Amcor expects stronger earnings

Packaging group Amcor Ltd says it expects stronger earnings this financial year on the back of price rises even though trading volumes at its Australasian operations will track lower during the first half.

Improved export prices for recycled papers and old corrugated cartons (OCC) should deliver higher earnings in 2009/10 for the Australian and New Zealand businesses, the packaging giant said in its 2009 annual report.

The local operations largely service the food and beverage sectors, and trading volumes for the initial weeks of 2009/10 were down on the previous year and are likely to remain lower for “at least” the first half, Amcor said.

Although rising labour cost would weigh on earnings, improved export prices for OCC and recycled papers and lower sales costs and administration overheads would lead to greater earnings if economic conditions remained stable, the company said.

Volumes for Amcor’s flexibles and North American manufacturing units are also running at lower levels in the weeks since June 30.Earnings for the first half 2009/10 in North America were likely to be lower than in the previous corresponding period, the company said.On August 18 Amcor reported an 18.2 per cent fall in net profit to $211.7 million for the year to June 30 on lower underlying demand as customers reduced stocks across the supply chain.

Annual profit for the Australasian operations declined from $188.5 million to $113.2 million, and profit for the North American operation dropped by around one-third to $39.1 million.Amcor unveiled a $2.44 billion acquisition of Rio Tinto’s packaging units on the same day as its profit result, which is expected to make the company a global packaging giant.

The deal will boost Amcor’s earnings by 40 per cent and means 85 per cent of earnings will come from off-shore.

The annual report’s publication on Friday comes three days after the company raised $407 million from small investors to help fund the purchase of key divisions of Rio Tinto Ltd’s Alcan Packaging business.

Together with the proceeds from an institutional component, the company has raised $1.611 billion.

Source: AAP

Vandals cause juicy end

National Foods says a review of operations in the wake of a vandalism attack in August will mean 57 redundancies at its Berri juice factory.

That is almost half its Riverland staff in South Australia. Corporate affairs manager Geoff Lynch says it was decided not to resume production of long-life juice.

Mr Lynch says production of chilled juice is also under review but will continue for now. He says the jobs lost are spread across the manufacturing and packaging production areas.

“Our focus now is to try to manage that the best way that we possibly can for employees,” he said.

“We’ll be offering voluntary redundancies as a first option to see how many jobs we can take care of in that fashion.

“Some will be going almost immediately, others will probably take a couple of weeks to process.”

Future Chief executive of the Riverland Development Corporation Ken Smith says he is concerned for the future of National Foods in the Riverland. He hopes the remaining chilled juice operations will not be moved interstate.

“We do research investment opportunities for our region to bring in new business to create employment, but what we sometimes lose sight of is the companies that are established here that maybe don’t necessarily need to be in the Riverland so we need to make sure we work hard to support those companies,” he said.

“I don’t like to predict what’s going to happen to National Foods but certainly, I mean, any review of that type is concerning to us.”

Vandals emptied thousands of litres of juice from vats at the National Foods factory, disrupting production and costing the company about $500,000.

Source: ABC

Container deposit legislation not simple or cheap

Introducing Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) in Australia was not as simple or inexpensive as many people believe, according to a Senate enquiry report just released, which has been welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

The Senate report recommended that the private members Bill — Environment Protection — Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme – for Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) in Australia should “not be passed … at this time”.

The report said that while there was some support for CDL, debate around the bill, and the disagreement from various groups, including the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) highlighted “how complex this area of policy making can be”.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said the report highlighted that any benefits of CDL could not be easily quantified.

“The findings show that CDL is not as simple as it may seem and is a far more complex issue than many people believe,” Ms Carnell said.

“The Senate committee’s findings are a sensible outcome for Australian consumers, who would be forced to bear the costs of a CDL and be inconvenienced by no longer being able to place containers in their recycling bins for kerbside collection.”

Industry research has confirmed that CDL is a more expensive option compared with the highly successful industry-led kerbside recycling and packaging waste partnership programs — under the world-leading National Packaging Covenant co-regulatory arrangement — which are already underway in Australia.

Under the current recycling approach, Australia’s packaging recycling rates have risen from below 40 per cent to almost 60 per cent over the past five years.

The Covenant has to capacity to divert an additional 500,000 tonnes of packaging from landfill each year.

The Senate report highlighted that the annual costs to Government, industry and the broader community are estimated to be $492 million a year, which Ms Carnell said would result in consumers facing higher prices for bottled and canned beverages, including beer and softdrinks.

