Gourmet soups and risottos

Ingredients: Chicken & Corn Soup: water, corn, cream, gelatine (halal), vegetable gum, emulsifier, chicken, potato, onion, carrot, modified tapioca starch, chicken booster (flavour enhancers), canola oil, corn booster (colour), lemon juice, salt, pepper

Gourmet Pumpkin & Pistachio Risotto: arborio rice (water, rice), pumpkin, onion, white wine, parmesan cheese, canola oil, butter (milk), pistachio nuts, vegetable booster (flavour enhancers), modified tapioca starch, herbs and spices, salt, garlic, water, preservative

Brand owner: Mrs Crocket’s

Brand/product manager: Sam Goldstein

Packaging supplier: Tecpak (soup lid and cup), Alto (risotto tray), Amcor (risotto film), Carter Holt Harvey (risotto sleeve)

Graphics Package designer: Tin Factory Creative

Organic pasta

Ingredients: organic wholegrain farro flour, orzo flour, water

Brand owner: Senselle Foods

Brand/product manager: Stuart Smith

Packaging supplier: Giacomo Santoleri, Italy

Graphics package designer: Di Antonio, Italy

Asian market ready for convenience

Microwave ovens and freezers have changed the way Asians think about and consume meals. This, combined with demanding lifestyles, has spawned the Asian ready meals culture.

There has been an emergence of ‘lifestyle’ ready meals in Japan, in response to the country’s fast pace of living.

Taiwan is a booming market. The second most important ready meals market in the Asia Pacific. Local diets and religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and beef are likely to constrain the development of meat-based ready meals.

The vegetarian ready meal market in India will grow. The vegetarian ready meal market will grow in India. Quick fix food. In much of Asia the ready meal market is still in its infancy. Ready meals are described as the aggregation of canned, preserved, frozen, dried and chilled meals, din­ner mixes and prepared salads.

They are products that have had recipe ‘skills’ added to them by the manufacturer, resulting in a high degree of readiness, completion and convenience. Ready meals are generally com­plete meals that require few or no extra ingredients. Some ready meals require cook­ing, while others simply need reheating. Ready meals are at an introduc­tory stage in many Asia Pacific countries, which means that ready meals addressing health and well­ness, including low fat/low calorie, wholesome fresh ingredients, are virtually non-existent.

Japan takes the lead

Despite registering robust sales performances during the period 2000 to 2006, ready meals in emerg­ing countries such as India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam are still in their infancy.

Per capita expenditure on ready meals in these countries was almost negligible, largely due to a lack of consumer awareness about such products, particularly in rural areas, as well as the dominance of home-cooked meals in local diets.

Japan leads the pack Japan is by far the most advanced market in terms of development of new health and wellness products.

According to Euromonitor International’s estimates, retail value sales of ready meals in Japan accounted for a massive 91% of the regional sales in 2006. Regionally, Japan is the most mature mar­ket and retail sales are dominated by tradi­tional lunchboxes and sozai (small dishes).

In fact, there has been an emergence of ‘lifestyle’ ready meals in Japan, in response to the country’s fast pace of living. Consumers are increasingly looking for ways of reducing stress and stress-related symptoms. In March 2006, Asahi Food & Healthcare Co launched Hatsuga Genmai Jikkoku Gayu, a new retort-packed sprouted porridge, using premium rice harvested in the Uonuma area with ten types of natural cereals (black soy beans, red beans, green beans and more).

Each package is fortified with 25mg of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA is believed to help with relaxation by releasing stress and promoting better sleep. This ingredient is not new to the market; it has also been used in alcoholic drinks, such as wine and Japanese sake. Taiwan’s global tastes Meanwhile, Taiwan is a booming market. It is the second most important ready meals market in the Asia Pacific region, with a robust average annual growth of almost 53% in the period 2000 to 2006 — an increase in actual total sales of about US$416 million.

In fact, the ready meals sector was a major area of development for packaged food between 2000 and 2006. Though the initial phase consisted of few brands and a very narrow range of traditional local cuisine, by 2006 this sector had an increasing number of brands, with local and international meal options for consumers to choose from, reflecting local consumers’ increasingly international tastes.

Think local

According to Euromonitor senior packaged food industry analyst Emily Woon, the ready meals landscape in the Asia Pacific region is diverse, with specific markets being at dif­ferent stages of development.

