Creating a new humanities menu without the intellectual junk food of neoliberal thought

What are the humanities?

Loosely speaking, they are academic disciplines that study how people process and document the human experience through history, philosophy, literature and cultural studies.

In South Africa, a more elastic net for describing the humanities has been used. It includes the social sciences – sociology, anthropology, political studies and the like.

Why study humanities?

For many, this stubborn question remains unanswered notwithstanding the publication, three years ago, of two local reports on why the humanities matter. The first was issues by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Controversially, it argued the humanities in South Africa were in “crisis”.

The second, initiated by South Africa’s minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande, also made recommendations – the most controversial of which was the establishment of a government-supported National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Full power on display

At the recent International Symposium on Food Studies, held at the University of Pretoria, the full power of the humanities was on display. It is a real pity so few were there to see them in action.

Organised by the DST-NRF Centre for Excellence in Food Security, which is jointly hosted by the universities of Pretoria and the Western Cape, the gathering hosted 43 participants from the US, France, the UK, Senegal and South Africa.

If the intellectual fare was first-rate, imaginative choreography helped to make this a truly memorable conference. In one session, the conference heard a riveting theoretically rich talk on food (and its preparation) in late-modernity as the speaker was preparing – in the style of TV celebrity chef Nigella Lawson – flatbread and gazpacho!

And, over dinner, participants were exposed to the secrets of the traditional South African dessert, Malva Pudding. Where did the name come from? And what is the authentic recipe for this great South African favourite?

Turns out there are three plausible answers to the first question, while two recipes lay claim to authenticity – both of these were on hand to taste.

Mix of disciplines

The academic presentations were drawn from a mix of disciplines – not all in the humanities. But the texture of each presentation lifted the conversation towards a shared grammar, which encouraged thinking way beyond narrow categories that invariably police disciplinary silos.

There is an invaluable intellectual lesson here for interdisciplinary work in the humanities: a single topic – if it is well-chosen – can encourage disciplinary categories to overlap. But to succeed, they must have an everyday familiarity, like food, that shares a sufficient common language in which all disciplines can engage.

The Pretoria event showed something more besides such generalities: talking about food is a productive way to understand a complex world.

Food is the very stuff of life. And, at its core, is human sociability. Around this, myth and legend abound – although there was very little of this sentimentality in the stuffy seminar room.

Instead, the kitchen was called a place of “harrowing intimacies”; that the term “Cape Malay” – as in “Cape Malay food” – was a way to hide the fact that this country had experienced 176 years of slavery; and that cookbooks, for all their celebratory – not to mention scrumptious – tones, were a way of organising time.

So it was that the sharper edges of the humanities – critique, deconstruction, political economy – opened orthodox “food studies” to searching questions.

Hunger versus food security

Why has the force of public management discourse erased the word “hunger” from its lexicon, replacing it with the less emotionally charged term, “food security”?

What are we to do with a world in which starvation is often the destiny of the poor, and obesity the plight of the rich? Can we reframe all politics through the idea of “food justice” which – almost everywhere – is shot through with questions around race?

Tough questions, these – questions that only the humanities are licensed to ask it seems. And finding answers to them – and the many others that were tabled – requires imagination that lies beyond the regular intellectual junk food of neoliberal thought.

But food – how we speak of it, how we prepare it, how we eat it – is deeply entwined both in ourselves and in our respective cultures. It is also personal, epistemological and political.

This does not mean that food is not a place for cultural mixing; it certainly is – probably, it is the most successful site. But the dinner table is almost a place where the shame of poverty is most acutely experienced. It is where the vulgarity of opulence is at its most shameful.

Unsurprisingly, South Africa is the exemplar of these extremes: a 2016 study by Africa Check reported that seven million South Africans reported “experiencing feeling hungry” in a 2014 nationally representative survey.

Against the backdrop of this horror, an accusing finger was wagged at the so-called “tasting menu” or menu dégustation. These are trendy menus that offer small portions of several dishes as an often very expensive meal. The rich of Johannesburg (and other wealthy cities) spend thousands to sample exotic cuisine, only to leave the best restaurants still hungry.

Did the agronomic and economic view of food and its study yield some of their traditional hold to the humanities during the two days in Pretoria? It is much too early to say. But thanks to the humanities, a deeper conversation on a universal passion may have only just begun.

Image: Hungry children stretch out their hands at a Somalian refugee camp in 2011. Sadik Gulec/Shutterstock

The Conversation

Peter Vale, Professor of Humanities and the Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), University of Johannesburg

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

Why technology makes us dishonest: ways to reduce cheating at self-service checkouts

Despite some technological safeguards, self-service checkout machines in supermarkets rely heavily on customer honesty to scan, and pay for, their shopping. It turns out however, that around a third of all customers “cheat” the machines in some way.

Although self-service checkouts can do some technological checking by having scales in the bagging area, these measures are very easy to circumvent. Shoppers will swap barcodes on items, scan more expensive vegetables or fruit as lower cost varieties, avoid scanning an item and just placing it on the floor or in an already packed bag and sometimes go to more elaborate lengths by creating their own barcodes to scan.

Consumers who cheat the system tend not to consider what they are doing as stealing and do not see themselves as thieves. Criminologist Emmeline Taylor has summarised the many excuses that people use to justify their cheating the supermarkets that use self-service checkouts. Some say it is because they are hitting back at supermarkets that are essentially bad corporations. Others justify their actions because they are being forced to do the work of a checkout person, or they have had to put up with problems in the checkout process or even that the mis-scanning of an item was a mistake or accident.

The classification however assumes that people actually cheated as a consequence of this motivation rather than just conveniently excusing something that they, along with a large number of other people were doing.

Nobel prize winning economist Gary Becker has proposed the “Simple Model of Rational Crime” to explain this type of behaviour. He put forward the view that people do a simple “cost-benefit analysis” of every given situation to decide whether they are going to be dishonest. In deciding whether to park illegally for example, they will weigh the benefits of free parking against the risk of getting caught and the consequences of a fine if that does, in fact, happen.

What behavioural economist Dan Ariely has discovered however, is that cheating is an irrational process that a large number of us will actually do. However, this type of dishonesty is always for small amounts. Ariely calls this amount the “fudge factor”. It can be dismissed as being inconsequential in comparison to the overall amount of a transaction. This type of cheating is independent of the potential reward and the likelihood of being caught, undermining Becker’s rational model of crime.

