Tough retail conditions contribute to profits drop at Goodman Fielder

Goodman Fielder suffered a four percent drop in profits in its half yearly results, and challenging retail conditions are partly to blame, says Australasia's largest food manufacturer.

Normalised net profit after tax for the half year is at $41.2m, down four percent, and CEO Chris Delaney said "Retail trading conditions in Australia continue to be very challenging, resulting in lower volume and pricing which impacted our first half performance. However, the progress we are making, particularly in securing price increases in our Baking and Grocery divisions, is expected to result in improved performance in the second half of the year."

Overall, the company is pleased with its results, with its net debt reduced by 35 percent and an improved alignment with retail partners resulting in price increases and a continued commitment to the company's "key strategic milestones."

"This includes the necessary reinvestment in our brands and our people to grow our revenue and support our medium term growth objectives.  That has resulted in a 38 percent increase in direct marketing expenditure (DME) and also a provision for staff incentives in the first half," said Delaney.

"While this increase in DME has impacted our earnings result relative to the previous corresponding period, we believe this is a prudent reinvestment of the cost savings we are generating across the business to support our strategic planning agenda."

 

Food contamination – a weighty issue

Looking out for certain features of weighing equipment can help food manufacturers maximise their return on investment, and minimise the risk of contamination. Isaac Leung writes.

Food contamination can occur via any number of vectors, so constant vigilance is required during every step of the food supply chain.

One oft-overlooked source of food contamination is weighing equipment, a fundamental part of portioning in food processing.

Current international standards which govern hygiene in relation to weighing equipment in the food industry include the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG) guidelines, BRC Global Food Standard, SQF program, ISO 22000, and the NSF 3-A/ANSI 14159-1 standard.

Locally, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code relating to Food Premises and Equipment stipulates that equipment needs to be designed, constructed, located and installed to ensure there is no likelihood they will cause food contamination, and can be easily and effectively cleaned.

In the case of food contact surfaces, for example, where a scale has foodstuff set on it during the portioning process, the rules are even stricter: in addition to the above, they need to be able to be sanitised, and be unable to absorb grease, food particles and water, and made of material which will not contaminate food.

Similar requirements can be found in the policies of food retailers. For example, Woolworths’ Quality Assurance Standard pertaining to Manufactured Foods require well-documented procedures for the microbiological and chemical cleaning of processing and handling equipment. These cleaning procedures are backed up by visual inspection, residue testing, and quarterly microbiological swabbing of surfaces and equipment.

Woolworths also requires planned preventative maintenance programs which include clean in place (CIP) operations utilising documented chemicals, hot water and energy like scrubbing or high pressure hosing.

According to Phil Hyland, project manager at Mettler Toledo, the last three to four years have seen a tightening of hygiene controls as a number of high-profile food contamination cases have emerged globally.

Weighing equipment manufacturers have kept an eye on these stringent demands, and designed their equipment to be correspondingly easier to clean, with less food traps and areas which could become sources of cross-contamination.

Materially-speaking
By virtue of their function, weighing equipment consists of a mix of direct food contact surfaces and non-contact surfaces.

On a scale, non-product contact surfaces can include the terminal, housing, and feet, but these can cause indirect contamination. Depending on the type of food being weighed, the feet of scales can also be in direct food contact.

Contact surfaces are defined as surfaces in direct contact with food residue, or where food residue can drip, drain, diffuse or be drawn. The scale platform is the most obvious direct food contact surface.

These surfaces need to be smooth, non-porous, non-absorbent, impervious; free of cracks, crevices, pitting, flaking, and chipping; corrosion-resistant; durable and maintenance-free; non-toxic, non-contaminant; cleanable and non-reactive.

The standard material for contact surfaces is stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant and durable. 316 steel is preferred, while 304 stainless steel is also adequate.

To attain the requisite hygiene ratings, the surface needs to be polished to a smoothness of 0.8 micron or better. Rougher surfaces prevent effective cleaning as microorganisms become trapped in the surface, becoming a bacteria trap.

Of course, cleanability can also be dependent on the finishing technology, which can affect the surface topology.

Where other materials are used, plastics should be food grade, and smooth ceramics is also a common material.

According to Hyland, the common approach to use silicon-based potting material to protect sensitive parts of weighing equipment, such as the load cell, is insufficient for food-grade equipment. Certain cleaning products can shorten the life of silicon potting materials. A better approach is to protect the load cell with a welded, IP69 rated seal.

Designed for cleaning
The ability for equipment to handle heavy washdowns is one of the things which differentiates food-grade industrial weighing systems from, say, a kitchen scale. But Hyland says customers who only focus on the washdown capabilities of equipment may be overlooking other important factors.

“They often haven’t looked at the ability to clean the equipment properly, such as ensuring there are no food traps,” Hyland explained. “The converse applies: you could have a machine which is open and able to be washed down but the equipment eventually suffers from the cleaning.”

“We’re looking for something that can be cleaned to a satisfactory standard and yet be able to withstand that process.”

Equipment which is poorly designed may require more severe and prolonged cleaning. Aggressive chemicals and longer clean/decontamination cycles increase maintenance cost and downtime, and in the long run, can reduce the life of the product.

To avoid food traps, equipment should not have sharp corners and crevices, and mated surfaces should be continuous and substantially flush. Construction should allow easy disassemble for cleaning and inspection.

Internal angles should be rounded to standards-specified radii. Most standards specify the avoidance of sharp corners, less than 90 degrees.

Particular features which allow for easy cleaning include full stainless steel construction, smooth surfaces, continuously welded and completely closed columns with no disturbing cables, and ingress protection of IP68 or IP69K.

“IP69K sealing gives our food industry equipment very good protection against hot, high-pressure hosing,” Hyland said. “When you are in a meat room or a food processing area, the temperature often changes. If a freezer comes on, for example, you can have a large change in air temperature.”

To combat condensation within equipment due to temperature changes, the machines should be well-sealed, and properly vented.

“Food equipment in high-condensation areas will have Gore-Tex vents, which allow a balance of air pressure, so it doesn’t try to suck in moist air, but also does not allow moisture in through the vent,” Hyland explained.

Holistic approach
While the design of equipment is an important aspect of food safety, food safety auditors say many manufacturers often spend millions of dollars on equipment, only to find themselves out of step with their core customers’ requirements.