“One size does not fit all in the regional ready meals sector,” said Woon.

“Growth is dynamic but to tap it requires a country-specific approach.

“Therefore, it is important for manufac­turers to recognise the specificity of local conditions and tastes in emerging markets.”

For example, in India new product develop­ment will continue towards vegetarian dishes. Local diets and religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and beef are like­ly to constrain the development of meat-based ready meals, except in the eastern region of the continent.

In countries such as Indonesia where the ready meals market is at the introductory stage, manufacturers could develop processed versions of traditional meals in order to attract busy consumers who increasingly seek convenient foods that are easy to prepare.

“Such a strategy seemed to have worked well between 2000 and 2006 for a number of Indonesian manufacturers operating in the chilled and frozen aisles,” explained Woon.

“For example, chilled and frozen bakso, or beef-balls, have become increasingly pop­ular in Indonesia.”

Research and development

All Food Systems is a food ingredient man­ufacturer supplying the Australian and Asia Pacific region. Export manager Kym Balogh said that like every other company around the world, All Food Systems would like to be a part of China’s economic growth.

“However, we are also very aware of the emerging ready meal market throughout the rest of Asia,” Balogh said. “

Tastes and flavour vary from country to country, so the research and development department is aware that we are serious about exporting, and to do this we have to be flexible in development ideas.”

HSC International is an exporter of ready meals like instant noodles and pasta throughout Asia. HSC International managing director Steven Teo highlighted the importance of research and development, saying it was imperative that exporters researched new products, consumer concerns, culture, habit and pricing to have a full grasp of the export market requirements. Teo said that there will be an even bigger demand for ready meals, because people have higher purchasing power but are time poor, making quick meals an obvious choice.

All Food Systems’ Balogh also adds that being able to drop into the supermarket on the way home from work to pick up the crumbed chicken Kiev or the marinated or sautéed chicken skewers is a luxury spread­ing through the Asia Pacific region.

“Ready meal products in Asian super­markets is not something that will happen overnight,” said Balogh.

“Australian manufacturers have the expe­rience in ready meals, while Asian manufac­turers have ready access to the consumers.

“Getting ready meals that appeal to Asians onto supermarket shelves is the challenge for Australian manufacturers.”

Tea in a tin

Ingredients: Chamomile Fields: chamomile and rose petals; Mint Madness: peppermint, spearmint, cornflower blossom

Brand owner: Macro Wholefoods Market

Brand/product manager: Angela Brand

Packaging designer: Egg Design

Loose tea leaves

Ingredients: selected dried leaves, buds and berries depending on blend

Brand owner: jones group

Brand/product manager: Stuart Smith

Packaging supplier: jones group

Graphics package designer: Irwin & Sheehan

New technology for omega-3 fish oils

A recent agreement between Food Science Australia (FSA) and Clover Corporation will increase the range of processed foods containing healthy omega-3 fish oils and selected microalgal oils by using second-generation MicroMAX microencapsulation technology.

In collaboration with Preventative Health National Research Flagship, FSA has expanded their work on encapsulation and developed new, more durable microencapsulation technologies.

The main difference, and benefit, of the new technology is the robustness of the encapsulation, allowing for a higher oil loading than the original MicroMAX technology, and the ability to withstand a variety of strenuous processing conditions without imparting a ‘fishy’ flavour and aroma to the food.

Clover Corporation, through its joint venture with Nu-Mega Ingredients, will use the technology to expand its product range and enter new international markets.

“Clover Corporation will be using the next generation MicroMax microencapsulation technology to improve the delivery and stability of its DRIPHORM HiDHA rich omega-3 fish oil, and other ingredients, enhance the commercial efficiency of providing the bioactives in the fish oil, and expand their application in foods and infant formulations,” Clover CEO Dr Ian Brown said.

The microencapsulation of fish oil, which involves enclosing microscopic droplets of fish oil in robust films, has been used to deliver the beneficial fatty omega-3 oils to a variety of foods, including long-life milk, processed cheese and yoghurt as well as snack foods, by protecting the fat from oxidation, prolonging the shelf life of the food and maintaining the desired taste.

This is the first commercial agreement that FSA has embarked on with the second generation technology.

FSA has previously worked with CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship to understand the effects food processing has on microencapsulated products and continues to look for partners to use the MicroMAX technology in a range of applications.