Ms Carnell urged Australia’s Environment Ministers to seriously consider the Senate report’s findings for their November meeting when they will determine the future direction of Australia’s packaging and recycling frameworks.

To read the Senate’s findings, visit report/c02.htm#anc5

Cadbury not sweet on Kraft

The hostile takeover of chocolate manufacturer Cadbury by American snack food giant Kraft would create a billion-dollar company in Australia, but could lalso ead to problems.

Cadbury’s hold on consumers in India and other emerging markets was a factor in Kraft’s $US16.73 billion takeover offer for the British confectionery maker.

A successful bid would boost Kraft’s presence in two fast-growing parts of the global confectionery market.

Cadbury has defended its rejection of Kraft Foods’ takeover bid, describing the US food giant as a “low-growth conglomerate” whose offer fundamentally undervalues the British confectioner.

Source: Packaging Council of Australia

Taylors wine first with 100% carbon neutral rating

Taylors Wines has announced today it has achieved a world-first for any wine brand or range with the company’s Eighty Acres range of wines certified 100% carbon neutral.

The result is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model compliant to ISO14044 and to achieve this Taylors Wines worked with Provisor, a consultancy specialising in the Wine, Food and Beverage industries to develop a LCA model to accurately measure the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions at every step in the lifecycle of the Taylors Eighty Acres range of wines.

That life cycle begins in the vineyard before harvesting and ultimately ends with the consumption, disposal and recycling of the finished packaging — a complete cradle to the grave approach.

This analysis was then independently audited and approved by RMIT University.

Based on an extensive review of carbon claims world-wide, Provisor established Taylors Wines were the first winery in the world to produce, market and sell a range of 100% Carbon Neutral wines following the requirements of the International Standard for Life Cycle Assessment ISO 14044.

The LCA approach allowed Taylors to define an accurate total carbon footprint and subsequently work to minimise emissions prior to off-setting the balance. To assist with the reduction of emissions, Taylors has moved the Eighty Acres range into O-I’s new Lean + Green™ lightweight bottles.

This new glass bottle is almost 40% lighter than the original glass used and delivers a reduction in CO²e per bottle of more than 15% .

Taylors then selected Carbon Neutral, a not-for-profit organisation which provides carbon offsets including Verified Emission Reduction Units (VERs), to offset the sum of carbon emissions.

Taylors Wines and Carbon Neutral are committed to purchasing their VERs through domestic projects, independently certified by the Australian Federal Government, ensuring the avoided emissions maximise the benefit to the local environment.

Mitchell Taylor, CEO of Taylors Wines said he was excited by this achievement but recognises there are more initiatives we can undertake on the road to environmental sustainability.

“As a family owned winey we are committed to reducing our impact upon the environment.

“Our direct link with the land, along with the long-term view we hold for our business, means we acknowledge the responsibility we have in protecting our environment both for the present and future generations.

“The LCA Model will be instrumental in helping us fulfill this commitment through providing an accurate picture of our total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions,” Taylor said.

Loyalty shifts from branded products to retailers

UK-based Verdict Research’s new report on major retailers’ private label relaunches during the downturn finds that although the rapid growth seen by private label is coming to an end, branded fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are nevertheless set for a tough time going forward.

Having shot up to a 28.3% market share of EU27 grocery retailing in 2008 on the back of the recession, private label market share gains (to the detriment of branded goods) will fall back to a more steady and incremental pace. That said, Verdict believes that consumers’ loyalty shift from branded to private label lines is permanent and that the new battle for market share will be contested between retailers and within existing range architectures. The tentative revival of premium private label ranges is already taking place.

Where we were

Under economic duress since Q4 2008, EU consumers have migrated to private label offerings on an unprecedented scale. Trading down and switching have become endemic, while purchase decision-making times have increased. As a result, value has become the overriding objective in retailers’ private label development, a reversal of a decade-long trend towards premiumisation and a focus on quality. Across the EU, value private label ranges have produced stellar growth rates for almost every major retailer.

Daniel Lucht, senior analyst and author of the report, comments: ”For retailers, H2 2008 and H1 2009 was the optimal time to introduce new lines, as customers were willing to shop around and give new food and near-food ranges (such as disposable paper and household cleaning products) a try.

