Amcor announces management restructure as it buys Alcan

As Amcor prepares for the acquisition of the Alcan Packaging operations, the proposed new organisation structure and senior management for the combined business has been announced.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory reviews in Europe and the United States and consultations with the European Works Council.

The new structure will not be implemented until all relevant approvals are received and the transaction is closed.

Business Group Structure Amcor will be organised into the following business groups with the respective Presidents reporting directly into the Managing Director and CEO, Mr Ken Mackenzie:

• Amcor Flexibles – Europe and Americas Peter Brues

• Amcor Rigid Plastics Bill Long

• Amcor Australasia Nigel Garrard

• Amcor Tobacco Packaging Peter Konieczny

• Amcor Flexibles – Asia Pacific Ralf Wunderlich

• Amcor Sunclipse Eric Bloom

• AMVIG Billy Chan

Amcor Flexibles – Europe and Americas

Peter Brues, currently President of Amcor Flexibles Healthcare, will be the President Amcor Flexibles — Europe and Americas. This business group combines the current Amcor Flexibles Food and Flexibles Healthcare businesses with the Alcan Packaging Global Pharmaceutical and Food Europe businesses. The combination of these flexibles businesses will create an integrated business with sales of approximately US$5 billion.

Amcor Rigid Plastics

This is the new name for what was previously Amcor PET Packaging and Bill Long will continue to be the President. The business will consist of Amcor PET, Bericap closures – North America and Alcan Packaging Pharma Plastics (Rigids).

Amcor Australasia

Nigel Garrard will continue to lead the Australasia business. The Asia Pacific Flexibles business which is currently managed under the Australasia operations will form part of the new business unit, Flexibles — Asia Pacific.

Amcor Flexibles – Asia Pacific

Ralf Wunderlich will be the President Amcor Flexibles — Asia Pacific. Ralf was recruited from Linpac Packaging where he was Executive Director, President and Managing Director. Ralf is also a Non Executive Director of the AptarGroup Inc., a supplier of a broad range of dispensing systems for the personal care, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, household and food and beverage markets. Ralf has previously been President of the Alcan Packaging Global Tobacco business and prior to that President of Alcan Packaging – Asia & Pacific.

Amcor Tobacco Packaging

Peter Konieczny will be the President Amcor Tobacco Packaging. Peter was recruited from Silgan Holdings where he was CEO Silgan White Cap with global responsibility for the closures operations in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Prior to that role, Peter managed the Amcor White Cap closures business before its sale to Silgan Holdings. The Amcor Rentsch Asia business currently reporting to Billy Chan as a part of the Amcor Asia organisation, and the Alcan Tobacco Asia business, will report to Peter Konieczny. Amcor Sunclipse Eric Bloom will continue to lead the Amcor Sunclipse business.

AMVIG

Billy Chan continues as Chairman AMVIG Holdings, a Hong Kong listed tobacco packaging company. Amcor holds 39% of AMVIG, which currently has 19% of the China tobacco packaging market.

Amcor’s Managing Director and CEO, Mr Ken MacKenzie, said that the most important task in bringing the two organisations together is creating a strong management team to lead the company.

“We have undertaken a thorough process of evaluating the senior people from Amcor and Alcan as well as external candidates,” he said.

“The task now is to plan to populate the next level of management using the same objective and rigorous evaluation of candidates.”

Sweet Rewards – but not for Mars’ Maltesers

The Federal Court has unanimously dismissed an appeal by Mars Australia against Sweet Rewards over infringement claims.

The Full Court agreed with the trial judge that the packaging of Sweet Rewards’ chocolate coated malt ball product would not mislead consumers.

In 2007, Mars sued Sweet Rewards, which is an Australian distributor and supplier of chocolate confectionery products, alleging that two packaging variants of a chocolate coated malt ball product called “Malt Balls” infringed Mars’ rights.

Mars claimed that Sweet Rewards’ packaging infringed two Maltesers packaging registered trade marks, and constituted passing off and misleading and deceptive conduct.

Earlier this year, Justice Perram dismissed Mars’ application in its entirety, and awarded costs to Sweet Rewards however Mars appealed that decision to the Full Court of the Federal Court and the appeal was heard in Sydney in November.

In a decision handed down Friday, the Full Court unanimously dismissed Mars appeal in its entirety.

In doing so, the Full Court agreed with Justice Perram’s view that the distinguishing feature of the Maltesers product packaging trade marks is the word “Maltesers”.

The Court found that the other features of the packaging trade marks, namely the colour red and the depiction of the product in cross-section, are commonly used on confectionery packaging and therefore do not distinguish Maltesers from other confectionery products.

The absence of the word “Maltesers” in the Malt Balls product packaging was therefore critical in the Court concluding that the Malt Balls product packaging did not infringe Mars’ rights.

The Full Court also agreed with Justice Perram that use of the words “Malt Balls” on the Malt Balls product packaging was descriptive and did not constitute use as a trade mark.

The only feature of the Malt Balls packaging used as a trade mark was the “Delfi” brand, and that was the distinguishing feature of the packaging.

European Commission delays Amcor acquisition

EC delays ruling on Amcor’s acquisition of Rio packaging unit

Europe’s competition watchdog has delayed its ruling on Amcor‘s $2.44 billion acquisition of Rio Tinto Alcan‘s packaging unit. Amcor said on Thursday the European Commission had delayed a ruling on antitrust and competition issues by two weeks, until December 14. Shares in Amcor were up six cents, or 1.07 per cent, at $5.69, in mid-morning trade. The EC requested an extension to the evaluation period and its review of the need for a potential remedy for competition concerns, Amcor said in a statement.

