Golden Circle makes charity donation after false ownership claims

More than 800,000 cans of Golden Circle fruit and vegetables will be donated to Australian welfare agencies after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns about misleading country ownership claims.

The ACCC has also accepted a court enforceable undertaking from H.J. Heinz Australia, after it admitted to engaging in misleading conduct by representing that Golden Circle was “Proudly Australian owned.”

After Heinz’ acquisition of Golden Circle in 2008, Heinz continued to sell Golden Circle products with the representation “Proudly Australian Owned” while rolling out new labels. As late as January this year, Heinz was manufacturing some Tetra Pak beverages in packaging bearing the Australian-owned representation.

The ACCC also identified a number of Australian-owned representations accessible through the Golden Circle website in November 2009, including a statement that its “iconic status has been achieved through a commitment to remaining proudly Australian owned.”

“The ACCC is pleased that Heinz will donate an estimated $1.8 million worth of canned fruit and vegetables to feed the hungry,” Graeme Samuel, ACCC chairman, said.

“News of the Heinz undertaking should also be a warning to all firms involved in acquisitions. Ensuring compliance with trade practices law is vital at every stage of an acquisition, importantly including reviewing and amending representations on product labels.”

Blowing the lid on beef packaging

Visy Automation has developed a new-generation box ‘Lidder’ machine founded on innovative drive technology from global designer and developer SEW-Eurodrive, writes Darren Klonowski.

Visy Automation has developed a new-generation box ‘Lidder’ machine founded on innovative drive technology from SEW-Eurodrive, delivering a powerful combination of speed, accuracy and throughput.

Automated packaging machines lie at the heart of many modern industrial manufacturing processes.

Originally developed to ease the burden on labour-intensive applications, automated packaging machines have evolved to incorporate sophisticated control technologies and other complementary systems.

Today, much is expected of automated packaging machines—there is an increasing demand for such machines to deliver increased product quality, while at the same time optimising throughput and reducing operating costs.

The challenge for modern packaging solutions providers is to develop customised machines that improve efficiency and the manufacturer’s bottom line. Here, robotic handling and packaging equipment solutions provider, Visy Automation, is a leader, pioneering innovative machines aimed at optimising packaging processes across a variety of industries.

When Visy Automation embarked on the development of its second- generation in-line VL18 Lidder machine for Australia’s largest meat processor, Bindaree Beef, the company called on SEW-Eurodrive to provide an innovative motor and drive solution.

All of the new Lidder’s motion processes rely on SEW-Eurodrive electronic drive control technology, and servo geared motors. The result is a fast and efficient in-line Lidder machine, adaptable to nearly any box that comes off Bindaree Beef’s production line.

Paddle power

Visy Automation’s new VL18 Lidder machine features a clever dual-purpose conveyor design coupled with precision automation and a rapid-fire ‘head compression’ lidding system. Together, they ensure lids are glued onto unlidded boxes at rates of up to 25 per minute. In operation, un-lidded boxes are transferred into the head compression area for lidding via two side-by-side dual-chain conveyors. Each chain conveyor is equipped with two sets of ‘paddles’ positioned at opposite ends of the chain-set. One of the paddles from the first chain-set is used to push the incoming box into position and hold it in place from the incoming side. Once in position, a paddle from the second chain-set acts as a ‘torque-control’ paddle, holding the positioned box in place from the opposite side.

The head compression system then delivers and glues the lid to the box in less than one second. Once the lid has been attached, the ‘torque control’ paddle releases the box by rotating under the conveyor. The first paddle then over- travels, effectively pushing the lidded box off on to the outlet conveyor. This first paddle then takes on the role of the ‘torque control’ paddle for the next box.

According to Peter Somogyi, Visy Automation Project Manager, the dual functionality of the paddle system is a real feature of the packaging machine.

“The fact that each paddle does not have to go back to the start position after each box is lidded is a real time saver,” he says.

“By minimising the number and length of machine movements, we have been able to develop an extremely fast Lidder machine with the ability to deliver high throughput rates. This was made possible thanks to the clever application of SEW- Eurodrive’s drive electronics.”

MOVIDRIVE design

The VL18 Lidder machine is equipped with four SEW-Eurodrive geared servo motors—one on each of the chain conveyors, one on the head compression system, and one for the lid-transfer system, which is responsible for feeding box lids to the head compression system. Similarly, each of the Lidder machine’s four servo motors is combined with its own dedicated SEW-Eurodrive MOVIDRIVE ‘B’ application inverter— all of these drives are linked to a single programmable logic controller (PLC) via an EtherCat Fieldbus.

According to Spiro Limberakis, SEW- Eurodrive Applications Engineer, the MOVIDRIVE ‘B’’s integrated ‘Modulo Function’ positioning control is vital to the operation of the VL18 Lidder machine. “The real ‘smarts’ are in the two chain conveyor drives,” he says.

“The ‘Modulo Function’ control with encoder feedback is ideal for accurately controlling position in rotating applications such as this one. In this case, the drive can direct the chain conveyor to any one of eight paddle positions.”

Here, each motor is equipped with a 24-bit absolute encoder, which by itself is not adequate in such an application— after a approximately two hours of operation the encoder will ‘overflow’ effectively forcing the drive and the chain to go out of position. Importantly, the Movidrive B inverter converts the existing 24-bit encoder into a 64-bit encoder by counting and storing the overflows in the inverter, eliminating the overflow issue of the encoder. The MOVIDRIVE ‘B’ converts the motor encoder position into a ‘Modulo’ position on the chain. This means the conveyor/paddle position is known at all times. The drive is effectively programmed to go to a chain/paddle position rather than a motor position.

“Without the 64-bit enhanced absolute encoder and Modulo functionality it would be impossible to determine where the chain is after several revolutions,” says Limberakis.

“Even after multiple revolutions, the paddles can be taken back to the start position automatically—there is no need for the drive to return to a reference or zero point with this system, even after a power down.”

