What a water-full world

In the crowded and rather lucrative bottled water market, standing out on supermarket shelves takes effort and ingenuity.

Whether that effort is found in sustainable packaging, unique ingredient combinations, or innovative processing techniques, manufacturers are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to breaking into the stash of bottled water wealth.

The bottled water industry has generally sought to continue its stable growth through specialised niche markets. Due to the flexibility afforded by their size, when attempting to supply relatively small market segments with specific premium products, smaller producers are able to focus on their targets in a very precise way.

Consumer research suggests that bottled water is consumed by a great variety of people from a range of age groups and occupations. The large majority, however, tend to be young singles and couples, and in particular females aged between 14-35 years.

Generally, bottled water consumers can be described as being in the more health-conscious, contemporary and socially aware sector of the population. Appealing to this target market of consumers means tapping (literally and figuratively) into their social priorities.

Clearly a big focus for this group is the environment, and – with higher, and more readily available, disposable incomes – they have the luxury to change spending choices to reflect that.

Reducing environmental impact

A Sydney based company, targeting specifically this group of consumers, has come up with an innovative way of producing high quality drinking water from fruit. According to Karpati Water, this gives our water tables much needed relief, which, as they see it, is a great necessity in a country battling with water supplies from precious river systems and delicate springs and wells.

The method utilised in making water from fruit incorporates the process of making fruit concentrates. Typically fruit concentrates are made from steaming the fruit, with three out of four litres steamed off to make the end product.

Karpati Water is made from a pressure-chilling process which retains the high quality fruit water and makes a great tasting fruit concentrate as well. The water is produced free from fruit flavour, and is then bottled locally, once again reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

Without disturbing the water table balance, Karpati Water provides a means of using less energy to make fruit concentrate, and reduces water wastage by close to 75%.

Furthermore, water from fruit is H²O18 rather than H²O16. Water from fruit, and H²O18 generally, is scientifically proven to keep drinkers hydrated for longer, as it is retained in plants. H²O16, on the other hand, is found predominantly in tap, spring and artesian waters, and evaporates with relative ease.

Karpati Water is now being launched throughout Sydney.

Thirst-quenchingly green

Also making its mark on sustainable manufacturing, is Victorian-based Cool Change Natural Spring Water, which has launched Australia’s first spring water packaged in a bottle made from plants.

The company is seeking the all-important green credentials in an industry often criticised for its lack of sustainability.

The bottle from Cool Change Natural Spring Water is fully biodegradable. Rather than packaging the drink in PET, a polymer plastic derived from crude oil, Cool Change bottles are made using Ingeo PLA, derived from annually renewable sources – plants.

This new material is derived from plant sugars and requires less energy for production, using 67% less fossil fuels. This has the flow on effect of creating 90% less carbon emissions in producing the resin required for the bottle.

The new polymer also opens up opportunities for increased end of life options, such as commercial composting. The bottle can compost in commercial composting conditions of high heat of 55ºC+, and high humidity of 90%+).

In addition to the innovative packaging, Cool Change has taken into consideration all aspects of the business, in an effort to ensure their carbon footprint is minimised. By reducing energy usage, then offsetting any green house emissions that have been created, Cool Change is the first water in Australia to have a carbon neutral production process (certified by the Carbon Reduction Institute).

Cool Change Natural Spring Water is a privately owned business held by the Paterson family and based in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Having been involved within the water industry since 1991, what started as the revamping of the family spring water business, has shifted towards a journey on education on consumption and waste management.

Beyond that of bottled water, the scopes for Cool Change as a wider business include being advocates for improved commercial composting infrastructure in Australia; close loop solutions for the food event and restaurant industry; as well as wider food packaging opportunities, including diversification into milk, fruits, and contract packing.

Curious picks up serotonin

Also making marks with their packaging innovations is a NZ company which has won one of the world’s most prestigious packaging design awards for a unique drink invented in Auckland.

