Food & Beverage Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:35:12 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 Food & Beverage 32 32 Fonterra opens Stanhope dairy facility Fri, 18 Aug 2017 02:35:12 +0000 Fonterra, Australia’s largest exporter of dairy products, officially opened its rebuilt Stanhope Facility today.

Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford officially opened Fonterra’s rebuilt and expanded facility, which has helped retain 120 jobs and create an additional 30 jobs.

Throughout the 18 month building and commissioning phase of the project, over 200 contractors worked to build the new plant.

The project included demolition and rebuilding of the fire damaged hard cheese room and installing modern processing equipment to increase production of a range of cheeses.

In addition, a modern mozzarella manufacturing facility was installed and a whey production and processing has been reinstated.

In December 2014, the existing cheese production facility at Stanhope was destroyed by a major fire at the plant.

The new facility has increased cheese production by 50 per cent each year on the previous plant, and will make hard cheeses such as cheddar and mozzarella for the domestic and export markets.

Nearly three-quarters of the 2 billion litres of milk processed by Fonterra each year is supplied by 1000 Victorian farms.

“We’ve worked closely with Fonterra Australia to facilitate the investment in rebuilding, modernising and expanding their Stanhope facility,” said Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford.

“Fonterra will be making cheese right here in Stanhope, in the heart of Victoria’s dairy country, and sending it around Australia and to the world.”

Senate Dairy Report is spot on says Dairy Connect Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:48:21 +0000 Advocacy group Dairy Connect has thrown its weight behind the findings of the Senate Standing Committees on Economics inquiry into the Dairy Industry presented in Parliament tonight.

A total of 12 recommendations arising from the far-reaching review were tabled as part of the Senate package.

CEO Shaughn Morgan said today the Senate recommendations were largely in line with a written Dairy Connect submission provided last November and face-to-face evidence given to the to the review by Graham Forbes, President, Dairy Connect Farmers Group in Brisbane earlier this year.

The Senate inquiry into the Australian dairy industry began following dramatic cuts to farm gate milk prices by processors Murray Goulburn Co-Op and Fonterra.

The subsequent clawback of money previously paid to farmers gave rise to a strident debate about contractual fairness in the industry.

The Senate review has been running parallel to a second inquiry being undertaken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which is due to hand its report to the Federal Treasurer in November.

Recommendations from the Senate review today included asking the ACCC to reflect on how effectively the recently released Australian Dairy Industry Council’s voluntary Dairy Industry Code of Practice would address power imbalances between milk producers and milk processors.

“The Senate Committee also asked that the ACCC consider how collective bargaining by dairy farmers could be strengthened,” Shaughn Morgan said.

“The Senate report has also recommended that any review of the voluntary Code for contractual relationships be conducted independently.”

“Further the report puts forward that industry organisations should team up with retailers to develop an ‘education campaign’ to promote awareness of the industry value chain so consumers were empowered to make more informed purchase decisions.”

Shaughn Morgan said careful consideration should also be given to the Senate recommendation that dairy processors set opening milk prices ‘conservatively’.

“This may help avoid the damaging price step-downs by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra that impacted dramatically on family farmers and entire regional & rural communities during the past 15 months,” he said.

“Importantly, it was recommended that the ACCC address the challenge of unfair contract terms and advise whether short form milk supply contracts fell within the scope of the law relating to unfair contract terms.

“We support the recommendation that the government prioritise action to slash red tape for cooperatives and establish programs to facilitate the establishment of new cooperatives.

Dairy Connect remains supportive of the important and vital role that Dairy Australia provides to the dairy sector in RD&E.

Senators Jacqui Lamble and Nick Xenophon co-sponsored the motion to form the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry, with the support of the Government and Opposition, in October last year in response to the cuts made by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra to farm gate milk prices in April.



Aqualove alkaline water Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:37:29 +0000 Aqualove, a new alkaline and eco-friendly water product intended to meet the growing demand for products that assist with neutralising the body’s PH balance has been released.

Home-grown in the Blue Mountains, the product is infused with alkaline minerals enhances an active lifestyle.

With alkaline water rapidly flourishing in the USA, Sydney’s Ricky Herbert and Garrett Jandegian spent months researching and developing Aqualove to meet the local burgeoning interest for an easily accessible alkaline water with a great taste profile.

