Woolworths to remove product limits across South Australia

Woolworths will remove product limits across all categories in South Australia from tomorrow (Saturday 21 November, 2020) as demand moderates across the state.
Woolworths Supermarkets South Australia General Manager, Karl Weber said: “We’ve seen demand moderate across South Australia and we thank our customers for that.
“Our team members and supplier partners will continue working around the clock to restock our stores, so we ask our South Australian customers to continue buying only what they need.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and reinstate product limits if we see further demand spikes.”
The changes to trading hours announced recently will remain in place until Monday 30 November 2020. The hours are as follows:

  • Saturday 21 November: 7am to 8pm
  • Sunday 22 November: 9am to 8pm
  • Monday-Friday: 7am to 9pm

Trading hours will return to normal from Monday 30 November 2020 onwards.
Mr Weber concluded: “We thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we work through this unsettling time together.”

Unilever sets new Future Foods ambition

Unilever today has announced a new annual global sales target of €1 billion from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, within the next five to seven years. The growth will be driven by increasing vegan alternatives from brands including Magnum, Streets, Continental, and Hellmann’s.
The target is part of Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ ambition, launched globally today with two key objectives: To help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain. Unilever has also committed to:
• Halve food waste in its direct global operations from factory to shelf by 2025 – five years earlier than previously committed, as part of the Champions 12.3 coalition target.
• Double the number of products delivering positive nutrition globally by 2025 – defined as products containing impactful amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins, or micronutrients like vitamins, zinc, iron and iodine.
• Continue lowering calorie, salt and sugar levels across products
o 85 per cent of Unilever’s global Foods portfolio will help consumers reduce their salt intake to no more than 5g per day, by 2022.
o 95 per cent of Unilever’s packaged ice cream will not contain more than 22g of total sugar, and 250 Kcal per serving, by 2025. This is in addition to the company’s children’s ice creams, which have been capped at 110 Kcal since 2014.
Read More: Woolworths to use Primary Connect platform
Unilever has already made progress expanding its plant-based dairy alternatives and reducing food waste. In Australia and New Zealand specifically, Unilever has:
• Accelerated availability of plant-based and dairy alternatives: Including offering dairy-free options of Magnum, Weis and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams. Meanwhile, Unilever Food Solutions is empowering chefs to cook more plant-based meals using vegan products including Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, Knorr Intense Flavours and Knorr Tomato Powder.
• Significantly reduced food waste: Through longstanding programs to reduce waste to landfill across its Australian factories. Unilever has also donated almost 700,000 servings of food and beverage products including Continental, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton Ice Tea, Pure Leaf and T2 to Foodbank for distribution across Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, Unilever has positively contributed to Yume Food’s mission to achieve “a world without waste” by preventing over 4,000 kgs of surplus food from going to waste in the last year.
• Enhanced nutritional quality of food products and re-formulated ice-creams with less sugar and fewer calories: Continental’s Nutrish Soups range includes sources of protein or fibre and Future 50 ingredients such as amaranth, quinoa, hemp seed, sweet potato, lentils & sprouted peas. Weis have recently launched mini-sized bars giving Australians portion-controlled options.
“It is widely recognised that the current global food system is inequitable and inefficient. One billion people around the world are hungry while two billion are obese or overweight. One third of all food produced is thrown away. And animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels and a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss,” Hanneke Faber, president of Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment Division, said.
Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics, Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of the EAT-Lancet report said: “The average person’s daily diet will need to change drastically during the next three decades to make sure everyone is fed without depleting the planet. By improving food production and food environments, transforming eating habits, and reducing food waste, we can begin to solve these problems. Unilever’s commitments are integral to helping people make changes to their diet, with healthier and more sustainable food products that are accessible and affordable for their consumers.”