Standards like the Woolworths Quality Assurance Standards and the Coles Housebrand Supplier Program specify a comprehensive set of requirements, which relate to factors beyond equipment design like equipment placement, calibration, cleaning, interfaces with other equipment, and data retrieval and analysis.

By having a good understanding of all aspects of these requirements, in addition to equipment design, food manufacturers can minimise the risk of contamination, and ensure they are compliant with relevant standards.

 

AFGC praises Kraft for manufacturing innovation

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) gave food brand Kraft and the Victorian government a big pat on the back last week following the official opening of Stage One of Kraft Foods’ Asia Pacific Centre of Excellence in Ringwood, Melbourne.

AFGC CEO, Gary Dawson, said the centre provides a model for food manufacturing innovation that will enhance industry competitiveness and bolster manufacturers’ capacity to take advantage of export opportunities, particularly in Asia.

“Innovation is of critical importance to Australia’s $110 billion food and grocery manufacturing industry. This important investment by one of the most significant global food manufacturing companies underlines Australia’s potential to become a major manufacturing hub for the Asian Century,” said Dawson.

He said Kraft wants to use the centre to help in the development of new, innovative products and processes for both Australian and Asian markets.

“It’s ambition is to enhance collaboration between the food industry, research agencies and both large and small companies in the food manufacturing sector, unlocking the innovative capacity of Australia’s advanced food manufacturing sector.

Dawson said the centre is a perfect example of the type of food industry innovation hub recommended by the Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce, but said more innovation is required.

“In 2009-10 industry spent $466.7 million which was consistent with a three year trend of R&D growth. Governments have key roles to play in setting policies that enhance industry competitiveness by encouraging innovation, R&D and business operations.

“Innovation is at the heart of the industry's vision for a competitive future and it maintains a huge potential for growth into Asia. Governments can back the innovative capacity of Australian food and grocery manufacturers by easing the regulatory burden and through R&D tax incentives and accelerated capital depreciation to maintain and enhance the industry’s competitiveness,” he said.

 

Why the Australian manufacturing industry needs the next generation of robots

 

Amid the gloom about the prospects for manufacturing in Australia — and the difficulties facing an economy dominated by small businesses (nearly 90 percent of Australian manufacturing capacity) — there is some cause for optimism. A new generation of lightweight, assistive robots looks to provide small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with new options to improve their competitiveness and meet the challenges of high costs and a shortage of skilled workers.

The news is good for workers, too. Robotic “smart tools” offer a means of removing danger and monotony from the work environment and, in striking contrast to conventional beliefs, provide a way to retain the existing workforce for longer.

Studies have shown that robots can boost productivity, but this productivity dividend is dependent on a human workforce able to set them up, maintain them, and make creative decisions about how best to complete work tasks. In a US case study of Marlin Steel, introduction of robots not only boosted quality of company product, but increased employee remuneration.

The manufacture of robots is a growing source of employment. A 2011 report commissioned by the International Federation of Robotics found that 150,000 people worldwide are already employed in the engineering and assembly of robots.

This report also identifies use of robotics in SMEs as essential to win back manufacturing from countries with low labour costs. In this case, the introduction of robots is capable of maintaining the viability of manufacturing in developed countries – and preserving manufacturing jobs.

Assistive robotics offer a high-productivity solution that could also help Australian manufacturing integrate into regional value chains, as recommended in the recent Asian Century white paper.

Lightweight robots can be integrated into the Australian workplace as assistants to workers in three ways.

The first is as “intelligent tools”, which work together with human workers. Mobile assistants, manipulators, “smart” picking, lifting and handling systems, and robotic welders, gluers and assemblers enable automation of short-run production processes, and provide a flexible solution to increase efficiency of production.

Secondly, robots can also be used as tools to augment the abilities of human workers in manufacturing processes. Powered exoskeletons enable workers, regardless of age or gender, to lift and manipulate heavy loads safely. Wearable machine vision systems can alert workers to workplace hazards in real-time, including hazards which can’t be detected visually, such as radiation and high temperatures. Mobile assistive robotic trainers and tele-immersive training systems enable experienced staff to remotely mentor workers who are new to a work environment.

The third way is as “smart” field tools, which enable human workers to manufacture items under hazardous or challenging conditions. Tele-operated mobile tools and vehicles are already in use in the mining industry, enabling work to be supervised remotely in an environment that is safe and comfortable for workers. Rigs which facilitate micro-manipulation and micro-assembly enable workers to conduct micro-assembly of complex items without strain to eyesight. Virtual and augmented reality systems allow workers to manipulate tools while remote from the factory floor, therefore reducing risks of work-related injury such as repetitive strain and injuries from use of tools.

So why is robotics changing? Conventional industrial robots — such as those used in automotive manufacturing — are heavy, programmed for one task, fixed in place on the factory floor, and expensive to buy, install, program and maintain. They are also potentially hazardous to humans, so workers are usually excluded from the robot workspace. But the next generation of lightweight robots is different.

A number of technological advances have made this new generation of lightweight robots possible.

First, the next generation of robots can “see” the workplace using advanced vision systems (including stereo and infrared cameras and multi-modal imaging), high precision sensors and perception algorithms.

Secondly, the new generation of robots is mobile. They know where they are and can navigate within the workplace thanks to navigation, localisation and mapping technologies – such as Wi-Fi localisation, beacon-based navigation, simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), and accurate 2D or 3D modelling.

Importantly, human workers are now able to easily communicate with robots via voice and visual gesture recognition. Sophisticated human-robot interactive interfaces allow shared autonomy and human supervisory control. Additionally, augmented and virtual reality robotic systems allow workers to work remotely in hazardous or physically demanding working environments and to tele-operate and tele-supervise remote equipment. Emerging global high-speed wireless communication systems such as the NBN provide the required infrastructure for these technologies.

Manipulation technologies, including force-amplifying exoskeletons (frameworks worn by workers to provide mobility and lifting assistance), dexterous manipulation (grasping and moving complex objects using robotic “fingers” or claws), and multi-robot cooperation make for a working environment that is safer for the workforce and enable any worker – regardless of sex or age – to effectively perform physically onerous or dangerous tasks in complete safety. Robotic tools similar to existing micro-surgery rigs enable workers to perform miniature component manufacturing and assembly tasks with precision and dexterity – without risk to their health.