Curious Design was awarded a gold medal in the water category at the recent Pentawards held in Monaco, for the design of a bottle wrap for the serotonic spring water Sero².

Sero² is a unique sparkling mineral water which contains the amino acid L-tryptophan that prompts the body to produce serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter linked to mood control.

Foods that are typically considered rich sources of L-tryptophan are dairy products, beef, poultry, barley, brown rice, fish, soy-beans and peanuts.

Sero² was developed in NZ and is manufactured by NZ Aquaceuticals Limited.

The Pentawards for creative excellence in brand packaging design is the first and only worldwide competition exclusively devoted to packaging design in all its forms, and is open to entries from all countries.

For company director, Nigel Kuzimski, “the challenge for Curious was to reflect the attributes of Sero² in the packaging design. This was achieved by creating a harmonious, understated image that attracts the consumer by its simplicity and integrity.”

The Sero² design process took place over several months, as manufacturing plans for the new product were finalised. The chosen design needed to embody a specially-formulated UV-wrap to protect the liquid contents from light. The bottle also needed to have universal appeal, while retaining elements of specific, targeted appeal for female consumers.

NZ Aquaceuticals is currently marketing Sero² through New World supermarkets in NZ, but has plans to take the product offshore, taking advantage of the world-wide functional drinks market, which is forecast to be worth $54 billion by 2010.

World leaders in sustainability

New Zealand’s food and beverage industry has been creating a climate change of its own, setting a greening benchmark for the world.

The country’s food and beverage industry, highly esteemed worldwide for freshness and flavour, is now focusing more than ever before on its commitment to sustainability.

By 2010 all of the country’s wines will be required to participate in an independently audited sustainability scheme if they are to take part in the NZ Winegrowers’ global marketing programme, and by 2012 the aim is for all NZ grapes and wine to be produced under independently audited sustainability schemes.

NZ wine is contained in bottles from an estimated 66% recycled glass and wrapped in recyclable packaging from sustainable forests. The industry is pioneering a scheme to use the endangered NZ falcon to scare away birds that peck the grapes.

2008 FOOD Challenge Awards Winner, and the first fresh meal manufacturer in the world to become carbon neutral, Pitango has implemented an internationally recognised carboNZero programme, boasting an emissions’ management strategy that reaches all aspects of production, distribution and administration.

Meat is a cornerstone of the NZ economy with the sheep and beef industries having already achieved the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol. Emissions are now 17% below 1990 emissions – despite an increase of more than 12% in production.

The NZ meat industry is committed to reducing its impact on the environment, with more than $30m investment over the next five years in pastoral greenhouse gas emission reduction, including research into a sheep and cow vaccine to immunise the animals against the organisms in their stomachs that produce methane.

NZ is also recognised as a world leader in fisheries management, with rigorous mechanisms and controls in place for managing quotas, ensuring sustainable harvests and continual renewal of ocean habitats.

In 2007 the Minister of Fisheries allocated more than $4 million to securing inter-national sustainability certification for NZ’s entire fisheries.

NZ Greenshell mussels, highly regarded around the world and distinguished by their emerald green shell markings and distinctive green lip, seal in their flavour without the use of additives such as fertilizer, herbicide, pesticides or artificial foods.

Enviro-Mark NZ is an environmental management system marketed and supported throughout NZ by Landcare Research. The company provides the country’s food and beverage businesses with a framework to systematically assess their performance against agreed global standards of sustainability for health, safety and the environment standards.

An example of the milestones achieved so far can be found in the fact that the proportion of NZ food and beverage companies certified to International Organisation for Standardisation standards is one of the highest in the world. At the same time, two of NZ’s organic certifications, BioGro and AgriQuality, have been approved under the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Programme.

It would seem that the island nation has truly managed the perfect marriage of great taste and commitment to sustainability and living green.