Natural Evolution to benefit from $18b food waste opportunity

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

Keeping cool at Godden Foods in Australia

The Godden Food Group is a family-owned and operated wholesale food distribution business located at Ormeau just north of Queensland’s Gold Coast. Godden Foods supplies a range of frozen, chilled, fresh and dry goods to restaurants, caterers and private homes throughout south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
In 2019, the lease on the company’s premises came to an end and Jeff Godden, the company’s owner, had to find new premises. Having secured a new home for the business, and also having built a 27,000m3 insulated store, he needed to fit it out with advanced refrigeration equipment, to provide separate rooms for -23°C frozen storage and a chilled area at 2°C-4°C.
The challenge
For Godden foods, the key requirements were to have a safe, cost-effective refrigeration system that would provide sustainable service well into the future. However, Jeff Godden also had another target in mind – he needed the whole project completed to allow him to be fully operational before his initial rent-free period expired.
The GEA solution
Scantec Refrigeration in Murarrie, Queensland is a refrigeration company with 25 years’ experience in supplying advanced industrial and commercial plants throughout the region. Stefan Jensen, one of the founders of the company, recommended Godden use a centralised low-charge ammonia refrigeration system with four GEA Grasso V300 reciprocating compressors. Although Jensen knew that this would not be the option with the lowest capital expenditure, he was certain that it was the best long-term system for his customer.
Read More: Confusion of soft plastic recycling
“I knew that this customer would be able to make huge savings on energy costs,” said Jensen. “But when you tell customers that they can reduce their energy usage by two-thirds, sometimes they don’t believe you. But I was able to present evidence from other projects, so the customer went for the idea.”
Jensen explained that the big benefit of a centralised low-charge ammonia refrigeration system is that it contains very little ammonia, around four to five times lower than a conventional liquid overfeed system.
The presence of high-density liquid refrigerant within the wet suction lines and risers is eliminated. Because pressure drops in wet suction lines are up to 60 times higher than in pure vapour lines, the system runs at lower refrigerant pipeline pressure drops, making it very energy efficient.
“This is where most of the energy saving comes from,” he said.
The GEA Grasso V300 compressors at the heart of the system were suitable for the job. Scantec chose the GEA machines, partly because they were available quickly, but mainly because of their inherent energy efficiency.
“The V300 is an excellent machine and, in my opinion, more efficient than anything else on the market,” said Jensen. “But it’s also one of the very few that does not require water cooling,” he said. “Water cooling typically adds at least $15,000 to the installation cost and is a drain on energy as the water has to be pumped around the system.”
Not requiring water cooling further reduces energy consumption and makes the installation “plug-and-play”, reducing the time involved and giving the company the flexibility to take the plant with them should they need to move again in the future.
The outcome
The new plant at Godden Foods was commissioned in May 2020, coinciding with the start of trading from the new premises. According to Jensen, its Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) is better than anything he’s seen on the market.
“With energy savings of around two-thirds compared with an industry-standard, air-cooled HFC-based system, Godden will get the whole cost of the new plant back in eight years well before the expiry of the 15 year lease period,” he explained. “But if you just consider the marginal additional cost, compared with a freon plant, the payback will be three to four years.”
Maintenance costs for the system will be in the region of two per cent of the initial capital cost annually, lower than equivalent freon systems.
It is also safe. The operating inventory within the freezer is only 1.5kg of ammonia so, even if there was a catastrophic leak, the concentration of ammonia within the refrigerated space would be only around 100 ppm. The IDLH (Immediate Danger to Life and Health) threshold is 300ppm as a comparison.
The result is a new refrigeration plant for Godden foods that is more energy efficient than an equivalent freon system, environmentally sustainable, safe, portable if necessary and, if correctly maintained, will provide 30-40 years of faithful service.
For more information on GEA products, click here.
 