Anti-crash programming

Importantly, the drives have been programmed to use the ‘shortest path’ method of positioning. Here, the MOVIDRIVE ‘B’ is ‘smart’ enough to accept a chain/paddle destination from the PLC and then determine which paddle should be moved in which direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise) to ensure a paddle is in position in the shortest possible time.

“While this saves time between paddle movements and allows production rates to be optimised, it also presents challenges,” says Somogyi.

“There is potential for the two sets of paddles to occupy the same space, so there needs to be high degree of flexibility within the drives to ensure that paddles from different chains don’t collide.” With this in mind, SEW- Eurodrive implemented unique control architecture and developed anti-collision software.

“While the paddle position of both chain conveyors is controlled by the PLC via the MOVIDRIVE ‘B’s, the drives themselves are in continuous communication with each other in the background, via a dedicated system bus,” says Limberakis.

“The drives essentially monitor each other’s position in the ‘Modulo world’. If the individual paddles get within a certain proximity of each other, the drives will ‘fault out’, avoiding a crash. They then go into recovery mode and travel to a known paddle position before the lidding process is recommenced.”

Visy Automation has also built reliability into the control system.

“We’ve set up a ‘handshaking’ process between all of the drives and the PLC,” says Somogyi.

“Each time a message is exchanged between the PLC and any of the drives, an additional confirmation message is sent before any action is taken. This only takes a matter of milliseconds, but adds an extra degree of reliability to the process.”

A collaborative affair

Traditionally, lidding machines have employed pneumatic systems for attaching the box lids, but these often suffer from speed, reliability and maintenance limitations. By teaming up with SEW-Eurodrive, Visy Automation was able make significant improvements on the legacy design, and effectively re- wrote the book on lidding technology.

According to Somogyi, this collaborative approach yielded the innovative paddle design and operation concept of the new VL18 Lidder machine.

“We worked together to establish the best way to facilitate the movement requirements we had in mind,” he says.

“We are able to take our engineering challenges to SEW and come up with an inventive solution. In this case, the Modulo function was the key to the project. Without SEW, we wouldn’t have been aware of this capability.”

SEW-Eurodrive’s after-sales support differentiates the company from other drive solutions providers. “As we supply our packaging machines to clients all over the country and internationally, we need to be confident that all system components are easily sourced and supported,” says Somogyi.

“SEW’s ability to supply total project lifecycle support in Australia and across the globe, sets them apart. In fact, they were one of the few drive solutions providers that could have provided us with the level of software support we required—SEW-Eurodrive is a huge supporter of Visy Automation.”

With the new VL18 Lidder machine online at Bindaree Beef, Visy Automation is continuing to look for ways to optimise its design.

“We’re already thinking of the next evolution of this machine,” says Somogyi.

“There might be merit in integrating the gluing system with the drives. In fact, there’s even potential to go with a completely integrated control system by using SEW- Eurodrive’s PLC/motion controllers, MOVI- PLC. Either way, we know we can count on SEW-Eurodrive’s support.”

The SEW-Eurodrive group is a global designer and developer of mechanical power transmission systems and motor control electronics, headquartered in Bruchsal, Germany. Its broad spectrum of integrated solutions includes geared motors and gear units, high torque industrial gear units, high-efficiency motors, electronic frequency inverters and servo drive systems, decentralised drive systems, plus engineered solutions and after-sales technical support/training.The Australian division of SEW-Eurodrive is headquartered in Melbourne and is supported by a network of offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide and Perth.

Darren Klonowski is SEW-Eurodrive’s strategic marketing and product manager.

SEW-Eurodrive Pty Ltd

03 9933 1000

www.sew-eurodrive.com.au

Put your concerns on ice

Henkel’s acquisition and integration of the adhesive and electronic materials business of National Starch and Chemical in 2008 for US$5.05 billion has almost doubled the company’s market share worldwide and as a result, the company believes it’s in a better position to leverage its technology all in the name of customer benefit.

“At a regional level, we have completed almost 95 percent integration of National Starch. The combined product portfolios and the advanced technology the strengthened business brings to customers are substantial. For the beverages sector, we are offering customers quality adhesives to meet — and in many cases, exceed — their challenges,” says Charlie Page, National Sales Manager for Henkel’s Consumer Packaging and Graphic Arts operations.

According to Page, buying National Starch has allowed for better quality products for customers, particularly in terms of advanced labelling adhesives.

“Beverage and bottling customers are choosing suppliers based on cost, sustainability, technical expertise, bulk supply options and the ability to work on varied and often difficult substrates,” he says.

Henkel’s range of labelling adhesives is tailored to address the complexities of the labelling process.

Page asserts that the adhesive needs to accommodate all kinds of require-ments including the container surface, the material and design of the label, the labelling system technology, and finally the intended application and recycling process.

Page says customers including beer giant, Fosters, are impressed with features such as ice water resistance (IWR), which prevents labels separating from the substrate when placed in extreme conditions.

“In reality, beer labels won’t come off and end up at the bottom of an ice water filled esky.”

Moreover, Henkel guarantees customers less downtime and less mess thanks to self-cleaning technology, increased product stability and longer shelf life, and the ability to run advanced production lines at high speeds and on a variety of labelling equipment.

Continually improving labelling technology has also been a focus for Henkel, Page says.

“We have moved away from old technology that relied heavily on casein, a milk protein, to a synthetic technology. Synthetic adhesives provide better adhesion, IWR and product stability.”

There are benefits for Henkel too. Over the past few years, the industry has witnessed worldwide price increases for raw material casein, as the macro- economic effects of climate change and drought have hit the supply chain hard.

“It’s had an undeniable impact on the labelling sector, and across the supply chain, businesses have been prompted to look at innovative and more cost-effective alternatives,” says Page.

The company is already anticipating the challenges for customers that lie ahead.

“Metallised labels can be difficult to bond and we expect increased demand for higher speeds.”

Running at high speeds increases the risk of adhesive flicking off rollers and can significantly increase the risk of adhesives not being applied to the labels satisfactorily.