Finally, the new generation of robots would not be possible without smart fabrication. Miniaturisation and smart and lightweight materials make for small, light, smart robots. These robots can move rapidly around a workplace, respond to commands to fetch tools, rapidly shift stores of materials and finished product, and complement human activities.

Alberto Elfes does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation

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

 

Tough road ahead for agriculture and manufacturing

The Aussie Jobs report is out, and unfortunately it's a fairly bleak outlook for Australian agriculture and manufacturing workers.

Despite talk of the mining boom dying down, more than one in every ten jobs created over the next five years will be in mining, with 103,700 jobs opening up, news.com.au reports.

The report also shows agriculture's share of total employment growth will shrink from a previously predicted 2.1 percent to 0.6 percent, and manufacturing's figures have also shrunk.

Employment Minister Bill Shorten said training and education are of vital importance nowadays.

"More and more employers are seeking workers with formal qualifications," he said.

"That is precisely why the Gillard Government is investing billions in skilling our workforce and encouraging lifelong learning.

"Those with a bachelor degree or equivalent will be most in demand over the next five years, showing the importance of skilling Australians to ensure continued productivity growth," Shorten said.

 

Impact of carbon tax “probably greater than anticipated”: Ai Group

The results of a series of surveys by the Australian Industry Group have found manufacturers, especially those in food and beverage, reporting a jump in energy costs.

The average increase in energy costs reported was 14.5 percent for the 485 firms surveyed in June, July and November. There were also in-depth surveys of manufacturers undertaken in July and August.

Innes Willox, the Ai Group’s CEO, said that niche groups including food manufacturers were suffering a "probably greater than anticipated" impact from the tax.

A third of those in manufacturing and construction “did not yet have enough information”  to asses the impact of the tax on their businesses, while almost half (49 percent) of respondents saw an immediate increase in their input costs when the tax was introduced on 1 July 1. Sixty-one percent of manufacturers reported an immediate increase in energy costs.

“Our broad survey results show food manufacturers appear to be facing the greatest profit squeeze as a result of the carbon tax, with over 90 percent reporting price rises for at least some of their inputs, but only 10 percent of food processing businesses being able to pass those costs on to their customers,” the report says.

One company, electrical cabling maker Tycab Australia, estimated that it had seen its energy bill increase $120,000 to nearly $700,000 a year.

"We put out a letter to our customers and told them about the carbon tax effect and we were told quite clearly they were not going to accept price increases," Tycab’s owner Greg Northrop told News Limited.

 

 

Pay dispute at Victorian milk factory

A trade union body has been called into a Chinese-owned milk factory in Victoria after employees claimed they weren't being paid.

According to the Weekly Times Gippsland Trades and Labour Council secretary John Parker visited the Toora factory after employees complained they hadn't been paid for three weeks work in December.

Workers also claimed they hadn't been paid last week, despite their contract stipulating they must be paid weekly.

The workers were hired to clean up Visplus Dairy factory site, which is currently undergoing a $76 million redevelopment lead by Chinese company Funton Holdings.

Parker said after the visit the December pay issue had been resolved, but the union still had concerns about the company's plans for the factory.

“The Trade and Labour Council wants the company to go ahead and we will do what ever we can to help them,” he said.

“We want to sit down and talk to them about an agreement.”

If the redevelopment goes to plan the new site could create 150 new jobs in the region.

Manufacturers’ iodine avoidance linked to underpeforming students

A lack of iodine might be to blame for the lacklustre performance of Australia's school students, and food manufacturers could have a hand to play.

According to SMH, international test results show that Australia is placed at 27th in the world for year four reading, 22nd in science and 18th in maths.

An internationally recognised professor of medicine at the University of Sydney and expert on iodine deficiency, Cres Eastman, has said diets in top performing countries like Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong are rich in iodine thanks to salt iodisation and a diet rich in fish and seaweed.

SMH adds, "In contrast, he says a national survey of schoolchildren in 2003-04 has confirmed the re-emergence of iodine deficiency in Australia after an absence of almost half a century."

Food manufacturers could be playing a role in this deficiency, with the dairy industry ceasing to use iodine to sterilise milk bottles and the Australian food industry only making limited use of iodised salt in its manufacturing processes.

Despite regulations that all bread (excluding organic options) is required to contain iodised salt, consumers are reluctant to buy iodised salt for home use.

Iodine is a micronutrient essential for normal thyroid function and iodine deficiency is the world’s leading cause of preventable intellectual disability or mental retardation in children. For more information on iodine, click here.

 

US food safety shake-up; Colombia’s coffee woes: Global News Bites

Global News Bites keeps you up-to-date on what's happening around the world in food and beverage manufacturing.

FDA proposes new food safety standards
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed two new food safety rules that will help prevent foodborne illness. The proposed rules implement the landmark, bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) … The proposed rules build on significant strides made during the Obama Administration, including the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped up testing for E. coli in beef as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety, which many producers, growers and others currently follow … The first rule proposed would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The FDA seeks public comment on this proposal. The FDA is proposing that many food manufacturers be in compliance with the new preventive controls rules one year after the final rules are published in the Federal Register but small and very small businesses would be given additional time. The FDA also seeks public comment on the second proposed rule released today, which proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. This rule proposes science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.
https://www.mountainx.com/article/47697/FDA-proposes-new-food-safety-standards-for-foodborne-illness-prevention-and-produce-safety

Improvement in Colombia coffee production 'urgently required': Agriculture Minister
Colombia's Minister of Agriculture on Sunday said that the government is dedicated and has proven its dedication to aiding the country's sluggish coffee industry. In a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo called the decline in Colombia coffee production in 2012 "troubling and disappointing" and that improvement in 2013 is "urgently required." Restrepo said that the administration remains determined to assisting Colombian farmers through this troubling period. The Minister of Agriculture noted that 75% of funds invested into the coffee industry come directly from the national government. Restrepo also mentioned the $33 per load subsidy farmers are currently getting to help offset the declining international price of coffee, which fell 26% in 2012. A calamitous 2012 production season caused the national government to directly subsidize farmers whose production numbers represented a 33-year low. The dramatic decline, according to the Communications Director for Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers [FNC], was due to a myriad of factors including global market fluctuation, torrential rains and a rising peso. Besides a shifting global market, a heavy rainy season "prevented flowering and sparked an increase in coffee tree diseases" which dramatically affected production goals. Despite the disappointing 2012 season, the Minister of Agriculture said he remained hopeful that the industry would rebound in 2013.
https://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/economy/27583-improvement-in-colombia-coffee-production-urgently-required-agriculture-minister.html

