Food industry penalty rate change applauded by business

The Australian Industry Group has welcomed today’s Fair Work Commission (FWC) Penalty Rates Decision.

“The Commission has accepted Ai Group’s evidence and arguments to re-set penalty rates in the fast food industry to better align them with the characteristics and needs of 21st century workplaces,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.

“Ai Group represented the fast food industry in the case.  A great deal of evidence was presented from Ai Group members, McDonalds and Hungry Jacks, and from relevant experts.”

“A very high proportion of employees in the fast food industry are young people who have study commitments during normal business hours.”

The Commission accepted Ai Group’s evidence that young people often prefer to work in the evenings and on weekends, and that many prefer to work on Sundays rather than Saturdays.

“In the fast food industry, weekends and evenings are peak times. Regular business hours have little relevance to businesses in the fast food industry and, therefore, penalty rates that were designed many decades ago around regular business hours need to be re-set.”

“In the Decision, the Commission has recognised that existing Sunday penalty rates in the fast food industry are not fair for employers and no longer relevant.”

“The new penalty rates will be phased in over at least two years to reduce the impact upon employees.”

“The five-Member Full Bench, headed by FWC President, Justice Iain Ross, made their decision on penalty rates in the fast food industry after a case which continued for over two years. The Full Bench carefully weighed up all the arguments and evidence and arrived at a fair and sensible outcome.”

“What is important now is that the decision by the independent umpire is implemented as soon as possible, and that all parties accept the outcome,” Willox said.

Nanoparticles could be the future of agriculture

MICROSCOPIC particles that have always been considered a pollutant are being studied for a range of agricultural uses.

South Australian researchers are working on a number of novel uses for engineered nanoparticles including efficient fertilisers, agricultural ‘amendments’ and a unique way to clean-up contaminated land.

Engineered nanoparticles are currently used in a range of industrial materials, such as ceramics and advanced polymers, and are also commonly used in the production of household materials, personal care products and clothing.

These particles are considered a pollutant risk if they are able to accumulate in the environment.

With a maximum diameter of just 100 nanometres, it is easy for the particles to be widely dispersed across soil and accumulated by plants.

As a result, nanoparticles have been considered a pollutant and eco-toxicological risk to both plants and wildlife.

But researchers at the University of South Australia have found that the very same nanoparticles could also prove beneficial to the growth of plants.

A glasshouse trial conducted by Dr Elliott Duncan, Dr Gary Owens and Nazanin Nikoo Jamal involved exposing rice plants to titanioum and cerium nanoparticles.

Dr Elliott said that instead of proving toxic to the plants, the nanoparticles aided the growth of the rice plants.

Current laboratory tests have focused on rice plants, but Dr Duncan said the same particles could also be used to benefit other grain crops and horticultural species, with tests expected to begin on wheat later this year.

“There’s a lot of concern in terms of whether engineered nanoparticles are toxic, whether they’re accumulated by plants and what the end effect is for humans and the environment,” he said.

“But we found these particles may actually provide some benefits for the plants, and, if we could harness those, this could be a big deal for the agriculture industry.”

The experiment demonstrated that some nanoparticles had the potential to be used as an agricultural supplement, although Dr Duncan said it was still unclear how exactly these particles helped the growth of plants.

“The mechanisms behind it and predicting whether it is going to occur and how best to harness it is still unknown,” he said.

His team will continue with glasshouse experiments to test the safety and effect of the nanoparticles.

Dr Duncan said there was also the potential for specially designed nanoparticles to be used as a way to delivery fertiliser more efficiently.

“With current fertilisers, a lot of the nutrient isn’t available to the plants – essentially the plant can only use 30 to 50 per cent, so up to 70 per cent of the fertiliser expense is just wasted,” he said,

“The idea would be that if we can improve that, you can get away with applying a lot less, which then has benefits for the economics of the farm and the environment.

“This stems from the fact that the nanoparticles are small, which means they’re quite mobile in the environment so they should be able to interact with plants a lot better than more traditional bulk fertilisers.”

The size of nanoparticles also means they possess unique properties such as a high surface-area to volume ratio, which could also make them effective for cleaning up contaminated land.

Dr Duncan is also researching the effectiveness of nanoparticles in binding to toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic.

“To remediate a site is often quite destructive, you cause quite a big change to the environment if you’ve got to say dig it up, it’s quite labour intensive and so on,” he said.

“So this could be a faster, simpler way to remediate a site than current technologies, so we want to see whether these particles can reduce the bio-availability of contaminants, which should reduce how much is available to plants and also how much is lost into water-sources.”

Dr Duncan said more understanding was still needed around the ease with which nanoparticles could move into soil, plants or wildlife, and that long-term toxicity was also an important safety factor to evaluate.

However, if his research continues to yield positive results, he said there was the potential for a commercial product for the agriculture industry.

“We need to do it in an Australian context to see how it’s going to potentially impact our industry,” Dr Duncan said.

“We’re aware that there are risks involved with nanoparticles, but the reward could also be great too.”