Protecting bakery workers

Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is a major issue in the bread products industry.

Mixing machines, hot ovens and large heavy baking trays for doing hundreds of loaves or muffins at a time, are all potential hazards.

Bread product manufacturers’ responses to this are largely a matter of scale.

Automation

Industrial bakers, companies making hundreds of thousands of loaves of bread, muffins and the like every day, are tending towards automated systems like those produced by Australian company Auto-Bake Serpentine.

Local bakeries are also trying to remove the human factor but on a much smaller scale.

Automation is by far the most obvious trend in industrial bakeries, Auto-Bake general manager Mark Appleford said.

“Trying to make equipment safe by minimising human intervention is a definite trend.

“For example, with our systems, flour [and other ingredients are] dropped from silos into mixers, the mixers operate, the batter goes into our lines and, essentially, the finished product comes out without human intervention at all.

“It comes out as a baked product, then it goes onto conveyers and off for freezing, cooling or packaging and there’s barely a human hand intervening.”

The move to automation is driven by cost efficiency in terms of reducing the number of staff but an even greater efficiency is the reduction in worker’s compensation claims resulting from automation.

“With rack ovens, you open the door, push the product in and when it’s done you pull it out.

“In that process there are potentially people getting burnt, getting hands mashed in doors, not picking racks up properly and getting back injuries,” said Appleford.

“One of our American customers produces 250,000 muffins an hour using Auto-Bake’s systems.

“It was only doing a third of that with rack ovens and one of its biggest savings has been worker’s compensation.”

While trends towards automation can simply shift the OH&S risk from production to maintenance there are ways to compensate.

“Whenever you have to maintain something there is the chance of an accident plus the cost of having the line down,” explained Appleford.

“This can be minimised in simple ways , for example, by using high-end greases in the machines, which only need application once a month instead of every day.

“There is also cleaning in process (CIP), sanitising the line while it’s running using sprayers, etc.”

Communication

However, the majority of bread in Australia is still made by the small end of town; suburban bakeries run by a handful of people.

In these environments automation is not economical so the focus shifts back to human beings, and how management communicates and executes OH&S systems, explained Baker’s Delight Holdings human resources and training manager Craig King.

“When someone takes up a Baker’s Delight franchise they get a number of systems including an OH&S system for the bakery.”

“Baker’s Delight has done hazard risk analysis for all the commonly used equipment in its bakeries.

“Franchisees are then able to do a customised risk analysis using templates provided by Baker’s Delight.”

“Once a risk analysis has been done,” said King, “it’s all about training your staff and reducing risks”.

“We used to have mixing bowls with no lids on them but now they have guards so that as soon as someone opens the lid, the machine turns itself off.

“Ergonomics is also an issue,” he said

“There’s constant lifting involved in running a bakery so we’ve reduced packaging from 25kg to 12.5kg so people can manage the lifting more easily.”

Ultimately, communication is the most important innovation.

“If companies are not communicating OH&S and constantly reviewing systems, then they’re not going to keep up the pace, and productivity and morale will be down,” King said.

“But it’s also a shared responsibility, there needs to be a feedback loop, innovation from the top down and also from the bottom up.”

Approach

WSP Risk Solutions general manager Genevieve Hawkins belives that whether the bakery is an industrial operation or a suburban bakery, the important thing is not to treat OH&S as something that needs to be done to stay out of trouble.

“It’s often done as a formal format with OH&S committees and all those sorts of things, or it’s just ignored, said Hawkins.

“But the way to approach OH&S is not to take a ‘what do we need to do to legally comply’ approach, but a ‘what do we need to do to run our business effectively and manage the risk we have’ approach.”

There are also sound business reasons for approaching worker safety in this way.

“If someone is injured at work, worker’s compensation premiums are going to increase, which is a direct cost to the bottom line.

“The injured worker may be off work for some time and will need to be replaced, so there’s recruitment costs, training costs, all those things come in to cover someone while they’re injured,” she said

“From a business management point of view it’s just not cost effective to keep injuring people at work.”

Allergy-free ingredients processing plant

The opening of a new $10 mil­lion food manufacturing plant in Murarrie, Queensland, by food ingredient company Ear­lee Products, will allow the separation of allergenic and non-allergenic food ingredi­ents, addressing a growing need in the food industry for non-allergenic ingredients.