Page also believes that despite the economic downturn, customers have benefited more than ever from Henkel’s high-performance adhesives and well- planned system solutions for all kinds of labelling jobs.

“It’s a big deal for a brewery to start trialling adhesives due to the risks involved, such as failures in the market place and time constraints. Customers are happy with our product and service and see no reason to change,” Page says.

Henkel

www.henkel.com.au

Positive and swift action

A recent court case provides useful pointers to food and beverage manufacturers attempting to build and protect a reputation in their products’ appearance, reports Verity Shepherdson and Shaun McVicar.

The Federal Court case involving an enhanced water manufacturer was not only a pointer about building and protecting product reputation but also a good indicator for those businesses adopting ‘category signatures’.

The packaging and labelling of competing food and beverage products often include common visual traits that quickly provide consumers with information about the product they are looking at.

For example, they might indicate the flavour of a product, or signal that the goods belong to a product category.

The Federal Court recently considered whether the manufacturer of the first ‘enhanced water’ product on the Australian market could prevent another business from using elements which had become common to the product category.

In 2005, Nutrientwater Pty Ltd was the first company to enter the enhanced water market in Australia. Its ‘Nutrientwater’ range is a range of flavoured beverages which contain various vitamins, minerals and other ingredients.

After this, several other enhanced water products were launched in Australia, including Coca Cola Amatil’s ‘vitaminwater’ (which had already been successful in the USA), and Schweppes’ ‘Smart Water’.

The Nutrientwater, vitaminwater and Smart Water products share some common elements across their packaging and labels. They all use a form of colour and white horizontal banding on their labels, bear label colours that match the colours of the variants of the beverage (which is visible through clear plastic bottles), include quirky comments on their labels, and feature a ‘wellness’ theme.

In May 2009, Baco Pty Ltd introduced its own enhanced water product called ‘Grassroots’.

Nutrientwater commenced legal action against Baco, arguing that there is a striking similarity between the appearance of Baco’s products and its own. In essence, it claimed that this similarity meant that consumers would be misled or deceived into believing that the Grassroots products were products in the Nutrientwater range, or that they came from the same source.

Nutrientwater argued Baco had breached the law by:

• ‘passing off’ its range of enhanced water products as and for Nutrientwater; and

• engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct contrary to section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and making false representations in breach of section 53 of that Act.

The Federal Court rejected Nutrient- water’s claims.

This was because, firstly, Nutrientwater failed to show a relevant reputation in the features that Baco allegedly appropriated. Although the Grassroots product shared common features with Nutrientwater, at the time Grassroots was introduced these were features commonly used by other products in the enhanced water market.

Secondly, although the ‘Grassroots’ get up included features of the packaging used by Nutrientwater, Baco clearly differentiated its products from those of its competitor. It did this through features of the Grassroots get up, including its name and logo.

This case reminds food and beverage manufacturers that they should act positively and quickly if they want to establish and protect a reputation in the get up of their products.

If the get up of a product contains elements that its manufacturer regards as distinctive, it should seek advice about brand protection strategies before those elements are adopted by others. If another product does adopt elements of that get up, the business should promptly seek advice to determine whether there are grounds to take action. It is important to consider this before the elements are adopted throughout the market, potentially making them generic, and not associated with the original product in consumers’ minds.

The case also reminds us that businesses are free to adopt features of competing products, as long as this is not likely to mislead or deceive consumers into mistaking the trader’s goods for the goods of competitors, and as long as they do not infringe any intellectual property rights. Traders can therefore often legitimately adopt elements of their competitors’ get up, provided they clearly differentiate the new product through elements such the prominent use of logos or brand names. While this is not a new lesson, it is an important one for traders to keep in mind — both when designing products, and considering the actions of competitors.

Freehills has been offering commercial legal advice since 1852 and has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Singapore with correspondent offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.

This article was written by Verity Shepherdson, Senior Associate and Shaun McVicar, Partner of Freehills.

Freehills

www.freehills.com

Food and beverage automation expenditure to cost $6B by 2013

AUTOMATION expenditures in the food and beverage industry are expected to reach $6 billion by 2013, according to a new study by the ARC Advisory Group.

The Automation Expenditures for Food and Beverage Industry Worldwide Outlook study shows three major areas of focus in food and beverage manufacturing is cost management and margin protection, more sustainable manufacturing focused on energy usage and waste reduction, and better ensuring food safety.

“The information architecture is extending its reach all the way to the consumer by way of social networks and a new generation of truly virtual online shopping and online product customisation tools,” principal author of the study, John Blanchard said.

The ARC also said survival is also dependent upon product, packaging, and manufacturing innovation.

Since most CPG companies have similar business strategies, flawless and timely execution differentiates leading companies from their competitors, the study said.

According to the ARC, the study will help users learn what others in the industry are doing and the capabilities of each supplier. The study discusses strategies and tactics for suppliers and user manufacturers to be successful in the rapidly changing environment of the worldwide food and beverage industry.

Proactive packaging supply

Hot on the heels of the global financial crisis, Australian packaging supply chain companies need to lift their game and change if they are to prosper, writes the Packaging Council of Australia’s Gavin Williams.

The global financial crisis has forced all companies to re-examine their cost structure and to reshape their operations and business models.

Companies in the packaging supply chain are, however, facing challenges which are considerably more complex, serious and far-reaching than those posed solely by the financial crisis.

They include:

  • The competitive challenge from low cost producers, particularly from Asia.
  • The need for greater emphasis on product innovation.
  • The task of controlling operational costs but, at the same time, investing in plant, equipment and innovation.
  • Attracting “the best and the brightest” to the industry.
  • The role of the private equity model.
  • The need to address the sustainability issue.

Here are some thoughts on the challenges ahead and the changes, adaptations and transformations which will be required in the years ahead. The bottom line assessment is that many Australian

packaging supply chain companies will need to lift their game and change if they are to prosper.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has recently released a report which contains the thoughts of 33 global executives in the forest, paper and packaging industry. Here are some of the more interesting and challenging of their viewpoints:

The industry as a whole has failed to address sufficiently a groundswell of environmental, technological and broader societal developments, which have led to questioning the benefits provided by packaging products themselves.