More disturbingly, in other experiments carried out by Ariely, he showed that the more you distanced the cheating from a direct connection with a financial reward, the more likely it was to happen and by a greater amount. In other words, it “abstracted” the dishonesty that the individual was engaging in.

Of course, this is exactly what we do when technology is put in between people and the actions they are carrying out. In this case, using a computer to checkout our shopping rather than have a person do it for us. The distancing of the consumer in the act of interacting with the organisation makes it very easy for a great number of people to be dishonest and to not consider what they do as stealing.

This is exactly the same type of behaviour that is seen when people download movies, get around a new’s site’s firewall, or even cheat in an online test.

Because this behaviour is irrational, it can be manipulated to reduce its happening. Ariely has found that if you get people to simply sign a statement saying that they will behave morally and won’t cheat, they do in fact cheat less. Just getting people to think about the ten commandments turned out to have a similar effect, regardless of whether people were religious or not.

What is important with this practice however is that it needs to be done before the task is carried out and only has a limited time that its effect will last. Asking students to agree to act honestly before an online quiz is likely to be effective, whereas getting them to sign a statement after they have written an essay and attach it to their submitted work, is not.
In the case of the self-service checkout systems, a simple introductory screen that asked shoppers to agree that they will be honest would likely be effective in reducing cheating at the checkout. Another way would be to have a staff member who greets every shopper as they come to the checkout and reminds them that they will be there to help if needed.

These staff are trained to spot people trying to cheat the machines and will intervene if necessary, but it is not always effective. Reminding customers of a moral code prior to their use of the system is a much more inexpensive way of reaching everyone. This approach is also different from the largely ineffective warnings that films sometimes display about illegal copying being a crime. The dishonesty that shoppers are engaging in is not a rationally calculated act and so appealing to rational arguments to prevent people behaving in this way is not going to work.

The Conversation

David Glance, Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

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

A rising star of the food industry

A rising star of the food industry

The third annual Women in Industry Awards were announced in Melbourne in July. Colly Galbiati, a food manufacturing success story, was named 2016 Rising Star of the Year at the event.

Colly Galbiati’s journey began in 2012 when she launched premium snack-food company Soma Organics.

She had always been passionate about healthy eating and raising public awareness of quality food and nutrition. Through this passion, Soma Organics was born.

Soma Organics started in the kitchen of Galbiati’s home where she began making the (later award-winning) Soma Bite snack bar range by hand.

She quickly saw success and consequently ramped up production.

Due to the large increase in demand, she transformed her successful home kitchen business into a full scale food manufacturer, specialising in snack bars, in just over nine months.

Today, the Soma Bite range is available in more than 500 retailers across Australia, including Woolworths, IGA Supermarkets, Foodland Supermarkets, and independent retailers. The products are also exported to Singapore and Dubai.

In 2013, Galbiati secured a deal with beverage company, Your Tea International Group, to create and co-brand a range of organic protein snack bars, Your Soma Bar which are sold exclusively on the Your Tea website.

Galbiati has also taken her business in a new, sustainable direction, launching and co-founding the Eco Bar: a raw energy bar made from cricket flour.

The motto for Soma Organics is ‘Diversify, Resilience, Success’. According to Galbiati, she has learnt very quickly that you must be resilient as a small business owner in the food manufacturing industry.

As the snack bar sector has become more saturated, she has learnt that diversification is key to maintaining a successful presence in the industry.

She has spearheaded Soma Organics’ new strategy to label products under Soma Organics, created partnerships, and produces white-labelled products, which she believes has helped in expanding the company’s portfolio.

However, it has not been an easy run; being a newcomer in the food manufacturing industry has its challenges.

According to Galbiati, she learns “every single day” and has benefited by not having any preconceived ideas on how things should be done.

Food puns aside, she has not followed a cookie-cutter template when launching a product range – she has developed strategies and looked at different ways of doing things.

She has disrupted the current methods of food development and product development, which has resulted in successful product ranges and a diverse business structure.

Because of her ‘grass-roots’ start-up success story, she is seen as a business example for many entrepreneurs in the health food space.

She has looked, down the track, to the possibility of launching a mentorship program or consultancy service directed at helping health food start-ups.

This is not the first time Galbiati has won an award. She took out the Excellence in Manufacturing gong at last year’s Women in Industry Awards; and the Best Snack Food Award at the Food & Beverage Industry News Magazine awards in 2014.

She is truly a rising star of the food industry.

 

The other winners of this year’s Women in Industry Awards were:

Marketing/Communications Award – proudly supported by Logistics & Materials Handling: Jodie Collins, Elgas.

Industry Advocacy Award – proudly supported by Prime Mover: Christine Gibbs Stewart, Austmine.

Social Leader of the Year – proudly supported by Australian Mining: Alicia Ranford, Mining Family Matters.

Business Development Manager of the Year – proudly sponsored by ABB: Donna Curl, Donaldson Australasia.

Excellence in Commercial Road Transport – proudly supported by Trailer: Melissa Taylor, Taylor’s Removals & Storage.

Excellence in Manufacturing – proudly sponsored by BOC: Gabby Montagnese, New Age Caravans.

Excellence in Engineering – proudly supported by PACE: Kathryn Burr, Boeing Defence Australia.

Excellence in Mining – proudly sponsored by MMD: Kirsty Liddicoat, BHP.

PET bottles and aseptic filling

A new era has dawned at Jus de Fruits d’Alsace (JFA), a French producer of fruit and vegetable juices. As Laurent Olivier explains, the company has entered the PET bottle market.

JFA was founded back in 1956, originally as a marketing initiative for regional apple-growers in the north east of France. Over the decades, the company then changed hands internationally several times, until the French family firm Laiterie de Saint-Denis-de-l’Hôtel (LSDH) integrated JFA in its group of companies in 2008.

Since then, around 40 million euros have been channelled into the facility in the Alsatian village of Sarre-Union. One major focus was the installation of a high-bay warehouse, supplied by Krones in 2012 complete with the building that houses it, which provides space for 35,000 pallets.

The second major investment was into a new syrup kitchen, with the third modernisation step, finally, taken in April 2015 and covering a new aseptic line from Krones for filling PET containers.

Up until then, JFA had concentrated its filling operations on soft packages. On 15 cartoning lines, the company produced around four fifths of its output, with a non-returnable-glass line supplementing the production kit. So the mix up till then was 80 per cent carton, 20 per cent glass.