UK 'mega deals' at three-year high
The number of big deals increased from 24 to 39, helped by the £5bn acquisition of NDS by US software company Cisco and by the £4.6bn partial acquisition of Alliance Boots by US rival Walgreens. In total, such deals accounted for £128bn in 2012 and helped boost the overall value of deals by 4.8pc, from £231bn in 2011 to £242bn in 2012. The most active sector for large deals was food and drink manufacturing, followed by chemical manufacturing, and professional and business services. Deals included Diageo’s £1.3bn acquisition of Vijay Mallya’s stake in Indian drinks company United Spirits, as well as the £1.2bn sale of Weetabix to Chinese conglomerate Bright Food.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9783947/UK-mega-deals-at-three-year-high.html

Udyami meet: Food processing industry in state under focus
The food processing industry in Bihar came under focus at the Udyami panchayat here on Monday, at which the entrepreneurs aired their problems and chief minister Nitish Kumar, who headed a team of ministers and top officials, promised to address them. Promoters and representatives of rice and wheat flour mills, rural agri business centres, processing units of maize, fruits and vegetables, biscuit manufacturing and edible oil processing units attended the meeting. The State Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB) has approved altogether 533 projects under food processing sector with the total projected cost of Rs 5942.74 crore. Of this, over Rs 762 crore has already been invested, said industry minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha after the meeting … The SIPB has also approved proposals for 28 new sugar mills at a projected cost of Rs 6507.86 crore, extension of 10 existing sugar mills for Rs 956.64 crore, establishment of ethanol plants at three existing sugar mills at an outlay of Rs 151 crore, said principal secretary, industry, Navin Verma.
https://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-01/patna/36093811_1_sugar-mills-food-parks-nitish-kumar

Canadian Health Officials 15 E. coli Illnesses in Eastern Provinces
Canada’s eastern and adjoining provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are reporting 15 confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7. None of the illnesses have yet been traced to a source. Ten of the E. coli illnesses are located in central Nova Scotia, with five reported by the Capital District Health, two by the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, and one each by the Pictou, Cumberland, and Colcherster East Hants health authorities. On the other side of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, heath officials reported two cases were reported in the St. John region and three in the Fredericton region. Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer for New Brunswick, said it is not known if there is a common source for the cases. A number of possible sources are being investigated. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer for Nova Scotia, said that it would not be uncommon for there to be additional cases as it may take as long as ten days for some people to begin to experience symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 and get tested. One of the Nova Scotia patients experienced kidney failure, but along with the others is said to be recovering. In New Brunswick, four illnesses were treated by emergency room visits, and one victim was hospitalized.
https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/01/canadian-health-officials-investigating-15-e-coli-o157h7-illnesses-in-eastern-provinces/#.UOtJGNmpA80

Federal agriculture minister announces Canada-wide information hubs
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the government will phase in 16 information hubs for farmers, fishers and foresters needing advice on growing and selling their products. Ritz made the announcement at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratories in Saskatoon. He said the centres will have expertise on newly developed crop strains, strategies to increase yields and best practices related to food safety. For example, a canola company needing information on export regulations on food-grade canola will have one-stop access to the rules through a centre. The hubs are to be spread across Canada and are to specialize in an activity concentrated in a given region such as shellfishing in Moncton, N.B., and forestry in Burnaby, B.C. Ritz says producers located far from any centre will be able to get advice through a toll-free number or digital means.
https://www.timescolonist.com/news/national/federal-agriculture-minister-announces-canada-wide-information-hubs-1.41628

Change4Life advertising campaign highlights sugar and fat in food
A graphic government television campaign highlighting the levels of sugar, fat and salt in everyday foods, including a cola bottle holding 17 cubes of sugar, and a wine glass full of fat from a large pizza, will be launched on Monday during an episode of Coronation Street. The adverts will bookend commercial food adverts, including from Asda, the Co-Op and Quorn, featuring their healthier ranges. The campaign is part of the Change4Life scheme. The public health minister, Anna Soubry, said: "We want to make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use." The government has been criticised in the past by many in the health sector for not introducing a mandatory simple uniform labelling system, but has finally won agreement from major supermarkets to introduce a traffic light system of labelling on a voluntary basis this year. Soubry said with England having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, there was more to do. "Making healthier, balanced meals on a budget can be a challenge for families. This new Change4Life campaign offers families free healthy recipes and money off those much needed cupboard essentials to encourage everyone to try healthy alternatives.
https://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/07/government-sugar-fat-salt-health-campaign

US Demand for Plastic Film to Grow 1.9% Annually to 16 Billion Pounds in 2016
US demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.9 percent annually to 16 billion pounds in 2016, with a market value of $19 billion. Expansion of the market will be fostered by an acceleration in economic growth and an increase in consumer spending, which will drive demand for film used in diverse applications such as retail sales, manufacturing, and construction. Advances will also be helped by an increase in the use of film in packaging, where it offers advantages in cost, performance, and source reduction over other packaging materials. The versatility of plastic film increasingly allows for the downgauging of packaging, reducing the amount of material needed and lowering production and shipping costs, while maintaining desired characteristics.
https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=35294


 

24 hours with Yummia

Yummia's founder, Mia McCarthy takes Food mag's Q&A and sheds some light on the joys and challenges of running your own food brand.

Name: Mia McCarthy

Company name: Yummia

Title: Sole trader

What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life.
At the moment I run all aspects of the business. There is no typical day, although I do try and follow a general weekly plan in order to ensure everything gets done through the week. Although every day I have to exercise. This is really important for my sanity and I find I often do my best problem-solving and planning when sweating it out at the gym.

I have listed a few things that happen each week:

  • Manage supplies. Keeping on top of inventory and stock.
  • Investigate new business opportunities, following through with contacts and industry leads.
  • Processing orders, reviewing and invoicing all orders that are placed from customers.
  • Production days – we have a few production days per week, which involve busy days at the factory preparing and packing orders ready for dispatch. Because it's a fresh product we can't have stock sitting around for a long time, so we have to be really on top of orders.
  • Business planning – at least each week I sit down, and look at the business growth up until now, what worked and what did not.
  • Research, research, research. I'm always looking at other businesses and taking advice and reviewing how we can implement successful strategies into Yummia.
  • Paper work – on any given day there is hours of papers to be filed, bills to be paid, money to be collected!!
  • Accounting

What training/education did you need for your job?
Well lots I'm sure, but I have none! I started this company at 21 in my final year of university studying BA Dip ED (Primary), so all my training and education I have learnt through experience and on the field. A lot of trial and error! It is these real life experiences that have shaped the businesswoman I am today, and the one I want to be in the future, so lots more experiences to be had!