”The more successful retailers were in matching their product quality with branded products, the more effective they were in converting shoppers to private label ranges. The major EU grocers (Carrefour, Tesco and Metro) exploited this opportunity by launching ‘fighter’ ranges—new private label lines clearly positioned at the value end—in an attempt to slow rampant discounter growth. Tesco’s packaging tended to be retro, harking back to the 1970s (the last major economic crisis), while other players such as Carrefour and Metro Group combined the traditional good-better-best strategy with new products by substituting or complementing their value ranges. In general, the fighter brands were aimed at marketing purposes as much as they were supposed to be sales drivers, but predominantly they were designed to safeguard footfall. From a retailer’s perspective, it is better to have lower value sales (as a result of increased private label uptake), when customers trade down in store, than to lose customers and sales to the competition. While these fighter ranges slowed discounter growth and kept customers in store, the price paid was severely impacted margins and slower overall value sales.”

Where we are now

Verdict Research predicts that, after the recession, there will be a shift back to the higher end private label ranges, which incorporate premium aspects such as organics or fairtrade. Simon Chinn, co-author of the report, comments: “As consumer confidence is slowly returning in some markets, consumer purchasing behavior will become more polarized, with premium private labels gaining more traction again.” At the value end, the fighter ranges will lose momentum and shelf space, as the novelty factor wears off, although they will not disappear altogether. Another reason why these brands will not stay the course is that retailers will lose interest because margins on value grocery lines are low. In recent months, many of the leading players ran promotions on their private label ranges, but this will also come to an end as players try to recoup lost margins and gain higher sales growth by trading consumers back up again. Moreover, fighter ranges, which clearly impact upon sales of branded FMCG, make managing already strained commercial relationships with suppliers even harder. However, at least some manufacturers will also have an interest in seeing the private label lines outperforming, especially if they also produce them on their premises.

Where we are going

That said, even with fighter brands’ diminishing importance, FMCG producers are not yet through the worst. Rising unemployment and continued uncertainty about the broader macroeconomic outlook will ensure that private label as a whole will continue to gain share at the expense of branded goods. Across the EU, private label will emerge as one of the winners in this crisis: the attitude shift away from branded goods to store brands, also driven by the retailers so that they can gain a greater share of margin, will become further entrenched. As buying groups and co-operatives have also been active and relaunched their private label offerings, the major opportunity open to FMCG producers is to look for new distribution channels, such as launching their own stores, investing in direct consumer contact through the internet or bypassing the supermarkets and trying new locations and channels, i.e. non food stores. Another possible growth avenue is launching new value versions of branded goods themselves, and Verdict Research expects some activity on this front, especially if fighter ranges—boosted by a deep recession, high quality perceptions, a superb value proposition and perhaps further shifting attitudes towards the discounters—stay the course longer than the leading FMCG producers expect.

The long-term shift

Private label has not only been a major development in food retailing but has cut across boundaries and, in non food retailing especially, the ‘green theme’ has come to the fore. In DIY and electricals, players are milking the potential of energy efficiency by launching new appliances and devices with which consumers can simultaneously reduce their carbon footprint and save money. The trend towards energy efficiency heralds a massive opportunity to boost own-label profiles. Driven by crisis economics and bursting housing bubbles, DIY retailers have started to focus on value and on ‘outgreening’ each other. Verdict Research believes that, in electricals, the opportunity for private label ranges is real and that the offer so far has been chronically underdeveloped. In furniture and clothing, eco-friendly materials have become indispensable.

Verdict Research believes that the ‘green theme’ is almost predestined for retailers’ private label development, as it enables them to differentiate their offering and raise their profile in terms of quality perceptions and environmentally friendly positioning. This point is valid for every retail sector, but particularly so for grocers. Premium private label products such as organic or fairtrade usually promise higher margins than standard private label ranges and they also help to drive the marketing message.

Although sales of organic/natural products have clearly been affected at present, they are proving resilient and should rebound once the economy recovers.

Daniel Lucht adds: “On a broader level, as long as climate change remains an acute threat, being environmentally friendly will remain very much on the agenda. Once price considerations ease, organic is poised to become the hot topic again.”