Security and plant upgrades will drive the future of processing

Steven Sischy likes a challenge. The automation and drives business manager for APS Industrial joined the company three months ago with the brief to work together with one of its manufacturing partners – Siemens – to make them the leading automation brand in the country. Siemens already has a great reputation in Europe and Australia, but Sischy is keen to take them one step further.
“My aim is to increase Siemens market share in Australia. Currently, they don’t hold the position of number one. They are definitely a mainstream player in a lot of the sectors where they are active, but they don’t have the dominance they have in Europe.
“My challenge is to see how quickly we can get them up there with Europe and help local industry experience these world-class products and technology. In the short amount of time I’ve been with APS we’ve started to see some returns with having a big focus in particular areas.”
This includes the food and beverage market where over the past two years, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 have started to take hold in the processing and manufacturing of goods.
“We also see the packaging industry as a very big market within the Australian and New Zealand markets,” he said. “What we have seen, with COVID, is a lot of people are more interested in knowing where their food is coming from.”
And this is one core principles of how Siemens does business – helping make sure that the food supply is secure, especially when it comes to traceability.
“What is important is cyber security,” he said. “If you look at the food and beverage sector, you will see that Siemens has a cyber security policy within its entire range. When they talk about traceability – especially when you start looking into food and beverage, as well as pharmaceutical – you want to know who has actually put what ingredients where, but they want to now go down to even the operator who packed the product.
“This is part of Siemens core DNA. This technology is already in place and gives manufacturers the capability to say ‘I can show whatever is going into a product has been made with a particular recipe and we will track the entire process from start to finish. We will also note when an operator has changed anything, down to the time and date when it occurred.’”
But there is also a component of the security protocols that is sometimes not taken into consideration, especially when it comes to bespoke manufacturing processes.
“The other side, with the technology – is the intellectual property, which is a massive component,” said Sischy. “Cyber security – because the products are already in place – protects the companies that are investing in these technologies to make sure their knowhow does not fall into foreign hands or any of their competitors’ hands.
“Siemens cyber security is very robust. A lot of the exposure that Siemens has to essential services – whether it be water, wastewater, electricity generation, transport – needs to have robust communication protocols secured end-to-end, so nobody can get in there and potentially harm those processes in any way.”
Sischy said it is also critical to note that Siemens has got a cyber security team that constantly looks at any of these issues that may arise. In the event of a breach, or a potential attack, they can get in contact with the security division who will act on their behalf to ensure that the processes are still intact. Sischy said it is important to protect your assets and if a company already has the necessary security steps in place at a high level, it is easy to integrate these types of measures down to individual processes.
“When it comes to starting your digital journey, we have already got it down to the Siemens LOGO!, which is a very small micro-based controller for home automation, as well as small pump stations,” he said. “It has already got cloud connectivity, so you can put it to the local cloud, or you can send it something like mindsphere if you choose to do that. But the point is you do have that capability.
“Like AI, as well as vison-based systems, we’ll start seeing the evolution of what we call edge-based processors where you are going to have a fair amount of processing sitting very close to the action and then sending that information, or digitalised image, back to some central-based cloud solution, which will then give you the ability to interrogate the information even further.”
Digital twins are also part of the Siemens’ portfolio. Digital twins have come to the fore over the past 12 months, whereby it is possible to create a virtual twin of a physical item. This gives companies the ability to start developing a process, have a look at what they want to do with the process, how they want to improve it, and put in the diagnostics before they connect any physical device to the network.
“Also, through a process that we call Team Centre, you’ve got the ability to also then work out from a manufacturing side, ‘How do I increase the movability? Do I have the right product for the solution? How do I reduce costs and how do I improve the quality of the system?’” said Sischy.
The end game to all these processes is giving processors and manufacturers the ability to achieve the productivity outputs they want, and streamline global processes.
“If you look at it – it doesn’t matter where you look – where any food and beverage company have global location, how do we see whether or not a certain geographical area is more deficient or even profitable versus other areas?” said Sischy.
“What we find, if you have a progressive company, is that they are always looking to be at the forefront of their competitors, or always be ahead of their competitors, which means the uptake of technology is relatively easy. It is where you have companies that may not have the capacities internally, that it becomes more challenging. Sometimes in those instances it can sometimes be harder.”
He said that APS’s philosophy, and therefore something that they are also trying to bring with the Siemens’ suite of products – and Team Centre in particular – is trying to improve the overall quality but also try and lower costs.
“A big part of this going forward, in the Australian market, is to try and reduce your energy consumption and CO2 emissions,” said Sischy. “It is going to be a massive focus going forward, so we need to look at the end goal and determine the true cost of its implementation. With Team Centre, because of the development and also looking at efficiencies, you can also look at the process flows, and that improves it – the actual physical prototyping reduces the development costs and improves the quality.”
He said that Siemens and APS can provide a complete solution including all the Siemens componentry – the PLCs, the drives, the switchgear, the power supplies, the networking devices, as well as panels and cabling.
“Through the company’s system integration program, end users will have the ability to get an end-solution product for the customer,” said Sischy. “It is not only providing product with the inclusion of the APS system program, but it also gives the customer the ability to understand and deliver their needs.
“To make manufacturers locally more cost effective, they need to adopt these technologies. If they are going to try and do this with their standard ways – ‘this is how we have done it over the years etcetera’ – they might not succeed. They need to adapt to the latest technologies.”
Overall, Sischy is excited about the future of the APS/Siemens relationship. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship for both companies – and of course, Australian industry who is better placed than ever to access these products.

Food cold chain education needed and is coming soon

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated.  It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate. This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth $3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

Winners of SA Food and Beverage Industry Awards announced

Businesses producing premium food and beverages that have become synonymous with South Australia’s international reputation were among the winners announced at the 2020 South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards Gala Dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre tonight.

Winners included quiet achievers such as Dinko Tuna Farmers and Lifestyle Bakery, and consumer favourites Alexandrina Cheese Company and Robern Menz.

The 2020 inductee into the Awards Hall of Fame is Mitolo Family Farms, who specialise in combining traditional farming techniques with the very latest technology, and have been supplying quality produce to Australian families for almost half a century.

This year’s Leader Award was presented to Michael Horrocks of Lifestyle Bakery in recognition of his innovative leadership in developing the gluten free bakery sector, while the Next Generation Award, created to recognise an up and coming industry professional, was awarded to Kieran Donoghue of Safcol Australia.