Amcor stands to become a global packaging giant with 85 per cent of its earnings from offshore after it secures Rio’s Alcan Packaging food unit in Europe, global pharmaceuticals, Asia food and global tobacco units. Amcor said it believed no part of the transaction would have an adverse impact on competition, the company said.

But Amcor anticipated that any remedy required by the EC would involve the divestment of an Amcor flexible packaging plant with sales of less than $US100 million ($A107.57 million). A possible sale of a single plant would not have a material impact on synergies from the acquisition, estimated to be between $200 million and $250 million within three years, Amcor said. The combined Amcor and Alcan packaging businesses in Europe currently have sales of around $US4.8 billion ($A5.16 billion) in 75 plants.

Initial feedback on the acquisition from the US Department of Justice also is pending, and the deal is expected to close by January 31, 2010. Amcor already has secured regulatory approvals for the acquisition from authorities in Australia, Canada, Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine.

Source: AAP

Private labels pose increasing threat

According to a new consumer insight report published by Datamonitor titled “The Impact of Private Labels on FMCG Companies in India”, private labels are increasingly posing a threat for FMCG companies in India.

This report, based on a consumer survey, reveals that while the adoption of private labels began with its value proposition, consumers perceive these store brands are offering quality at par with other national brands.

“The increased scale of operations of retailers is shifting the bargaining power from FMCG companies to retailers. The growing adoption of private labels can compel FMCG companies to reassess their trade margins or relationship with retailers”, explains Vaibhav Khera, Director, India Consumer Markets Research at Datamonitor.

Indian retailers are laying a strong emphasis on the growth of their private label brands which is bringing in greater margins and is helping them gain greater bargaining power with FMCG companies. Retailers, which started launching their private labels as a value alternative to national brands are now mirroring these national brands with respect to product packaging and claims and are offering these products at a lower price. Retailers are also launching products with tiered pricing to cater to a wider set of audience while holding on to their store positioning.

The adoption of private label brands has been rapid in the household care segment, and the increased satisfaction level of consumers buying products in this segment has helped in building retailers’ credibility. Datamonitor expects that a customer satisfied with a private label brand in a low involvement category such as household care will have a greater propensity of trial in other categories such as food and beverages and personal care.

To highlight this threat, Datamonitor has analysed several product categories on the basis of their private label penetration and attractiveness where attractiveness is defined with respect to category involvement, brand loyalty, and price sensitivity, and through this Datamonitor has highlighted the product categories which are current and potential threat to FMCG companies in the near future.

The report analyses survey results and insights on consumer shopping behaviour and preferences while making purchase decisions. It also reveals the strategies which FMCG companies can adopt to avoid competition from private labels and highlights the consumer dynamics which will be relevant for FMCG companies in framing their product strategy.

Though private labels are increasingly gaining a strong foothold in the organized retail segment, FMCG companies can avoid this competition by investing in innovation and product differentiation. Vaibhav believes that “FMCG companies should play on their strengths and monetize opportunities emerging due changing consumer behaviour.”

Source: Datamonitor

Curvy and skyward at just 19 grams

Sidel has claimed a world record for light weight hot fillable PET bottles that weigh less than 19 grams for 0.5 L.

Sidel beats the world record for the lightweighting of hot-fillable PET bottles and designs innovative shapes thanks to the development of new technical solutions.

Discover the new models Skyward™ and Curvy™.

These two small 0.5-L bottles have undergone a revolution: they weigh only 18.9 g and their design is a real breakthrough for the shape of hot-fill bottles, which traditionally have six or eight panels and often look exactly like each other. Sidel has just developed innovative technical solutions that extend the limits of lightweighting for heat-set packaging. Bottle lightweighting has been made possible by complete redesign of the neck, body and base, conducted by the Sidel Packaging & Tooling Center. The 28-mm amorphous (non-crystallized) neck has been made lighter, and it accepts a standard cap for carbonated soft drinks. The base has also been revised, making it stiffer while also using fewer raw materials. The new geometric structure of the bottle body compensates for deformations due to vacuum absorption after cooling.

The Skyward™ bottle has a square section over a cylindrical one, an antiovalization waist and a rigid label area at the base. The rigidity of the Curvy™ bottle is obtained by an anti-ovalization waist in the top third of the body, the heel and the base, the twisted shape that acts as support beams and the succession of curves that absorb the vacuum while also making the bottle easier to grasp. Good material distribution is ensured by optimization of the bi-orientation rates and preform thickness ratios, which are perfectly suited to the bottle shape. 1,800 bottles per hour per mold In addition, the outstanding blow molding speed of 1,800 bottles per hour per mold with a standard HR process has been obtained due to heating optimisation with the SBO Universal™ range.

Its principles, which make all the difference in terms of process: improved blow molding rates, optimised cycle times, greater induced crystallinity thanks to the stretching rate, 100% heating regulation inside the inner walls ensuring perfect spherolitic crystallinity of the bottle, which at this speed remains in the oven for a shorter time. Sidel’s bell nozzle also enables the blowing of lighter, amorphous necks without deforming them (isobaric pressure around the neck). Finally, the heat conduction of F300 aluminum molds helps produce bottles at this high output.