How did you get to where you are today? Give us a bullet point career path.

  • Graduated from High School in 2006.
  • Completed BA Dip ED (Primary Education) from Macquarie university in 2011.
  • I started Yummia in my final year of university study. After managing the two for a while, Yummia started to grow.

When I finished university I was able to invest in the business in a full time capacity. I initially made a personal investment of $10,000 into the business. I had saved this up through babysitting and working odd jobs throughout university. As the business has made more money we have re-invested this straight back into the business as well as a loan from my parents.

What tools and/or software do you use on a daily basis?
MYOB – this is by far the single most useful tool that my business uses. I received it as a birthday present because I could not afford it at the time and it's definitely been the best present I've ever received!

What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
Yummia as a whole, being quite young I have not had many 'professional' experiences, but I am extremely proud that I have created and built this company from the ground up. I stated off as a uni student with an idea. I receive an extreme sense of pride knowing that Yummia has been created from nothing. That makes me really happy! Although we're still only just over a year old, so hopefully there will be many more happy moments to come!!

Biggest daily challenge?
Cash flow with accounts receivable, I'm slowly learning that people don't like to pay bills and it's a constant battle to chase payments and keep on top of outstanding accounts!

Maintaining sales in shops and positive customer relationships. When I had just a few small shops I was able to really nurture this growth and sales. I developed really strong relationships with all my customers, as we grow the personal connection gets diluted and we become just another product on shelves.

Biggest career challenge?
Logistics and delivery. This is something I constantly battle with, and getting product into shops quick enough to maximise shelf life. We are in the process of implementing a few procedures that will greatly increase shelf life for delivery time!

What is your biggest frustration in your job?
People not doing what they say they will do. I'm constantly following up with suppliers and contracts to ensure that deadlines are met and standards are maintained.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
All our products are quite new concepts to the breakfast market, we are not able to piggy-back off the category awareness that comes with other products. So educating the customers of our products.

Sustainable growth, meeting current demand and still having the capacity to greatly increase productivity.

Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
It's not as daunting as it looks. Compartmentalising different aspects of the business means the big picture does not overwhelm me or stop me from doing my job to the best of my abilities!

Click here to read more on Yummia's product range.

If you'd like to be part of Food mag's Industry Map Q&A, click here.

 

Merry Christmas from Food mag

In our last newsletter for 2012, I just want to say Merry Christmas, and thanks for your support.

As a serious newbie in this industry, I'd like to thank you all – our dear Food mag readers – for your help and support.

I've received plenty of emails in my few weeks as Food editor, from manufacturers large and small, keen to welcome me aboard and shed some light on the key issues in the industry.

We'll be back on 7 January 2013, ready and raring to bring you all the latest and greatest news and views in food and beverage manufacturing.

Big changes are ahead for Food mag, so stay tuned!

Danielle Bowling

What’s in store for food manufacturing in 2013?

2012 has been a tough year for food and beverage manufacturers. Will next year be much the same?

Only coming in as editor of Food magazine a few weeks ago (although, it feels like a lifetime ago now!) I'm not going to pretend that I fully understand the trials and tribulations that 2012 has thrown at you manufacturers – big and small.

But, I am getting my head around a few of the big issues. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of talk seems to be around that big scary phrase, 'Asian century'. Stories like this and this show that while there are a lot of opportunities for Australian manufacturers to take advantage of Asia's interest in our food industry, we're not exactly sure how best to take advantage of them and how much power or control we're willing to hand over. Consumers aren't 100 convinced either….

Another key issue is sustainability, and most of it seems to surround seafood at the moment. Whether it's naming and shaming those companies reluctant to embrace sustainable fishing methods or clarifying which species are threatened and which aren't, sustainability is sure to be another hot topic in 2013.

Let's not forget the supermarkets. The duopoly made headline countless times this year, with the dominance of private labels of particular interest to the industry, not to mention the price wars and their effect on our producers.

Love them or hate them, Coles and Woolies are here to stay, I just wonder if the consumer's concern for battling Aussie brands will continue to grow, and if/how the duopoly will respond?

Labelling, labelling, labelling. Manufacturers are under more and more pressure to be upfront and honest about EXACTLY what they are – are they organic? Better yet are they CERTIFIED organic? Are they Australian-made? And what does this even mean? Are the product's contents grown here? Is the product packaged here? Or is it made from 'local and imported ingredient?' – which can be hugely misleading for consumers. I think next year manufacturers' claims will be put under the microscope and labelling reforms will gain serious momentum.

Pressure is also on manufacturers to be upfront about how good their products are for consumers. Health is a growing concern for Australian consumers (as our waistlines are growing too) and industry bodies and governments are in the process of developing a labelling system which is easy to understand and which clearly defines the health and nutritional value of food and beverage products. It won't be traffic lights, but it could be stars.

Just last week proposals for new regulations were approved which would see stricter controls for on-pack health claims, including the need to provide scientific evidence to support claims as well as a requirement to meet specific eligibility criteria including nutrition criteria.

I know there are more, but these are the burning topics that I've read and written about the most in my brief few weeks in the editor's chair. But as I said in my introductory article, I'm all ears. Now's your chance to share your thoughts and tell all Food readers what you see in your crystal ball.

Merry Christmas to you all, and the Food team will be back (and ready for a big, eventful year) on 7 January, 2013.

 

New CHEP container rises to challenge for yeast manufacturer

A new addition to its IBC range, the CHEP Intercon has increased efficiencies at Australian yeast and bread improver manufacturer, Lesaffre.

The company was previously using the CHEPBox, an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC), designed specifically for food industry applications, to move its liquid yeast from its Melbourne manufacturing site to its Perth distribution site.

Then, 12 months ago, CHEP approached the company with the new CHEP Intercon, which Peter Gaddes, CHEP senior business relationship manager, sai would add efficiencies to Lesaffre's supply chain.