CleanScene could improve productivity and reduce costs

CleanScene: The National Cleaning & Hygiene Expo, 27 — 29 October this year at the Sydney Showground, will include a fresh, new feature, Clean and Green. Clean and Green will incorporate products and services that are either environmentally friendly, are chemical-free, can be recycled or which use significantly less water. Cleaning with green products has a number of advantages: improved air quality (leading to less absenteeism through improved health), less water usage, fewer chemicals and an enhanced corporate image. Clean and Green will show that going green is no longer just an option, but now a serious consideration for all Australian workplaces. Green Cleaning is suggested as a “quick win” to instantly improve indoor air quality by the GBCA (Green Building Council Australia), as it directly impacts human health. Poor air quality from high levels of pollutants in chemical cleaners can cause some allergic reactions and other health problems. This is why Activeion’s breakthrough multi-surface cleaning technology will be on show at CleanScene. This hand held sprayer electronically converts tap water into a powerful cleaner that sanitizes, without using chemicals. Excessive chemical usage in cleaning is one contributor to poor air quality (estimated by CSIRO to cost Australia as much as $12 bn per year). However any opportunity to reduce the incidences of allergies and poor health that result in absenteeism, directly impacting the economic performance of any organisation, must be worthwhile. Green cleaning products showcased at CleanScene therefore, represent an outstanding return on investment, through the economic benefits of reducing absenteeism and so improving productivity. Pacvac have CRI Green Label certification for the Superpro 700 back pack vacuum cleaner — assuring users of an exceptionally high standard of indoor air quality and will be at CleanScene on stand B01. Another major environmental consideration for the commercial and industrial cleaning industries is reducing water usage. CleanScene is keen to play its part in showcasing products and services designed specifically to use significantly reduced amounts of water. Improved water efficiency has additional benefits, such as cost savings, reduced energy requirements and fewer gas house emissions. Clean and Green will include Cryonomic’s dry ice cleaning technology, used to clean production and packaging lines in a variety of industries, without the need for water. These innovative products and technologies are just a selection of the diverse range of cleaning equipment and supplies that will be on show at CleanScene: The National Cleaning & Hygiene Expo.

Kraft cuts water usage by 21 per cent

Kraft Foods, the world’s second-largest foodmaker, claims it cut water use worldwide by 21 per cent.

The company needed a total of three billion fewer gallons of water for manufacturing over the past three years, according to a spokesman.

Plants are recycling water and fixing leaks, while water frozen in basement pools cools the US Illinois headquarters.

Kraft set environmental goals in 2005, including the elimination of 150 million pounds of packaging by 2011.

“Sustainability is a very important theme with our customers,” Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld said.

The company said it met its water goal two years early. Kraft hired an executive to oversee environmental projects shortly after Rosenfeld took over in 2006.

A redesign of Kraft’s Oscar Mayer Deli Creations wrappers will save 1.2 million pounds of packaging.

Internet source: Bloomberg

Scholle partners with TBM for lean strategy

Everyone in the food business knows the challenge of satisfying changing tastes. Food grows slowly, but consumer tastes change quickly.

Few people over the age of 40 grew up with radicchio, for instance, or Viognier.

Now these varieties are commonplace.

Add big storms, changing global temperatures and harvest dates — which take no-one’s schedule into account — to the mix and we have a pretty good picture of the dynamic nature of feeding the planet.

As all of us in the food industry know, quick changes don’t affect any of us alone.

From the farmer to food processors and packers, marketers and chefs, changing tastes and global influences can have a whiplash effect throughout the industry. And let’s face it, few of us are good at being truly flexible.

At Scholle, we’ve been looking intensively at our own flexibility and have found a few new tools for making change easier, and making constant spikes and drops in demand less harrowing.

For those of you unfamiliar with Scholle, we are the creator of bag-in-the-box packaging.

Most people know us for the bags we make for Bag in Box wine, but our technology is used to keep everything fresh in environmentally friendly bags — from concentrate syrup for fountain dispensers to milk and all types of aseptically packed fruit purees and juices like tomato, banana and mango.

Our business means we partner with companies throughout the food and beverage industries, often helping to design packaging lines inside our customers’ facilities.

We see everyone struggling to reduce inventories and getting prepared for the next big thing, whatever that is. At our plant in Adelaide, for instance, we used to think that having enough finished product — along with the raw materials to make bags, spouts and taps — on hand was the way to deal with demand volatility.

We had a lot of money tied up in resins, film and fitments and warehousing, and we were not prepared for customer needs to change. In all, we were only turning over our inventory three times a year.

By implementing tighter controls and reducing our maximum stock target levels we managed to reduce our inventory by 25 percent but we knew we needed to go further.

To do this we had to change our value chain model from how we manage our customer orders, plan manufacturing through to dispatch.

We deciding on a Lean strategy and partnered with TBM Consulting Group to accelerate our progress and internalise Lean by getting all of our employees involved to create a new culture for change.

Teams of employees went to work reducing our inventory levels, making machine changeover times quicker and more reliable, and improving first-pass quality.