Oh McCain have you done it again?

Almost 200 permanent and casual jobs will be lost at Smithton in Tasmania’s north-west next year, when McCain Foods closes its vegetable processing plant.

The company says ageing infrastructure and rising costs mean the 60-year-old frozen vegetable factory is no longer financially viable.

About 115 permanent employees will be offered redundancy packages and given between six and 12 months’ notice before they are sacked. About 75 casuals are also affected. Vegetable processing will end in April next year, but packaging will continue until November.

McCain’s Managing Director, Steve Yung, says the workers have done an outstanding job, and the decision is not a reflection on them. He added that the company was aware of the impact the decision would have on its workers and would do what it could to assist them.

The closure of the vegetable factory is expected to have a massive impact on the local economy. Adding to the bad news for locals is that McCain is opting to use its plant at Hastings in New Zealand to source and process its vegetables. Despite this, McCain says its potato chip factory at Smithton will stay open.

Source: ABC

Consumers have right to know about GM

Consumers have a right to know what products on supermarket shelves contain genetically modified canola oil, say environmentalists.

In a series of submissions to a national review on food labelling – to be made public this week – a wide group of environmentalists say the packaging of food containing GM canola oil should clearly say so.

The director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Judy Carman, said consumers have no way of identifying a number of products in households containing GM canola oil.

GM canola is grown in NSW and Victoria and is used in oil form in food including margarine, biscuits, and other snack foods.

Under the national standards for GM labelling, established in 2001, GM canola oil does not need to be identified.

Dr Carman, a former senior epidemiologist for the South Australian Government, said some livestock were fed genetically modified grains, which recent scientific evidence showed was later showing up in small traces in meat products not labelled as containing GM products.

Victorian group, Gene Ethics, said health and safety must be at the forefront of food labelling.

Source: SMH

Coke launches plant-based PET bottle

The Coca-Cola Company has announced the selective global roll-out of its new PET bottle made from up to 30 per cent plant materials such as sugar and molasses.

The soft drinks giant said its PlantBottle containers were beginning to hit retail shelves across the world, with a planned production target of two billion by the end of next year. Hailing the move as a “major step along our sustainable packaging journey”, chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said Coke was the first to bring to market a recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants but said the level of plant material in the bottle differs from country to country.

“While the bio-based component can account for up to 30 per cent of the resulting PET plastic in PlantBottle packaging, the percentage varies for bottles that also contain recycled PET,” said a Coke statement. In Denmark, the bottle also has recycled content, meaning its combined plant-based and recycled elements make up 65 per cent of the material; 50 per cent coming from recycled material and 15 per cent from plant-based material. In the US and Canada, some 30 per cent of the content in the PET plastic comes from plants.

The bottle is currently available in Denmark in 500ml and 2 litre sizes, with a December launch earmarked for Western Canada for Coca-Cola, Sprite Fresca and Dasani, as well as in Vancouver for next year’s Winter Olympic games. The PlantBottle will also be available in some parts of the western US from January 2010.

Future launches next year are being planned in other markets, including Brazil, Japan and Mexico and China, the company said.

Sugar and Molasses

The bottle is currently made by turning sugar and molasses into a component in PET plastic. The company said its ultimate goal was to use non-food, plant-based waste, such as wood chips or wheat stalks, to produce recyclable PET plastic bottles.

The container is 100 per cent recyclable and initial research has indicated it had a smaller carbon footprint than conventional PET bottles, Coke said.

Source: AP-FoodTechnology

Plastic additive companies facing multi-million Euro fines

Plastic additive firms face €173m price fixing fine

Dozens of companies that produce plastic additives for food, beverage and cosmetic packaging have been fined more than €173m for their part in price fixing and market sharing cartels over a 13-year period.

The European Commission (EC) announced 24 four firms from 10 different undertakings that make heat stabilisers and plasticisers for packaging for the food, drinks and cosmetics industries have been hit with fines totalling €173.86m for rigging the European market for these plastic additives between 1987-2000.

The companies involved in the criminal activity were Akzo, Baerlocher, Ciba, Elementis, Elf Aquitaine (Arkema France), GEA, Chemson, Faci, Reagens and AC Treuhand.

During this period, the companies “fixed prices, shared customers, allocated markets and exchanged sensitive commercial information for tin stabilisers (1987-2000) and ESBO/esters (1991-2000) heat stabilisers in the European Economic Area (EEA)”, said a statement from the EC. Heat stabilisers are added to PVC products in order to improve their thermal resistance and are used in packaging, food packaging, credit cards, bottles, coatings, flooring, artificial leather, plastic wallpaper and other everyday plastic products. The combined markets for tin stabilisers and ESBO/esters in the EEA were worth around €121 million at the time of the infringement. Fines Swiss-based Ciba, owned by BASF, was hit hardest with financial penalties totalling €68.4m, while Dutch giant Akzo faces fines of €40.6m. Elf Aquitaine, of France, was ordered to pay €28.6m and the joint GB-US group Elementis €32.5m.

US-based Chemtura Corporation, which took part in the price rigging, escaped any punishment after turning whistleblower to the EC. But Arkema France’s fine was increased by 90 per cent as it had previously taken part in similar cartels. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “These companies must learn the hard way that breaking the law does not pay and that repeat offenders will face stiffer penalties. The companies’ elaborate precautions to cover their tracks did not prevent the Commission from revealing the full extent of their determined efforts to rip-off their customers”.