“We noticed an evolution of traditional water over in the States, and set out to create a superior alkaline drink, enriched with mineral content to ensure it contains an alkalinity of 9-10 on the pH scale,” said Ricky Herbert, Drinkpreneur and Director at Aqualove.

The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline something is and ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being highly acidic and 14 being highly alkaline. For optimum health, our bodies need to maintain a good level of alkalinity of between 7.2 and 7.6 pH

“We’ve noticed a clear shift in consumer demand towards healthier, lower calorie categories and wanted to create a fun, innovative and sustainable product in line with our lifestyle that we believe will resonate with our consumers,” said Herbert.

New communication protocols for motor controller Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:19:53 +0000 Responding to the demand for broadening the communication capacities of one of the its most popular controllers, SMC´s Direct Input Step Motor Controller is now available in three additional communication protocols, namely DeviceNet, EtherCAT and PROFINET. These now join EtherNet/IP fieldbus protocol which is already available.

The recently launched JXC series from SMC with its three additional communication protocols is designed to directly control the LE range of electric actuators, providing real-time, high speed communication as well as added security, thanks to a dual port in/out.

The controller is ideal for general machine builders who rely on accurate speed, position or force, but at the same time look to improved flexibility and stronger security. The DLR option gives added security and peace of mind as communication continues even when there is a disconnected element. In addition, real time feedback is achieved through numerical data input, in addition to half/full duplex high speed communication.

The JXC is another example of a recent innovation from SMC, with several new product launches taking place from the end of 2016 to date.

Now using four of the most common networks within process and automation applications, the Series opens the door to simpler and closer control for customers.

Due to its clever design, the series delivers a wealth of savings in terms of space, cabling and maintenance for customers.

Packaging as part of the food waste solution Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:00:41 +0000 While there are clear humanitarian, environmental and economic reasons to reduce food waste, the solutions to the problem are not as clear. We spoke to Karl Deily, President of Sealed Air Food Care to hear his views on how to best address this problem.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one third of all food produced globally each year is wasted.

Food waste also has major environmental implications. According to the World Resources Institute, if global food wastage were a country, it would rank only behind China and the US as the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter.

In Australia, according to the Federal Government, consumers waste 20 per cent of food they buy, while the commercial and industrial sectors waste around three million tonnes of food annually. All this is estimated to cost the Australian economy $20 billion a year.

The Federal Government has committed to reducing Australia’s food waste by 50 per cent by 2030. It will hold a National Food Waste summit involving government, industry, academia and the not-for-profit sector in November this year. The government has flagged the possibility of introducing incentives to reduce the amount of food ending up as landfill.

In other words, there has never been a better time than now for industry to address the problem. With this in mind, Food & Beverage Industry News caught up with Karl Deily, President of Sealed Air Food Care (pictured below) to hear his views.


Where and why?

First off, Deily explained that food loss and food waste are two distinct things. The former includes food that is lost during harvesting, while the latter covers waste by the processor, retailer or consumer.

While food loss is still a significant problem in the developing world, Deily explained that it is not as significant in developed economies. “In modern economies around the world most of the food is lost at the retailer and consumer level,” he said. “At the retailer it can be as high as 12 – 15 per cent, with some produce items as high as 30 per cent on a weight basis. When you look at calories wasted, dairy and meat products are significant contributors.”

There are a number of causes for the food waste problem. At the consumer level, much of it comes down to a lack of awareness.

According to Deily, while Australia ranks relatively highly in this regard, globally “most consumers don’t feel that they’re responsible for food waste, or its not high on their agenda but they feel they contribute to it.”

In actual fact, throwing out food has a significant impact.

“If a consumer throws away 2kg of meat they’re not just throwing away the meat. They’re also throwing away over 2,000 litres of water, 1kg of grain, 23kg of CO2 emission that it took to produce the product, process it distribute it and get it to the consumer,” said Deily.

At the retail level, the causes of food waste are more complex. The issue of “ugly produce” or food that does not meet the cosmetic standards of retailers (or consumers) is one important factor. According to Deily, shelf life is another. Too often, supermarkets find themselves having to either mark down prices as products approach their “best by” dates or, worse still, throw away food that has passed this date.

“Everyone is grappling with the difference between best before date, use buy date, sell by date, etc. These can all be very confusing,” said Deily. “They’re based on a statistical model, [whereby] if you have a sell by date and the food is thrown away, 50 per cent of the food you are throwing away is perfectly good because you have to determine an average life for the product.”