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“The aim here was to optimise the production operation logistically,” said former factory manager Daniel Eva (pictured right). “JFA’s plant is situated in the vicinity of the German border and the Benelux countries, a fact that offers us good opportunities for the future. Its geographical location predestines it for expansion north- and eastwards.”

Two thirds of JFA’s output are dealer’s brands for the major players on the French retail market, and about 20 per cent are well-known fruit juice brands that the company produces under license. The rest consists of contract-filling and a few brands of its own, like the LSDH brand Cidoux.

With the new aseptic line for PET containers, a second major investment target was achieved.

“We can now optimise the container mix for our key accounts. Because we have an option for providing products in soft packages, glass and in PET in a single truck consignment,” explained Jérôme Buhler (above left), Eva’s successor.

“The third goal was to be able in future to fill not only dealer’s brands but branded products as well into PET, thus boosting the latter’s acceptance among consumers,” added Eva.

Simply irresistible

LSDH decide the choice was between aseptic or cold chain.

“Hotfill has never been a viable alternative for us,” emphasised Eva. “Aseptic filling is quite simply more gentle on the products. When we were considering our investment, we knew already that Krones was at that time developing the new process of a 100-per-cent-aseptic block.

“The Contiform AseptBloc system premiered at the Drinktec 2013 ultimately proved persuasive for us, not least in comparison to other vendors. For me personally, when it came down to it the aseptic process from Krones was more important than the price.”

And there was another plus. With the newly developed valve, the filler is able to bottle both still and carbonated beverages in aseptic mode. So far, JFA has made use only of the option for filling still NFC juices, concentrate-based juices, squashes and vegetable juices in PET containers with a 38-millimetre neck finish.

Now it still has an option available for likewise producing carbonated drinks with a fruit-juice content in future and filling these in containers with a 28-millimetre neck finish. It was not least for this purpose that JFA had a VarioAsept shell-and-tube heat exchanger installed, for flash-pasteurising soft drinks with a fruit-juice content, plus a second disinfection unit for 28-millimetre closures.

Operators handle all machines

The new line has been working in three-shift operation right from the start. Three employees, supported by one bottling manager, are sufficient to run it.

Another advantage was that there were no language barriers with the Krones personnel during installation and commissioning, since the Alsace is bilingual by tradition, meaning French is spoken there alongside German.

And Krones’ capability of supplying both the filling kit and the process technology involved made cooperation even easier for Eva and Buhler.

“In terms of process engineering, in particular, Krones has made substantial progress over recent years,” said Eva. “Being able to single-source everything made it a whole lot simpler for us.”

Long continuous running

The line now bottles up to 15 different products per week. Its maximum speed is 36,000 containers an hour. A choice of six mould sets are available, for blow-moulding both round and square containers.

Five of these (in sizes of 1.0 litre, 1.5 litres and 2.0 litres) have been designed for still beverages, and one mould is used specifically for blow-moulding a bottle later to contain carbonated beverages.

“Given the frequent product change-overs, it’s vital to minimise the times needed for intermediate cleaning,” said Buhler.

But not every product change-over inevitably necessitates an intermediate rinsing routine. Although the continuous running time has been acceptance-tested at 120 hours, in the case of the shell-and-tube heat exchanger JFA performs an intermediate cleaning routine after 72 hours, just to be on the safe side – especially when products with a pulp content are being handled.

“The figure we’re achieving for steam consumption, at 0.4 tons per hour, is a very good one. It shows that the shell-and-tube heat exchanger works at a high level of excellence, by balancing its own energy requirements itself,” said Buhler.

After the line had been acceptance-tested, JFA concluded a five-year maintenance agreement with Krones, which is linked to a set point operating efficiency. “The ultimate goal is for us to be able to perform maintenance routines ourselves after that,” explained Eva.

And “just in passing”, JFA also refurbished its existing glass line while the aseptic line was installed. The glass bottles are now dressed on two Prontomatic cold-glue labellers. So as to guarantee optimum label placement, JFA purchases adhesives from KIC Krones.

As a versatile all-rounder, the Variopac Pro WTFS can produce full-size cartons, trays with film, trays without film, or just film-wrapped packs. This packer has replaced several discrete machines.

“The Variopac has enabled us to reduce staffing levels per shift from six to four operators,” said Buhler.

For the former plant manager and for the present one as well, the target is to turn their Jus de Fruits d’Alsace plant into the most efficient facility within the LSDH Group. That should be no problem.

Why do Australians choose vodka?

It’s one of the world’s most popular spirits with more than 4 billion litres sold in 2012. But its popularity is now in decline.

While premium and flavoured vodkas have seen a surge in popularity, drinkers are increasingly moving to whisky for its apparent authenticity, as well as gin as it loses the label of a drink for ‘old people’.

Given vodka is a drink that’s supposed to have no taste, vodka companies must resort to less traditional methods to differentiate their brands.

New research by Associate Professor Catherine Prentice from Edith Cowan University has shed light on what helps Australian consumers make the decision to buy vodka.

Her research surveyed 350 Australians on their attitudes towards vodka in a variety of different subjects. It found we’re basically just suckers for marketing.

Branding

The research found branding was hugely important to drinkers’ attitude towards vodka in general, which brands they preferred and how often they would drink certain brands.

“Slick branding and advertising creates a vital point of difference and is a big part of the reason consumers have a positive attitude towards vodka,” Dr Prentice said.

Unsurprisingly, some brands do it better than others.

For example, Absolut Vodka has one of the most recognisable brands of any company in the world.

Packaging

Vodka companies spend endless hours designing spirit bottles, logos and packaging. While they certainly affect drinkers’ choice of a vodka brand, they’re unlikely to choose vodka because of a fancy bottle if they set out to buy gin.

“To consumers packaging is regarded as a cue to a product’s quality,” Dr Prentice said.

“It directly affects the way consumers perceive the quality of products and their brand, and in some cases packaging has been more important than the product itself.

“The research showed elaborate packaging would only affect drinkers’ choice of which brand of vodka – it has no impact on whether they choose vodka over another drink.”

So those assault rifle and crystal skull bottles are even more of a gimmick than you thought they were.

Country of Origin

Unlike wine and whiskey, the country of origin of vodka makes little difference to drinkers’ preference. This is despite almost universal agreement by study participants that some countries produce better vodka.