BASF declared it would appeal against the Ciba fine, based on a statute of limitations clause. It said Ciba had sold the company involved in price fixing a decade ago. Elementis also said it would appeal, while Akzo said it would review its position. Cartels Between 1987 and 2000, Akzo, Baerlocher, Ciba, Elementis, Elf Aquitaine, Chemtura, Reagens and AC Treuhand (for various periods) participated in an EEA-wide tin stabiliser cartel. Between 1991 and 2000, Akzo, Ciba, Elementis, Elf Aquitaine, GEA, Chemson Chemtura, Faci and AC Treuhand (for various periods) operated an EEA-wide ESBO/ester cartel. For both products, the companies fixed prices, shared customers, allocated markets and exchanged commercially sensitive information.

The EC, which launched its probe in 2003 with a series of raids, said the main decisions for both cartels were taken at summits organised by AC Treuhard. The company allowed the groups to use its Zurich headquarters to map out the illegal scheme at monthly meetings for tin stabilisers and quarterly ones for ESBO/esters. Other meetings to fill in details of the scam on prices, customer allocation and markets were held throughout Europe, said the EC. Damages Anybody affected by the anti-competitive behaviour could bring legal action before national courts of the EEA to seek damages, said the EC.

It added: “The case law of the European Courts and Council Regulation 1/2003 both confirm that in cases before national courts, a Commission decision is binding proof that the behaviour took place and was illegal. Even though the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages may be awarded without these being reduced on account of the Commission fine.”

Source: Food Quality News

Significant bisphenol A levels found in canned food

Significant levels of bisphenol A (BPA) have been found in a wide variety of canned food that, for some, could approach levels shown to cause harm in animal studies, according to the US-based Consumers Union (CU).

The US non-profit group’s conclusion came after it tested 19 canned foods – including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans — and found almost all contained “measurable levels of BPA”. The highest levels of the chemical were detected in some samples of green beans and soups, added the CU. The research also demonstrated that the substance can be found in a wide range of canned goods including those labelled as organic and BPA-free, said the body. Its study also claimed that tests of a small number of “comparable products in alternative types of packaging showed lower levels of BPA in most, but not all cases”.

CU Director of Technical Policy Dr. Urvashi Rangan said: “The findings are noteworthy because they indicate the extent of potential exposure. Children eating multiple servings per day of canned foods with BPA levels comparable to the ones we found in some tested products could get a dose of BPA near levels that have caused adverse effects in several animal studies.” BPA, used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and other plastics, has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans and disrupted reproductive development in animals.

The chemical is commonly found in drinking bottles, baby bottles and sipper cups as well as in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans. However, industry bodies such as the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have insisted BPA is safe — citing opinions from most major food safety bodies across the globe that the chemical poses no health risk to humans at the specified exposure levels. Research findings from limited study The CU acknowledged that its study was limited and that the tests only “convey a snapshot of the marketplace and do not provide a general conclusion about the levels of BPA in any particular brand or type of product tested”. Levels in the same product purchased at different types or places or in other brands of similar foods might differ from CU test results, it said.

The levels of BPA detected in canned foods by the CU study ranged from 0.3 parts per billion (ppb) to 191ppb. This highest level was detected in canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake with the lowest finding for this product less than a fifth of that at 35.9 ppb. Progresso Vegetable Soup BPA levels ranged from 67 to 134 ppb, while Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup had BPA levels ranging from 54.5 to 102 ppb, said the study.

In a letter to Dr Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised concerns that based on average levels detected, one serving of the Del Monte green beans sample or Progresso soup sample could “easily lead a consumer to exceed the FDA Culmulative Exposure Daily Intake (CEDI) level of 0.185µ/kg-bw/day” – the assumed daily consumption of most people by the US agency. Of more concern, it added, was that one serving of the highest level could expose a small child of 22lbs to a “level that nears or exceeds those that have been shown to cause harm in animal studies published in scientific literature (2.4µ/kg-bw/day).” A full list of the results can be viewed via the following link The CU also claimed that BPA was found in some products packaged in cans that did not use epoxy-based liners, “suggesting BPA was not used”.

One such product, “Vital Choice’s tuna in ‘BPA-free’ cans, was found to contain an average of 20 ppb of BPA and those of Eden Baked Beans in “BPA-free” cans averaged 1 ppb BPA”, said the consumer body. The CU said a large body of research demonstrated cause for concern over BPA and called on the FDA to ban use of the chemical in food and beverage contact materials. The results of a FDA review into the safety of the chemical is due to be delivered by the end of the month.

Industrial product buyers guide for 2010

Food Magazine’s sister publication Factory Equipment News (FEN) will release an industrial product buyers guide in early 2010 showcasing new manufacturing products.

The FEN 2010 Industrial Buyers’ Guide will include products in: Automation and Robotics; Motors and Drives; Occupational Health and Safety; Industrial IT; Factory Maintenance; Metalworking; Welding; Pneumatics and Hydraulics; Waste Management; Sustainability; Packaging; Materials Handling; Warehousing; Fluid Handling; Test and Measurement; and Sensors and Instrumentation.