We also improved our information flow through customer service and production planning.

Now, we turn over inventory seven and a half times a year and well on our way to double figures.

We quickly discovered that low inventory levels can be nerve wracking, however, if you pride yourself on being completely responsive to customers.

A more efficient plant and visible key performance metrics help keep service levels high.

At Scholle, we accept that improvement is part of doing business and knew that reducing inventories would generate the need to further improve our operations and responsiveness.

So we’ve taken three methodologies from lean and are calling it Hybrid Planning.

The three major elements of our system are kanban, production wheels and demand segmentation.

We use kanban to create clear visual cues as to current inventory levels and immediate needs, providing production with a simple way to plan upcoming work.

Production wheels are used to sequence scheduling, minimising the time between production runs and triggering production quantities based on actual consumption.

Demand segmentation offers a more systematic approach to forecasting. Instead of relying on the guesses of our sales team, we examine 52 weeks of historical demand.

Using spreadsheets, we can add a few variables — such as new customers coming on line or a radically changed harvest — and then flatten the spikes in demand with very little inventory.

That means we can have a lean system without sacrificing customer responsiveness.

Concepts such as kanban and demand segmentation, and using teams of employees to make changes in kaizen events, were all popularised by the Toyota Production System and are now commonly referred to as lean manufacturing.

It may be surprising to some how easily improvements from car factories translate to the food industry.

But we’ve begun taking some of these ideas to our customers and we’re finding that food companies are primed for change and innovation.

At Scholle we understand that success is a result of good information flow with customers backed up by a responsive production system, not carrying ‘just in case’ inventory.

We also know that a Lean business strategy will only work when all of our employees are involved and focusing on the customer.

By Michael Edwards, Managing Director, Scholle Packaging – Asia Pacific and Carl Deeley, Managing Director, TBM Consulting Group.

Bemis to buy Alcan Packaging Food Americas

Rio Tinto has announced it will sell its Alcan Packaging Food Americas division to Bemis Company Inc. for more than a billion dollars.

Wisconsin-based food-and-beverage packager Bemis will acquire 23 operations spread across the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and New Zealand that package and wrap everything from meats and cheese to bagged lettuce and snack foods for $US1.2 billion.

The business has 4,600 employees and annual sales of $US1.5 billion.

The deal should boost Bemis’ sales from around $US3.5 billion to $US5.2 billion annually.

Rio Tinto acquired these packaging businesses as part of its 2007 purchase of Canadian aluminum giant Alcan.

Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore, copper, aluminum and other metals, has sold several businesses over the last year in advance of several looming debts coming to maturity.


Brand loyalty could depend on sustainable packaging

Sustainable packaging has been identified as a brand loyalty issue for Australians, according to a new report from independent market analyst Datamonitor.

Sustainable packaging is a growing consumer issue that has the potential to benefit numerous stakeholders.

At present, consumer interest in packaging is relatively low in general, but with a high proportion of consumers interested in the sustainability aspect of packaging.

The results of Datamonitor’s consumer survey in the second half of 2008 showed that in Australia, 43% of consumers felt that packaging design has a medium or high level of influence over their choice of food and drink products.

However, of this proportion, only 13% felt it exerted a very high level of influence on purchase.

Consumers’ relationship with packaging in many ways is complex because few will admit to its importance because it is often taken for granted, but increasing consumer concern about ecological matters means packaging is an issue that is rising to prominence.

Datamonitor’s consumer survey in 2008 found that a high proportion of Australian consumers felt that living an ethical or sustainable lifestyle is either important or very important to their well-being.

In Australia, this was true for 86% of women respondents, with 77% of men feeling the same.

Almost identical figures are attributed to the importance of protecting the environment for both men and women.

High awareness of the social desirability to act in an ethical manner is a key reason for this high response option but sustainability is also a growing consumer concern.

Sustainable packaging, as one of a number of important ethical and ecological consumer issues is one with scope for increased importance in future in much the same way that organic and fairtrade products were issues gaining significant momentum a decade ago.

Despite the gender divide in importance attributed to ethical issues, one area where there is greater uniformity among men and women in relation to sustainable packaging is their reaction to products deemed to be packaged excessively.

According to Datamonitor’s survey, almost half of Australian consumers (49% of women and 46% of men) will consider swapping brands if they deem one product to be excessively packaged compared to the alternatives.

With this in mind, all consumer packaged goods companies must continue to evaluate their packaging in order to align themselves with an emerging consumer trend.