“In Australia, most of our vodkas are imported. So while we know vodkas from Russia, Sweden, Poland or France can be good quality we don’t distinguish between them,” Dr Prentice said.

Social Media

Social media marketing appears to have a big influence on what brand of vodka was consumed. It also influences how frequently they’re likely to purchase the same brand.

“Social media has been acknowledged as being potentially the most powerful tool for marketing brands,” Dr Prentice said.

“When consumers see their friends posting positively about a product or brand, that’s a big influence for them to purchase the same brand.”

“Likewise when consumers are engaging with a brand on social media they’re very likely to remain loyal to that brand.”

In other words, once you’ve ‘liked’ a brand on Facebook you’re much more likely to buy it in the future.

The research was published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

New adhesives handle difficult labelling issues

Self-adhesive specialist HERMA knows how to handle difficult issues in labelling and launches two new products: HERMAsuperTack (63Vst), a completely resin-free adhesive for labels that require extremely strong initial tack, and HERMAsuperPerm (63S), with which even conventional labels can be used to implement tamper-evident solutions as required for pharmaceutical in more and more countries.

Since migration is determined by the adhesive’s resin content, the new HERMAsuperTack (63Vst) offers especially low migration levels. It features correction factor 2, and thereby reaches the approval for dry, moist, and fatty foods.

“Thereby, we are coming closer than ever to the zero migration benchmark”, said Dr. Ulli Nägele, HERMA’s Head of Research and Development.

Due to that and its excellent initial tack, HERMAsuperTack is ideally suited for labels that are applied to whole sausages or raw ham without a barrier layer made of film.  Since adhesives owe most of their good adhesive properties to resins, it had been nearly impossible to dispense with them up to now.

“The lower the resin content, the lower initial tack and final adhesion, especially on films”, explains HERMA’s Head of Research and Development. “But by applying our multi-layer technology, we were able to develop an adhesive that does enable us to dispense with resins – without any compromises.”

On the contrary: its excellent initial tack makes HERMAsuperTack ideally suited for problem-solving when it comes to films and moist, fatty, or slightly dirty surfaces – its range extends well beyond food labelling. It makes the most of its advantages at near-freezing temperatures combined with condensation.

“The adhesive received top marks in tests at 0 and +2°C on polar and non-polar surfaces”, says Dr. Nägele. “Even at temperatures below minus twenty degrees, it does not lose its tack.” But that is not all: due to its temperature resistance, HERMAsuperTack is also suitable for foodstuffs that have been recently heated, such as boiled chicken.

Highly resistant and suitable for universal use

The new, innovative HERMAsuperPerm 63S adhesive allows users to economically equip packaging for pharmaceuticals as well as other products with tamper-evident labels. Such tamper-proof features became mandatory for prescription drugs in more and more countries.

The final adhesion of HERMAsuperPerm 63S is so high that sealing labels equipped with the adhesive cannot be removed from lacquered pharmaceutical packaging as well as many other polar and non-polar surfaces, such as paper, cardboard, or plastics and steel without destruction of the label or the packaging surface. Elaborate and costly special materials like self-destructive films, holograms, cellophane wraps, or even completely new folding box designs are thus no longer required.

Besides being extremely ageing-resistant, HERMA superPerm 63S is highly resistant against water, hot air, and various solvents. Since it is a dispersion adhesive, adhesive materials can be easily processed in spite of relatively thick adhesive coating.

Cost-efficient tamper-evident labels

A number of reasons can be argued for the use of sealing labels to ensure a first-opening guarantee: “Labels on pharmaceutical packaging are, as a matter of principle, accepted in the market. Moreover, they do not change the established appearance of existing packages”, explains Dr. Ulli Nägele

“Folding boxes and folding box machines that have already been validated can continue to be used.” The application process for the labels, which have an essentially conventional design, is technically uncomplicated.

“The main reason against using conventional, economic labels for reliable tamper-proofing was the fact that they are removable. This has been invalidated through HERMAsuperPerm 63S.”

 

Chef’s Pantry keeps veg fresh with new flooring

When Chef’s Pantry refurbished the vegetable processing area of its Braeside plant, it was imperative for the food distribution business to ensure a hygienic environment that would maintain the freshness of its produce.

To meet this top priority and minimise the risk of contamination, a specialist flooring solution was installed that would facilitate the removal of dirt, grime and bacteria from the area.

Approximately 1,200m² of Flowfresh SR (4-6mm) and Flowfresh Sealer was installed to create a seamless, easy to clean finish that would maintain an impervious, gap-free coating despite the busy onsite operating conditions that are inherent to supplying over 90 tonnes of fresh food products every week. Drainage was incorporated into the finish so that unwanted contaminants could be quickly washed out of the area.

Daniel Grunfield, Chef’s Pantry’s Sales Manager, said that thanks to the new floor “cleaning is so much easier and faster”. He added that “cleanliness is the most important part of our business, and with this floor it is much easier to tell if we have a problem and so much easier to keep clean as well”.

The new, Ash Grey, light-reflective finish would provide the site with an aesthetically pleasing surface able to withstand the inevitable impacts, traffic, spillages and cleaning that it would be subjected to.

A key factor behind Chef’s Pantry’s choice of flooring was that Flowcrete Australia’s Flowfresh range has been HACCP International certified. HACCP International operates a product certification scheme within which they evaluate materials intended for the food industry to identify food safety hazards and appropriate controls in order to reduce the risk of food contamination from those materials. This is now a key requirement of many due diligence processes, including the approved procurement of materials.

Flowcrete Australia’s Victoria Sales Manager, Arthur Karayannis, said, “Flowfresh has been designed to meet the challenging flooring needs of the food and beverage industry, where it is critical to keep processing areas clean and clear despite the chemicals, traffic, equipment and intensity inherent to the sector.

“This food safe approach to flooring was ideal for Chef’s Pantry, which knew that getting the processing area right was essential to providing the freshest and highest quality produce to its customers.”

Another important factor for Chef’s Pantry when it was undertaking its flooring specification was that the flooring incorporates the antimicrobial additive Polygiene. This silver-ion based agent is able to eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria in contact with the floor. The polyurethane system has been proven to meet the ISO 22196 standard, which measures the antibacterial effectiveness of plastics and other non-porous surfaces.