The Emerging Business Award went to Never Never Distilling Co, makers of Australia’s very first Grenache gin, while Golden North’s Simply Indulge range of ice cream and Goolwa PipiCo’s Whole Clam Chowder won New Product Awards this year.

“When we launched the 2020 South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards, we already knew this year’s theme of Sharing our Stories was very appropriate,” says Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer.

“As everyone has been saying all year, none of us expected what 2020 has served to us, so it has been especially inspiring to learn the stories behind the winning businesses in this year’s awards,” Ms Sayer said.

“The challenges of 2020 aren’t the first obstacles many of our winners have overcome, but in this new COVID-normal world, the grit and resilience of an industry that is so important to South Australia’s economic wellbeing is being celebrated tonight.”

Interest in the awards program and in South Australian products has continued to grow this year, with a 15% increase in entries and over 11,000 consumers voting for their favourite business for the Consumer Award.

“The South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards program has showcased innovation and excellence in our industry for more than 20 years. These are the businesses that have helped drive growth for the sector, created brands known across Australia and internationally, and helped build our state’s reputation for premium products across the globe,” said Ms Sayer.

“One of the key benefits of this awards program is that winners and finalists can use this recognition as evidence of excellence for new customers and in new markets,” she said.

The Premier of South Australia, the Hon Steven Marshall MP said he is proud to present the winners of the South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards.  

“Congratulations to the food and beverage industry whose hard work and innovation is recognised through these awards,” the Premier said.

“The sector has grown in 2020, even through the difficult year that we have endured. The sector is characterised by excellence in food and beverage production, manufacturing and marketing to ensure that South Australian products are rewarded by more than their fair share of the retail and food service market,” he said

2020 Winners

Hall of Fame, sponsored by San Remo
2020 Inductee: Mitolo Family Farms

Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Visy
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Goolwa PipiCo
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Sundrop Farms

Emerging Business Award, sponsored by Department for Trade and Investment
Winner – Never Never Distilling Co

Export Award, sponsored by Department for Trade and Investment
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Dinko Tuna Farmers
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Yumbah Aquaculture

Innovation in Business Award, sponsored by Department for Trade and Investment
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Dinko Tuna Farmers
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Team Unico

Innovation in Food or Beverage Award, sponsored by Food Processing Equipment
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: All The Things
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Lifestyle Bakery

New Product Award, sponsored by Foodland Supermarkets
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Goolwa PipiCo (Whole Clam Chowder)
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Golden North Ice Cream (Simply Indulge range)

Primary Producer Award, sponsored by Thomas Foods International
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: feather&PECK – pastured eggs
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Fleurieu Milk Company

Sustainability Award, sponsored by Peats Soils & Garden Supplies
Winner – Sundrop Farms

Leader Award, sponsored by Bickford’s Group
Winner -Michael Horrocks, Lifestyle Bakery

Next Generation Award, sponsored by Macro Group Australia
Winner – Kieran Donoghue, Safcol Australia

Consumer Award, sponsored by Statewide Super
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Alexandrina Cheese Company
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Robern Menz

Recycling initiative to collect 190,000 tonnes of plastic

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers, represented by peak body the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), will develop Australia’s largest industry-led plastic recycling scheme, which aims to collect and recycle nearly 190,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum by 2025.
The Australian Government has announced the AFGC will develop the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), supported by funding from the Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (PSIF).
The scheme will initially focus on increasing the diversion of soft plastics such as bread, cereal and frozen vegetable bags, confectionery wrappers and toilet paper wrap from landfill and it will move on to support the increased recycling of other plastics that are currently difficult to collect and/ or recycle. As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate and focus the efforts of well-known food and grocery brands to  increase the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging.
This will build on existing soft plastics recycling initiatives including the industry funded REDcycle program and the soft plastic kerbside collection trial run by Nestlé, as well as projects and research by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
Read More: Nestlé and IQ renew soft plastic recycling trial
“Over many years, brand owners have invested in packaging innovations that reduce food waste and have moved to using lighter-weight plastics that have a lower carbon footprint. Continuing the focus on packaging sustainability, the NPRS will increase the recycling rates of identified plastics and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets,” AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said.
The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 percent plastic packaging and incorporating an average of 50 percent recycled content across all packaging by 2025.
“We commend the Australian Government’s leadership on waste reduction and recycling matters, including their support for the NPRS.
“We’re excited about developing a circular economy in collaboration with our members, who comprise nearly 80 percent of packaged food and grocery sales, as well as governments, retailers, plastics and packaging companies, and the resource recovery industry,” said Barden

Coles Local opens in Chatswood

Coles is opening a tailor-made supermarket – using the Coles Local format – that incorporates sustainability features and a product range personalised to meet the needs of the Chatswood community on Sydney’s North Shore.