There is a widely held view that the industry as a whole has overinvested in bricks and mortar-type assets and underinvested in markets and stakeholders.

Industry needs to do much more in terms of outreach and educational initiatives.

The rapid expansion in Asian consumption has driven significant capacity expansion, effectively closing

the market to European exports, which may have trouble competing on price.

“If you don’t have your costs right you are dead.” Most cost savings have been passed on to customers, but companies will need to build returns so they can innovate and focus on high value products with sufficient margin to ensure profitability.

Many of the CEOs expressed concern about the ability of their organisation to attract the best and brightest new graduates.

An Australian perspective

These concerns and perspectives largely hold true for Australia:

  • Innovation —While there have been some notable exceptions, Australian companies – both brand owners and packaging manufacturers — have been “innovation takers” rather than “innovation makers” – “fast followers”and “good adapters.”

There is a need to invest in product changing innovation. Companies need to recruit, and then actively support, high calibre change agents.

Who pays?” — or — “How can I reduce my risk?” is another issue. Both brand owners and converters may want innovation but they look to the other to fund it.

There is also a direct link between innovation and the emphasis on cost reduction. In order to survive, packaging manufacturers and their supply chain have aggressively reduced costs and will continue to do so. But this alone will not ensure survival. More of the benefits of cost reduction will need to be directed into product changing innovation rather than propping up short-term profits.

  • “The Best and the Brightest” — The PwC comments ring loud and true for Australia. Packaging, indeed manufacturing, is not seen as a sexy industry. While their numbers are increasing, it also doesn’t attract enough women. University courses either at the undergraduate graduate level have failed to get off the ground, partly because of lack of numbers but also, to be fair, because of doubts about the adequacy of the courses proposed. In short, companies need to recruit — and then actively support — high calibre change agents It has to compete more effectively with other sectors to attract the best graduates.
  • The Challenge from China — Two separate but related issues are worthy of comment. Firstly, the worldwide Chinese investment splurge will directly affect companies in the Australian packaging supply chain. Indeed, it is doing so already. Secondly, the market share of imports of “empty” packaging from low-cost Asian producers continues to increase. The quality of Chinese packaging, while not yet at Australian standards, is improving and is increasingly regarded as sufficiently good. Concerns continue, however, about general food safety and health matters, concerns which China will need to overcome.
  • Private Equity — Interestingly, while the PwC report sees an upswing in mergers and acquisitions, private equity was not identified as the driver of such deals. There is a large amount of capital residing with private equity funds which, when combined with debt, provides a significant source of finance for acquisitions. On the other hand, the view exists that, in Australia and New Zealand, the day of the private equity firm buying local packaging assets has peaked and is now on the decline. Funds are harder to access and more expensive. Recent sales suggest that established packaging companies will be the front runners in the bidding for such assets.
  • Sustainability — Despite the fiasco at Copenhagen and the continuing debate about climate change policy, globally it is clear that companies are moving ahead to re-examine their packaging and reduce its environmental impact.

The motivation is powerful — self-interest! Companies recognise a growing consumer interest and awareness, increased business risk as well as the ability to reduce costs.

In short, environmental change is increasingly seen as a winner. This is a significant change. Global retailers are now significant drivers. This is relatively new.

There is no one template for the changes being adopted. They include, but go well beyond, the standard option of lightweighting to include a greater focus on reusable and refillable packaging and the use of packaging materials comprising non-petroleum products.

Moreover, globally, the sustainability issue is producing unprecedented discussion and co-operation between companies right across the supply chain.

Australian companies should take note and respond positively and proactively.

Pixie Ice Cream teams up with Raymax Lasers to reduce environmental impact

IN an aim to be more sustainable in its labelling, Pixie Ice Cream has installed Raymax Lasers’ laser printers

After sample testing with laser “printing” on their product to see if using lasers for the large detail would satisfy both the Quality Assurance in the team and more importantly the costings, Raymax was able to provide the Linx SL301 systems as a solution.

“The laser systems installed by Raymax have met the demanding criteria required by the application,” said Pixie Ice Cream chief engineer, Murray Weller.

A strong advocate in reducing the impact of manufacturing on the environment, Pixie ice Cream first developed an Environmental Action Management Plan in 1998. Today, Pixie Ice Cream is committed to the National Packaging Covenant, which aims to achieve a national recycle target of 65 per cent for packaging by the end of 2010.

The 43rd annual AIFST Convention to be held this July

‘Creating the future of food — body, mind, passion’ is the theme of this year’s 43rd annual Australian Food Science & Technology (AIFST) Convention to be held on 25-27 July at the Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne.

The program combines international and local experts presenting the latest information important to food technologists and engineers, sales and marketing, food educationalists, nutritionists, management and those in other food-related positions.

Hot topics include:

* Regulations —. Providing viewpoints from the regulator and industry experts in food safety and regulation. Speakers include Graeme Hodge (Monash Uni, Melbourne), Martin Cole (CSIRO Food & Nutritional Sciences), Anne Astin (Dairy Food Safety Victoria) and Pauline Ireland (Dept of Health, Melbourne).

* Sustainability — helping attendees to make vital adjustments to their businesses with sessions on packaging, processing technology solutions and specific sustainability solutions, including relevant, inspiring case studies.

* Food Protection — addressing the serious issue of anti-terrorism, making sure the food supply is secure and safe, planning for a pandemic. Hear from ASIO, federal government, essential services and food distribution.

From day one, there will be networking opportunities as Vic Cherikoff presents the competitive buyer advantage of Australian functional wild foods.

A panel of vocal ‘heavyweights’, with Norman Swan moderating, tackle ‘Obesity: are the government and food industry doing enough to downsize Australians waistlines?’

Workshops will also be running including informative sessions on sensory technology and running sensory panels; as well as food product development with a focus on process, from ideation and market research through to formulation, development and implementation in plant.

Registration details are available at www.aifst.com.au and earlybird rates are offered for bookings received before 1 June 2010.