The combination of HACCP International certification and ISO 22196 compliance proves that Flowfresh is uniquely tailored to meet the food industry’s stringent hygiene demands.

Flowcrete Australia’s approved applicator had to ensure that the flooring project was undertaken quickly, as there was only a limited shut down opportunity available. It was also important to minimise the installation timetable, as taintable food was being stored in an adjacent area.

The flooring’s positively textured finish provides a slip resistant surface, which enhanced the safety levels in Chef’s Pantry’s vegetable processing area, where dropped produce, spillages and cleaning water could potentially lead to slippery conditions.

Big retailers are realising the risk of moving into convenience stores

Supermarkets have moved quickly to capitalise on a growth of inner city dwellers with smaller houses but some retailers like Walmart, Tesco, Morrisons and even Woolworths are back peddling due to the risks.

With the rise of smaller one and two bedroom apartments with smaller kitchens and an abundance of restaurants, bistros and cafes that amass inner-city streets, consumers are accordingly purchasing groceries more frequently, up to three times per week and in smaller volumes.

Convenience store growth, online grocery sales and the aggressive expansion of discounters like Aldi, have progressively changed shopping behaviour, encouraging regular top-up shopping rather than weekly one-stop shops. As a result, the big four UK grocery retailers now run more convenience stores like Tesco Express, Tesco Metro, Sainsbury’s Local and M Local, than full-line supermarkets. Woolworths have also dipped their toe cautiously into the convenience market.

The challenge of convenience

While the convenience market proposes opportunities for large supermarkets, it also presents risks. The attractiveness of lower build, fit out and leasing costs associated with opening smaller store formats, is weighed against less space and accordingly, less range. Misreading the needs of the local market and getting that range wrong, will negatively impact on sales.

The costs associated with running convenience are significantly higher than large format supermarkets. Wage costs in convenience stores can hover above 13%, whereas a full-line supermarket can run on less 9% wages to sales. Waste, shrinkage and other operating expenses are inflated as a result of lower sales.

Competition is ferocious. While a supermarket may compete with another neighbouring supermarket, supermarket run convenience stores may find themselves in direct competition with local delicatessens, bakeries, butcheries, news agencies, all vying for the best locations and customers’ dollar.

Eating themselves alive

There are no switching costs in grocery retailing and shoppers today are not mortgaged to any food retailer. This lack of shopper loyalty has driven UK supermarkets to ultimately cannibalise their own sales by rushing to open smaller format stores.

By opening convenience stores on high streets, transit hubs and inner-city areas, the supermarkets have encouraged consumers to shop more frequently for groceries, rather than doing the one big weekly shop.

Today, shoppers now pop into the convenience store to purchase their evening meal on the way home from work, shop in a supermarket for non-perishable foods and then drop into a discounter like Aldi for a bargains. While a move into convenience and smaller store formats make sense, supermarkets should be aware of the risks ever present.

Abandoning the small store strategy

In response to an aggressive rollout of small format stores and the protracted price wars, Tesco announced it would review its fleet of stores. It closed 43, 18 of which were Tesco Express convenience stores and 12 smaller Tesco Metro urban stores. Similarly, UK grocery chain Morrisons also moved to closed around 10 convenience stores.

In the US, Walmart announced the closure [over 100 Walmart Express stores] [https://blog.walmart.com/business/20160115/doug-mcmillon-answers-questions-about-sharpened-focus-on-stores], citing a return to the big retail store format.

Here in Australia, four Woolworths metro stores are targeted for closure with the renewal of leases of a further five stores in jeopardy.

It appears Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has taken a leaf out of the play bookof Morrisons’ Chairman Andy Higginson’s , who said he now wants Morrisons to focus on its supermarkets. Banducci’s briefing to the market illustrated a returned focus on Woolworths’ core business of supermarkets and liquor.

The strategy involved slashing ranges of tiered private label products, closing under performing stores, [increasing productivity and cutting costs.] [https://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/woolworths-ceo-brad-banducci-unveils-growth-aspirations-20160606-gpctce.html]. It’s a smart strategy indeed that will lead to a leaner, meaner, agile Woolworths in the years ahead.

The Conversation

Gary Mortimer, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

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

Beverage makers innovate through packaging

Beverage brand owners are exploiting packaging opportunities to deliver a variety of innovative solutions for their brands. Beer, water, wine and the carbonated soft drinks categories have been particularly active over the last twelve months as identified in a new study from UK packaging consultancy ThePackHub.

The report focuses on over 240 packaging innovation ideas. Many of these are smart and intelligent solutions. These R&D developments focus on the latest technological advances and may still take a number of years to come to market. Some adapt existing technologies and knowledge and move the game forward slightly.

Others are new to the world initiatives that really take beverage packaging innovations to another level. Some of the packaging innovations we’ve spotted include a beer bottle cap from Beck’s with a 360 degree lens for taking pictures, a smart packaging application that activates LED lights when consumers interact and a smart cap device that reminds consumers to stay hydrated.

Another area showing good growth is around sustainability as brands aim to gain competitive advantage, consumer acceptance and improve the environment through the implementation of ecologically focused packaging. Digital print has also opened up opportunity for beer and carbonated soft drink brands to create, in some instances, millions of uniquely designed packs to improve shelf stand out.

The beverage packaging innovation market is brown down into the following key themes:

  • Added Functionality – packs that deliver extra capability to improve value for consumers
  • Sustainability – meeting brand owners’ requirements for more eco-friendly packaging
  • Active & intelligent – packaging that uses the latest technological advancements to deliver ground-breaking and sometimes disruptive solutions
  • Innovative format – a new way of presenting product that meets an unmet consumer need
  • On the go – packaging that facilities on the move consumption. Very important in the beverage category
  • Consumer interaction – packaging innovation that encourages consumers to interface with the product
  • Product preservation – packaging that improves shelf life or keeps product fresher for longer
  • Pack security & anti counterfeit – solutions that improve tamper evidence, make the pack safer or make it more difficult for fake brands to operate
  • Shelf impact – packaging that disrupts the shelf and/or encourages shoppers to take a second look
  • Alternative pack format – packs normally seen in other categories help to create a point of difference for a beverage brand

[Paul Jenkins is Managing Director of ThePackHub]

Aus tracer technology to combat Chinese counterfeit wine

YPB’s anti-counterfeit technology is the latest product developed to counter the growing trend of counterfeit wine.