The store is part of an expansion of the Coles Local format in Sydney, following the  launch of the concept in Rose Bay in May – with Manly set to welcome a new Local store to the neighbourhood later this year.

Coles Local Chatswood has a range of refillable ecostore shampoos, conditioners, body washes, and laundry liquids available for customers through a new in-store refill station using bottles made from recycled and sugarcane plastic, eliminating the need for single-use bottles.

The store features more than 200 plant-based food products, ice cream just for dogs, a premium coffee and orange juice station, a macaron, mini gelato and Japanese mochi ice cream parlour, and a dedicated aisle with the largest Asian range in the country.

Coles’ chief sustainability, property and export officer Thinus Keevé, said each Coles Local supermarket is tailored to the specific needs of the local community.

“Coles Local Chatswood is a brand-new neighbourhood supermarket destination with new products sourced from 35 small Sydney suppliers, and innovative features that customers may not have seen before,” he said.

Read More: Tap the potential of craft brewing

“As we make progress on our mission to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, we’re increasingly looking at new and inventive ways to reduce packaging on certain products.

“This new ecostore station is a first for an Australian supermarket, which we hope will resonate well with customers.”

Ecostore managing director, Pablo Kraus, said this was the first time the company had installed a refill station in an Australian supermarket to help reduce packaging waste.

“People are used to bringing in their reusable supermarket bags; now they can also bring in their reusable ecostore refill bottles to conveniently refill their home and personal care products at the supermarket.”

Supporting a sustainable circular economy, the trolleys at the store are made from recycled plastic milk bottles and REDcycle plastics, free recycled carry boxes are available in place of bags, unsold food that cannot be donated to food charities is diverted to organic composting and green energy generation, and team member name tags and uniforms also feature part-recycled materials.

How the refill station works:

The Refill Station has been designed with an easy four-step process:

  1. Customers choose a small or large ecostore refill bottle
  2. Select the product and apply the matching sticker
  3. Refill the bottle by positioning the bottle under the tap or pump, and fill to the top
  4. Purchase by taking the bottle to the checkou

How the humble thermometer helps reduce food waste

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to
trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated. It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate.
This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth
$3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

Surging demand for plant-based meat

The global meat sector at present is facing unprecedented level of disruption and competition, due to mounting growth of plant-based meat alternatives across many categories, according to market research company Future Market Insights. Earlier, plant-based meat alternative products warranted limited shelf space and were meant for niche consumers. With increased awareness of “Veganuary” multiple manufacturers have expanded new product line for plant-based products owing to increased vegan or indeed flexitarian diet.
The global food and beverage recent industry changes illustrate the growth in plant-based alternatives that has brought disruption. Companies across the spectrum are investing heavily in creating and acquiring new products and brands which will provide momentum to the surging consumer demand for plant-based beef products.
Key point from the plant-based beef market study

  • A latest study by an ESOMAR certified market research and consultancy company, forecasts impressive growth of the Plant Based Beef market at over 22.7% CAGR between 2020 and 2030
  • Based on the source, the soy-based protein segment holds the dominance in the market for plant based beef, while wheat-based protein segments are expected to grow prominently in the forecasted period of 2020-2030
  • Based on the product type, burger patty segment holds the dominance in the market for plant based beef
  • As alternate protein gains traction in the market owing to the increasing awareness about the environmental impact of food choices consumers make, the majority of the population is shifting towards plant based beef and is expected to gain traction in near future
  • Companies across the spectrum are investing heavily in creating and acquiring new products and brands which will provide momentum to the surging consumer demand for plant-based beef products

New product development fuelling plant-based products demand
Increasing demand for innovative products has paved the way for product development across frozen, chilled and ambient segments. This innovation helps consumers with a wider choice of brands and products, and allows plant-based beef to advance improved shelf space and recognition.
Read More: A bearing for all harvest seasons
UK is the global leader for vegan food launches. In 2019 approximately 18% of new food launches were vegan. Tesco has developed wicked kitchen range of meat-free products.
Who is winning?
A few of the leading players operating in the Plant Based Beef market are Impossible Foods, Gardein by Conagra Brands, MorningStar Farms, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Symrise, Roquette Frères S.A., Kellogg’s, Tyson Foods, Sotexpro SA, Crown Soya Protein Group, Puris Proteins, Ingredion, Beneo GmbH, Glanbia, Fuji Oil Co., and other players.
Several leading manufacturers of Plant Based Beef are focusing on partnering with prominent players in the market to increase its business footprints and to increase their production capacity. Leading players of Plant Based Beef are investing in research and development to produce organic, non-GMO ingredients for plant-based beef.