Officially opened in July by the Minister for State Devel­opment, Employment and Industrial Relations John Mickel, the plant will boost Queensland’s production of allergy-free food ingredients.

The company’s existing plant will be dedicated to non-allergenic ingredients, while the Murarrie plant will con­centrate on mainstream pro­duction.

“No matter how conscien­tious we are, if non-allergenic and allergenic food production is carried out under the one roof, there will always be some level of risk of allergy-free products being contaminated,” Earlee Products’ managing director Bob Hamilton said.

“For this reason, we can only guarantee certification if non-allergenic products and sensitives have a dedicated production plant.”

The new facility will enable the company to increase pro­duction of its non-allergenic ingredients to around 50 tonnes per week.

“With so many Australians allergic to gluten, nuts and other allergens, we are confi­dent our new plant will enable us to offer a 100% safe and tested means of producing allergy-free products,” Hamil­ton said.

“This approach is novel to the general food-ingredients sector in Australia, and I believe it will certainly help fill a void in the marketplace.”

With the additional new facility providing Earlee Prod­ucts with almost four times as much space for its operations, while including facilities for wet and dry processing, and comprehensive pilot plant and product development labora­tories, the company now plans to embark on an overseas push.

“The timing is right for us to push our success offshore, and we are looking forward to showing the world Queensland is at the forefront of food sci­ence and its commercial appli­cation,” Hamilton said.

Fruity yoghurt

Vaalia’s new yoghurt is On The Shelf. Details on ingredients, brand owner, packaging and suppliers are:

Ingredients: skim milk, sugar, milk solids, water, raspberry (3%), inulin, maize thickener (1442), gelatine (halal), pomegranate (0.5%), food acid (331), flavours, live yoghurt cultures

Brand owner: Parmalat Australia

Brand/product manager: Michael Goodhew

Packaging supplier: Cryovac, Carter Holt Harvey, Huhtamaki, MeadWestvaco

Graphics packaging designer: Carpe Diem

Innovative ingredients at food expo

UK-based international flavour and fragrance ingredient supplier, R.C. Treatt & Co, showcased a range of innovative ingredients at the International Food Technology annual convention and food expo held in Chicago in July.

R.C. Treatt & Co demonstrated a range of interesting ingredients combinations such as Rooibos Tea + Plus, a cold beverage containing natural Treattarome Rooibos 9860 with natural Treattarome Raspberry 9845 and Pomegranate juice.

Also on display was True Taste Tea + Antox, a beverage containing natural Treattarome Green Tea 9767, Treattarome Watermelon 9724 and Treattarome Kiwifruit 9724, boosted with polyphenol catechins supplied by Taiyo Kagaku.

For more information on R.C. Treatt & Co’s range, email their Australian supplier Ingredient Resources (IR) or visit the IR website.

FOOD Challenge Awards winners

The winners of the FOOD Challenge Awards were presented with their awards at a Gala dinner held on July 11th at Sydney’s Daltone House.

The Awards recognise and reward brand owner excellence in food manufacture.

Brand owners can enter products produced over the last year, which are then judged based on the level of innovation shown in the following areas: processing, safety, marketing, export and packaging.

A winner and highly commended were awarded in each of ten categories.

Winners are as follows:

Best in show

Sponsored by Heat and Control

Winner: Wine Chocolates, Farm by Nature

Confectionery Award

Sponsored by Peacock Bros

Winner: Wine Chocolates, Farm by Nature

Highly commended: Well Naturally Sugar Free Chocolate Block with Mint Crisp, Vitality Brands Worldwide