Updating packaging can also be a more credible way to make cost savings without having to indulge in such methods as ‘package shrink’ or more accurately ‘portion shrink’ where a smaller amount of the product is sold at the same price.

Food Magazine July issue on its way!

We have a huge lineup for you in the July issue of Foodmagazine which comes out to subscribers from 7 July 2009.

This month’s magazine is full of interesting case studies and topical articles served up for both the food and beverage industries.

The World Food Safety Organisation’s president expresses his opinion on food safety certification. He warns certified companies that try to hide behind it is nothing short of “folly”.

In our special New Zealand feature, Heat and Control detail their Asado Food Solutions’ project in the Bay of Plenty while Envico Doors tell us about their instillation near Albury of a high speed freezer door that allows for high level forklift traffic – without temperature loss.

We explore Kraft Foods’ new branding exercise with its release of the first new Vegemite variety in 85 years and our Ingredients pages showcase lycopene on the European market and the use of eucalyptus in Australian red wine.

Pilz’s Marian MacDonald talks about plant safety and productivity and says the people responsible for machine safety and operation — electricians, engineers and integrators — should literally take control.

And we discover how Siemens assisted a German brewery to optimise its European facility with modern motor management.

Our product showcase is a special feature this month with our Food Challenge Awards sponsors showing off their wares.

The packaging feature on the following pages allows Cospak and Zip-Pack to shine.

In On the Shelf section you’ll find a short list of the best products released onto the Australian market.

Austrade tells us how manufacturers can enter the US market via the back door.

And once you’ve had your fill of our informative articles, you can check your diary for this year’s food and beverage related events.

Click on “subscribe” to get your copy of Foodmagazine!

US confectionery trends look sweet for 2009

US confectionery makers are experimenting with flavours, flexibility and variety, and thinking outside the square to provide consumers with innovative products that will drive consumer purchasing over the next five years, according to the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) Confectionery Industry Trend Report 2009.

Even in economic uncertainty, the industry continues to post gains.

With in-depth insight from 40 industry experts, including top manufacturers, market researchers, award-winning chocolatiers, nutritionists and confectionery makers, NCA’s Industry Trend Report captures the confectionery trends and influences that will foster growth of the industry through 2014.

Top line category trends include: chocolate explosion; health benefits; flavour fusions; and international influences.

NCA says that experts believe the next “big” trend in confections will be healthier confectionery options, specifically a growing demand for health benefits and ‘better for you’ ingredients, according to almost nine out of ten (88 per cent) experts.

Already, consumers are embracing portion control sized treats and the potential heart health benefits of higher cacao content in chocolate.

As consumers continue to lead healthy lifestyles, health benefits will heavily influence manufacturers to focus largely on developing ‘better for you’ confections, especially new types of enhanced chocolate treats.

Sixty-five (65) per cent of experts say eco-friendly manufacturing efforts, like recyclable packaging, will influence product development and consumer purchasing.

America’s favourite flavour, chocolate, will emerge as one of the largest growth drivers for the industry in new, delicious and exciting ways.

Experts predict consumers can expect to find chocolate and cocoa popping up more frequently as a key ingredient in main courses alongside salmon, chicken and steak, according to 73 percent of experts surveyed.

Embracing versatility may mean more of an emphasis on global influences and flavour pairings, according to the survey.

Forty-three percent of experts say consumers are going to become more open to chocolate and flavour infusions that include spices, salts, herbs and floral flavours.

And exotic fruit pairings will become more prominent and we will see the emergence of ethnic flavours and herbs being incorporated into chocolate dishes.

Consumers can also expect to see sweet and savoury combinations like chocolate and bacon, as well as chocolate and cheese duos appear in stores and on the menu.

In the chocolate and cocoa category, the potential health benefits of the antioxidants found in chocolate will continue to be evidenced as new and positive health-related findings are discovered.

Nearly half of those surveyed say consumers can expect to see more research into the potential health benefits of milk chocolate and dark chocolate, including exploration of naturally occurring cocoa compounds and positive effects on mood and blood pressure levels.

Additionally, one-third of experts say consumers will become more knowledgeable about the global origin of the chocolate they enjoy.

Forty-three percent say health-related influences will be the leading influence on new product development in the confectionery industry overall.

Within the health category, drivers include portion control as the leading influencer.

The popularity of snack-sized products and 100-calorie packs, which give consumer the full flavour of their favourites, in smaller, reduced calorie options, is expected to continue.