 

From The Lead

Haverick Meats up and running again after devastating fire

Haverick Meats  was devastated by fire at their Banksmeadow facility on the 21st May 2016. With a driving determination from Haverick’s and expert advice, the factory has seen a quick turn around and is back open, supplying the professional foodservice industry and the community.

“It wasn’t until I got here that I saw how serious it was and we had about 15 fire trucks, 75 fire fighters, helicopter in the air, water going, engineers and mobile officers everywhere.” says company CEO Peter Andrews.

Haverick Meats called upon design build food facility specialists, Wiley, to help them with their urgent disaster recovery needs. Haverick Meats and Wiley have a long standing relationship and share similar values, both being family owned and operated businesses.

“It’s a great big relief to be back in the facility,” says Andrews. “To finally see it built is quite amazing. It was important to us to be up and running as quick as possible, it was all high pressure, as a business we continue to grow. Lucky for us Wiley told me 30th November was the delivery date and they got me in two weeks earlier which was quite impressive.

“We had the same footprint as what we had before but it’s been redesigned and reengineered to improve. The improvements that Wiley made benefit our ability to service our customers even better than before.”

Wiley were on site within two days after the fire with an aim to have Haverick Meats at full operating capacity by the end of November using the Rapid Rebuild Recovery System. The process began with Wiley collaborating with the insurance company to find the best possible solution for the parties. Wiley utilised the design build model to start works on site as early as possible and save weeks on contract time.

“We understood the importance for Haverick Meats to be operational by December to ensure they could cater for the increase in production their factory sees during that time,” says Wiley managing director Tom Wiley. “Collaboration with Haverick Meats and the insurance company was key to delivering this project as fast as possible and in the best way. We were honoured to be able to support Haverick Meats through such a challenging and emotionally draining experience.”

The new facility is home to the latest in cutting edge technology, featuring upgraded machinery and equipment. New advanced automation has been installed, ensuring consistent cutting precision and portion control. It will also feature Australia’s best temperature and humidity controlled dry-aging room that offers expertly monitored dry-aged beef at the peak of its flavour.

Top 5 cybersecurity trends for 2017 for food companies

CyberArk’s Top Five Security Predictions for 2017 are:

1. The Silent Attack on Information – Complete Loss of Trust

The integrity of information will be one of the biggest challenges global consumers, businesses and governments face in 2017, where information from previously venerated sources is no longer trusted. Cyber attacks won’t just focus on a specific company, they’ll be attacks on society designed to eliminate trust itself.

We’ve seen information used as a weapon and propaganda tool in the 2016 U.S. election cycle, but this will move to the next stage where information can no longer be trusted at all. Attackers aren’t just accessing information; they’re controlling the means to change information where it resides, and manipulating it to help accomplish their goals.

For example, consider how the emergence of tools that allow for greater manipulation of previously unquestioned content – like audio files – could lead to increased extortion attempts using information that may not be real, or grossly out of context. It will be easier than ever to piece together real information stolen in a breach with fabricated information to create an imbalance that will make it increasingly difficult for people to determine what’s real and what’s not.

2. Cloudy with a Chance of Cyber Attacks

Cloud infrastructure and the proliferation of cloud-based services have proven to be game changers for business. The benefits of the cloud have not gone unnoticed by the dark side either.

Much like how cyber attackers are channeling the power and insecurity of IoT devices to launch massive DDoS attacks on scales previously thought unachievable, attackers will increasingly use the cloud to ramp up production of attack tools.

With the addition of available computing power and agile development capabilities afforded by the cloud, we’ll see new attack tools that are exponentially stronger than previous iterations, we’ll see attacks that are stronger and more devastating, and ultimately, because attacks are raining from the cloud, attribution will become nearly impossible. This will also increase the agility of attackers – a strategic advantage that they currently hold over organisations.

3. Self-Learning Cyber Attacks

The year 2016 was marked by tremendous progress in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and subsets of the technology such as machine learning, machine intelligence, deep learning and more.

In the field of cyber security, hundreds of companies are working to incorporate AI and machine learning into their technologies to predict, prevent and defeat the next major cyber attack.

As we’ve seen with other technologies, as AI becomes commoditised, we can expect cyber attackers to take advantage of AI in a similar way as businesses. Much like 2016 saw the first massive IoT-driven botnet unleashed on the Internet, 2017 will be characterised by the first AI-driven cyber attack.

These attacks will be characterised by their ability to learn and get better as they evolve. Think about “spray and pay” ransomware attacks that get smarter, and more targeted about what information is held hostage, and what to charge for it. This will transform the “advanced attack” into the common place, and will drive a huge economic spike in the hacker underground. Attacks that were typically reserved for nation-states and criminal syndicates will now be available on a greater scale.

4. Data Privacy and Pricing Structures

The efforts on consumer data-conditioning are almost complete – consumers know that private information is a commodity they can trade for better service. We’re beginning to see this in the insurance market, where drivers are giving up driving habits, location, destinations and PII to get better rates.

We expect that more companies will take this approach with online data as well and use cyber security fears and concerns over privacy to drive pricing structures.