A total of 40,000 copies of the guide will be inserted into February issues of relevant manufacturing magazines published by Reed Business Information. Advertising packages in the guide are competitively priced and include: a product showcase with product image, information and contact details in the print guide; an HTML/PDF showcase e-newsletter mailed to buyers and influencers within a product category or categories; and a product showcase on www.myfen.com.au tagged to relevant categories.

Advertisers can choose from three advertising packages — Gold, Silver and Bronze — depending on their budget. Bookings for a listing in this much anticipated publication close Thursday, 3 December 2009.

For more information, visit: https://www.reedbusiness.com.au/pdf/FEN.SHOWCASE.MK.pdf

Contact:

Jane Atherton Business Development Manager

Reed Business Information

T: (02) 9422 2890

E: jane.atherton@reedbusiness.com.au

Listeria in salmon killed by smoke treatment

Listeria in salmon killed by smoke treatment

Smoking salmon at sufficiently high temperatures reduces the risk of Listeria monocytogenes, according to a new study from the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists. Greater inactivation rates of Listeria monocytogenes occurred in samples processed at higher temperatures and in samples containing higher concentrations of salt and smoke compound, reported researchers from United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. They had focused on the survival of L. monocytogenes after treating with salt, smoke compound and temperature during the cold and hot-smoking of salmon.

Inactivation effect

“The inactivation rate increased tenfold when the temperature increased by 5° C, indicating that smoking temperature is a main factor affecting the inactivation of the pathogen,” said the report.

“In addition, salt and smoke compounds also contribute to the inactivation effect,” it added.

Smoked salmon is produced by salting, smoking and trimming or slicing the fish before n vacuum-packaging the product. Able to grow at low temperatures, L. monocytogenes can contaminate fish if it is not processed and handled correctly. L. monocytogenes is a human pathogen that causes listeriosis and is particularly associated with refrigerated Ready-to-Eat foods.

Lead researcher Dr. Cheng-An Hwang said: “The data and model developed in this study can be used on select concentrations of salt and smoke compound, as well as smoking temperatures of 40° C to 55° C to minimize the presence of in smoked salmon and therefore, increasing its safety for consumers.”

Contamination

Manufacturers could use the results of the study, which also included research on the survival of Listeria during storage, to reduce levels of contamination and further enhance the safety of smoked salmon, said the researchers. Estimates of the prevalence of L. monocytogenes in cold-smoked salmon or smoked fish have been estimated at from 10% (Embarek, 1994) to 43% (Jorgensen and Huss, 1998). But the levels of contamination were generally low. In one outbreak of listeriosis in Sweden, linked to L. monocytogenes, contamination of smoked salmon and smoked fish, sickened nine people and caused two deaths.

Source: Food navigator

Henkel’s labelling adhesives meet beverage industry concerns

Guaranteeing ice water resistance for labelling adhesives and providing expert solutions for difficult substrate applications are the main concerns for beverage and bottling customers, says leading global adhesives supplier, Henkel. Henkel’s recent US$5.05 billion acquisition and integration of the adhesive and electronic materials business of National Starch and Chemical in 2008 has almost doubled the company’s market share worldwide.

The acquisition has elevated Henkel to the number one position in the industrial adhesives market. As a result of the acquisition, the company believes it is in an even better position to leverage its combined technology for the benefit of customers.

“At a regional level, we have completed almost 90 per cent 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 requirements 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,” Page says.

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 are benefiting 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.”

Dematic builds Australia’s biggest wine rack

Specialist wine distributor 14 degrees has opened a national wine distribution centre (DC) in Port Melbourne, creating Australia’s first high density Pallet Runner storage facility for the long-term cellaring of premium quality wines.

Incorporating bottling and case packing lines, the new 14,500 pallet capacity DC enables 14 degrees to offer significant supply chain benefits and savings to the Australian wine industry. Customers include award winning wineries such as Yering Station, Mt Langi Ghiran, Parker Coonawarra Estate and Xanadu. 14 degrees, which is owned by the Rathbone family, is also using the facility to expand its 3PL services to other wine producers and distributors, retailers, restaurants and hotel groups.

Near completion, the mixed-use development will offer a combination of commercial office space, function/meeting rooms, a retail outlet and a restaurant. “The first task was finding a central location that would enable us to cost-effectively fulfil orders to just about anywhere in Australia, as well as streamline export procedures,” said 14 degrees Director Darren Rathbone. “Port Melbourne, with its great port, road and rail connections fit the bill perfectly. We then worked closely with our storage partner Dematic to optimise the DC layout and workflow procedures.

Innovative Storage Solution

“Dematic did a lot of work up front analysing our current and future business needs, and presented a range of options, with their recommendation being an innovative Pallet Runner satellite storage system.”

Dematic was installing the first Pallet Runner system in Australia for Murray Goulburn in Melbourne at the time and Darren Rathbone was impressed by what he saw.

“Dematic’s Pallet Runner system is an ideal solution for storing premium quality wine,” said Mr Rathbone.

“After a premium quality wine has been bottled, the less it is handled the better.

“With the Pallet Runner system, we can space efficiently store pallets more than 30 deep in a single lane. That lets us park a whole vintage of a wine in just one or two lanes within the storage system, and forget about it until it is due for release.”

Faster, Safer, More Efficient Pallet Handling

Taking full advantage of the building’s 14 m height, Dematic’s high density Pallet Runner satellite storage system provides capacity for more than 13,000 pallets. Self-propelled ‘intelligent’ carts operate automatically and independently on rails within the storage system. This lets 14 degrees’ forklift operators focus on bringing product to and from the racking, enhancing productivity and safety, and reducing the potential for product damage.