Pitango Innovative Cuisine

  • became the world’s first carbon neutral fresh meal manufacturer through the carboNZero programme;
  • implemented an emissions management strategy with the aim to reduce its carbon footprint;
  • have made the most of a unique opportunity to educate consumers on their indirect role in making a difference to cleaning up the environment.

Phoenix Organics

  • joined the GreenFleet programme, reducing vehicle emissions to save around $30,000 annually;
  • chose glass for packaging as it can be recycled;
  • use vegetable-based inks as much as possible in all packaging;
  • source paper and cardboard for labels and packaging from a sustainable mill;
  • collect rainwater from the roof of their factory to use for the pasteuriser, where it’s safe to do so, and not in contact with food.

King Salmon

  • became the only salmon in the world that doesn’t use any antibiotics in rearing;
  • use fish farming as a highly efficient use of marine space;
  • constantly monitor the environmental impact of operations to ensure the good health and productivity of salmon, as well as making certain that farms are not significantly affecting surrounding water quality or the natural marine ecosystems;
  • have installed state-of-the-art feed control equipment, making more efficient use of feed and reducing any adverse environmental effects of waste drifting from the sea cages;
  • make every effort to use resources and energy efficiently and responsibly and to minimise or recycle waste.

ZESPRI

  • have integrated the traceability from orchard to retail shelf, committing the company, its growers and suppliers to health of the environment, the people who produce and handle the kiwifruit, and those who eat the products;
  • introduced a full traceability system in 2000, meaning fruit can be traced from orchard to retailer, with the system remaining a world-leading environmental management system.

New Zealand Wine Company

  • became the first winemakers in the world to achieve carboNZero certification in 2006;
  • produce UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s house brand, largely as a result of becoming carboNZero certified;
  • now have their products stocked by Tesco, Wholefoods and Thresher, and produce carboNZero Marlborough wines for the Thresher ethical brand Origin;
  • identified and implemented significant packaging changes to reduce waste and save on overseas freight costs, sourcing lighter wine bottles and thinner glass, allowing the use of smaller cartons, fitting more on a pallet;
  • established vineyards planted in longer rows, reducing the number of times the tractor needs to turn around; and consequently reducing the diesel consumption per hectare.

    — Tim Green is the regional director of AusPac.

Growing success for Australian logistics company

‘Fresh’ logistics company Trans.L Systems has announced that a prominent international logistics service provider has engaged the company to support its clients in integrating the latest technology in handling of Reusable Plastic Crates (RPC) into their produce operations across the US.

RPCs are used primarily to transport fresh produce from suppliers to leading grocery retailers and Trans.L provides automation equipment and systems for RPC handling.

“Since we extended our presence in the US fresh food logistics sector in October 2008, we’ve put our first significant machine on the ground with a Florida grower-shipper and appointed our first service rep in Miami,” said Trans.L Systems CEO, Ian Neeland.

“Several leading supermarket chains have discussed the potential we can deliver through our returnable supply chain project design and management services,” said Neeland.

“We’re confident we can help unlock significant benefits — assessing the potential of converting supply chains from fibre board to reusable packaging and implementing operating procedures and best fit technology solutions.”

He said the company was in discussion with RPC wash plant operators in South America who were seeking to use Trans.L’s automation equipment.

Neeland pointed out that each RPC had to be washed following use and therefore the potential for automating the handling of RPCs in wash plants is far reaching.

Solid enquiry had also been received from large scale primary producers in Europe, US, and South America who wish to establish returnable supply chains between their processing operations and suppliers, and their customers in other continents — referred to as a ‘closed loop’ system.

“We were the only Australian exhibitor amongst 800 trade show participants at the PMA Fresh Summit in Florida which was attended by 17,000 people over three days,” said Neeland.

“Our services attracted strong attention about how we can design supply chains around reusable packaging and provide automation equipment to reduce cost and increase safety in handling RPCs. Our visiting program with a range of parties is now underway so ‘watch this space’.”

