are delighted to be associated with Winha and we are excited to take our quality Australian product to China.’’

Chinese families who appreciate the reported health benefits of bird’s nest are willing to pay up to $US60 a bowl for the product – making the raw bird’s nest one of the most expensive food items in the world.

Australian owned and operated Crystal Nest sells its bird’s nest product all around Australia and now with the help of Winha (and its chain of retail outlets and enormous customer reach in China), Crystal Nest has found the perfect distribution channel into China.

Winha congratulates Crystal Nest for the extra care it puts into the handling and cleaning of its bird’s nests, ensuring it exceeds the highest global quality standards.

Bird’s Nest Soup is considered a delicacy amongst the Chinese upper classes.

Aussie wine exporters celebrate ChAFTA’s anniversary

One year ago today, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) entered into force. From this date, Australian wine exporters could claim preferential tariff reductions through accompanying wine consignments with a ChAFTA Certificate of Origin.

Australian wine exports have had two tariff reductions since the entering of force of ChAFTA. For most wine, the rate has fallen from 14% to the current rate of 8.4% and will drop further to 5.6% on 1 January 2017, giving Australian winemakers a substantial competitive advantage over our European counterparts.

Australian wine exporters have made the most of the preferential tariff rates into China and China is now Australia’s most valuable wine export market. In the last 12 months, exports to mainland China have grown by over 50% per cent to just under $500 million. To put this in context, just a decade ago, Australian wine exports to China were valued at $27 million.

The trade benefits of the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement, and the growing Chinese middle class’ increased interest in wine, have meant that more than a third of Australian wine exports priced $10 and more per litre FOB, are now destined for China (valued at almost $200 million and up over 60 per cent).

‘The demand for our premium wines in China shows no sign of abating and the next round of tariff cuts will give us a further advantage over our next biggest rivals in France’ said Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia.

He went on to say ‘The Australian Governments’ continued emphasis on pursuing trade opportunities and reducing market access barriers is welcomed by the wine sector and the benefits of this will flow on to rural and regional Australia over the next decade’.

Traceability software for meat processors

The SIMBA (Specialized Inventory Management with Barcode Accuracy) system solves the problem of how to track processed products and produce high quality finished goods labeling.

The updated deconstruction process provides easy traceability of individual primal cuts, by products and scrap, tracking back to the original carcass. SIMBA can be integrated to most scales for proper weight measurements and also tracks carcasses and finished goods boxes to multiple locations.

Yield reporting SIMBA allows production line workers to change content of product labels with a fingertip on the computer or touch screen, capturing product weight information and printing a label with a barcode identifier for that case or carton.

That information is stored in the SIMBA Office system, and given a clean input and output, SIMBA is then able to calculate yields per line, per day, etc.

SIMBA’s inventory system provides current inventory of processed cartons. Cartons can be accumulated onto a pallet and tracked by a single pallet identifier. This integrated system gives the user complete reporting of the product from receiving to shipping. The cartons or pallets can be stored and tracked by location.

Key results from implementing the SIMBA software include increased production speed; the ability to get real-time, accurate production reports and yields; to fulfill traceability requirements; to report accurate inventory on the fly, to print professional looking carton and pallet labels in unlimited formats.

For more information go to https://dynamic-systemsinc.com/software/meat/

 

Packaging & supply chain bodies pack Xmas hampers worth $120,000

Last Friday , over 170 people from the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), the Australian Packaging & Processing Machinery Association (APPMA), the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) and the QLD Supply Chain and Logistics Conference (QSCLC) spent their Christmas Party packing over 1100 hampers for Foodbank to provide to those in need during the holiday season.

The hampers included 800 family hampers, 200 ladies packs and 110 children’s packs. The total value of the hampers was over $120,000 worth of items that were either donated, or the funds raised for, by the industry.

According to the AIP, the hampers would not be possible without the continued support from the industry including Campbells Arnotts, Colgate, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Edex, Tip Top GW Foods, All Purpose Transport, Office Max, BDO, APPMA, Orora, Linde Forklifts, Tip Top Foodservice -GW Foods, Coles and Department of Housing and Public Works.