Consumers will increasingly be faced with a data conundrum – provide more personal information for basic service, or upgrade and spend more money on premium services that require less personal information and provide greater levels of security.

In parallel, small and midsize organisations that have been ‘priced out’ of adequate security options, particularly against threats like ransomware, may also be able to make trades for better protection. In the meantime, the emergence and greater adoption of automated security solutions will help close the gaps between available skills, budget and protection.
5. The Agile Enemy – Hacker Collaboration

Unlike private business and government organisations, cyber criminals are not bound by IP, data privacy, budgets or other concerns. We expect to see hacktivists, nation-based attackers and cyber-criminals accelerate use of the tools used to learn from each other’s attacks – and identify defacto best practices to emulate them on broader scales.

Agile approaches to spur greater black hat collaboration will enable attackers to ‘improve upon’ existing malware and viruses like Stuxnet, Carbanak and most recently Shamoon, to unleash a new wave of threats.

These more dangerous attacks will put pressure – potentially regulatory or merger and acquisition related – on public and private organisations to step up collaboration and prioritise ways to incorporate intelligence gained from these attacks into new innovations meant to combat cyber threats and beat the attackers at their own game.

Chemical-free food factory cleaning system

Tennants ec-H2O technology electrically converts water into an​ innovative cleaning solution that cleans effectively, saves money, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact compared to daily cleaning floor chemicals and methods.
Real-world testing by customers and a third party has shown that scrubbing with ec-H2O technology effectively removes soil. And ec-H2O leaves no chemical residue so your floors retain that polished look with simplified ongoing floor maintenance.
Using ec-H2O technology can deliver cost savings and productivity gains by reducing training, purchasing, storing, handling, and mixing tasks and costs associated with floor cleaning chemicals.

Using ec-H2O technology can deliver cost savings and productivity gains by reducing training, purchasing, storing, handling, and mixing tasks and costs associated with floor cleaning chemicals.

ec-H2O technology significantly reduces the environmental impact of cleaning operations in seven key categories, according to a third-party study by EcoForm. Scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O technology can scrub up to three times longer with a single tank of water and use up to 70% less water than conventional floor scrubbing methods.​​​​​​

 

Composite hoses for food makers

RADCOFLEX offers a whole range of genuine Australian manufactured composite hoses, assemblies and hose fittings for use across chemical, gas and fuel transfer applications.

RADCOFLEX composite hoses are specially engineered and tested in-house and on-site to ensure compliance with industry standards.
Some of the advantages offered by RADCOFLEX composite hose assemblies are:
Lightweight and more flexible alternatives to rubber hoses;
All RADCOFLEX composite hoses are manufactured in Australia to Australian Standards and codes of practice.
The hoses’ applications are easily identifiable by the colours on the hoses’ outer covers;
Standard average connections with visible internal and external wires, which allow for a quick visual check on the ongoing integrity of the electrical continuity of the hose assembly.

RADOFLEX’S range includes the following:
Chemical Composite Hoses
Chemdock: for use in heavy duty suction and discharge of bulk chemicals in road and rail tankers, dockside and ship to shore to EN 13765 and IMO;
Solchem: for the transfer of chemicals and solvents where the fluid may be corrosive to a galvanised inner wire to AS 2594 and EN 13765;
Solflon: for the transfer of the most aggressive chemicals and searching solvents, having a special PTFE liner, to EN 13765;
Transchem: for the transfer of various acids and alkalis to AS 2594 and EN 13765.
Petroleum Hoses
avfuel & avfuel Light: aviation fuel transfer hoses to AS 2683 and EN 13765;
Petrofuel & Petrofuel Light: tanker fuel transfer hoses to AS 2683 and AIP CP27;
Transdock: for the heavy duty suction and discharge transfer of petroleum products in road and rail tanker, dockside and ship to shore applications to AS 2117, EN 13765 and IMO;
Transfuel: a tanker and fuel depot transfer hose to AS 2683 and EN 13765;
Transoil: a hydrocarbon suction and discharge hose for in-plant and light-duty marine applications to AS 2117 and EN 13765.
Air, Gas & Water Composite Hoses
Bituflex: for the transfer of hot bitumen at elevated temperatures;
Transgas: for the transfer of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and cryogenic conveyants down to -50C to AS 1369 and EN 13766;
Transheat: for the transfer of most hot fluids;
Roof Drain: for use with floating roof drain systems;
VRH: for the recovery of vapours from tanks and tankers to AS 2683.
Composite Hose – Additional Protective Solutions
PVC Spiral Guard: a PVC strip wound helically around the exterior of the hose;
PVC Wear Beads: PVC collars attached to the exterior of the hose at intervals;
Rope Lagging: a polypropylene rope wrapped helically around the exterior of the hose.
Composite Hose Fittings
Camlocks: quick-release cam lever fittings in aluminium, bronze, stainless steel, and polypropylene.
Dust Caps and Plugs: to suit camlock fittings
Flanges: standard drillings in carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium;
Threaded Ends: standard threads in carbon steel, stainless steel, and polypropylene.