In 2008 more than 6,000 new confectionery and snack products were debuted to the US market to meet consumer demand. Candy, chocolate and gum continued to lead the snack category in sales and ranked third in food sales overall in 2008. And the confectionery industry posted a 3.7 percent gain for the 52-week period ending April 19, 2009.

International spices and ethnic flavours will also have a large influence on new U.S. products and flavour development overall, 58 percent of experts say.

While Asian and Latin flavours will serve as the biggest influences on U.S. confectionary product launches, insiders point to Europe as the birthplace for international confectionery trends now and in the coming years.

Although Europe is most frequently perceived as the origin of confectionery trends, Japan appears to be an emerging influencer in the candy industry.

And when it comes to America’s global influence, one in three industry experts say U.S. trends will have the greatest impact on the dark chocolate market.

Twenty percent say the U.S. market for confections will influence product pricing and economic issues overseas.

For more information on emerging trends, chocolate and candy statistics and much more, please visit

tna’s founder named as an influential engineer

Founder of tna, Alf Taylor, has been named one of Australia’s 100 most influential engineers of 2009 in the June edition of Engineers Australia.

The list, published annually, identifies the country’s leading engineers in academia/research, associations, consulting, engineering expertise, industry, public service and politics.

Having received his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales, Mr Taylor was selected for his innovative work in the packaging industry.

The first piece of equipment he designed, the robag®, found rapid market acceptance.

The robag® is a servo driven vertical form fill and seal continuous motion flow wrapper, that employees algorithmic multi axis control to produce efficient, high speed bagging, and has become the global market standard in the food packing industry.

tna, the company he and wife, Nadia, founded in 1982 with the success of the robag®, has gone on to invent a line of highly efficient, integrated solutions for the food packaging industry.

These include: the tna robag® 3 ttx (twin) vertical form-fill and seal bagger, tna roflo® 3 gateless transfer and distribution system and the tna intelli-flav® 2 flavouring system.

In addition to this recent honour, tna has made the BRW’s (leading Australian business magazine) Fast 100 list for the last nine consecutive years and also made the BRW’s list of Top 500 Australian privately-owned companies.

In 2003, tna was inducted into the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame and won two Processing & Packaging Machinery Association awards in 2004.

AMWU wants Visy agreement rejected

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union is calling on the Federal Government to reject a five-year, non-union agreement it says Visy is trying to impose on workers at its Tumut paper mill.

The NSW mill, which will double in size in August, provides important jobs for the region — but the AMWU says Visy is trying to lock its workers into a WorkChoices agreement. ?

The AMWU Print Division represents workers at Visy sites around Australia and these unionised sites have a national agreement offering industry-leading wages and conditions.

AMWU officials say they will be in Tumut over the coming weeks to speak with the Visy workers and community members about the importance of fair working conditions at the mill.

Visy Pulp & Paper produces virgin kraft and recycled corrugated paper for the packaging & building industries from its seven paper machines in Australia – six 100% recycled machines, located in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and its new plantation pine kraft pulp and paper mill at Tumut.

New labelling guide for food and beverages

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the Food Labelling Guide, designed to ensure food and beverage marketers are aware of their obligations to ensure all advertising and food labels are accurate.

And the ACCC warns that any misleading information on packaging or in advertising will be pursued under the Trade Practices Act.

The Guide is a supplement to the competition regulator’s 2006 publication – Food and beverage industry: food descriptors guideline to the Trade Practices Act – and outlines practical examples of the types of claims and representations that can and cannot be made when developing food and beverage labelling, packaging and advertising.

You can access the guide at:

Breakfast is going green

Breakfast food is about to go green in a good way with the UK’s third-largest supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, deciding to banish cardboard cereal boxes in favour of recyclable plastic bags.

Other companies, including the world’s biggest cereal manufacturer, Kellogg’s, and Australia’s Sanitarium Health Food, have taken note and said they may follow suit.

Weet-Bix manufacturer Sanitarium, said the environmental impact of packaging was always upper most in the company’s thinking.

“We’re continually assessing new packing technologies to look at ways of minimising environmental impact,” a Sanitarium spokeswoman said.

Kellogg’s admitted that going ‘boxless’ was one of a number of options that the company would consider.

The claims follow a decision by Sainsbury’s to sell its own-brand cereals in packets similar to those used for potato chips.

Sweet reward in battle of the chocolate balls

The Federal Court has ruled that Maltesers are so well-known they cannot be mistaken for just any round chocolate ball.