The technology involves an invisible ‘tracer’ mixed with paint, plastics or ink and applied to wine bottle closures, corks or labels enabling retailers and consumers to check the bottles for authenticity. Combined with YPB’s customer “connect” technology, this solution is designed to protect and detect and importantly connect brands with customers.

The solution suite, manufactured and distributed by Australian anti-counterfeit and product authentication company YPB Group, was displayed at the 16th Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference and Trade Exhibition, held in Adelaide this week.

Counterfeit wine is a significant and growing issue, especially in China. Recent reports show that China is now on par with the USA in terms of wine exports (by value) for Australia and increased by 71 per cent in 2015.

YPB has led the market in combatting counterfeiting – particularly in the wine industry through a mix of Invisible tracer technology and the use of QR codes and NFC technologies. YPB is the only company able to offer an end-to-end solution covering authentication and connecting brand owners with their consumers through their YPB Connect Platform.

Independent wine commentator Jeremy Oliver estimates up to 50 per cent of wine costing $35+ per bottle sold in China is fake – either with a fake label, a refilled bottle or a copycat brand.

“Early counterfeit wine was easy to spot in China, because the labels were inferior, the English on the labels was unusual, and even the bottle shapes were often incorrect,” Oliver said. “But lately wine counterfeiters have become more professional. They are putting fake wine labels on cleanskin bottles, or refilling empty bottles with inferior wine – often from countries like Chile and Argentina – and then recorking and recapping them.”

“I have heard stories that the average bottle of champagne in China is filled seven times and in November 2012 police in Wenzhou Province seized nearly 10,000 bottles of counterfeit Chateaux Lafite Rothschild. Estimates are that around 30 million bottles of so-called Chateau Lafite are sold in China each year, from a winery whose total production is around 200,000 bottles and whose China allocation is around 50,000 bottles.”

YPB Group’s tracer is made under a patented process from rare earth inorganic materials, it is invisible, indestructible, unable to be copied, and can be incorporated into almost any material, in the case of wine it can be applied to the capsules that cover the tops of wine bottles, wine labels or boxes. Hand-held readers detect the tracer on the packaging or bottle thereby proving the authenticity of the product. The hand-held readers, which can be used by distributors, wholesalers, and retailers are inexpensive and simple to use.

YPB’s tracer can be used to protect many types of goods including food, wine and clothing. It meets FDA Food contact standards in China, Europe and USA.

In May this year YPB announced an agreement with global packaging company Orora, permitting Orora to offer YPB’s ‘Protect Detect Connect’ solutions to its clients. Orora, which has annual turnover of around $3.5 billion, provides packaging solutions to the manufacturers of beverages, fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood producers within Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Mexico.

John Houston, executive chairman of YPB Group, said global counterfeiters were growing in sophistication, affecting both consumers and manufacturers.

“Consumers are often not getting what they think they are buying and manufacturers’ brands are at risk,” he said. “Each year the worldwide counterfeit trade in all goods is worth $US 1.7 trillion. More and more companies are realising that nothing will change unless they actively combat the counterfeit trade.”

YPB’s anti-counterfeit technology has also been adopted by governments and is currently in 18 million e-passports worldwide.

 

Managing risk in food and beverage businesses

When most business owners think of risk management their mind shifts towards avoiding losses. What if I told you this is one of the biggest opportunities missed by business leaders?

Each time you view risk in your business you’re faced with the same dilemma – is this risk worth the reward. Your first instinct may be to avoid the opportunity, or pursue it, but how can you determine which will add the most value to you organisation?

Why do the best businesses use risk management to add value?

Premier Fruits Group (PFG) is a great example of a business which understands both sides of the risk management equation. PFG is owned by three families and turns over around $250 million annually. PFG is currently looking to acquire companies in the Asia region where they can add value via their food safety and control processes.

According to PFG’s Anthony Di Pietro, Australia’s stringent safety standards have “created disciplines and processes in the business that make us world leading in supply chain management”, allowing the company to significantly de-risk businesses in the Asia region which haven’t conformed to the same controls. This is important for PFG because of the role risk plays in setting the value of an investment.

Risk is a key variable in the value equation

A simplified equation to value a business is:

Value = EBITDA x Risk Multiple

We focus a great deal of attention every day on the first part of this equation, but how much time do we spend on the second component, and the time we do spend, is it strategic or reactive?

Risk management allows you to improve your organisation discount rate, making your future cash-flow more predictable. See the below graph to see how an improvement in Risk Maturity correlates to your EBITDA (Graph can be embedded here)

How can risk management add value to MY organisation?

Risk management allows you to more accurately value your business but what does this actually look like?

There are five areas where risk management can add greater value to your business.  We will explain these five using examples from or experience with various clients in the food and beverage industry.

  1. Better Decisions

A major food brand had built their business based on the strong relationships in place with contract manufacturers, however had no formal contracts in place.  When considering the supply chain risks associated with various interruption scenarios, they realised that agreeing contracts would ensure all parties would understand where responsibilities lie and would be able to manage these risks much more proactively, for the benefit of all parties.

  1. Competitive Advantage

A manufacturer was limiting the amount of credit issued to customers in order to avoid the downside of bad debts may lead to. Instead if you focus on improving credit control systems, and complement these systems with trade credit insurance, you minimise your exposure and allows you to offer longer credit terms than your peers, creating the opportunity for significant increases in sales.

  1. Resilience 

A contract manufacturer was searching for long term commitment to invest in new equipment, so a business impact analysis was used to demonstrate the benefits of the investment in additional lines. By allowing for redundancy and having extra capacity, this provided customers with more certainty around continuity of supply and resulted in a long term engagement to supply.

  1. Risk Culture

Changes to safety legislation challenged the “fend-for-yourself” business model of a national franchisor.  A two-year commitment to a safety framework with franchisees delivered compliance, lower incident statistics, and improved relationships with franchisees, which resulted in efficiencies in the operation and better service to customers.

  1. Cost Reduction

A large food processing business saved over $4M in premium over 4 years via a significant investment in the risk improvement of their facilities and their operations.

What are my next steps?

Risk has a negative connotation but in business we take risks every day. The real problem is not knowing which risks are worth taking.

If you want to maximise the value you can add to your organisation complete Victual’s Risk Maturity Survey.

Ten facts you need to know about the chicken and eggs on your table

When I am asked by friends what I do for living, I tend to raise eyebrows because my job is somewhat odd to many city people. That’s because I’m a poultry nutritionist.