 

Safe Work releases new hazardous labelling regulations

Chemicals manufactured or imported before January 1 2017 will be allowed to be supplied without having to meet Work Health and Safety Regulations’ labelling requirements, according to Safe Work Australia.

Safe Work Australia CEO Michelle Baxter said this was decided in response to concerns raised by chemical suppliers in the lead up to Australia developing a globally harmonised system for chemical labelling.

“This approach will ensure a smooth transition to the globally harmonised system, or GHS, and will avoid an unnecessary burden on suppliers to re-label existing chemical stock,” she said.

“From 1 January next year, hazardous chemicals may only be supplied to other workplaces without GHS labelling if they were manufactured or imported on or before 31 December 2016, and were correctly labelled at that time.

“In 2017, manufacturers and importers operating under harmonised work health and safety laws must label their hazardous chemicals in accordance with the GHS under the model WHS Regulations.”

Norco leads with domestic violence leave

According to the ABC, In what has been described as a landmark reform, New South Wales dairy cooperative Norco has introduced paid domestic violence (DV) leave for its employees.

Norco chief executive Brett Kelly said it sends the right message on an important social issue.

“You need to look after your employees and it is really important that we have the environment that people can feel safe and an employer that really does care,” he said.

The 121-year-old farming cooperative will now provide three days of paid leave for its workers experiencing domestic violence to access medical appointments, legal proceedings, and other matters, said the ABC report.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union helped negotiate the deal alongside the meatworkers union and said it was a landmark decision and particularly significant to occur in the food manufacturing sector where shifts were more regimented.

New Cacao Peanut Crunch from Bounce

Bounce has announced their latest addition to the Bounce Bites range – introducing Cacao Peanut Crunch.

Made from 100% nut butter combined with crunchy peanuts, sweet dates and rich cacao, this delicious creation is naturally preserved with coconut oil and rosemary extract.

The little nuggets of goodness are gluten free, GMO free, vegetarian friendly and cold pressed. Bounce is the natural and convenient way to get your sweet fix.

Teresa Boyce, Bounce Nutritionist says, “It is so important that there are healthy snack options available and Bounce has created just that.

Made with 29% peanuts, these delicious bite size pieces are perfect for active, busy people looking for a quick grab and go option. “Australian made with minimal ingredients, nothing artificial, and no refined sugar, new Bounce Bites Cacao Peanut Crunch is a delicious and nutritious alternative to processed, sugary confectionary,” adds Teresa.

Some health benefits of cacao and peanuts include:

• Cacao is a great source of magnesium, which helps to keep your heart healthy, boosts energy, alertness and stamina

• Cacao is rich in antioxidants while being a natural mood elevator

• Peanuts are a good source of Vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese

• Peanuts contain many nutrients and are rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats

Perfect for grabbing on the go, packing for a lunch box or desk draw snack, or saving for an after dinner treat, Bounce Bites are the new guilt-free indulgence.

The Bounce Bites range also comes in three other flavours: Blueberry Banana Bliss, Coconut Almond Kiss and Coconut Cacao Delight.

What will Aussies be drinking these holidays?

New data reveals Australia’s beverage trends, from beer and spirits to zero alcohol

Beverage purchase data from pubs and bars across major Australian cities reveals the types of drinks we may be consuming at functions in the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s.

At these establishments, beer is Australia’s favourite beverage – even among women – and is mainly consumed at lunchtime and in the afternoons. Spirits are our second favourite – and is surprisingly the number one category among women, surpassing wine purchases – and is mostly consumed late at night.

The analysis was carried out by Clipp.co, Australia’s leading and fastest-growing mobile-payment and deals app for bars, pubs and their restaurants. Clipp took alcohol-purchase data from 55,000 customer orders across more than 600 establishments Australia-wide.

The data compares beverage purchases across four categories: beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks. While beer makes up 45 per cent of all beverage purchases, surprisingly spirits not wine is our next favourite at 33 per cent of all beverage purchases. Wine is third on the list, at 19 per cent of all purchases, and non-alcoholic drinks make up just four per cent of purchases.

When it comes to enjoying a beverage or two over Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t have to be at the cost of your holiday or present fund according to Greg Taylor, co-founder of Clipp. The app offers Australians significant discounts on the cost of food and drinks at bars, pubs and restaurants around the country.

“Many Aussies spend this time of year catching up with friends to send off the year that’s been and toast the year ahead, and a lot of us feel the impact of these social outings on our back pocket,” he says.

“January is often a tight month financially as this is when the festive season catches up with us. This data confirms that we love a drink, generally no matter the cost, but by taking advantage of menu specials and happy hour, as well as deals apps and sites – like Clipp – we’re going to get the most bang for our buck and ring in the new year with one less financial concern or resolution to make.”

Beverage trends between men and women

There is a notable difference between men’s and women’s drink purchases. Nearly 55 per cent of all beverage purchases among men is beer – the highest proportion (an average of 64% of all purchases) of which his consumed at lunchtime and in the afternoons. While spirits make up 30 per cent of all beverage purchases by men, this increases to 55 per cent late at night. Wine makes up just 12 per cent of purchases among men.