Seventh edition Food Chemicals Codex released

THE updated quality standards for ingredients used in functional foods sold and consumed everyday are included in the seventh edition of the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC).

Published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), the FCC is an internationally recognised compendium of standards that helps ensure the identity, quality, purity and consistency of food ingredients.

“The Food Chemicals Codex is designed to serve as a resource for the food industry, offering independently developed, science-based standards defining the authenticity and quality of food ingredients that both suppliers and food manufacturers find useful,” USP food, dietary supplement and excipient standards vice president, James Griffiths said.

“These standards provide suppliers with a means of demonstrating quality, and allow manufacturers to have confidence that the ingredients they purchase are what they claim to be, as opposed to a contaminated, adulterated, diluted or otherwise inferior product.”

According to USP, the latest FCC includes standards covering quality and purity for 1,100 food ingredients including the ingredient’s chemical formula, structure and weight; function and definition; impurity limits; and packaging, storage and labelling information.

In addition, the FCC includes a step-by-step guidance to analyse food ingredients and demonstrate their authenticity, quality and purity.

Benco Pack chosen by Nestle China for aseptic fill seal machine

ITALIAN-based company, Benco Pack has been chosen by Nestle China to supply an aseptic form fill seal machine for Nestle’s new range of UHT milk cream mini portions.

According to Benco Pack, its Miniasepack/32/20 was chosen by Nestle China due to its ROI and the high efficiency of greater than 95 per cent.

The horizontal aseptic machine uses a three step packaging and filling process. Containers are thermoformed starting from a roll of multi-layer plastic film, filled with the UHT product, closed by a thermo-sealed peel-able lid and then cut to the desired configuration.

Benco Pack said this process will be used by Nestle to produce UHT milk cream mini-portions of 10ml, designed to be drunk with tea and coffee. The machine is capable of outputs of up to 36,000 cups per hour.

Benco Pack is represented in Australia by HBM Packaging Technologies.

Food colourings should be given due consideration

OPINION

By Steven Pace – Colours of Life – natural food colour specialists

I think food manufacturers should carefully consider before they try to go ‘natural’ that there are a lot of consumers who like the concept of natural. However if the ‘natural’ ingredients they choose aren’t good or wholesome, or cause problems, they could later face a consumer backlash. Of course there is then the question of whether it is worth the extra money.

I think it is good if you can produce things naturally; have recipes that have natural ingredients. However just artificially adding things to have a natural label is somewhat questionable in my mind. I think the natural ingredients you pick should be things you would want to eat yourself. Best of all, if you can put ingredients in which have known medicinal properties, there is a growing trend of nutraceuticals. If possible, go for ingredients which are phytonutrients, prebiotic, and antioxidants etc.

I’m impressed by their exclusive agreement with TyraTech to produce functional food products to benefit people living in areas with endemic parasitic disease. TyraTech claim to be able to produce products that use natural plant derived compounds targeting these chemoreceptors. Initiatives aimed at enhancing the health of improving the health of the billions of people worldwide with intestinal parasitic infections is a laudable goal. I hope that Kraft can be transparent in its marketing claims.

Back in 2007 I recall they were on the other end of a lawsuit for marketing its Capri Sun fruit drink as “all natural” despite the presence of high-fructose corn syrup. Hopefully lawsuits such as these can cause companies such as Kraft to resist the temptation of labelling products as “all natural” just to portray products as healthier for consumers than they really are. Not even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is prepared to adopt a clear definition of a “natural” product or ingredient.

On the other hand he U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a “natural” ingredient as not containing artificial or synthetic ingredients, and being minimally processed. The FDA’s current definition holds that products are able to be called “natural” as long as they don’t contain synthetic or artificial ingredients, and do not contain “unexpected ingredients”.

The fact that Kraft had to alter their product packaging of Capri Sun to read “no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives,” instead of “all natural” is the type of trust issues that remain in the minds of consumers. As Mike Adams explains when referring to the Honest Food Guide, we were intended to eat all the colours of the rainbow, the colours of life, from life, for life.

Red, orange, yellow, green, purple and white, and people should eat foods that are different colours, created by a vital nutrient or vital chemical created by the plant that produced these foods. Being potent antioxidants they have specific biological advantages that are critical to human health. These colours are medicines. Blueberries, lycopene, lutein are all medicines. The artificial colours are derived from coal based petrochemicals.

If you modify those petrochemicals enough, you can create food colours. That’s where they come from. The FDA still permits certain food colourings because there is not enough data to suggest that people have died or suffered adverse reactions from them to withdraw them from the market. The colours of the rainbow, from nature’s palette, although imperfect in food colouring, are all colours of fruits and vegetables we’re familiar with, carrots (beta-carotene) and tomatoes and gac fruit red. Foods with artificial colours are used to seduce us to consume them as food is a highly sensory experience.

Cultures that have the healthiest diets make beneficial use of colours in their foods. Mediterranean diets tomato paste using lycopene, cooked increasing its bioavailability. They go to great lengths to put different colours in them. I sell colours that use it uses colours from nature, medicinal colours that add to visual appeal of food. Kraft Foods is owned by Phillip Morris, and has thousands of food scientists at their disposal. They are playing with molecules of food to make consumers make purchasing decisions which involve choosing their products.

AIP 2010 National Conference: the biggest of its kind

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) will be taking their 2010 National Conference to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria on the 16th & 17th of June. The biennial event will be themed Back to the Future: The Art & Science of Packaging and is the largest educational conference of its kind in the industry.

Following a number of highly successful topical conferences over the past few years, the AIP will approach the 2010 National Conference to deliver a two-day event that will cover a broad range of topics relating to packaging, incorporating current trends and future developments, case studies and real-life applications, along with a revisiting of some packaging fundamentals.

Issues like sustainability, openability, ease of use and recyclability are just some of the new developments that will be canvassed. The conference will also allow delegates to understand how the basic principles of packaging should not be forgotten when developing new packaging concepts.