When pallets are to be put away, the forklift operator first loads the motorised Pallet Runner into the relevant put-away lane, then loads the pallet into the lane. Upon receipt of the put-away instruction, the motorised cart drives under the pallet. A hydraulic lifting platform then raises the pallet, and transports it to the required putaway location within the lane.

By the time the forklift operator has placed the next pallet to be put away in the storage system, the motorised cart is ready to begin its next cycle. Pallets are scanned as they are fed into the storage system, and scanned again when they are retrieved, providing real-time location ID and full traceability. All product movements are RF-directed, with stock, location and order data managed by wine industry IT system, Vinpoint.

“The Pallet Runner not only gives us the best possible use of space, it is also a valuable resource for staging orders,” added Mr Rathbone. “When we have large orders to ship, we can pick all of the pallets ahead of time and stage them within a couple of lanes in the Pallet Runner system. When it comes time to ship, we can simply pull the pallets out and load them straight onto the transport.”

Dematic’s flexible storage design for 14 degrees also provides efficient storage solutions for wines cellared in smaller pallet quantities including Selective, Double Deep and Drive-In ColbyRACK.

Supply Chain Integration

“As our business grew, managing our supply chain became much more complex,” said Mr Rathbone.

“We had stock scattered all across the country at multiple locations. This required a lot of effort to keep track of, and move around when it was needed elsewhere.

“Consolidating the bulk of our stock in a purpose-designed, climate-controlled environment not only optimises the long-term quality of our wines, it has enabled us to significantly improve supply chain and transport efficiency.”

Another supply chain initiative was the decision to include 14 degrees bottling — a wine bottling and packaging facility — in the DC.

“We can now tanker premium wine in bulk here, bottle and put it straight into storage, which provides a lot of supply chain, quality and cost benefits compared to bottling at the source and transporting finished goods,” he said.

“With our new DC, we have integrated our supply chain to the point that we can receive wine, bottle it, and take it across the road to the Port of Melbourne for export orders faster than anyone else in the wine industry, which is a big boost for our customers’ export business.

“Whether it’s bottling, short to long-term storage, pick, pack, delivery or export, the flexibility our DC provides gives us the ability to cost-effectively process orders from full container loads down to a single bottle,” he said.

A Thirst for Quality

“The Australian wine drinker’s palette has matured a lot over the past 20 years. So despite the financial gloom and doom, we believe the growth potential for premium Australian wine is still very strong,” said Mr Rathbone.

“Building a facility like this is a significant investment, however, we see it as a long-term investment in the Australian wine industry. Premium wines need to be carefully cellared to be at their best when they are eventually opened,” he said.

“With today’s changing demographics, most people don’t have the space for a dedicated cellar at home. Sadly, too many bottles of great wine get left for years on a rack in the living room, where the temperature is constantly changing. You can’t expect wines stored like this to be as good as they would be, had they been cellared properly.”

“That’s one of the reasons increasing numbers of wine producers are holding back and cellaring a larger proportion of their premium wines. Our new DC and integrated supply chain strategy will help make sure that when someone drinks one of our customers’ wines in years to come, it will be at its very best.”

Industry efforts help stem packaging use

The amount of packaging used per capita in the UK has remained almost frozen over the past decade thanks to efforts by manufacturers and retailers.

INCPEN, the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment, said data released by the European Commission showed packing totals per capita in the UK were 176kg/ per person (PP) in 2007, compared to 175kg/pp in 1998.

It labelled the results as “impressive” saying they were proof that industry initiatives to cut back packaging had paid dividends. The UK’s performance compared favourably with the EU-15 as a whole, where average per capita packaging consumption had risen from 169kg/pp to 189kg/pp over the period.

Despite a three per cent increase in the UK population, the amount of packaging rose by just 4.9 per cent from 10.2m tonnes to 10.7m tonnes, according to INCPEN. And packaging quantities were stable, recycling rates doubled, and landfill greatly reduced.

The amount of packaging used in EU-15 as a whole increased by 17 per cent from 63m tonnes to 74m tonnes.

“These figures show clearly that the efforts of manufacturers and retailers to reduce packaging over the last decade have worked,” INCPEN Director, Jane Bickerstaffe said.

“They show that our packaging regulations have delivered an impressive recycling rate that is now above the average for the EU-15.”

INCPEN’s members include major players such as Cadbury, Amcor Flexibles, Britvic, Kellogg, Coca-Cola GB, Linpac and Rexam.

High quality assurance at Unilever Mexico

In the late 1890’s, William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Bros., created Sunlight soap, which completely revolutionized the hygiene habits during the Victorian era in England. Even today, the company still adheres to its belief that success is defined by vitality, which is essential to the way it operates around the world, embracing “the highest standards of co-operative behavior towards employees, customers and the societies of the world in which we live.”

Production demands

To fulfill quality standards on its products, Unilever needs to consider the following aspects, among others:

— First, plants at which food is produced must be easy to keep clean so that the company can readily meet HACCP specifications.

— Second, Unilever must be able to guarantee all end users that its food products contain the exact net contents on the label and have the required high quality.