Typically, the conversation turns into a friendly debate on the myths around eating chicken. Do we feed chicken hormones? Are any chickens genetically engineered? Do free range chickens taste better? And so on.

So to save everyone some time, here are some of the most common questions I get asked, and the answers I give.

1) Should you buy hormone-free chicken?

The truth is that no chickens or eggs produced in Australia contain added hormones, and they have not been given hormones for decades.

Independent tests by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, as part of the National Residue Survey, confirm that Australian chicken meat is free of added hormones.

Not that it would be easy to give them hormones anyway. Growth hormones are proteins similar to insulin used to treat diabetes.

Like insulin, they can only be injected into the body because they are broken down in the digestive tract. Therefore, it is pointless to provide chickens growth hormones in their food because they would be rendered ineffective.

And given a typical commercial shed may accommodate 40,000 to 60,000 birds per shed, it is simply logistically impossible to inject hormones into each chicken.

2) Are meat chickens genetically modified to grow fast?

Our chickens are not genetically modified, and their genes have not been altered artificially. Modern meat chickens grow more quickly and are more “meaty” than chicken breeds available decades ago due to selective breeding and optimal nutrition.

Just like pedigree dog breeders breed their puppies for desired traits, selective breeding involves those animals that show the desirable characteristics being selected as the parents for the next generation in the breeding program, and this process being repeated over many generations.

In the 1960s, the goal of selective breeding in meat chickens was simply increased growth rate and increased meat production. Nowadays, the focus has changed from growth and yield to a broad spectrum of outcomes, with a clear emphasis on improving animal welfare, reproduction and overall fitness.

3) Are meat chickens raised in cages?

All commercial meat chickens are kept in large poultry sheds on litter floors, covered with things like rice hulls or wood shavings. They are not kept in cages.

Additionally, some meat chickens also have access to the outdoors, such as those often referred to as either free-range or organic. A simple comparison is shown below.

4) Are free range chickens happier and healthier?

Not always. In fact, free range chickens are more likely to catch diseases, get injured and die earlier than those kept inside.

In the UK, free range egg layers have a mortality rate of 8-10%, which is far higher than caged hens’ death rate of 2-4%.

The contact between free range chickens and wild birds also increases the risk of spreading bird flu. And birds can die from over-consuming grass.

Cannibalism can also happen in egg layers and it is a big challenge for free range egg production systems in particular.

We always assume animals behave in a civilised manner. But the fact is free range layer hens may peck each other to death. Cannibalism in poultry is part of their natural behaviour and, unfortunately, it has proven difficult to get rid of.

5) Do free range or organic chickens taste better?

There is very little data supporting the idea that free range or organic chickens actually taste better than conventionally farmed ones.

Commercial meat chickens do not tend to like running around, as they were selected to maximise their growth. So it’s a myth that more exercise makes chicken meat more tender.

Is it organic? Does it matter?
Shutterstock

6) Why are some meat chickens yellow in colour?

In some cultures, chickens with yellow fat and skin are considered to be better quality. However, this is not true.

The yellowness of the skin, fat and egg yolk depends on the level of beta carotene in the diets. So those yellow chickens are fed with a corn-based diet, which is higher in beta carotene.

7) Are meat and egg laying chickens the same breed?

The meat and egg industries have different requirements, and use different breeds of bird.

The only eggs produced in the meat industry are those needed to produce the next generation of chickens.

Ross and Cobb birds are the two common commercial breeds selected for meat production.

The egg industry houses their hens quite differently and uses very different breeds of chickens, which are bred selectively over many generations to exhibit optimal egg producing characteristics.

The common breeds of laying hens in Australia are the Hyline Brown and the Isa Brown.

8) Why are some eggs white and others brown?

The colour of eggshells is the result of pigments being deposited during egg formation. The type of pigment depends upon the breed and is genetically determined.

To get a hint about the egg colour, look at the colour of the chicken’s ear lobes!

Interestingly, people have strong preferences for different egg shell colours in different markets. In Australia and parts of Asia, brown eggs are preferred, whereas in the US and Japan, people prefer white eggs.

The nutritional value of the egg only depends on the chickens’ diet, not the system of production or the colour of the egg shell.

For example, it has been shown that vitamin D-enhanced eggs can be produced if the diet is supplemented with high level of an active form of vitamin D.

9) What types of chickens do restaurants use?

It is often difficult to tell.

Fast food chains are more likely to use chickens produced conventionally unless specially labelled. Restaurants vary in the chickens they use. If you prefer a particular type of chicken, be sure to ask before you order.

10) Does Australia import chickens from elsewhere?

All the raw chicken meat available in Australia is grown in Australia.

According to Australian Chicken Meat Federation, we consumed 45.3kg of chicken meat per person in 2015, which means 870 grams of chicken meat per week.

Last year, more than 1.1 million tonnes of chicken meat was produced in Australia and almost all of it was consumed here.

The claim “produced in Australia” is applicable to almost all chicken meat sold in Australia with only very small quantities of cooked chicken meat being imported from New Zealand and some canned products containing chicken also potentially imported.


Sonia will be online for an Author Q&A between 1:30 and 2:30 on Wednesday, 27 July, 2016. Post any questions you have in the comments below.

The Conversation

Sonia Yun Liu, Lecturer in Poultry Nutrition, University of Sydney

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

Council partnership shows how ultra-filtration can benefit Australia’s water resources

Municipal councils all over Australasia are seeking optimum ways to address challenges posed by water resources declining both in quantity and quality under pressure from local populations and the needs of industry and agricultural users.

Such demands are compounded further as environmentally and health-aware public authorities simultaneously seek to deliver quality water services while playing their part in conservation by making best use of their areas’ shared water resources.

One council that has successfully used advanced ultra-filtration technology to deliver a high standard outcome for its district is Wakool Shire Council which draws its water from the Murray River and treats it in the small town of Tooleybuc, NSW, right on the border with Victoria.

Working together with CST Wastewater Solutions’ delivery partner Envirotech Water Solutions, Wakool Shire Council replaced the old plant with a new ultra-filtration plant to provide potable water for Tooleybuc’s town water supply. The entire plant was installed in just 2 weeks of on-site work and achieved results exceeding Australian standards.