The 2010 AIP National Conference will bring together leading international and national experts in a variety of fields to cater for everyone in the food, beverage, manufacturing and packaging industries. Keynote speakers will be world-renowned experts in their fields and the program provides an extensive array of educational and technical opportunities for everyone in the industry.

The AIP National Conference is open to both Members and non-members. A not-to-be-missed event. Exhibitors to date include Chep, Australian Packaging Machinery Association, AUSPACK 2011, Viscount, Visy, AES, Wellman Packaging, Tronics, Kraton, LeMac, Matthews, KHS, Fibre King, SSI Schaefer Result Packaging, Snapsil Corporation and Laser Resources.

For further information on exhibiting or attending please contact the AIP on 07 3278 4490 or email info@aipack.com.au

Canned wine offers smaller carbon footprint

Wine in aluminium cans – only in America some might say but that’s exactly what Francis Ford Coppola’s Californian winery has done and it’s also happening right here in Australia.

Film director Francis Ford Coppola, owner of the Coppola Winery in Alexander Valley, packages his Sofia Blanc de Bancs sparkling wine in pink single-serve cans.

The 187ml is the same serving size as small bottles of wine on airlines and the product comes with a pink straw.

Paris Hilton had previously made the trend look like like a gimmick after launching her own canned sparkling wine, Rich Prosecco, however some reports say there is a future in the packaging method.

Australian winemakers, Barokes, received a gold medal in 2009 for its canned Cabernet Shiraz Merlot at the Berlin Wine Trophy.

It was the first time in history a canned wine product has ever received such an award.

With the current emphasis on sustainability, wine packaged in cans is more energy efficient as aluminum cans are 100% recyclable offering a much smaller carbon footprint than wine bottles.

Food and beverage events

To add your event listing, please email food@reedbusiness.com.au and write “event listing” in the subject line.

1st Global Halal Expo

12-14 February 2010

V: Pakistan

E: sobiya@messepakistan.org

Gulfood

21—24 February 2010

V: Dubai UAE

E: sagovtme@emirates.net.ae

UAE South Australian Govt office

Packaging Council of Australia – Feb Dinner

Speakers: O-I Australia, Cadbury, Preshafood — Packaging Innovations

25 February 2010

V: Rupert Clarke Grandstand, Committee Room, Level 3, Caulfield Racecourse, 6pm for 6.30pm

E: jennifer@pca.org.au

ISRAWINEXPO 2010

26-27 February 2010

V: Tel-Aviv, Israel

E: dana@fairs.co.il

W: www..fairs.co.il

WOP Dubai 2010 – World of Perishables

8-10 March 2010

V: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

E: ipm@planetfair.com

W: www.planetfair.com

6th InnoBev Global Soft Drinks Congress

9-11 March 2010

V: Istanbul, Turkey

E: events@zenithinternational.com

W: www.zenithinternational.com/events

Go Grains 2010

Conference Grain Foods: Sustaining the future

9-10 March 2010

V: Sydney, Australia

E: info@gograins.com.au

W: www.gograinsconference.com.au

Course for Thermal Processing of Low-Acid Foods

15—19 March 2010

V: CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences, Werribee, Vic.

P: Diana Castree 03 9731 3426

W: www.csiro.au/events/Low-acid-food-thermal-processing.html

Australian Almond Marketing Forum March 2010

18 March 2010

V: Rydges Bell City Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria

W: www.australianalmonds.com.au/forum

Wine & Spirits Asia (WSA)

20-23 April 2010

V: Singapore Expo, Singapore.

E: magda@exportsolutions.com.au

W: www.winespiritsasia.com

4th Global Dairy Congress

27-29 April 2010

V: Salzburg, Austria

E: events@zenithinternational.com

W: www.zenithinternational.com/events

UK Soft Drinks Industry Conference

13 May 2010

V: London, United Kingdom

E: events@zenithinternational.com

W: www.zenithinternational.com/events

ConTechPlus

Confectionery Technical Conference

19-20 May 2010

V: Albert Park, Victoria, Australia

E:julie.barnes@aigroup.asn.au

2010 Perth Food and Beverage Industry EXPO

27-28 May 2010

V: Claremont Showgrounds, Perth, WA

W: www.foodindustry.org.au

Automatica

8-11 June 2010

V: New Munich Trade Fair Centre, Germany

W: www.automatica-munich.com

AIP National Conference

16-17 June 2010

V: MCG, Melbourne

W: www.aipack.com.au

Food Challenge Awards

22 July 2010

V: Doltone House, Sydney

W: www.foodmag.com.au

HKTDC Food Expo

12-16 August 2010

V: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

W: https://hkfoodexpo.hktdc.com/

IUFOST 2010 CONGRESS

22-26 August 2010

V: Cape Town, South Africa.

Food Science Solutions in an Evolving World

Call for Abstracts: Submissions now open.

W: www.iufost2010.org.za

WA Safety Show

24-26 August 2010

V: Perth Convention Exhibition Centre

W: www.wasafetyshow.com

International Baking Industry Exposition

26-29 September 2010 V: Las Vegas Convention Center, USA.

E: exhibits@ibie2010.com

W: www.ibie2010.com

Foodtech Packtech

12-14 October 2010

V: ASB Showgrounds, Auckland, New Zealand

W: www.foodtechpacktech.co.nz

7th Global Bottled Water Congress

1-3 November 2010

V: Gleneagles, Scotland

E: events@zenithinternational.com

W: www.zenithinternational.com/events

UK Bottled Water Industry Conference

3-4 November 2010

V: Gleneagles, Scotland

E: events@zentihinternational.com

W: www.zenithinternational.com/events

IDF World Dairy Summit 2010

November 2010

V: Auckland NZ

www.wds2010.com

Foodpro 2011

11-13 July 2011

V: Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

W: www.foodproexh.com

US food and drink launches down 30 per cent

The economic slump paid its toll on US food and drink manufacturers in 2009, according to a recent review of Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD).

Food and drink product launches show a substantial decline of nearly 30% from 2008.