Ready meals Award

Sponsored by Kerry Ingredients

Winner: Captain Birds Eye Chicken and Vegetable Patties, Simplot

Highly commended: Gourmet Salad Range, Mrs Crocket’s Fast and Fresh

Soup and prepared foods Award

Sponsored by Flavour Makers

Winner: Greenseas Tuna and Salmon Varieties

Highly commended: HJ Heinz

Snack foods Award

Sponsored by Earlee Products

Winner: Whole Kids Organic Sea Salt Popcorn, Nourish Foods

Highly commended: Sue’s Own Deli-Puffs, Highlands Cereal Foods

Meat and smallgoods Award

Sponsored by Ibex Group

Winner: Beef Ribs Slow Cooked in Barbeque Baste, Creative Food Solutions

Highly commended: Hans Bites, Hans Continental Smallgoods

Dairy Award

Sponsored by Danisco

Winner: a2 milk, A2 Australia

Highly commended: Bliss Ice Cream Gallery, Buderim Ginger

Alcoholic beverages Award

Sponsored by Imaje

Winner: Babicka Original Wormwood Vodka, Babicka Vodka

Highly commended: Brightlight Wines, JMB Beverages

Non-alcoholic beverages Award

Sponsored by Tronics

Winner: Edenvale, JMB Beverages

Highly commended: Diet Rite, P&N Beverages

Baked goods Award

Sponsored by insignia

Winner: Lifestyle Range Fig & Pecan Cookie, Byron Bay Cookie Company

Highly commended: Macadamia and Brandy Log

Health and wellness Award

Sponsored by Amcor

Winner: Rice Bran Oil Spread, Old Fashioned Foods

Highly commended: 100 Healthy Calories Range, Freedom Nutritional Products

Healthy foods for the future

Healthier and tastier foods will be researched and designed by Professor Peter Lillford, currently Visiting Professor for the Public Awareness of Science at the University of York in the UK, who has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship with the Food Futures Flagship.

The fellowship program, which has been allocated $97 million over seven years by the Australian Government, enables scientists to join Australian-based researchers to undertake collaborative projects under the auspices of the National Research Flagships program, encouraging innovation and development in Australia’s food industry.

Professor Lillford’s work with the Food Futures Flagship will focus on understanding the structure and properties of foods and how to design foods with specific health benefits.

According to Professor Lillford people are always going to eat what they like, despite the fat content, because food is a pleasurable experience.

The challenge of the research, therefore, is to modify the high-fat foods consumers’ like.

The aim of the research will be to break down food and ingredients into their structural components so that they can be manipulated, maintaining desired flavours and textures, and enhancing nutrient levels.

Starch providers form alliance

National Starch Food Innovation (NSFI), a leader in innovative potato, tapioca and corn starch applications, and the AVEBE Group have created an alliance expected to lead to new, pioneering products made from potato starch.

The alliance will see NSFI become the sole distributor of AVEBE’s specialty potato starch portfolio of food ingredients in North America, South America and Asia, leaving AVEBE to enhance market penetration in regions of potential growth.

Introducing a range of tailored starch-based ingredients to food manufacturers around the world, the alliance will offer food manufacturers more options and technological solutions as they look to enhance and differentiate their products.

“Starch is the most widely used, most versatile and ultimately the most important multifunctional ingredient in delivering the attributes in foods that satisfy consumers’ expectations,” NSFI’s natural polymers group vice president James Zallie said.

“Our new line-up of starch ingredients immediately improves our ability to meet our customers’ needs in the area of low-moisture foods like snacks, bakery and noodles, and will allow us to deliver a broader range of textural solutions to food manufacturing companies.”

According to AVEBE, its main motivation for entering into the alliance with NSFI is its ability to achieve faster, broader market penetration for its potato-starch ingredient portfolio.

Green measures today ensure business success tomorrow

In these times of drought and gobal climate change what is being done by the Australian food and beverage industry?

Well, manufacturers are doing their bit, often in small ways, but every little bit helps.

From using ‘green’ ink to print labels and packaging, through incorporating bio-degradable materials into product packaging, to recycling of ‘grey’ water and other water-saving measures, manufacturers from small SMEs to large multinationals are trying.

It is worth doing as much as possible to minimise a business’ impact on the environment.

There is growing concern that as climates change across the world growing seasons are being impacted and ingredients may not be readily available.

Costs could rise as a result of supply chain challenges and these would hit manufacturers, who in turn might have to pass them on to consumers in the form of price hikes.

Decreased consumption of processed foods could result and this would really hit manufacturers where it hurts.

If initiatives are not already underway, now is the time to act.

Time must be made for a review of processes and systems, and changes made no matter how painful it might be to do so.

Money and time invested now in addressing the impact of environmental damage and change on a business will safeguard that business’ future.

On reading through the FOOD Challenge Awards entry forms, it was clear that many businesses are embracing change in favour of more sustainable business practices.

It is good to see that some business owners and manufacturers are aware and acting.

Of course, more always can and should be done, and as time ticks business pressures will cause even the slow and careless to take action.