He pointed to a proposal to simplify the system by introducing a clear “Expires On” date which would only be used for foods such as meat where food safety can’t be compromised.

Other foods, like yoghurt, would carry only a “Best if used by” date. Consumers would be encouraged to use their discretion (and senses) to work out if such foods are still okay.


According to Deily, reducing food waste requires an end-to-end approach.

“We have to have logistics that protect the product through transportation. We have to have technologies that enable the retailer to merchandise the product in a way that minimises waste. Then we have to come up with labelling and information that resonates with the consumer,” he said.

According to Deily, packaging can be part of the solution.

“If you show consumers a cucumer unwrapped then show them one wrapped, they’ll say they want the unpackaged product because plastic has got to be bad for the environment,” he said.

However, what they don’t factor in is the fact that the packaged item lasts two to three times longer than the unpackaged item. Therefore it is more likely to make it to the consumer and less likely to end up as landfill where it will rot and produce methane (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2).

Deily added that in the case of meat, when the whole supply chain is considered, the carbon foot print of the product may be up to 300-400 times larger than that of its packaging. “So we look at what technologies can we use to extend the life of the product as long as possible,” he said.

Emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) will play an important role in reducing food waste.

According to Deily, IoT can help with tracking product, monitoring product temperature, and even with inventory and management control.

“IoT through connectivity and Quick Response (QR) or bar coding can ensure the oldest product is shipped and consumed first. And that there is better coordination between what is sold at retail and what is needed to be produced for replenishment of stock,” he said.

This technology can even help the consumer.

“We’re working on some QSR code technologies through the IoT which will drive an improved engagement with the consumer and the products they buy. This will enable the consumer to better understand how to use it, how to cook it and whether it’s okay to freeze at the end of its shelf-life,” said Deily.

Benefits for businesses

Apart from its humanitarian and environmental costs, food waste makes bad business sense.

“Globally, it’s estimated that 1.2 billion kg of meat is thrown out at retail every year… Businesses are throwing away over US$9b of product that they don’t sell,” said Deily.

The good news is that cost and waste reduction go hand-in-hand.

To illustrate the pointed Deily pointed to a study Sealed Air did for a UK retailer. By changing the package format in just one food category the retailer was able to reduce the amount of food they were throwing away by 350,000kg and provide a new package format that appealed to the consumer. This equated to an increase of value of US$19m from reduced food waste and increased product sales.

“We have data to show that every dollar you invest to minimise food waste there is about a $14 return on investment,” said Deily. “This is why prevention is preferred over strategies that either recycle or recover food that is about to become waste.”

Sealed Air

Deily pointed out that Sealed Air, predominantly a plastic packaging supplier, is judged by some as part of the problem. But he maintains the company is part of the solution.

For example, the company’s award winning Cryovac Darfresh on Tray more than doubles the shelf life of red meat when compared to the standard Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) process. In addition, it produces no film scrap and up to 40 per cent less material waste.

Another product, the Cryovac Freshness Plus film includes components which absorb oxygen before it reaches the product thereby enabling significant shelf life extension of products such as avocado and bakery goods.

Food waste at the manufacturing level can be effectively managed through improved process technology. Deily explained that this is because the sector operates in a closed environment and can therefore ensure that all processes are monitored and controlled.

Pork producers, for example, make it their business to market and merchandise almost every part of the animal. Apart from food for human consumption, they produce animal food and can even make fertiliser through blood recovery techniques.

“A lot of the loss for processors is just losing some of the economic value, so we work a lot with customers on making sure they maintain the highest value of their product by improving the yields and operational efficiency,” said Deily.

For example, Sealed Air has implemented technologies for deboning a turkey breast as thoroughly and efficiently as possible. The company works in processing plants to help in ways that (directly or indirectly) help reduce waste.

Finally, Deily mentioned Sealed Air’s efforts to reduce food waste by smarter portioning. “We look to deliver product that can be portioned in smaller portions, in a manner that is good for the whole value chain.”

Around the world Sealed Air’s new packaging solutions and technologies are being recognised. Closer to home in Australia and New Zealand, Cryovac Darfresh for fresh pork and Cryovac Freshness Plus for fresh avocado won the votes of the judging panel at the 2016 and 2017 ANZ Save Food Packaging Awards. Each solution was able to significantly extend the shelf life, enable wider food distribution and access, all while reducing food waste.

Darfresh On Tray.
Darfresh On Tray.