Rockwell Automation improves productivity and reduces risk with the release of PlantPAx 5.0

Rockwell Automation has released the PlantPAx 5.0 distributed control system (DCS). This latest DCS version from Rockwell Automation helps industrial producers positively impact the lifecycle of their plant operations with plant-wide and scalable systems to drive digital transformation and operational excellence.
New system capabilities help digitally transform operations by introducing process functionality native to the controller, improving the availability of system assets driving compliance in regulated industries, while enabling the adoption of analytics at all levels of the enterprise. Intuitive workflows and the use of industry-leading cybersecurity standards will help teams design, deploy, and support a DCS infrastructure which reduces time-to-market and helps plants realize profit at a faster rate.
“We’re excited to bring PlantPAx DCS 5.0 to our customers,” said Jim Winter, global process director, Rockwell Automation. “New system features are step changes in helping our customers lower the overall costs to design and commission. The functionality improves the overall effort to integrate the process control layer to the enterprise. By reducing the lifecycle cost of the system and lowering operational risks, we are continuing to find innovative ways to bring more value to end users.”
Process end users desire a system that offers the benefits of a modern experience without the burdens that come with a traditional DCS. The new 5.0 release innovates the modern DCS in the following areas:

  • Reduced Footprint
    • This release introduces new process controllers and extends the Logix family with cutting-edge processing power and capacity to reduce the complexity of PlantPAx architectures. This action reduces total cost of ownership of the system throughout the lifecycle.
  • Project Consistency
    • With native process instructions embedded in the controller firmware, project teams can adopt approaches to control strategies that drive consistency for individual projects or multi-site deployments. Consistency simplifies the lifecycle management of deployed systems as teams modernize their automation infrastructure. Consistency lowers total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Streamlined Workflows
    • PlantPAx 5.0 provides improved design and operational user experiences. Development teams will realize savings in the configuration of instrumentation, alarms and diagnostic system elements. Operators will have the extended ability to view underlying control logic in a safe and secured manner. Maintenance will have controlled view access for troubleshooting.
  • TÜV -Certified for Cybersecurity
    • To operate at peak performance and minimize cybersecurity threats, PlantPAx 5.0 system architectures are TÜV certified to the international standard ISA-99/IEC 62443-3-3 which provides guidance on the implementation of an electronically secured system.
  • Analytics Enabled
    • Process end users recognize the value of analytics as an essential strategy to realize profit in their process operations. The PlantPAx 5.0 release has purpose-built frameworks that easily connect live and historical data from the DCS into reporting and analytical tools.
    • Enables extended experiences, such as Augmented Reality, using workflows aligned with process strategies controlling plant operations.
    • Allows extensible scalable analytic packages leveraging predictive and prescriptive models for process applications such as soft sensors, anomaly detection, or model predictive control.

As producers continue their digital transformation journey, the advances from this system release will help them unlock value and reduce overall costs at all phases of the plant lifecycle. For more information about PlantPAx DCS 5.0, please visit rok.auto/plantpax.

 

Nut butter obsession turns into million dollar Coles deal

Nick Sheridan created 99th Monkey in Melbourne in 2013. His aim was to create a nut butter that not only tastes delicious but also that was good for a person’s health and kind to the planet.
“As a former journalist (The Age, Global Coffee Report) living in London and training for my first (and maybe last) marathon in 2012, I became obsessed with peanut butter. When my wife Tracey and I returned to Melbourne, I decided to turn my nut butter obsession into a business,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan started out selling in farmers markets then into local stores and online. At the end of 2017, 99th Monkey was in about 800 independent retailers around Australia.
In 2018, 99th Monkey was one of five Australian businesses that were selected to take part in the Chobani Food Incubator program.
“The program helped me to expand my vision for the business and gave me the contacts and confidence to take the brand to the next level,” said Sheridan
Read More: Australian wine company growing export sales
“2018 was also that year that I finally went all in on the business, leaving my job as editor of a coffee magazine to focus on 99th Monkey full time – it felt like a big leap at the time considering we had a two-year-old daughter and a mortgage.”
The leap paid off and by the end of 2018, 99th Monkey was stocked in Coles’ new format stores, Coles Local. This led to 99th Monkey securing three products stocked in 200 Coles stores in Victoria in 2019.
This past year, 99th Monkey have signed a million dollar deal with Coles. 99th Monkey Natural Almond Butter and Cacao Almond Butter will be stocked in 650 Coles stores nationally.