Surprisingly, spirits top the list of beverages among women, at 36 per cent of all purchases, and increasing to 53 per cent of all purchases late at night. Beer follows closely, at 35 per cent of all purchases, and increasing to 43 per cent of purchases among women at lunchtime. Wine makes up 25 per cent of all beverage purchases among women.

Trends in spirits

Vodka and whisky are the favourite spirits across the nation, making up just over 20 per cent each of all spirit purchases. Vodka is the favourite spirit for all age groups up to age 49, averaging 24 per cent of all spirit purchases. Bourbon is the favourite spirit for Aussies in their fifties (41% of spirit purchases in that age group) and whisky is a favourite for the over sixties, at 42 per cent of spirit purchases.

Trends in wine

White wine is the favourite wine nationally, making up an average of 43 per cent of wine purchases across the major cities. Among women, white wine made up 46 per cent of wine purchases. White wine is a winner among under-20s (83% of all wine purchases) and those in their 50s (52% of all wine purchases).

Queenslanders and West Australians are the biggest white wine drinkers (51% of wine purchases in each State). White wine is also a favourite in South Australia and Victoria, at 48 per cent each of wine purchases. NSW residents are bucking the trend by preferring red wine (48% of all wine purchases).

Trends in beer

Craft beer accounted for 45 per cent of all purchases nationally, with regular beer coming in second at 40 per cent. Melbourne takes the craft beer crown, with the highest percentage of craft beer purchases (55 per cent) against just 34 per cent of regular beer purchases. Perth comes in second, with 48 per cent of craft purchases and regular beer at 35 per cent. Sydney is third, with 46 per cent of craft beer purchases and regular beer at 39 per cent.

In contrast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin are holding onto their love of regular beer, with this category accounting for 59 per cent, 63 per cent and 65 per cent of all beer purchases respectively.

The price is not right: how much is too much for a beer at sporting events?

For many Australian sports fans, buying beer at sporting venues is an exercise in subjugation. For starters, the alcohol content for those in general admission is often capped at mid-strength – a typically penal restriction aimed at civilising the riff-raff.

Yet the true indignity arrives right at the dreaded moment the attendant rings up the till. By the time you have handed over the cost of a round, you’ve just paid for the better part of a three-course meal at a decent restaurant.

High prices

Fans at the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil were able to buy a local Brahma beer for as little as R$10 (A$3.97). Yet not only are the Germans football world champions, but their elite Bundesliga leads the way in beer prices. The average cost of a beer in the league is less than €4 (A$5.59).

Elsewhere in Europe, a pint of beer costs on average £3.99 (A$6.76) at English Premier League venues. Yet fans in Australia can be held to ransom if they want to enjoy a beer at the footy or cricket.

Ahead of this year’s third cricket Test, the Adelaide Oval was criticised for planning to raise its already high price of beer to A$9.20. Following public pressure prices were held at A$8.90 (for 425ml).

However, beer at Adelaide is better value than Domain Stadium in Perth, where $8 only buys 330ml of beer. Compared to the average price of beer in Australia ($6.44 for a lager) it is clear that stadium prices are at a premium.

Different serving sizes can often mask higher prices, making it hard for a fan to tell if a $5.40 Carlton Draught at the MCG is better value than paying $8 for a Carlton Mid at the SCG. Stadiums may boast that their beer is cheaper than another – but such claims can be misleading, and fans can be exploited.

The global picture

Exchange rates make global price comparisons even more difficult and leave fans at the mercy of stadium operators. But, surprisingly, when beer sizes and prices are standardised, Australian venues don’t fare too badly.

Although Australian stadiums don’t measure up to some of their European counterparts, beer is generally cheaper here than at North American venues. Ahead of the pack in this beer swindle are the Philadelphia Eagles, which charge US$8.50 (A$11.50) for a 12oz (355ml) beer.

The food and drink served at stadiums have long been a point of angst for sport-mad Australians. Research shows fans are not satisfied with the price, quality and service of this element of the fan experience. They are frustrated by the limited options of weak, poor-quality beer at stadiums.

Worst aspect of match experience according to Australian fans.
Keith Parry

Overseas stadiums leave many Australian venues far behind when it comes to choice. Australian fans may drink large quantities of beer at games, but they are increasingly looking for higher-quality offerings – and craft beer in particular. Craft beer consumption is increasing in Australia, but the trend is yet to infiltrate Australian sport.

Throughout the US, however, it is standard to find five or ten locally brewed and independent craft beers on tap at major venues. For example, Major League Soccer (MLS) side Sporting Kansas City has Boulevard Brewing on its concession stands. And the Tap Room public bar at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium features close to 50 craft beer options from across Florida.

Tap Room at Hard Rock Stadium.
Blair Hughes

Closer to home, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium has partnered with local brewery Garage Project to feature its range of craft beers along with a rotating selection of New Zealand craft beers.