High speed green packaging machine project underway

In a bid to reduce the amount of plastic used in the sealing of food produce such as pasta, rice and crisps, researchers at Bath University, England, are leading a project to build a new high-speed packaging machine.

By developing a more efficient way of sealing the packaging, they hope to reduce the amount of material used by about 13%, leading to savings of thousands of tons of landfill waste.

The team will look at existing processes used to mechanically fill and seal packaging and use this information to design a new packing machine which uses less plastic and recycled materials.

The two year project is being funded by the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Greener packaging drives have also led to the UK launch of a new symbol to denote packaging that is suitable for composting at home.

The logo will work alongside the current seedling logo already in use to show packaging that can be composted in various facilities.

The logo is being designed by the UK’s independent advisory board on plant based renewables, the National Non-Food Crops Centre, the Association for Organics Recycling (AFOR) and government advisory group, the Green Alliance.

Other recent innovations within the UK food packaging sector include Cowan London’s redesigns for a range of olive snacks called Oloves.

The snacks, packaged in a stand-up pouch have been manufactured using silver laminate.

The pouches are produced by Oloves owner Brand Stand at facilities in Sevilee, Spain.

The new packages will be available from retailers Asda and WH Smith stores.

Innovations were also awarded at the Cans of the Year 2008 competition for global companies.

Chocolate and biscuit makers Godiva won an award for its biscuit tin designed by Huber Decorative in the ‘Fancy Cans’ category.

The box, made up of three parts, is decorated using gold print particles to emphasise the quality of the ingredients, say makers Godiva.

— Packaging Gateway

Exhibition space now 70% sold for AUSPACK 2009

With close to 70% of exhibition space now sold for AUSPACK 2009, the largest biennial packaging and processing machinery, materials exhibition will have something for everyone.

AUSPACK 2009 will not only showcase a significant number of new, advanced and leading products and technologies from all areas of packaging and processing, but will also bring together leading experts from around the globe for the four day event.

According to Exhibitions & Trade Fairs (ETF) event director, Rob Keen, visitors will have the opportunity to schedule face-to-face meetings with exhibitors each day.

“Many of the exhibitors will bring international experts across to AUSPACK, providing our visitors with a unique opportunity to spend time with them and find out about their solutions,” Keen said. “Creating business to business connections is our number one focus for AUSPACK 2009.”

Exhibitors to sign on include Sancell, Talsico and ITW Zip-Pak Australia; three very different companies who will be showcasing some interesting solutions in 2009.

Sancell to unveil new enviro range

Sancell business development manager, Skye Reilly, said that Sancell will be unveiling its new Enviro range of products at AUSPACK 2009.

“Sancell’s range of environmental products encompass the latest innovations in protective packaging solutions. Focussing not only on the product, but also the process in which it is manufactured; Sancell leads the way in offering the highest quality product and value for money with the utmost concern for our environment.” Reily said.

Eliminate human—error on production lines

World-leader in the Science of Human Error Reduction, Talsico will be exhibiting at AUSPACK 2009.

According to the company’s national business development manager, Brooke Conway, Talsico’s human error methodologies and tools are innovative and yield powerful results; which is why over 1,500 companies world-wide have chosen Talsico to help improve their performance.

“Talsico sees AUSPACK as an opportunity to market their solutions and believes that many of the visitors will be companies who have a high-element of human error within their workforce and production lines. Visit Talsico to learn more.” Conway said.

Resealable zips with ITW

ITW Zip-Pak Australia who will be exhibiting at AUSPACK 2009, operate in both Australia and NZ supplying a range of resealable zips and zip systems.

According to ITW’s Glenn Woodworth, the zip comes from anyone of six international plants and Zip-Pak manufactures over 500 different zips internationally.

“We also have the direct support of our Zip-Pak Systems plant and have supplied and retrofitted equipment to a number of machines in the Australasian region. Our customer base includes both converters and packers.” Woodworth said.