Made from food-grade polypropylene, the Intercon is designed specifically for the food manufacturing sector and can be used for liquid and dry food applications including juices, edible oil, meat and vinegar, and, in Lesaffre's case, liquid yeast.

The Intercon is more than 60kg lighter than the CHEPBox and can hold 50 litres more liquid yeast.

Russell Cotterell, national logistics and purchasing manager for Lesaffre Australia Pacific, said "The reduction in the weight of our freight, combined with the ability to move more product has cut our annual freight component. The reduction from 144 trips to 140 trips a year is a huge benefit as the Melbourne to Perth trip is logistically one of the most expensive channels in the country."

Cotterell said staff on the company's manufacturing floor were happy with the change.

"A drop door on the side of the unit enables easy access to the base for manual filling and placement of liner bags, so our staff can reach further down inside the Intercon without having to bend," he said.

"The strong, lightweight construction also means the Intercon is easy to manoeuvre within our plant during filling, while the unit's four-way design allows forklifts access from all four sides, providing improved OH&S standards and greater handling efficiencies across the plant."

 

Only Australian Groceries blames unpatriotic shopping for Rosella’s woes

The on-line shopping website Australian Groceries, or OnlyOz, has blamed a lack of support for Australian brands for the collapse of Gourmet Food Holdings, owner of Rosella.

Katie Hooker, co-founder of Only Oz, has commented on the lack of willingness by consumers to buy domestic products.

“I challenge everyone to only buy Australian made from Australian owned companies this Christmas,” she said in a statement. “You will not only be giving great products, but you will also be keeping Australians employed.

“We can not make the government buy Australian made cars or Australian made paper products… We can all chose to buy Australian this Christmas. You never know, you might be preventing another Australian manufacturer from going into receivership!”

Others, including the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, have blamed the appeal of cheap imports for difficulties facing Australian food and beverage manufacturers.

Gourmet Food Holdings was placed in receivership earlier this month, with Ferrier Hodgson acting as receivers and managers. Gourmet employs 275 people in Australia and New Zealand.

Oprah’s Dr Oz calls organic food ‘elitist’; GM foods in UK: Global News Bites

Global News Bites keeps you up-to-date on what's happening around the world in food and beverage manufacturing.

Dr. Oz Says Organic Food Is Elitist, Do You Agree?
Dr. Mehemet Oz, daytime television host of Dr. Oz and the man behind bringing medicine and health to the masses, has found himself in a bit of hot water with the green food community after calling organic food consumers “elitists” “snooty” and “snobs” in a recent article for TIME magazine. Oz argues that the organic lifestyle is not only unconventional and undemocratic but also only reserved for the nation’s “1%”. But before we throw the scrubs clad doctor to the wolves, let’s dissect these notions on the basis that maybe, just maybe, there’s a little truth to his tirade. How often have we heard from friends, family and complete strangers online that eating organic is expensive, not practical and outside of their budget? We’ve all witnessed the single mom at the grocery store filling her cart up with conventional canned vegetables, sugary snacks and chips instead of opting for the healthier foods all in an attempt to stretch her budget and man her household. Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are riddled with fast-food restaurants, “soul food” hot spots, and junk food galore — with the occasional Farmer’s Market coming far and few between. Food deserts aren’t a myth. They are a true reality for millions of Americans living in disadvantaged communities. But guess who can afford to eat well ALL THE TIME? That 1% everyone is always talking about.
https://www.clutchmagonline.com/2012/12/dr-oz-says-organic-food-is-elitist-do-you-agree/

Owen Paterson backs UK-grown genetically modified food
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has backed introducing genetically modified (GM) food production in the UK. He said there were "real environmental benefits" to the technology and dismissed concerns about its impact on human health as "complete nonsense". It comes amid speculation that ministers are ready to relax control on the cultivation of GM crops. Although not illegal, to date no GM crops have been grown commercially in the British countryside. However, the coalition has allowed small-scale cultivation trials to take place. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Paterson said: "Emphatically we should be looking at GM … I'm very clear it would be a good thing. "The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. "There are real benefits, and what you've got to do is sell the real environmental benefits." Those in favour of the technology argue that it can increase crop yield and avoid the need for pesticides. But there was widespread public opposition to the introduction of GM food to Britain in the 1990s. Mr Paterson dismissed concerns about human health, arguing that widespread use of GM crops around the world meant people were already unwittingly eating GM food.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20664016

Global food production to slow following boom: UN report
Global food production will slow over the coming decade following an exceptional but unsustainable rate of growth in developing countries, with more investment needed in the sector, the UN's food agency said Thursday. "The average annual growth in global agricultural production through 2021 will slow to 1.7 percent, down from the 2.6 percent of the previous decade," the Food and Agriculture Organisation said in its yearly report. "Agriculture in many countries has grown at a pace that cannot be sustained," it said, adding that production shot up by over 50 percent over the last 12 years in Latin America as a whole and by 70 percent in Brazil alone. Production had also increased by over 40 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, eastern Europe and central Asia, and by 20 percent in the United States and western Europe, the Rome-based agency said. Biofuel production has also expanded rapidly over the past 10 to 15 years, particularly in the United States, Brazil and the European Union (EU), it said. Ethanol production in the United States shot up by 780 percent over the last 12 years while in Brazil it grew by 140 percent. This year, it absorbed over 37 percent of coarse grain crop in the United States and over 50 percent of Brazil's sugar cane crop. Biodiesel production absorbed almost 80 percent of the EU vegetable oil production. In countries such as Australia and Canada, growth in the biofuel sector has been strong, although less than in the primary producing countries. "The sector has proved the largest source of new demand for agricultural production in the past decade, and represents a new 'market fundamental'."
https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Health/2012/Dec-06/197471-global-food-production-to-slow-following-boom-un-report.ashx#axzz2Egk8QuF6