For this purpose, the quality and content of these products must be verified at the production line, and any overfilled products or packaging errors detected. To meet these requirements, Unilever needed a supplier who could accomplish these difficult tasks, and found that Sartorius was the right choice. Transforming requirements into viable solutions Sartorius as a supplier with special status was invited right from the start to participate in this important project. Unilever ultimately decided to install 22 Sartorius Combics scales. Twelve of these scales currently installed in the ice cream production area have a capacity of 3 kg and a readability of 0.1 g, and ten scales set up in the margarine production area have a capacity of 6 kg and a readability of 0.2 g. At every weighing workstation, a random sample is taken and weighed.

On this basis, a lot is checked to verify the net contents, or average weight, i.e., the net weight of the sample and its packaging characteristics. In the process, the weighing equipment enables the operator to uniquely identify the product, machine and lot numbers for complete traceability of the sample. The equipment registers the weight and alerts the operator if it is under or over the nominal value. To complete the quality assurance cycle, Unilever acquired the Sartorius ProControl for Windows® software for monitoring prepackaged products and for ideal evaluation of the weighing data. The system is flexible and permits retrieval of statistics reports for a certain date, lot or even a special machine from the various weighing workstations.

In addition, Unilever has meanwhile been using two Sartorius metal detectors along with the software to connect to ProControl. Sartorius offers a wide array of products and services covering the food production process. The company provides individual consultation to also design and engineer customised solutions exactly tailored to the customer’s individual application needs. Process optimisation is one of the major drivers of innovation at Sartorius so that food producers can make their processes safer, more reliable and more efficient. This is where Sartorius excels in transforming its process experience and expertise besides its advanced technological capabilities into viable solutions.

Conclusion

The complete Sartorius solution is a highly useful tool for quality management, enabling all lots and packaging suppliers to be checked. The scales and indicators available in stainless steel and painted steel with high IP protection fulfill the customer’s specific needs for hygienic design. Thus, Sartorius enables Unilever not only to save time and money, but also to offer its customers high safety standards and reliability. Unilever’s engineer and project manager Wesley Mendoza is very satisfied with the Sartorius solution and with its wide range of products offered. His comments are exceptionally complimentary and confirm that Sartorius provides the right approach.

Applications

Unilever in Mexico continuously looks for ways to raise the bar even higher with respect to quality assurance. This year, Sartorius with its Combics Food and Sartorius ProControl for Windows® attained Unilever’s increased standards.

Have your say in this November’s Food Magazine

Editorial space in Food Magazine’s November issue is closing soon.

If you have case studies/installations for food, beverage or packaging, new products, industry news or comment please email or phone the editor by Wednesday 14 October.

Also, check the home page of this website under ‘coming up next issue’ for further information on features in the November issue.

Desi Corbett 02 9422 2620 desi.corbett@reedbusiness.com.au

2009 Australian packaging award winners announced

The Packaging Council of Australia (PCA) celebrated the 2009 Australian Packaging Award Winners at the Awards Presentation Dinner held in Melbourne last Friday.

The Australian Packaging Awards are the premier Awards event recognising the best of Australia’s product packaging, highlighting the outstanding achievements of the industry and opening doors all over the world. This year the highly anticipated PCA Best of Show was awarded to O-I Australia for their Lean+Green™ Light Weight Wine Bottle Range.

Selected from all of the Gold winning entries, the judges specifically applauded the impact of the lightweight wine bottle range for its sophisticated approach to sustainability and bringing Australian innovation to the attention of the highly competitive global wine market. O-I has successfully reduced the weight of selected wine bottles by 18-28%, saving almost 20,000 tonnes of glass packaging/ annum.

The flow-on effects include a 20% reduction in energy use and a carbon dioxide saving of over 11,130 tonnes per year. Equally impressive is a saving of 12% in water usage per container and overall water savings of 4,720kL per year. Overall winners featured strong creative and original design trends and demonstrated significant achievements in innovation, functionality and overall point of sale impact.

This year the judges were overwhelmed by the number of creative and innovative packaging solutions that were presented. They noted the excellent achievements throughout the product sector with a lot of work being done in weight and carbon footprint reduction as well as consumer awareness programs. From hundreds of entries, representing the entire packaging supply chain, there were 31 outstanding winners. All of the 2009 winners can be viewed online at www.pca.org.au/results09.

Going nuts over high barrier Natureflex film

Innovia Films’ high barrier compostable cellulose-based material, NatureFlex™ NK, has been chosen by an Italian producer, New Factor, to wrap its range of organic nuts and dried fruit — Mister Nut Bio.

NatureFlex™ NK was launched in 2008 and offers not only biodegradability and compostability, but also a moisture barrier approaching that of co-extruded OPP. This means it has the best moisture barrier of any single layer biopolymer film currently available, which has been achieved through Innovia Films’ unique coating technology.

New Factor was founded more than 50 years ago and is still owned today by the Annibali family. From humble beginnings in the agricultural seed sector to an international concern with a multi-million euro turnover, the company has gone from strength to strength and currently employs over 50 people at their plant in Rimini. Markets served by New Factor include Italy, Europe and Russia.

Outlining why New Factor chose NatureFlex™ to package its Mister Nut Bio range, Dr Fabrizio Pellegrini, Plant Director stated, “NatureFlex™ offers protection for our product, as all good packaging should.

At the same time it meets the eco-credentials for this organic range and has fitted into our production line process with minimal adjustment needed.” The new Mister Nut Bio brand embodies naturalness and quality products resulting from organic farming in Italy, which are certified by Bioagricert (the independent Italian body awarding organic certification to food products).