Over the last five years, the team has packed 5400 hampers to the value of close to $660,000 for people in need and looks forward to even more hampers in 2017.

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.

 

Rosella flies off with new branding

Rosella is set to unveil a new logo this November, which the company claims will be the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity for 20 years.

According to Senior Brand Manager, Kristine Dalton, “The most immediate change is the rosella bird itself. We have revisited the grassroots of our original logo whilst preserving the distinctive, native Eastern rosella and have given it flight to represent the company continuing to keep pace with modern Australian eating.”

“We believe the change will be welcomed. The new design will appeal to a new generation of Australian families by capturing the essence of our Australian Spirit, our vibrancy, energy and our free spirit.”

Designed by Melbourne Design House Disegno, the logo represents the company’s colourful history in a modern and evolving style.

“As an organisation so engrained in Australian culture, we are excited for this change to continue our longstanding relationship between the Rosella brand and customers,” concluded Dalton.

The new logo will first appear on the 600ml sauce bottle, on shelves nationally in all Coles, Woolworths and Independents late November.

Global water crisis a concern for food and drinks makers

Market research company Euromonitor International’s white paper “Sustainability and the New Normal for Natural Resources” has revealed that reliable access to natural resources is of critical importance to governments, businesses and consumers.

According to the whitepaper, in 2015, the World Economic Forum mentioned water crisis as the number one long-term global threat.

Still underestimated by many businesses, water risk is a very serious and complex issue which threatens wildlife, human access to clean water and continuation of business through shortage, flooding and pollution.

A well-managed water strategy, conversely, can help build a resilient and innovative business and a strong ethical brand image.

“Water stress and poor water stewardship can have a sizeable impact on profit and a huge impact on businesses’ reputation and operations.

The most obviously affected sector is the food and drinks industry, where water is a key input.

But many other sectors are also at risk, including apparel, energy and beauty and personal care,” says Sarah Boumphrey, Global Lead of Economies and Consumers at Euromonitor International.

The whitepaper also reveals that a large amount of packaged food companies’ growth is increasingly reliant on water-stressed regions with India having the largest area harvested for cereals in 2015.

It also mentioned that soft drinks and beer record the highest absolute volume of water consumption and are highly vulnerable to water risk.

The prediction is that by 2020, 50 per cent of the global laundry detergents market by volume will be accounted for, by water-stressed countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and the US.

Amazon to open fresh food stores in US: report

Online retailer Amazon will open small bricks-and-mortar convenience stores selling fresh food in the US, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, the stores will augment Amazon Fresh, the company’s existing online grocery ordering and delivery service, and initially will only cater for customers of that service.

The company also plans to open drive up stores where online customers have grocery orders delivered to their cars. According to the report, to facilitate such a service, Amazon is developing technology that can automatically read license plates and therefore quickly identify customers.

An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, however as AFP reports, the company is no longer a completely online retailer.

It opened a bricks-and-mortar book shop in Seattle last year and plans to open more in the US.

Kellogg’s launches another cereal killer concept

According to a report in Reuters and stuff.co.nz, breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s is opening its first US cereal cafe in New York City’s Times Square.

The cafe, which opens next week on July 4, is all part of the Kellogg’s strategy to reinvigorate US cereal sales that have declined as consumers choose healthier foods over sugary breakfast products.

This concept is already in operation in the UK where the Cereal Killer Cafe has two branches in London.

The cafe combines fast-casual dining with cereals with staff members behind a counter laden with myriad toppings like lime zest, thyme and malted milk powder.

Customers receive a buzzer that notifies them when their order is complete.

Once the buzzer goes off, they pick up their order, packaged in a brown paper bag from a red locker together with a 350ml container of milk.

Australia’s drinking quantity decreases but quality increases

Australians say they are drinking less but better with our per capita spend on alcohol rising as we seek out more premium alcoholic beverages, according to a new report released today.

The emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) Alcoholic Beverages Trends & Insights Report* found that half of people aged 18 years and over say they are drinking less now than they used to.

There is also a move to premium beverages, with the dollar value of liquor sales rising 1.5%^ in 2015, which means Australians are spending more on their favourite drink. Australia is an overwhelmingly wine and beer drinking nation. Wine is our most popular drink, although men up to age 65 prefer beer, the emma data has found.

Cider is our third most popular drink, followed by scotch or whiskey, with other varieties well behind. Women opt for wine more than twice as often as other drinks, whereas men are more varied in their consumption patterns.

White wine edges out red as the most consumed at 43% of adults, compared to 41%, while 23% enjoy sparkling wine or champagne.

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Alcohol is still very much part of Australian culture, with three quarters of adult men and women consuming an alcoholic beverage in the past four weeks.

“The trend towards drinking better offers growth opportunities to premium brands that can tap into the mindset of these consumers.

The move by Australians towards more premium beverages and spending more as a result, underscores the importance of effective brand positioning and marketing.”

Perceptions of quality and value change as people age and emma data shows that older people are more likely to believe that Australian wine is better than that from overseas.

They were also less likely to try foreign beers, preferring homegrown brands. There has been a shift in places and occasions where Australians prefer to drink, which changes by age and life stage. The majority of Australians prefer to drink at home, which was most prevalent among 30-32 years olds at 87%.

Venues where alcohol is consumed differ among various age groups. For example, among 24-26 year olds, 61% drank at a friend or relative’s house, while 19% of 18-20 year olds drank at a nightclub.

Among older people, 50% of 45-47 year olds drank at a restaurant or café, while 36% of 54-56 year olds drank at a bar or pub and a third of 66-68 year olds preferred RSLs, bowls or an AFL club.

According to Ipsos’s consumer segmentation, there are four key segments that represent 35% of Australia’s adult population who are the most likely to drink any alcohol more than once a week.

They are the ‘Educated Ambition’ (highest earners and most educated), ‘Social Creatives’ (young, affluent urbanites), ‘Serene Seclusion’ (people at or near retirement living in regional and rural areas) and ‘Conscientious Consumption’ (middle and upper class families) segments. *

The report draws on data from emma (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) to explore the changing mindsets, preferences and behaviours of Australian adults towards alcohol. emma interviews more than 54,000 people each year. ^ IBISWorld Liquor Retailing in Australia, March 2016

Sustainable, recyclable, light weight beer kegs hit US market

Lightweight Containers has launched UniKeg, a family of lightweight recyclable beer kegs that don’t require return transport. For the time being, these one-way kegs will only be produced and sold in the United States.

The fact that return transport is unnecessary means that these beer kegs save more than 60 per cent on transport, and consequently on CO2 emissions as well.

They feature an integrated standard Sankey D fitting and use an inner tube, called a spear, for dispensing the beverage. The barrier qualities for the beverage are provided by “scavengers” in the PET material integrated into the innermost container. The spear and the Sankey D fitting constitute the main difference between a UniKeg and a KeyKeg, which is fitted with the KeyKeg coupler and the laminated inner bag.

“UniKeg has benefitted from the expertise, R&D and know-how within Lightweight Containers, which enabled us to develop a high-quality concept and product. UniKeg gives our customers a new worthy alternative for developing successful product-price-market combinations,” said Jan Veenendaal, CEO of Lightweight Containers.

The beer kegs will be manufactured in the US and will be fitted with the US Sankey D coupling system. Production will begin in August 2016 in Joliet, Illinois.

Food and beverage companies must address safety concerns

Recent statistics from the United States Small Business Association show nearly 90 per cent of businesses fail within two years of experiencing a disaster.

According to risk and insurance experts David Goodall and Peter McGee, companies in the food and beverage industry that have adopted a ‘do nothing’ strategy, only to find out when being assessed by manufacturers.

“With a turnover in excess of $111.2 billion annually, food and beverage is one of Australia’s most important industries and we have a global reputation for our quality and consistency, but how prepared are we to navigate the multitude and changing risks that participants in this industry face on a day to day basis?” Goodall said.