Mintel’s new product expert Lynn Dornblaser said she had never seen a decline of this magnitude.

“Natural and organic products, which saw large increases in 2008, took a few steps back in 2009 due to their higher price points.”

“In the last decade, Mintel GNPD has only tracked occasional, small declines in new product introductions for the US market, never a decline as strong as this,” she said.

“We see that a number of small companies, which typically introduce a wide range of products, have been stopping or slowing their introductions due to the economy.

Additionally, some categories have simply become so over-saturated that there is little room for new products.”

Despite this declining trend, there are some categories and claims that found a hidden niche in which to excel. Ethical and environmental claims increased from 9% of all product launches in 2008 to 17% in 2009.

Specifically in this category, the environmentally friendly packaging claim nearly tripled, growing from 3% of all products launched in 2008 to 9% in 2009.

“The increase in ethical and environmental claims is less about companies introducing new products or changing their packaging and more about manufacturers communicating with their consumers and knowing what’s important to the people who purchase their products,” says Lynn Dornblaser.

Meanwhile, in clear correlation with the recession, products boasting an economy claim have increased by 72% from 2008 to 2009*.

In addition, side dishes was one of the few categories of food and drink that saw an increase in 2009, with 16% more launches than in 2008*.

This increase is most likely due to more people eating in and the introduction of products that offer convenient solutions, such as vegetable steam bags.

Still, most categories saw decreases due to the down economy, notes Lynn Dornblaser: “Natural and organic products, which saw large increases in 2008, took a few steps back in 2009 due to their higher price points.”

Food and drink introductions with an all-natural claim decreased from 15% of all launches in 2008 to 13% in 2009. The organic claim, showed a similar decline of 12% to 10% in the same timeframe.

*These numbers are based on a percentage difference from 2008 to 2009, not based on a percentage of total launches.

Source: Mintel News

Winery upcycles used wine bottles, corks and caps

Cowhorn, a small winery in the Applegate Valley in Oregon, USA, has just sent its first shipment of 1000 used wine bottles to The Green Glass Company where they will be upcycled into heirloom goblets, pitchers, tumblers, vases, and votives.

From the Mayor of New York to the King of Spain, Green Glass Company goblets can be found on the dining tables of wine lovers the world over who want to enjoy new wine in old glass.

In a complementary program, the Ashland Food Co-op, Southern Oregon’s first and only Certified Organic retailer, has partnered with Cowhorn, the up-and-coming wine region’s first and only Certified Biodynamic estate winery, to convert used corks into reusable, compostable wine packs guaranteed to contain a minimum of 99% recycled content.

Corks collected at the Co-op’s Ashland store and the estate’s Applegate Valley tasting room are sent to Corvallis-based Western Pulp, a company known for making high-quality biodegradable packaging and planters from recycled pulp.

At Cowhorn, even the soft metal bottle cap covering the cork gets a new life through Rogue Recycling. The winery invites Rogue Valley residents to recycle torn tins and natural corks from any winery and used Cowhorn bottles at its Applegate Valley tasting room.

“Everything in nature flows in cycles, and there really is no such thing as waste,” says Barbara Steele, co-owner of Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden.

“It’s not enough for us to endeavor to grow great grapes and produce world-class wine. Being Biodynamic is also about closing all of the loops and that means taking responsibility for our packaging.

“We provide our local community a way to upcycle glass and recycle corks, and hope to inspire other wineries and wine lovers to do the same in their region. One of the greatest aspects of the emerging Biodynamic wine world is that there is genuine spirit of friendly competition in an all out race to the top to do the right thing.”

Sustainable packaging market to reach 170 billion US

A report from market research company Pike Research anticipates that eco-friendly packaging will double in revenues between 2009 and 2014 to US$170 billion.

“The sustainable packaging sector is growing much faster than the overall packaging industry, with eco-friendly plastic packaging expected to show the strongest segment increases,” Pike Research managing director Clint Wheelock said.

“More eco-friendly plastic packaging will have a huge impact because it represents more than a third of the total global packaging industry, second only to paper packaging.”

Sustainable packaging is gaining momentum in the US market.

In early 2009, Wal-Mart began expanding the release of its Packaging Scorecard into international markets, achieving roughly 8,200 unique vendor company users within six months.

In December, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a US industry working group whose executive committee includes representatives from Microsoft, Unilever, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson, and Dupont, released its Metrics Framework for brand owners and retailers.

Source: New Zealand Trade & Enterprise

Datamonitor forecasts in food and packaging trends for 2010

In packaging and food, here are Datamonitor’s tips for the near future.

Free ranging

Animal rights have emerged as a growing worldwide concern as consumers want to know more about how the foods they eat were raised and prepared. For example, the “free range” product claim commonly used to identify how poultry are raised has nearly doubled in frequency for new food products launched worldwide since 2006 according to Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics. Look for this trend to accelerate in 2010 as food service chains follow the trail blazed by leading-edge CPG companies into humanely-raised products.

Diamonds are forever, plastic now isn’t

One of the great attributes of plastic is that is lasts — for what seems like forever. But that’s also one of its greatest drawbacks. Plastic that is not recycled often ends up in landfills where it can persist for centuries. But that is changing. New types of degradable packaging now enable plastic to biodegrade in only years. The key is additives like EcoPure or Reverte that help plastic biodegrade more quickly and safely than it ordinarily would. The bottled water market has been ground zero for this trend with entries like Aquamantra Natural Spring Water in Enso bottles and State of Mind Bottled Water in Reverte Back to Nature bottles. Look for this trend to accelerate in 2010 and move beyond the bottled water market to other categories.

Meat not just in the sandwich

Meat’s burgeoning popularity on the flavour front helps to explain some of the more bizarre product launches over the past few months including meat-flavoured lollipops (Das Lolli Man Bait), potato chips (Mackie’s of Scotland Haggis and Cracked Black Pepper Potato Chips), chocolate candy (Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar) and even vodka (Bakon Premium Bacon Flavoured Vodka). Can meat-flavoured ice cream, yogurt or fruit juice be far behind?