Woolworths to use Primary Connect platform

Woolworths has unveiled another step in its journey to become a Food and Everyday Needs Ecosystem with the launch of its Primary Connect supply chain platform.
This will see Woolworths’ internal supply chain function rebrand to Primary Connect as it begins to evolve into an end-to-end service provider not just for Woolworths Group retail businesses, but an increasing number of partners.
A key catalyst for the move is the proposed separation of Endeavour Group from Woolworths Group. This has seen the platform become the full-service supply chain service provider to BWS and Dan Murphy’s.
Primary Connect managing director, Paul Graham, said: “Establishing the Primary Connect platform is a key step in our ambition to build Australia’s next generation supply chain.
“We run the largest and most distributed retail supply chain network in Australia. This size and scale provides us with a unique opportunity to deliver a lot of value to business partners both within our group and beyond.
“But it’s not enough to have a best-in-class network. To be successful in growing the platform, we need to deliver world-class customer service and build on our digital offering to deliver safer and smarter supply chain solutions for partners. We’ve never been better placed to do so.”
Read More: Combatting supply chain talent shortage
Woolworths’ existing Primary Connect transport business currently services more than 1,000 external customers, including Ingham’s, Kimberly-Clark, Marley Spoon and Diageo. All team members within Woolworths Group Supply Chain will now form part of the expanded Primary Connect team.
Primary Connect’s transport business works with more than 70 trusted carrier partners to optimise freight movements and improve utilisation across its end-to-end network. In FY20, the platform moved more than 8.4 million pallets across 4,000 locations for more than 1,000 suppliers with high service levels.
Tasmanian-based salad grower Houston’s Farm has been using the platform  since 2017. Primary Connect transports bagged salads and ready to eat salad bowls from Houston’s Farm’s Tasmanian, Western Australian, South Australian and Queensland processing facilities to Woolworths distribution centres across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Launceston. The salads are stocked in all Woolworths supermarkets and replenished daily.
“Primary Connect is a premium supply chain service provider with a vision similar to our own,” said Houston’s Farm CEO, Richard Hopkins.
“We’ve established a close working relationship with them over the years and are able to share and implement ideas to improve our offering for customers.
“Working with Primary Connect has made transport and logistics much simpler for us to manage, and allowed us to focus on what we do best – growing the best quality fresh produce for Australian families.”

Australian wine company growing export sales

While many areas of Australia’s economy are struggling under the weight of COVID, one local business is pushing forward with export growth across Europe and Canada.
Headquartered in McLaren Vale, Leconfield Wines is Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaking business. Owned by Dr Richard Hamilton and his wife, Jette, Hamilton is a fifth generation descendant of Richard Hamilton 1st who planted South Australia’s first wine producing vineyards in 1837. Leconfield Wines takes in Leconfield Wines in Coonawarra and Richard Hamilton Wines in McLaren Vale. Its brands include Leconfield, Richard Hamilton Wines and Syn Sparkling Wines.
Leconfield has a history of producing top-quality, award-winning wines. Its wines are sold across Australia, overseas and also served aboard Jetstar business class and on Great Southern Rail trains including The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern and The Overland.
“COVID has been challenging for us. As winemakers that sell our products direct to consumers through our membership and into restaurants and other hospitality outlets across the country, sales have been hit through the closure of venues.  The latest lock down in Victoria is particularly challenging,” Hamilton said.
“We have also experienced mixed results overseas with some markets including China reducing spend.
“However in the face of this, we have also risen to the challenge. We have restructured to focus on building collaborative partnerships and foster growth in other overseas markets, and these strategies are already starting to yield great results.
“Damian White has been appointed to the newly created role of Sales and Marketing Director.  He is firmly focused on expansion of our international market, alongside our valued domestic and online platform partners.  Christine Says has been appointed to the role of CFO to help manage the complexities of our burgeoning overseas markets to ensure strong growth and firm cost control.
“The recent decision by Canada to remove tariffs on the import of Australian wines has also opened up new opportunities for us too.”
Leconfield has been approved for distribution and sale in three Canadian provinces:  Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec.
“We are extremely excited about this and are looking to augment our presence to other provinces as well,” Hamilton added.
“In addition to Canada, we have secured new opportunities in Finland and Belgium. In Belgium, we have partnered with Belgian food retailer, Delhaize, to supply a private label Coonawarra Shiraz under the name of Dalebrook Farm. We are already in talks regarding line extensions. This opportunity and various other emerging ones are really proving very positive for us moving forward.
“Our senior winemaker, Paul Gordon is doing an excellent job of creating new and exciting wines from our vineyards. His ability to craft, blend and perfect is delivering superb results for us and really bolstering our ability to continually impress the market with wonderful wines.
“Kate Mooney, our marketing and events manager, who has been with us for nearly seven years, is hard at work refreshing and developing our labels and packaging to ensure we stand out on shelves, catalogues and online sites.
“Despite the challenges we are facing here at home, we are determined to achieve growth. We’ve been through droughts, the Spanish Flu, world wards, the great depression, recessions, the GFC and now COVID.  You could say ‘we are battle hardened’ and we are not about to let a virus dampen our prospects. We are all in this together, and certainly at Leconfield Wines, we are determined to get through to the other side.
“We are very lucky.  At the end of the day, we can sit back and relax with a good drop.  One of the benefits of winemaking.”