“But while salads wrapped in plastic, warm sushi riddled with salmonella, all make us gag,
that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the ripple effect that can also create damage throughout the
entire supply chain. Our message is, no matter how large or small your business, know all your
risks, plan for them so you can rethink your insurance and ensure all bases are covered.”

The discovery of horsemeat in processed beef products sold by a number of UK
supermarket chains in 2013 resulted in a series of product recalls and threw a spotlight on
the food industries supply chain in UK and throughout Europe.

As much as 100% of beef products were found to contain horsemeat; other beef products
were found to contain pork. The scandal revealed a major breakdown in the traceability of
ingredients in the food supply chain and exposed additional potential risks.

When you consider the supply chain for Comigel, one of the food manufactures at the
centre of the scandal, it’s easy to see why the wheels fell off. Romanian abattoirs
supplying Dutch and Cypriot meat traders, who send product to various parts of France.
Since the story broke in January 2013, it has spread to 13 other European countries and
authorities are seeking an EU-wide solution.

This issue not only ha an impact on consumer confidence, there is a significant financial
fallout for the companies involved.

Video of Kellogg’s worker peeing on production line emerges

US authorities have commenced a criminal investigation following the online posting of a video showing a Kellogg’s worker urinating onto a food production line.

As The Washington Post reports, the 47 second video was posted on the site WorldStarHipHop. In the video, the man urinates onto the operating production line containing cereal product and the camera then pans to a sign carrying the Kellogg’s logo.

According to the company, the incident took place at the Memphis, Tennessee Kellogg’s facility in 2014. Around this time, an industrial dispute saw workers locked out of the workplace.

A Kellogg’s spokesperson said products potentially affected included Rice Krispies Treats, Rice Krispies Treats cereal and puffed rice cake products.

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“Kellogg takes this situation very seriously and we were shocked and deeply disappointed by this video that we just learned of yesterday,” Kellogg’s spokesman Kris Charles said.

“We immediately alerted law enforcement authorities and regulators. A criminal investigation is underway as well as a thorough internal investigation.

“Food quality is of the utmost importance to Kellogg Company. We are outraged by this completely unacceptable situation, and we will work closely with authorities to prosecute to the full extent of the law.”

Yowie US manufacturing plant commissioning on schedule

Confectionery company, Yowie is on schedule to ramp up its US manufacturing capabilities through its agreement with New York based Madelaine Chocolate Company.

The company said in a statement the agreement allows Yowie access to high speed, high volume, automated and robotically driven manufacturing of the Yowie chocolate candy product. It added that installation of manufacturing equipment for production of Yowie product is scheduled to commence on March 10, 2016, subject to timing of customs clearance.

The manufacturing equipment is currently in transit to the Madelaine facility following pre-commissioning in Europe to minimize commissioning risk. The pre-commissioning took place under Yowie supervision and successfully utilized the new Yowie capsule.

As Motley Fool reports, the company obtained a licensing agreement to manufacture Angry Birds chocolate to coincide with the release of a film of the same name in May this year. This product will be the first product to be manufactured from the newly commissioned line.

Yowie chocolates – based on the Australian mythical indigenous creatures – were introduced by Cadbury in 1997 and achieved sales of $100 million in the first two years, before being discontinued in mid-2005.

The brand then made a comeback in 2012 when the company was acquired by prominent mining executives, Waratah Resources’ William Witham and former non-executive director of Gleneagle Gold, Greg O’Reilly.

Yowie products were released in the US in 2014. According to the company’s half-yearly results for the 6 months to December 31 2015, revenues rose 1,094% to US$5.7m.

The large increase was the result of the company’s products across more than 4,000 Walmart stores in the US.

Coca-Cola Health Funding hits Sour Results

Coca-Cola is funding a campaign to focus the discussion about obesity in Australia on exercise, shifting away from dietary intake as the solution to the health epidemic. 

In August last year, Coca-Cola's global boss promised to publish all financing of health groups after revelations of astroturfing activities by the New York Times.