But those who do not wait will reap the rewards.

Food industry to benefit from RFID

The results of a pilot program to test integrated electronic product code (EPC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology across a number of industries, including the food industry, were presented at a seminar in Sydney as part of the SMART 2007 Conference.

The National EPC Network Demonstrator Project Extension, carried out by a multi-industry Australian consortium, including MasterFoods and Procter & Gamble, demonstrated how RFID using the GS1 global standards can provide opportunities for streamlining operations and improving supply chain collaborations.

The consortium achieved a 100% EPC/RFID tag read rate and reported customer productivity gains of 22.2%.

While the technology is relatively new in Australia, results of the recent RFID pilot, including improved productivity, delivery processing times and visibility throughout the supply chain, point to numerous advantages for the food industry.

As well as improving logistics efficiency, the implementation of RFID technology will allow for on-shelf tracking of individual consumer items that is not possible with barcoding.

According to a new report by IDTechEx, the use of RFID technology within in the food industry is expected to rise in the next 10 years.

GS1 chief operating officer Mark Fuller said the food industry will benefit from using RFID.

“As well as increasing the visibility of stock and being able to physically track pallets and cartons as they move from one site to the next, RFID will improve the management of products, on-shelf replenishment and tracking promotions,” Fuller said.

Food manufacturers and retailers can also expect this technology to improve food safety and product recalls.

“What is important for consumers is that the products they are eating are safe,” said Fuller.

“RFID allows manufacturers and importers to ensure the ingredients being used are what they should be, which is of particular importance considering the counterfeit products entering the market.

“In terms of recalls, individual tagging of consumer items in the future will allow for selective removal of spoilt products as opposed to clearing entire shelves,” he said.

Despite obvious benefits, there are factors impeding industry-wide implementation of RFID including the cost of tagging, currently around the 7.5 cents mark for bulk purchases, as well as the cost of software, process changes and weighing up the return on investment.

“Implementing RFID is not a simple thing to do, it is a major move for an organisation but a move that is inevitable,” Fuller said.

“The major retailers have said for certain it is going to come and it’s not far away.”

The GS1 advisory group, comprised of industry leaders such as Woolworths, Coles and Visy, are currently devising a road map to assist the food industry in implementing RFID over the next few years.

Innovative closure technology for beverage industry

Erie Plastics has launched an innovative closure technology and turnkey solution for the beverage and health drink markets. The Pop N’ Shake is an advanced, dispensing closure technology, allowing consumers to create their own blended drink on demand.

A range of flavours, ingredients, vitamins and minerals are dispensed into a bottled drink with the turn of a tamper-evident dust cover and ‘pop’ of an inner-cap chamber. The closures are customised to meet a wide range of beverage needs across the bottled water, juice, dairy, tea, coffee and health drink markets. The closure is also well suited for nutraceutical and organic applications.

Key features of Erie’s Pop N’ Shake closure include a PET chamber that works with both liquid and powder; dual tamper-evident design; and an innovative patent-pending moisture and oxygen barrier, providing secure separation from active and inactive ingredients.

“Our strategy was to focus on superior design and full functionality, and to launch the closure once we established a vertically-integrated closure system and turnkey solution for beverage producers,” Erie’s chairman and CEO P.C. Hoop Roche said.

“From what we’ve already heard from a number of global beverage and nutraceutical companies, the Pop N’ Shake closure is in the lead when it comes to both functionality and readiness for market.”

To provide a turnkey solution for beverage manufacturers, the company recently developed and installed a fill, seal and assembly production line in a food-grade processing/filling white room, which is also equipped to run leak testing and metal detection operations. The Pop N’ Shake closures are currently available in a 26mm size, with development of a 38mm closure in its final stages and due for release in late August.

Frutarom Switzerland opens Innovation Centre

Global flavour and fine ingredients company, Frutarom Switzerland has opened its new Innovation Centre which will serve as the European site for innovation projects, inviting customers and Frutarom staff from the various sites to jointly work on creative new solutions that combine flavors, food systems, herbal extracts and other functional ingredients.

The centre is made up of modern conference facilities, flavour analysis and flavour creation areas, sensor technology, and application-related confectionery, baked goods and beverages departments, as well as a ‘show kitchen’, enabling the company to present its products to customers in an imaginative way.