The Garage Project partnership at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium.
Blair Hughes

Advances in beer services

Technology is playing a part in the push for implementing craft beer.

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles created a special, technologically advanced, ice-cream-type foam that sits atop beer cups to keep it ice-cold for longer. And self-serve beer vending machines are on the rise throughout American stadiums to serve both quality beer options while cutting down the time fans are away from their seats.

Collaborations between teams, stadiums and craft beer breweries are on the rise. Teams such the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and MLS side DC United have their own lines of pale ales for fans.

In England, football clubs including Reading FC have called on fans to name their new match-day pale ale. West Ham United’s new ground features two types of craft beer – Boleyn Bitter and Iron Ale. This further highlights the emphasis that stadiums and teams are placing on engaging with fans through quality craft beer.

With falling attendance numbers in many Australian venues, there is a need for an improved fan experience to attract stay-away fans, particularly as sports teams are competing with a growing number of alternative entertainment options.

Given the importance of alcohol to Australians, sports teams can score an easy win by offering more varied and higher-quality beer at games. Fans are irritated when they are continually offered mid-strength beer; they are demanding more for their money.

Fans are irritated and frustrated when they are continually offered mid-strength beer.
Blair Hughes

The way forward

Australian stadiums should look overseas for innovations in their beer offerings. Here are seven suggestions for satisfying thirsty stadium-goers:

  • prices published online to allow fans to make informed choices and to allow comparison;
  • better options of local independent craft beer made available;
  • teams to collaborate with local breweries for team-branded beers for fans;
  • cup-holders in stadium seating so beers stay colder for longer;
  • designated driver programs, where fans receive free soft drinks in exchange for being the designated driver for their friends (a very popular program at US stadiums);
  • ice-foam technology to keep beers colder for longer; and
  • no charge for beer trays.
Beer options at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
Blair Hughes

There have been some recent changes to the typical restricted drinks menus on offer. A small number of stadiums throughout Australia are now selling craft beers, but these are still a minority.

After speaking with stadium representatives to gauge the interest in offering local independent craft beer options, many have suggested that fans will soon likely see more availability of locally produced brews, albeit in small quantities to keep pourage rights holders and catering companies happy.

The stadium fan experience is evolving at a rapid pace, with global venues locked in an arms race to improve, revolutionise, and add value to the offering for fans on match days. There is a concerted effort to listen to fans’ concerns and get them out of their home sport caves and into the ground.The Conversation

Keith Parry, Lecturer in Sport Management, Western Sydney University and Blair Hughes, PhD Candidate, Western Sydney University

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

Energy management software

NHP has announced a partnership with Switch Automation to deliver InfoSyte, an energy management software solution from NHP tailored to the Australian and New Zealand markets.

A powerful cloud-hosted energy management platform, InfoSyte has the ability to integrate with energy, water and gas measuring devices along with other facility systems such as building management systems (BMS) and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

It offers a range of features including in-built reporting (including NABERS reporting), advanced analysis and trending functionality, fault detection and diagnosis and configurable user dashboards.

Responding to the growing challenge and need to interpret collected data for real world application use, the platform has capabilities enabling the visualisation of data to provide an engaging and intuitive user interface in real time.

According to the company, users will gain valuable insight into their facility operations, empowering them to identify process improvement opportunities and effective management of energy consumption where significant financial savings can result.

Pallet trucks for SME’s

Jungheinrich has launched an entry-level range of pallet trucks for low-duty applications.

This new range of electric pedestrian trucks is designed for retailers, print shops, workshops or garden centers, or even small to medium-sized businesses that routinely need to move heavy individual items.

The range includes EJE M13 (1300kg) and EJE M15 (1500kg) electric pedestrian pallet trucks. The AC drive motor provides fast and efficient transport of pallets over short distances. An intelligent automatic shutoff system turns the truck off automatically after 30 minutes of non-use, conserving energy and the battery.

All trucks are fitted with a maintenance-free, three-phase AC motor and a maintenance-free gel battery with integrated charger as well as an ergonomic Jungheinrich tiller, offering fast, efficient and safe throughput, claims the manufacturer.

Moving loads in these applications can be difficult if the operator only has a conventional hand pallet truck,” says Greg McNamara, National Jungheinrich Product Manager. “The initial effort required to get the load moving, and then stopping, can be a possible OH&S risk or if not, sometimes impossible with a manual pallet truck.”
The Jungheinrich EJE M13 and EJE M15 electric pallet trucks are now available from NTP Forklifts Australia.

Victorian Manufacturing Showcase features food innovation

A large audience gathered recently at the Victorian Manufacturing Showcase in Ballarat to hear from business leaders about challenges and opportunities in emerging growth sectors, with a strong emphasis on innovation, products and markets.

Key factors considered central to success in today’s changing manufacturing environment included an ability to adapt, development of a competitive risk-taking culture, and exploiting collaboration with other companies and universities.

Also highlighted was the critical role of strong leadership, involvement of employees in seeking new ideas and productivity improvement, and recognising the importance of consistently delivering quality added value products for clients.