More muscular functional drinks

A decade ago, a brand called Red Bull took the soft drink market by storm, creating a new niche for energy drinks. Is history about to repeat itself with a drinks brand called Muscle Milk? Quietly, the protein-enhanced exercise recovery drink brand from Cytosport has crafted a following that suggests significant cross-over potential for so-called “muscle” beverages that have long been aimed at weight-lifters and power athletes. Muscle Milk and similar healthy and active lifestyle beverages could be the next hot niche within the functional drinks market.

Superfruits get more exotic

Indiana Jones may be done looking for the Holy Grail and other antiquities, but searchers trekking through rain forests, jungles and the wilds of South America, South-East Asia and Africa are just getting started in their quest to find the next hot superfruit. Candidates for 2010 and beyond include Baobab (a tart African fruit high in anti-oxidants), Borojo (a natural energiser from the jungles of South and Central America), Maqui (a berry native to South America said to have eight times the anti-oxidants of blueberries) and Yumberry (technically “yang-mi” fruit — a super-high anti-oxidant tree fruit from China). Move over pomegranate, you’ve got some competition.

Ingredients: less is more

With “natural”’ and “organic” product claims displaying the same growth patterns as peak oil, the conundrum for packaged food and drinks companies around the world boils down to this: how do we say “better for you” and not just sing the same old songs? The newest technique is to take a machete to product ingredient lists. Out are ingredients that sound more at home in a chemistry lab and in their place are ingredients that most consumers recognise. Haagen-Dazs’ 5 Ice Cream illustrates the trend with just five ingredients for each ice cream flavour. Look for other packaged food and drinks makers to dance the limbo with product ingredient lists in 2010 and beyond.

Bamboo cleans up

Perhaps no substance has enjoyed more of a booster shot courtesy of the green movement than bamboo. Thanks to its outrageously-fast growth rate (it can grow as much as 24 inches in a single day); bamboo has become the material of choice for companies that want to bolster their sustainability credentials. The substance has shown up in recent launches as disparate as dish-cleaning sponges and paper plates to baby wipes and cosmetics packaging.

Have you had your “shots” ?

While the shot format has been around for some time in various world markets for dairy-based drinks, the format has exploded in popularity in other markets. Almost singlehandedly, shots have elevated the energy drink market to new heights. The latest “shot” trend is the polar opposite of energy drinks — new relaxation “shots” that offer a non-alcoholic way to reduce stress. Examples include Koma Unwind Chillaxation Shot and Tranquila Relaxation Shot. The number of new products featuring the words “shot” or “shots” has doubled since 2006, according to Datamonitor.

Gluten-Free products

Datamonitor’s Product Launch Analytics reports a doubling of new gluten-free products since 2005 with major consumer packaged goods companies now jumping on the bandwagon.

Datamonitor’s research covers six major industry sectors: consumer and retail; automotive and logistics; energy and utilities; financial services; healthcare; and technology.

Private labels: state of play for Woolworths

The Packaging Council of Australia is hosting a dinner on January 28 with speakers from Woolworths.

Speakers: Rod Evenden, General Manager – Private Labels, Woolworths Supermarkets

Trevor Young, Partner, parkyoung

Woolworths: Private Labels Rod’s presentation will cover the following issues:

General overview of the Private Labels history of Woolworths.

Woolworths’ Private Labels: The current state of play. The targets, goals and objectives.

Suppliers: What do Woolworths require of their Private Label suppliers?

The Future – What’s next in the range and for their packaging?

SOCIAL MEDIA: Beyond the Hype!

What is social media and how can social web technologies help your company, brand or organisation build trust with the community, extend influence and improve reputation?

If Rudd and Abbott “tweet”, should companies also be on Twitter?

Has there ever been anything more confusing, daunting and downright confronting for businesses?

Social media has changed the ball game, thus allowing smaller and more nimble companies and organisations to ‘punch above their weight’ in terms of increasing their visibility and building a deeper connection with the community.

Every day we’re seeing examples of brands and organisations of all sizes employing social media tactics as part of a broader PR and communications strategy.

Some are doing it successfully, others are not.

As a response to the extraordinary take up of social media globally, control is steadily being wrested away from ‘the organisation’ and placed firmly in the hands of ‘the people’.

It’s making companies accountable for their actions and in doing so placing a massive premium on openness and transparency – concepts many large companies in particular are having trouble with.

Trevor will discuss the current Social Media environment and what it means to your business and customers.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Rupert Clarke Grandstand – Committee Room, Level 3, Caulfield Racecourse 6pm for 6.30pm

CSIRO pioneer leaves intelligent packaging legacy

Food Magazine has been informed that former CSIRO scientist Eric George Davis passed away recently aged 85.

Mr Davis had a long and successful research career with CSIRO initially as a Senior Research Scientist for CSIRO Division of Food Preservation.

Mr Davis’ initial research at CSIRO’s division of Food Preservation was to examine the various means by which highly corrosive foods such as beetroot could successfully be stored in a can.

He examined the various lacquers that could be used to protect the cans. The present day cans of beetroot on our supermarket shelves are a testimony to the early research of Mr Davis.

Not satisfied with solving the major canning problems facing the Australian food industry, he later went on to help the Australian wine industry.

The success of the plastic ‘wine cask’ or the ‘bag-in-box’ wines was a direct result of Mr Davis’ research.

The market for these wines was severely limited by rapid oxidation.

Through his careful and meticulous research, it was found that oxidation was mostly from oxygen migrating through the dispensing tap on the casks. Mr Davis’ research sparked many innovative designs to overcome the problem.

Another problem facing the wine industry was the loss of sulphur dioxide through the plastic packaging material. Mr Davis’ studies on the equilibration of the various forms of sulphur dioxide in foods and wines was very useful to understanding its role in a wide range of preserved foods.

Mr Davis was known for placing great merit on the accuracy and precision of measurements.

His profound understanding of the physical chemistry of gases and their interaction with polymeric materials enabled much of the further research in food packaging which has lead to the modern concepts of active and intelligent packaging.