Hygienic solutions for cleaner food & beverage production

Australian food and beverage manufacturers are held to ever increasing standards of product quality and hygiene. Strict industry regulations are continuously driving businesses to review and adapt their production practices. Consequently, clean and safe operation is a top priority for the food and beverage industry.
Damaged or contaminated products can be detrimental to business reputation along with the financial implications of costly product recalls. This pushes producers to carefully consider every production step to ensure they contribute towards required outcomes.
This is where conveyor solutions can offer a significant help. Well-designed conveyors are engineered to add value at every step of the manufacturing process to improve overall operational efficiency, safety and cleanliness. This also extends to packaging as even the slightest residue can negatively impact product quality.
“The majority of food and beverage manufacturers buy in their packaging. This can create multiple issues from potential contamination to operational inefficiencies. We always recommend integrating package sanitisation into the filling process and not think of it as an isolated task. This is a lot more effective and makes quality control possible.” says Brian Gilmore, sales director of FlexCAM a leading Australian conveyor system specialist.
Air rinsing is a commonly used practice to remove contaminants such as dust from packaging. It works by inverting bottles, plastic containers, glass jars or aluminium containers to allow air to be blown into the interior. “A bottle inverter gently grasps the packaging, turns it upside down for sanitisation, and then lowers the container back onto the conveyor line ready for filling. With the help of standardised bottle inverter solutions this step can be easily incorporated into any production line eliminating the need for additional handling and processing .” says Gilmore.
Bottle inverting has been widely used in milk production. As milk can be very susceptible to contaminants sanitising milk bottles right before filling is a common procedure. “Traditional cleaning methods lack fine product control. As a result, they can damage milk containers and cause production stoppages further down the line negatively impacting production efficiency.  They are also limited to handle sturdy containers. On the other hand, positive drive inverters are suitable to handle delicate packaging such as glass bottles, flimsy plastic containers or fragile high grade labeling.” explains Gilmore.
Bottle inverters using wedge technology offer gentle and accurate product handling by positively controlling the package as it is processed. Standardised wedge inverters can be engineered to handle multiple product sizes on the same conveyor line. They can be adjusted to suit different width, height and materials.
Wedge conveyor solutions also allow operation teams to introduce speed controls into the cleaning process without causing any downstream blockages. The sign of a good design is in its ability to consider the whole production process.
“Bottle inverters also have an important role in spacing or metering products in preparation for the next production step. This could include labelling, filling and pressure testing. In addition, they can be used to ionise plastic bottles to remove static or introduce in process inspection to reject any imperfection,” points out Gilmore.

Pepsico introduces flextime for staff

In recent months, Australian organisations have evolved with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrating just how adaptive and resilient the Australian workforce is.
PepsiCo has always sought to be ‘people-centric’, implementing policies built around the needs of its people. Its latest policy, flextime, removes official start and finish times – allowing people to choose their work hours and balance personal responsibilities and lifestyle with work.
PepsiCo ANZ CEO Danny Celoni said this new policy allows people to build their work life around their personal needs and encourages everyone to embrace all of the flexible working options that are available to them.
“We completely recognise that a one size fits all work model does not suit everyone in our diverse organisation,” said Celoni. “Our commitment to fostering a culture of flexible working for all ensures we have the best people doing their best work every day.”
One employee who has already reaped the benefits of PepsiCo ANZ’s new flextime policy is CIO Brian Green. Being part of the IT department, Brian is often required to be online 24/7 to accommodate the broad range of time zones PepsiCo ANZ operates in meaning much of his workload begins after 5:00pm.
With the new flextime policy, Brian can stagger these hours to assist with later start and finish times, meaning his daily schedule now involves bug catching with his son around midday, and taking his daughter to soccer practice right after school.
“I am really fortunate to be working for a company that is able to acknowledge the needs of not just my role in IT but also my personal life,” Green said. “Time with your kids is something you are never able to get back so I’m enjoying my new weekday routine and taking full advantage of the flextime policy.”
PepsiCo ANZ’s leadership team believe that offering flexibility in the workplace is critical to attract and retain good talent. The flextime policy is just the latest in a string of well established diversity and inclusion initiatives designed to help people find a work-life balance that suits them.