True Foods is an Australian owned family business that was established in 2001 as a specialist manufacturer of flat bread products.

In 2011 the company purchased a major production facility in the Victorian regional town of Maryborough which consists of 27 acres with 3 acres under roof.

True Foods Director, Mark Thurlow, says the company has experienced enormous growth in its production capabilities, now employs some 250 people, and has an annual turnover of around $50 million.

“We have grown to become the largest Australian owned manufacturer of Tortilla Wraps, flatbread products, and bakery snacks such as crumpets and pikelets, and this is supported by a supply chain that distributes significant volumes of shelf stable, ambient and frozen products nation-wide,” he said.

“Innovation is a driving force in our success and we continue to invest in new capabilities and capacity to bring innovative new products to market for our customers, which range from large multi-national supermarket brands and international franchise groups to weight loss companies and health food chains.

“Our culture of innovation is aimed at finding unique solutions across the entire value chain – from new product development, to purchasing of raw materials, and finding new production and supply chain efficiencies. We are always looking to invest in new capabilities that are synergistic with our existing purchasing, production and supply chain efficiencies.

“The focus on innovation is backed by an R&D team that is equipped for rapid prototyping to help us quickly focus on a clients’ specific brief, and our multiple production lines have all been modified to make slightly different products. This in turn means that the company has some of the broadest capability in Australia to offer a range of products, with or without inclusions, and to make multiple health claims.”

“We are constantly increasing the range of products we offer, and because of our ability to run segregated production lines, allergen-free, gluten-free, organic, Kosher or Halal products can be effectively processed.”

“It is people that make a business and development of a loyal culture and a highly reliable workforce is essential. We have established a diverse management team with backgrounds in food manufacturing, food technology, logistics management, corporate finance and marketing, and a key feature of the company’s culture is to encourage and listen to employee ideas.”

 

 

Read the full article in the February issue of Food and Beverage industry News

Machine automation controller

Omron electronics has released its entry level controller, NX1P, designed for small to midsize production machines. Based on the Sysmas (System for Machine Automation Control) platform, the controller features advanced motion control and networking for onsite IoT.

It is battery free and reduces machine maintenance, featuring an SD memory card slot to restore, back-up and verify data in the controller.

With one or two built-in option boards, there is no need to increase the size of the control panel for adding serial and analog communication.

This makes it a compact controller with push-in-plus terminals at the I/O and CPU unit to strengthen connection and save wiring time.

According to the company, these features together with a fast execution time of 3.3ns makes the controller an easy-to-use, high performance compact controller.

Moreover, the controller has built-in Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT ports. EtherCAT allows connection between I/O devices with a single cable providing control for up to eight servo systems, reducing wiring work.

Single-axis position control and four axes of motion control can also be achieved through electronic gear/cam and linear/circular interpolation. IO-Link master is enabled, meaning downtime is reduced and status of machines can be detected quickly and precisely.

Management education, not just tax cuts, needed to create jobs and growth

Company tax cuts are a key component of Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison’s plan to drive growth in jobs and wages, spurring on the Australian economy.

There’s no question that tax cuts and lower energy prices will enable companies to keep more of the money they make. But it’s not more money per se, but what they do with that money that will enable them to grow.

Should they spend money on hiring more people, developing new products, do more marketing, change the packaging, or expand the factory to manufacture more product for export?

These are the kinds of decisions all CEOs of medium-sized companies must make. But many CEOs are uncertain about what to do to grow and are fearful of making wrong decisions. No CEO wants to make a decision that sends the company into decline, so there’s a tendency to “circle the wagons” and try to protect what they have or make incremental moves from which they can quickly retreat if things go wrong.

In these situations, lack of money is less of a gating factor than lack of knowledge. The good news is that when CEOs are taught the basics of growth, understand how to create a growth strategy, and are given tools that enable them to simulate the impact of a decision, they make decisions quite rapidly and begin to grow – and then they hire people and jobs are created.

Two years ago we launched our first growth program and began working with a group of 10 companies from all over Australia representing ten different industries. They had revenues between A$5 million – A$50 million, 5 – 200 employees, and the CEOs wanted to grow but weren’t sure how. Over the two years since they entered our program, they increased their aggregate revenue by 93%, profit by 100%, and are exporting into 12 new countries.

But, most importantly for policy makers wanting to create jobs – these ten companies have added 146 new jobs. That’s an average of 14.6 jobs, over two years, per company.

What if each of the 220,000 medium enterprises in Australia added half as many jobs over the next two years? That would result in more than one million jobs.

Promoting company growth can be achieved by helping managers figure out:

  • What’s the best growth strategy for this company?
  • What changes are needed in marketing and sales?
  • What changes are needed in the way we lead and manage?
  • Are the right people in the right positions to drive growth?
  • What kinds of people, with what kinds of skills and experiences, are needed for future growth?

Although a tax cut could be the fuel for the growth, company leaders come to our growth program because they need help thinking through which growth strategy makes sense for their business. They want to learn how to improve their leadership, tune their organisation, become more efficient, and rev growth.