Mixed Outcome in "Natural" Consumer Class Action Food Case
A decision last month in one of the many class action lawsuits targeting food makers epitomises much of what is wrong about America’s civil justice system generally, and the latest food labelling suits in particular. Two AriZona iced tea purchasers, on behalf of all similarly situated Californians, filed suit in The Food Court (aka The Northern District of California) under three California statutes. They argue that AriZona’s use of “natural” on some product labels is deceptive because the tea contains high fructose corn syrup and citric acid. On November 27, Judge Richard Seeborg granted in part and denied in part AriZona’s summary judgment motion, and also issued a modified certification of the suit as a class action. Plaintiff Lauren Ries claims she purchased an “All Natural Green Tea” at a gas station in 2006 because (among other reasons) she was thirsty and wanted something healthier than a soda. She couldn’t recall the price and doesn’t have a receipt. Plaintiff Serena Algozer says she bought various AriZona teas over several years but doesn’t recall the prices, doesn’t remember what label statements she relied on, and, doesn’t have receipts. Judge Seeborg ruled that Ms. Ries’s claims under two of the California laws were barred by their statutes of limitation. However, her claims under the third law, and all of Ms. Algozer’s claims, were allowed to proceed. Under the court’s interpretation of the proof needed for plaintiffs to survive a summary judgment motion, it did not matter that Ries and Algozer: had no proof of their purchases; had no evidence that they paid more for a “natural” iced tea than a comparable (“unnatural”?) product; and can’t be sure that they relied on the “natural” statement when buying the tea.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/wlf/2012/12/10/mixed-outcome-in-natural-consumer-class-action-food-case/

Cuba enforces new law to promote food production
A new Cuban law on land usufruct came into force on Sunday with the purpose of boosting the island country’s food production. Under the Decree-Law 300 and its accompanying regulations, designed to expand the delivery of state-owned idle land, beneficiaries are allowed to build housing and other production-related properties. Also, the legislation increases the limit of land given to each beneficiary from 40 to 67 hectares, while including forestry and fruit production in the allowed activities. In addition, food producers are expected to enjoy tax reductions or exemptions after a new tax law comes into effect in January. Cuba has an agricultural area of some 6.6 million hectares, and the idle land was estimated at 1.8 million hectares four years ago, when the government began its delivery in usufruct. According to the National Land Control Center, the island now still has 975,000 hectares of idle areas to deliver in usufruct, and 65 percent of them are infested with marabou, a thorny shrub very difficult to eradicate. The Cuban government considers food production as a strategic issue. The country spends 2 billion U.S. dollars a year to import 80 percent of the food needed to meet domestic needs.
https://www.nzweek.com/world/cuba-enforces-new-law-to-promote-food-production-36003/

U.K. Manufacturing Drops in Sign of Fourth-Quarter Weakness
U.K. manufacturing production fell more than economists forecast in October as food and alcohol slumped, indicating weakness in the economy at the start of the fourth quarter. Factory output dropped 1.3 percent from September, the most in four months, the Office for National Statistics said today in London. The median forecast of 28 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 0.2 percent decline. Total industrial output unexpectedly fell 0.8 percent, a third consecutive decrease, led by mining, oil and gas. Manufacturers are under pressure as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis hurts demand in the U.K.’s biggest export market and a fiscal squeeze crimps sales at home. The Bank of England, which has said the economy may contract this quarter, left its bond- buying program on hold yesterday as it assesses the need for more stimulus after Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne extended his austerity program. The data “raise the chances of a triple-dip recession in the wider economy,” said Samuel Tombs, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. “We continue to expect industrial production to fall further in 2013 as the euro zone’s recession deepens and high inflation holds back domestic consumer demand for manufactured goods.” The pound remained lower against the dollar after the report, and was trading at $1.6035 as of 10:10 a.m. in London, down 0.1 percent on the day. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.K. government bond was little changed at 1.74 percent. Out of 13 categories in manufacturing, 10 fell, two rose and one was unchanged in October, the statistics office said. The slump was led by food and alcohol production, with the latter falling 9.1 percent, the most since May 2011.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-07/u-k-manufacturing-drops-more-than-forecast-on-food-alcohol-1-.html

Food shortages in Syria send prices soaring, compounding hunger problem
Plenty of food lines the shelves in Abd al-Razzak’s warehouse, but only for those who can afford the sky-high prices needed to cover the bribes it took to transport it there. “There’s a powdered-milk factory in Latakia, but there are 13 security checkpoints to go through,” Razzak said, sitting in the darkened warehouse in this forlorn northwestern town, which has no electricity, no running water and trash pickup only when gas can be found for the trucks. “We have to pay a bribe at each checkpoint.” The United Nations’ World Food Program warned this week that the escalating violence in Syria is causing food shortages throughout the country. Factories have been bombed. Roads and farm fields are pockmarked with deep craters left by missiles. Thieves have held up trucks carrying food, as demand has swelled in towns housing at least 1.2 million Syrians displaced from their homes by the fighting, according to official estimates cited by the WFP. “The food security situation for many Syrians is rapidly deteriorating with the intensification of the conflict and its expansion to more areas,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “Bread shortages are becoming more common with long queues in front of bakeries, a shortage of fuel, damage sustained by bakeries, and an increased demand from fresh waves of internally displaced people.” Some of the most acute food shortages are in northern Syria, where fighting has been intense since the summer.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/food-shortages-in-syria-send-prices-soaring-compounding-hunger-problem/2012/12/06/a47af3d4-3f22-11e2-bca3-aadc9b7e29c5_story.html

Libya pays extra for food imports as sellers fear disarray
Libya is having to pay extra for food imports and traders say some foreign firms are diverting shipments elsewhere due to fears – dismissed as unfounded by Tripoli – that growing disarray in the country could delay payments. The North African state, much of which is desert, is a big food buyer and has stepped up purchases of staples including wheat and sugar since the end of fighting last year that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Tripoli shop shelves are now full of foreign produce. But while international traders had viewed oil producing Libya as a lucrative market, some now say they are backing off from trade. "Libya has a huge amount of oil wealth, but its chaotic administration and fears about non-payment are still giving it a bad reputation in international trade," a European grain trader said. Companies contacted by Reuters could not cite concrete cases of default by Libyan importers, but rather unease that payment could be delayed, not least by cumbersome bureaucracy. "There is an unspoken Libya premium in the grain trade which the country has to pay for grain imports despite the fact that its huge oil wealth should make it a grade one customer to sell to," another European grain trader said. "Traders need the extra money because of payment risks and the general uncertainty in the pretty chaotic government there." Traders cited a Nov. 14 tender where Libya paid $395 per tonne on a cost and freight (c&f) basis for 30,000 tonnes of soft wheat. "On the very same day, Jordan, by no means a rich country but a reliable…trading partner, paid only $378 a tonne c&f for 50,000 tonnes of higher quality wheat including more expensive shipment costs," the second trader said.
https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/03/libya-trade-idUSL5E8MU51520121203

 

PM announces future focus on food manufacturing

The Gillard government yesterday announced a range of measures to bolster the strength of Australia's manufacturing industry, and food manufacturing was not forgotten.