Frutarom develops, manufactures and markets an extensive variety of high quality flavors and natural fine ingredients for customers in the food, beverage, flavor, fragrance, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food additive, and cosmetic industries.

Frutarom’s 15,000 products are sold in 120 countries around the world. The Frutarom Group has 1,200 employees worldwide and manufacturing facilities in Europe, North America, Israel and Asia. Frutarom operates through two divisions: Flavors Division, which develops, produces and markets flavor compounds and food systems. Fine Ingredients Division, which develops, produces and markets natural flavor extracts, functional food ingredients, natural pharmaceutical/nutraceutical extracts, specialty essential oils, citrus products and aroma chemicals.

FOOD Awards dinner event dazzles guests

This year’s FOOD Challenge Awards dinner event was a huge success. Over 210 guests celebrated the achievements of 20 companies at FOOD Magazine’s third-annual FOOD Challenge Awards, held on July 11 in Sydney.

The Awards, held at Doltone House on James Bay Wharf, showcased the large amount of innovation and excellence within Australia’s food and beverage industry today. A winner and highly commended were awarded in each of the categories, which included snackfood, confectionery, soups and prepared foods, ready meals, meat and smallgoods, dairy, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, baked goods, and health and wellness. An award for best in show was also given to the winner that had demonstrated outstanding innovation and excellence.

Guest came from various sectors within the food and beverage industry, representing brands belonging to Heinz and Simplot, as well as smaller companies. Other guests came were suppliers to the food and beverage industry. As well as being attended by finalists, the event’s sponsors Amcor, Danisco, Flavour Makers, Kerry Ingredients, Heat and Control, Insignia, Imaje and Earlee Products, Tronics and Peacock Bros were present. Ibex Group was unable to be there.

Guest speakers Dick Wells from the AFGC, Marcus Lui from the One Centre, and Peter Baron from Uni Straw offered some valuable and entertaining insights into different trends, developments and innovations within the industry, while Master of Ceremonies, Jamie Wade of Reed Business Information, ensured the event was enjoyed by all.

All winners of the 2007 FOOD Challenge Awards will be revealed and featured in the August issue of FOOD Magazine.

Price of confectionery expected to rise

The Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia (CMA) predict a combination of local and global pricing pressures on a range of ingredients will raise the price of confectionery in the near future.

“During the past 12 months there have been significant increases across a range of raw materials that make up the core ingredients in confectionery,” CMA’s chief executive officer David Greenwood said. “As with many other food products which have had their prices raised in recent months, it is no longer possible to prevent the costs of confectionery inputs from being passed on to retailers and consumers by manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand.”

Price increases are said to vary from product to product, depending on ingredients and quality.

Continuing civil war in the Ivory Coast has contributed to price spikes in cocoa and milk production has been affected by severe drought conditions in 2006 and 2007. “Milk production is expected to be down 9.4 billion litres with no reduction in overall demand and stock feed bills are estimated to have increased by as much as 43%”, Greenwood said.

An increased demand in nuts such as almonds over the past year has also led to significant increases in global pricing, according to Greenwood.

Green measures today ensure business success tomorrow

In these times of drought and gobal climate change what is being done by the Australian food and beverage industry?

Well, manufacturers are doing their bit, often in small ways, but every little bit helps.

From using ‘green’ ink to print labels and packaging, through incorporating bio-degradable materials into product packaging, to recycling of ‘grey’ water and other water-saving measures, manufacturers from small SMEs to large multinationals are trying.

It is worth doing as much as possible to minimise a business’ impact on the environment.

There is growing concern that as climates change across the world growing seasons are being impacted and ingredients may not be readily available.

Costs could rise as a result of supply chain challenges and these would hit manufacturers, who in turn might have to pass them on to consumers in the form of price hikes.

Decreased consumption of processed foods could result and this would really hit manufacturers where it hurts.

If initiatives are not already underway, now is the time to act.

Time must be made for a review of processes and systems, and changes made no matter how painful it might be to do so.

Money and time invested now in addressing the impact of environmental damage and change on a business will safeguard that business’ future.

On reading through the FOOD Challenge Awards entry forms, it was clear that many businesses are embracing change in favour of more sustainable business practices.

It is good to see that some business owners and manufacturers are aware and acting.

Of course, more always can and should be done, and as time ticks business pressures will cause even the slow and careless to take action.

But those who do not wait will reap the rewards.