Confectionery company Mars had complained that the name and packaging of Malt Balls, a snack imported and distributed by Sweet Rewards, a firm from Melbourne, were too similar to its Maltesers.

Both confectionery items had red packaging, Malt Balls in a jar, Maltesers in a pouch.

And both sweets featured an image of floating chocolate balls, some halved to reveal a filling.

Mars alleged Sweet Rewards had infringed its trademarks and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of the Trade Practices Act.

Justice Nye Perram recently dismissed the application and awarded costs in favour of Sweet Rewards, ruling no reasonable chocaholic would be confused.

The key to his finding was that the Malt Balls package did not include the word “Maltesers”.

Because the Maltesers name was so well-known in Australia Justice Perram said it was “highly unlikely that any ordinary consumer of chocolate confectionery could mistake something which is not called Maltesers for a Malteser”.

In that sense he concluded, “Mars is a victim of its own success”.

The Malt Balls packaging differed in other ways from that of Maltesers, the court found, including the use of a distinct logo and a different shade of red.

Also, he said the snacks’ “aural similarity” was negligible.

Food recall for Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate

Date Notified To FSANZ: 12 June 2009

Food Product: Confectionery

Name of Product: Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa 200g block

Package Description & Size: Cardboard carton around foil inner

Best Before: All dates up to and including 7/06/2010

Australian Distribution: National

Overseas Distribution: New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Guam

Reason for Recall: Labelling – undeclared milk solids

Cadbury is conducting a voluntary consumer level recall of the above product only due to the possible presence of milk protein, which is not labelled on the packaging.

Consumers who are allergic or intolerant to milk protein should not consume this product.

Apart from this labelling irregularity, there is no other fault with this product.

No other Cadbury products, including the Old Gold Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa 250g block (in paper packaging) are affected by this recall.

Consumers with this product should contact Consumer Services on 1800 250 260 to arrange a refund (8.30am until 5pm Mon-Fri).

Sustainable packaging rethink

by Lynda Edwards

If Australia is to get real about packaging sustainability, then we need a shift in thinking and to fundamentally change the way we do things says sustainability expert Scott Grierson.

Scott Grierson has a background in sustainable product development, strategic planning for sustainability and commercial innovation. After studying sustainability in the Mechanical Engineering faculty at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, Scott returned home to commence a PhD at Macquarie University in 2007.

Greierson argues sustainability is not about what to do with an empty package after it has been used, rather about taking a life-cycle approach regarding its end of life before it has even been designed.

“It is about the birth of a package as part of an integrated design process, linked to the product it will serve,” Grierson says.

“Instead of thinking about disposal at the end of life we need to be innovative and ‘begin with the end in mind’, including considerations for using fewer materials or substituting inputs for more benign alternatives.

“Sustainable packaging is about taking a systems view of the entire value and supply chain. It is first and foremost about people, not products – who are the stakeholders and how do we engage with them?

“What are their business issues and understanding of sustainability and how can we partner with them to move the whole system forward?

“The discussion can then move on to material and energy flows, greenhouse gas implications, policy frameworks, in addition to opportunities for innovation and closed-loop recycling.”

For Greierson, innovation occurs when we find new ways to create value, at the same time as we systematically reduce the impact on society and the environment to achieve a better outcome overall.

“In Sweden when you buy say a plasma TV — after use — you take it back to the shop where you bought it and it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to dispose of the product,” he points out.

“This puts incentive in the right place as the product designer has to think about designing for remanufacture from the outset – it puts the onus on manufacturers and changes how we think of waste — and whose responsibility it is, seeing it more as a resource than something to bury.”

“Ultimately, the larger retailers are beginning to place pressure on the supply chain to offer a better alternative that reduces the impact of the products that they stock and this includes packaging.

“This is not driven by altruism but because there are sound business reasons for doing it a different way. In any case the market expects them to show leadership so naturally this filters down to product specification — look at what is happening with WalMart in the US and Sainsbury’s and Tesco in the UK.”

Grierson says a similar example can be found in IKEA.

“IKEA is now one of the largest manufacturers of furniture in the world,” he says.

“Instead of assembling the furniture at a factory and then transporting the bulk, the flat pack nature of furniture has saved labour costs, transport costs and is an innovative solution to product and packaging design.

“It can happen in Australia the way it has happened around the world — more just needs to be done upstream rather than at the ‘end of pipe’.”

Scott Greierson is a consultant for brand owners or government organisations assisting with strategy, design and sustainability action plans and can be contacted on 03 9861 7104 or at