New Factor collaborated with designer and photographer, Marco Morosini, for the creation of the pack and point of sale box and with Innovia Films for the choice of film to be used. The result is a quality product brought to market in a new eye catching pack comprising of biodegradable and compostable NatureFlex™ film and a biodegradable cardboard label.

NatureFlex™ was an obvious solution for the packaging in this application as the film begins life as a natural product — wood – and breaks down at the end of its life-cycle in a home compost bin (or industrial compost environment) within a matter of weeks. It also offers advantages for packing and converting such as inherent deadfold and anti-static properties, high gloss and transparency, resistance to grease and oil, good barrier to gases and aromas, print receptive surface and a wide heat-seal range.

NatureFlex™ films are certified to meet both the European EN13432 and American ASTM D6400 standards for compostable packaging. The wood-pulp is sourced from managed plantations from referenced suppliers operating Good Forestry principals (FSC or equivalent). NatureFlex™ films typically have a renewable biobased content of some 95% by weight of material.

“With its excellent barrier properties, NatureFlex™ NK fills a major gap in the biomaterials market. Now dry, moisture-sensitive foods can also be wrapped using a compostable solution. We anticipate this will open up a host of new opportunities both for NatureFlex™ on its own, or as part of a laminate solution with other biofilms,” exclaims Andy Sweetman, Innovia Films’ Business Development & Sustainable Technology Manager. NatureFlex™ NK is a transparent, general purpose packaging grade suitable for various applications eg dried foods (biscuits, cereals, crisps, snack bars etc).

The product is also ideal for lamination to other biofilms. NatureFlex™ NK is available in 20, 23, 30, 45 micron thicknesses and can be used for a variety of pack formats — VFFS, flow wrap, twistwrap and overwrap.

PET bottle for UHT milk: new technology

First PET bottle for UHT milk with Predis: ecological, practical, no sealing lid

For the first time, a dairy company is launching a PET bottle for UHT milk using Sidel’s Predis dry decontamination technology.

The technology has allowed LSDH (France) to reduce the weight of its bottles by 20 percent as well as making drastic savings in chemicals and waters. Operations just started in summer 2009. Packaging milk poses its own challenges since the product is easily destroyed by light, microbes and air. Dry decontaminated PET bottles have now proven an ideal packaging solution for the French dairy company LSDH to combat these problems in an eco-friendly way. The company, which is headquartered 150 kilometers south of Paris, has recently installed a new Sidel milk packaging line including the novel dry decontamination system Predis — a first for sensitive beverages with neutral pH value. The new line is used for part-skim, skim and whole milk in 1- and 1.5-liter bottles with a product shelf life of three to four months at room temperature. Aseptic decontamination: the dry choice The key element of the new line, the Combi Predis FMa, is a compact machine for blow-molding bottles, filling and capping them, specifically for sensitive products under aseptic conditions.

The vital difference between this system and traditional processes is that Sidel’s new technology works by decontaminating not the bottles, but the preforms. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) vapor is evenly sprayed on the interior surfaces of the preforms and then activated by the heat used in the blow-molding process. This thorough decontamination makes it possible to increase product quality and shelf life and to ensure total food safety until the expiry date. The process uses only a small amount of chemicals and virtually no water. Additional benefits of the Combi Predis FMa are fast output rates and the system’s flexibility. The latter is particularly important when products have to be changed frequently. LSDH carries out product changes three or four times a week on the same line, which runs 24 hours a day, six days a week, in order to bottle short runs and promotional products.

Environmental benefits are key

It was mainly environmental considerations that swayed LSDH’s decision in favour of the Predis system. Emmanuel Vasseneix, CEO at LSDH, explained:

“You have to look ahead to the company’s future responsibilities, both to society and to the environment. The dry decontamination system consumes very little disinfectant and it reduces water consumption to next to nothing. It also allowed us to reduce the bottle weight from 28 to 24 grams.”

Traditionally LSDH had used opaque HDPE and, later, paperboard on Tetra Pak lines for packing its milk. The company started PET packaging for milk in 2007 after it diversified into fruit juices earlier. Dry decontamination was introduced in the latest move. Emmanuel Vasseneix explained the advantages that PET has over other packaging materials for bottling milk:

“PET offers better protection from odors than HDPE. It also allowed us initially to produce a bottle lighter than 30 grams, which is the weight of the traditional 1-liter HDPE bottle. Since we have been able to replace the traditional aluminium seal with a water-tight lid, we are contributing to waste elimination. Using PET therefore helps us to meet our company’s eco-design requirements.”

In the future LSDH is looking to lighten its PET milk bottle down to 22 grams. Since PET also allows diversifying and personalizing bottle shapes, the future is likely to bring more milk bottle innovations through LSDH’s collaboration with Sidel. Sidel has got a globally installed base of more than 120 aseptic filling machines and roughly 40 dry decontamination systems.

The Sidel Group With over 30,000 machines installed in 190 countries and annual sales of 1.19 billion euros in 2008, the Sidel Group is one of the world leaders in solutions for packaging liquid foods including water, soft drinks, milk, sensitive beverages, edible oil, beer and other alcoholic beverages. Sidel currently has production facilities in a total of 13 countries as well as sales and service branches centrally located in some 30 countries. Worldwide, more than 5,550 employees supply customers with complete bottling solutions that include package design, line engineering, packaging machines and related services.