In the United States alone, it was revealed that Coca-Cola had given $US21.8 million ($30.5 million) to fund research and $US96.8 million to fund what it calls "health and wellbeing partnerships" in the United States.

EIM Australia was launched in 2011 at the General Practitioner Conference and Exhibition in Sydney with a presentation by EIM global executive council member Steven Blair, who as vice-president of the Global Energy Balance Network was involved in a funding controversy that engulfed Coca-Cola in the US last year.

Dr Blair, who has said there is "virtually no compelling evidence" that fast food and sugary drinks caused obesity, has received more than $US3.5 million ($4.9 million) from Coca-Cola since 2008, according to The New York Times.

Mrs Hobson-Powell said ESSA was not aware of Dr Blair's relationship with Coca-Cola at the time.

Dr Blair was most recently in Australia in October, as keynote speaker at an Australian Physiotherapy Association conference where he claimed that undue focus on diet could lead to flawed strategies for tackling obesity.

He presented a similar argument during a guest lecture to students at the University of Queensland's faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

Timothy Olds, a professor of health sciences at the University of South Australia, also appears on Coca-Cola's funding list as one of 12 scientists who received a combined $US6.29 million ($8.8 million) grant to conduct an international study into the relationship between lifestyle and environment and childhood obesity.

Dr Olds said the University of South Australia received about $400,000 for his part in the research, which discloses Coca-Cola's involvement.

A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola South Pacific said it would reveal all its Australian grants and gifts "in the coming months".

"This is a lengthy process as we are currently compiling details of the projects we have supported dating back to 2010," she said.

The spokeswoman said CCSP was "proud to support Exercise is Medicine Australia from 2010-2013.

The sponsorship agreement with Exercise & Sports Science Australia provided funding for ESSA to resource an EIM Australia project development officer whose responsibility it was to set up and implement the program in Australia.

"Coca-Cola South Pacific funding stopped in 2013 because the project was complete."

Grass-Fed infant formula to launch in China and US

New Zealand dairy processing company, Synlait has partnered with US baby product manufacturer, Munchkin, to launch a Grass Fed branded retail ready infant formula in the US and China.

The raw milk used to manufacture the infant formula will require cows to be exclusively grazed on a pasture and crop based diet, with no feeding of grain, or feed not grown in New Zealand. Farmers will be independently audited to ensure they meet, and maintain the standard.

Synlait suppliers who choose to follow the new standard will be paid a premium for their milk.

Synlait Managing Director Dr John Penno said the company’s “focus is on ensuring we continue to provide our milk suppliers with opportunities to earn more for their milk, over and above the base milk price.”

The product, to be exclusively manufactured by Synlait will reduce reliance on the Chinese market.

“We are cognisant of ensuring our infant formula business does not become overly reliant on the China market, and so Munchkin, with its focus on the United States market, is a potentially important addition to our growing portfolio of retail-ready infant formula customers,” Penno said.

 

US catching up to Australian trans fats standards: AFGC

The AFGC CEO said the US is catching up to Australian standards, following the announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration that there will be a three year phasing out of trans fats in the USA.

Dawson said there has been successful work in Australia to cut the amount of trans fats in the Australian diet to extremely low levels by international standards.

“Australians typically obtain around 0.6 per cent of their daily kilojoules from trans fats. Of this, about half come from naturally occurring sources. This is well under the World Health Organization recommendation to consume less than 1 per cent of daily kilojoules in the form of trans fats,” said Dawson.

“The level of trans fats in the Australian diet is low because manufacturers of many products recognised this as an issue more than 10 years ago and took steps to remove them from their products.”

“The food industry’s partnership with the National Heart Foundation “Tick” program has also provided an incentive for manufacturers to reduce the use of trans fatty acid containing fats in their products. “

“Through innovation and reformulation Australian soft margarines have been free of trans fat for over 10 years and a number of companies have moved to take them out of their biscuits and confectionary lines.  There are excellent commercial frying oils now available that are virtually free of trans fats,” Dawson said.