“It was an outstanding outcome to be able to work with the council to complete the work so efficiently within a narrow timeframe. Wakool Shire Council are very happy with the installation, which uses technology widely applicable to the many councils facing similar issues,” says Mr Damien Abbott, Business Development Manager – Victoria, CST Wastewater Solutions.

“Another big advantage for councils like Wakool is that on-site attendance and maintenance is very low, with only one day a week being required. This produces both cost-efficiency and OH&S benefits,” said  Abbott.

TooleybuconeLR

The new plant has a capacity of 0.5 ML/day (over 20 hours) with a peak flow of 6 l/s. The water is treated for turbidity, colour, protozoa and viruses using CST’s advanced ultra-filtration technology. The technology reduces turbidity from 8 NTU to <0.1 NTU and colour from 15 to 5. Australian drinking water standards specify that acceptable drinking water needs to be <5 NTU and <15 true colour*, so the Tooleybuc plant well exceeds these standards.

“Improving turbidity by over 80 times and significantly reducing the colour to exceed Australian Standards is an excellent result for the project, which is widely applicable to councils and municipalities across Australia,” said  Abbott.

The Pentair X-Flow ultra-filtration plant installed at Tooleybuc is a new generation of low-pressure membrane filtration technology engineered to produce water from all kinds of water sources using ultra-filtration (UF) and, more recently, Nano-filtration (NF).  X-flow’s strength is the integration of critical process steps to ensure a Fill Circle Membrane Technology partnering approach encompassing all key process and operational steps including membrane manufacture, engineering design, installation and commissioning support and ongoing operational support.

*Based on Australian Drinking Water Guidelines Version 2.0 (Updated December 2013)

Smoothies as talismans: the allure of superfoods and the dangers of nutritional primitivism

Superfoods are everywhere these days. Once found only in niche health food shops, displays of “exotic” superfoods like açai from the Brazilian Amazon and maca from the Peruvian Andes now appear in supermarket chains, chemists, and convenience stores.

One can hardly open a newspaper or magazine without coming across a list of the top superfoods you should be eating, or an article debunking the entire premise of them.

New superfoods keep coming, too. The latest product, Australian native “bio-food” Gurạdji (ger-ra-je), is promoted as “anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and beneficial to gut health”, while simultaneously being an “undiscovered” superfood used for “thousands of years”.

But what are superfoods, and why do so many Australians find them to be both seductive and confusing? The word itself is the creation of marketing, but their history and popular appeal are more than superficial.

We can study superfoods in two ways: firstly, as a popular way of thinking and talking about food, health, and values; and secondly, as a particular group of food products produced by real people in a global food economy.

Seductive and medicinal

In Australia, consumers are drawn to superfoods because they are positioned between food and medicine. Through focus group interviews with superfoods consumers, I’ve found that this in-between quality is part of what makes superfoods so alluring – “a bit seductive” as one participant put it – and also so confusing, because how much or how often to consume them, and precisely what benefits they offer, are often unclear.

Participants in the study rarely spoke about the taste of superfoods – they focussed more on health benefits. So it’s not surprising that superfoods are most frequently consumed in smoothies, where they are blended together into a meal that’s also a multivitamin and preventative medicine. This smoothie becomes a talismanic object that’s seen as providing protection from many of the health threats of the modern world.

These findings underscore classic anthropological observations about the power of ambiguous objects. They help us to understand why certain foods carry more cultural appeal than others.

Shutterstock

But superfood consumers are not as naïve as one might think. Most express scepticism towards superfood health claims and recognise that they are being sold a romantic image. However, they are happy to succumb to a bit of magical thinking and eat superfoods as a sort of extra insurance, because they believe that they might help and probably can’t hurt.

This attitude might not be a big concern for those who choose to buy superfoods. But the focus on individual foods and nutrients might distract from major public health messages of eating a balanced diet, and downplay the impact of increased demand for “exotic” superfoods on producers in the global south.

The lure of ‘all-natural’

Many of us are living, arguably, in an era of functional nutritionism. In wealthy countries like Australia, we’ve largely solved the public health problems of malnutrition. Most research and dietary advice focusses on eating the “right” nutrients and foods to maximise health and prevent chronic disease.

One outcome of this focus is the rise of “functional foods” designed to offer extra nutritional value: vitamin-D fortified orange juice, omega-3 enriched eggs, or cholesterol-lowering margarines, for example.

Many people accept the idea that if we consume large quantities of the right nutrients we can be extra healthy, but reject “functional foods”. They want all those nutrients, but they don’t want to eat highly formulated and often heavily processed foods.

This is where superfoods come into the picture. They embrace the premise of functional nutritionism, and flaunt their high levels of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. But they insist these nutrients are better when they come in a more natural form.

WILLIAM ISMAEL, CC BY-SA

Nutritional primitivism

For many of the more exotic superfoods, like quinoa, chia seed, and açai, associations with “ancient” or “indigenous” traditions are another major selling point.

For example, chia, a seed native to Mesoamerica, is often called the “superfood of the Aztecs”, while the Peruvian root maca is frequently marketed as the “Inca superfood.”

The assumption that a food or diet is healthier because it is more natural, authentic, and ancient is widespread in contemporary food and nutrition culture: Paleolithic and low-carbohydrate diets are two popular examples.

Food culture researcher Dr Christine Knight has called this trend nutritional primitivism: the tendency to romanticise ancient or indigenous food practices as being inherently healthier because they are supposedly simpler and more in touch with nature.

Superfoods as global food products

Representing superfoods as “exotic” and “primitive” can have consequences for producers in the global south. By depicting superfood production in primitive utopias, the real lives – and real food security and food sovereignty struggles – of these populations are erased in favour of more romantic images.

For example, the packaging of popular Australian superfood brand Power Super Foods features illustrations of indigenous-looking women happily harvesting products by hand in pristine surroundings.

In reality, most superfoods are grown using modern agriculture, with machinery such as tractors and dehydrators. The people who produce superfoods face the same real problems as farmers anywhere, like climate variation and fluctuating prices. But often their struggles are even harder as they have less political and economic power.

All of this doesn’t mean that superfoods aren’t healthy or good for you. But we should be aware that superfoods are a symptom of nutritional confusion and an often-exploitative global food system, not a cure.

 


This is the fourth article in our ongoing series on food and culture Tastes of a Nation. You can read previous instalments here.

The Conversation

Jessica Loyer, PhD Candidate in Humanities, University of Adelaide

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