In addition to a Manufacturing Leaders Group aimed at seizing the opportunities of the Asian century, the government agreed that the first funding rounf of the $236 million Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) will focus on food research.

A statement issued by Greg Combet, minister for Industry and Innovation, read "The ITRP is designed to develop partnerships between firms and researchers to boost the competitive edge of Australian industry."

It added, "Food processing is a key area area of opportunity as the rise of a large Asian middle class will lift demand for high quality food products."

Yesterday's announcements follow other recent steps including:

  • Establishing a new Anti-Dumping Commission with increased powers and resources to provide "a fair go" for Australian manufacturers and farmers.
  • Support for innovative manufacturing through the $240 million 16th Cooperative Research Centres selection round, which will open for applications in February 2013. At least $50 million from this funding round will support the development and application of new technologies to support growth and competitiveness in Australian manufacturing.
  • Provision of more than $38 million in Clean Technology Grants for food processors to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve productivity.
  • Establishing a Centre for Workplace Leadership to encourage higher performing workplaces and stronger leadership capability to boost productivity

Early next year the government will release an Industry and Innovation Statement setting out a long term agenda for maximising opportunities from the Asian Century, strengthening Australian industries and creating local jobs.

 

New yoghurt plant to create 200 manufacturing jobs

Chobani Australia has opened its new $30 million yoghurt plant in Victoria.

The new factory located in Dandenong South was officially opened on 5 December by Chobani CEO and founder Hamdi Ulukaya and minister for agriculture and food security Peter Walsh.

Chobani acquired dairy company Bead Foods in 2011 and have extended the existing facilities, adding over 3000sqm of wet processing and cool rooms to the site.

The investment is expected to triple production capacity to over 30,000 tonnes of yogurt per annum.

To put this into context, according to Dairy Australia’s figures over the last five years average total production of natural and fruit yogurt in Australia is between 90,000 to 100,000 tonnes per annum.

Chobani CEO Ulukaya said Australia was the right place for the company’s first international production site because high quality inputs are readily available.

“We chose Australia as our first international market to launch Chobani because of its amazingly high quality milk, and we knew that Australians are passionate about great-tasting food. The completion of this facility is the realisation of a dream that I have had for some time now, and I am truly humbled by the warm welcome Australia has given Chobani,” he said.

The new plant has already created 50 new manufacturing and management jobs last year and the company expects to add another 150 new positions over the next three years as the factory reaches capacity.

Chobani expects the Dandenong South plant to act as an export hub, driving the growth of Greek yogurt and Gippsland Dairy brands into Asia.

Minister for agriculture and food security Peter Walsh said the new plant is good news for Victorian dairy farmers.

“This expansion is good news for Victorian dairy farmers who supply Chobani Australia, and it is a strong vote of confidence in Victoria's valuable dairy sector,” Walsh said.

The yogurt market has experience considerable growth over the past two decades.

Dairy Australia attributes the steady market growth to the product’s “ability to meet consumer requirements for convenient, healthy snacks in an environment of time-poor lifestyles” and regular flavour and packaging innovation.

 

Food and beverage defies trend with growth for November

The food and beverage sector of the manufacturing industry was the only one to expand in November, according to the Australian Industry Group – PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index.

The sector defied trends by growing 4.9 points (from 42.8 to 50.7) throughout the month, with the index reporting a drop of 1.6 points for the overall manufacturing industry.

Production expanded in three out of the 11 sub-sectors for November, with strong increases reported for the food and beverage and wood products and furniture sub-sectors, as well as growth in the miscellaneous manufacturers sector.

The growth of the food and beverage sector is also thanks to growth in new orders and exports, which have increased strongly in the past five months.

Despite employment and average wages decreasing five points to 41.7 for the industry as a whole, employment in food and beverage manufacturing expanded in November, as it did in the paper, printing and publishing sub-sectors.

Click here for more detailed information from the Australian Industry Group – PwC Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index.

 

Ridley to sell salt assets, focus on agribusiness manufacturing

Ridley Corporation will sell its Cheetham Salt business to CK Life Science to focus on its agribusiness core.

According to the company, the $150 million deal will see the sale of its Cheetham Salt company to CK Life Science, yet will see Ridley retain its holding on the Dry Creek Salt field and all the assets associated with its non-operating Bowen, Lara, and Moolap former salt field sites.

Ridley stated that the divestment will allow it to focus on its position as an agribusiness.

John Spark, Ridley's chairman, explained that "the decision to sell Cheetham is the culmination of a process announced in February 2012 to identify and evaluate alternative strategies to unlock the underlying value of the Cheetham business.

"This sale transforms Ridley into a focused animal nutrients, ingredients, and feed producers and provides flexibility to pursue further value accretive growth opportunities which will strengthen Ridley's position in the sector and enable further participation in industry participation".

Ridley managing director John Murray added that "as a result of this transaction Ridley is positioned as a company focused on the supply of animal nutrition products and services as well as the production of strategically important ingredients in the protein value chain".

The transaction is still subject to approvals from the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office, but is expected to be completed around 28 February 2013.
 

New foodTech QLD expo to launch in 2013

FoodTech QLD will launch in July next year and forms part of the Queensland government's initiative to grow the value of the state's food industry to $40b by 2020.

Launching in Brisbane at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 14 to 16 July, organisers are expecting more than 100 exhibitors showcasing a range of innovative food processing developments and technologies with particular relevance to Queensland.

Confirmed exhibitors include CBS, Key Technologies, CST Wastewater, Vemag, SPX, Arrow Scientific, Wiley, KF Specialty Ingredients, Ecolab, Fallsdale, Plasdene, Titan, Innovate and VOR.

Diversified Exhibitions – the team behind Foodpro – will be managing the event, and exhibition manager Peter Petherick said the expo hopes to address the specific needs of Queensland's food and beverage industries.

"We have sought to give a definite focus to the machinery, packaging and ingredients that reflect the strengths of Queensland’s food industries, in particular, those used in the meat, seafood and fruit and vegetables sectors," he said.

FoodTech QLD 2013 will run alongside the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Conference.

Suppliers to the food manufacturing industry can book space now.  Visit www.foodtechqld.com.au for more information.