Money alone will not create the numbers and kinds of jobs required to boost the economy. CEOs and MDs in our programs tell us that learning what to do, when, why, and in what order has given them the confidence to take the risks required to grow their companies and hire more people.

In short, we need to focus as much attention on the management education of founders, CEOs and MDs of medium-sized companies as we do on providing them with more money. Once they learn how to grow their companies, they will definitely need money to become the engines of growth, and they will certainly hire more people, creating the jobs we all want.

The Conversation

Jana Matthews, ANZ Chair in Business Growth, Director, Centre for Business Growth, University of South Australia

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

New switchbox for food processing plants

The new GEMÜ 4242 combi switchbox is suitable for secure and fast applications in most food and other types of process plants.

It is small, compact and light, and is ideal for pneumatically operated linear actuators. With its integrated 3/2-way pilot valve made of anodized aluminium or stainless steel, the new combi switchbox 4242 from GEMÜ, the Ingelfingen-based specialist for valves, measurement and control systems, is especially designed for smaller and medium nominal sizes. It is particularly well suited for secure and fast applications with a stroke of 2 to 30 mm.

The design is compact and saves material, and in comparison with competitors’ products, it is much smaller. This has a favourable effect on pricing and provides protection for the environment at the same time.

Green engineering is part of the GEMÜ range. The pneumatic and electrical connections of the combi switchbox save  space and enable easy access as they are positioned in one direction. This means that the combi switchbox can be fitted quickly and easily without any great need for cabling, and there are no problems during servicing either.

Mounting and commissioning is made simpler by a speed-AP function. A manual override enables fast diaphragm change. This all saves time and money, and lowers the planning efforts.

The combi switchbox has a microprocessor-controlled, intelligent position sensor and an analogue, integrated travel sensor system. The combi switchbox provides extended diagnostics, and reports various programming, sensor and pneumatic faults using high visibility.

The end positions are programmed on site via the reed contact, using a solenoid on the top of the housing, but without a PLC connection. The position of the reed contact in the housing is clearly marked. The housing therefore need not be opened. Mechanical openings in the housing for buttons and switches are therefore not required.

Mother Earth to partner with Netball Victoria

Netball Victoria has announced that Mother Earth has formed a new partnership with our Clinics and Camps program in 2017.

Mother Earth is the flagship brand of Prolife Foods New Zealand, manufacturer and producers of the Mother Earth range of snacks, nuts and spreads including Baked Oaty Slices, Fruit Sticks and Brekkie on the Go!

“We are delighted to have Mother Earth partner with us for Netball Victoria Clinic and Camps in 2017,” said Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King.

“Mother Earth is the perfect fit for Netball Victoria with its wholesome range of snacks, nuts and spreads matching our desire to promote healthy and active lifestyle choices in the netball community.”

As part of the partnership Mother Earth will provide clinic funding, where children have fun improving their skills and making new friends.

King’s sentiments were echoed by Kevin Hawkes, general manager grocery & marketing Mother Earth.

“Mother Earth is thrilled to come on board as a major partner of Netball Victoria Camps and Clinics,” said Hawkes.

“We have always supported community and family through a range of programs including some junior and club level netball sponsorships in New Zealand.”

“This partnership is a perfect opportunity to invest in grass roots netball here as the Mother Earth brand increases its presence and investment in Australia.”

Aussie wine exporters celebrate ChAFTA’s anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are we giving our pets poisoned food?

According to phys.org, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that short-term feeding of canned dog food has resulted in a significant increase of BPA in dogs. Scientists believe that because of shared environments, dog exposure to BPA through canned foods could have human health implications.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widely used industrial chemical found in many household items, including resins used to line metal storage containers, such as food cans.

 “Bisphenol A is a prevalent endocrine-disrupting chemical found in canned foods and beverages,” said Cheryl Rosenfeld, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center.
“We wanted to determine if short-term feeding of widely available commercial canned food could alter BPA concentrations in dogs. Thus, we assessed BPA contained within pet food cans. We also analyzed whether disturbances in bacteria found in the gut and metabolic changes could be associated with exposure to BPA from the canned food.”

“The dogs in the study did have minimal circulating BPA in their blood when it was drawn for the baseline,” Rosenfeld said. “However, BPA increased nearly three-fold after being on the either of the two canned diets for two weeks. We also found that increased serum BPA concentrations were correlated with gut microbiome and in the dogs analyzed. Increased BPA may also reduce one bacterium that has the ability to metabolize BPA and related environmental chemicals.”

Dogs who share internal and external environments with their owners are likely excellent indicators of the effects of BPA and other industrial chemicals on .

“We share our homes with our dogs,” Rosenfeld said. “Thus, these findings could have implications and relevance to humans. Indeed, our canine companions may be the best bio-sentinels for human health concerns.”

“Bisphenol A (BPA) in the serum of pet following short-term consumption of canned dog food and potential health consequences of exposure to BPA” was published in Science of the Total Environment.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-12-bisphenol-canned-dog-food-bpa.html#jCp