ITW Zip-Pak Australia will be displaying a number of the latest resealable packages sourced from within the region, and internationally, at AUSPACK 2009.

Held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park, from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 June 2009, AUSPACK will have over 200 exhibitors under one roof showcasing over 900 brands.

AUSPACK is owned and presented by the Australian Packaging Machinery Association (APMA), Australia’s only national packaging and processing machinery organisation.

ReVitalising Vitasoy

Australian producer of soymilk, ricemilk and oatmilk – Vitasoy – is preparing to reveal a new look as part of its brand renovation.

The renovation includes new packaging and the release of a further grain milk product range.

According to Vitasoy Australia marketing and sales manager, Paul Chatfield, the objective of the SOY campaign is to educate consumers about the health benefits of soymilk, ricemilk, oatmilk and the Vitasoy range in general.

The campaign is now appearing in national magazines and includes interactive online activity on ninemsn. Visatoy’s new website will be revealed late 2008.

FruBears wins

Confectionery and dried fruit manufacturer, Robern Menz, has received the SARDI Innovation Award at the South Australian Premier’s Food Awards for ‘Robern FruBears’.

Now in their 11th year, the South Australian Premier’s Food Awards are a celebration of the state’s food industry and provide a benchmark to which all South Australian food businesses can aspire.

The SARDI Innovation Award recognises a businesses innovative thinking and practices in the development of products, packaging or processing to gain commercial advantage. This year’s awards were presented on November 14.

In 2006, Robern Menz successfully applied for a Federal Government AusIndustry grant to fund the development of a new range of healthy fruit snacks targeted predominantly at children aged four to eight.

The result was Robern FruBears, made from 100% fruit, containing no added sugar, flavours or colours and cut into the shape of miniature teddy bears.

The fruit snacks are available as 125gram packs through Woolworths nationally, as well as at selected major independent supermarkets nationally.

The product can be purchased in two varieties – dried apricot and dried apple — for a retail price of $2.95.

The range was launched to the Australian consumer market in November 2007.

Amcor adopts PIQET

Striving to be a leader across all aspects of sustainability, Amcor has set aggressive environmental targets in its Australasian operations and is taking a leadership role in working with its customers to assist them in adopting sustainable packaging products.

Over the last four years Amcor has made significant investments in life cycle assessment (LCA) tools and technology.

The company has adopted the new Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool (PIQET) to strengthen its internal capabilities, by allowing a broader deployment throughout the company and enabling quicker packaging life cycle assessments.

Amcor is the first packaging company to be using PIQET to provide customers with informed data on the impact of its packaging products, to benchmark its products and processes and develop strategies to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

PIQET is provided by the Sustainable Packaging Alliance (SPA) for packaging designers and manufacturers to identify review and reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

“PIQET provides us with a rapid, scientifically based tool for assessing the impact of packaging designs and process improvements. PIQET allows us to take a value chain approach to sustainable design, a capability which was previously difficult and required significant resource investment in life cycle assessment studies,” said Amcor’s group manager sustainability services, Dr Juanita Day.

“It is easily used by all business units including sales and marketing, product designers, and technical product development professionals. The environmental impact of a packaging system over its full life cycle is assessed quickly.

“Reports include graphics that aid communication and understanding of environmental impact across a number of categories including climate change, solid waste, water, and energy. Importantly, PIQET allows us to explore variations in packaging design and supply chains to minimise the effect it has on the key criteria.

“PIQET allows environmental information to be presented to our customers alongside functional, financial and marketing factors – something that could not be done easily before,” she said.

PIQET is based on internationally accepted life cycle assessment methods allowing Amcor and its customers to understand what environmental impacts are occurring and where in the supply chain they are dominant.

PIQET is available by subscription and has already been used by a number of leading food and beverage companies, many who were involved in its development.

These include:

  • Nestlé Australia,
  • Cadbury Schweppes,
  • Lion Nathan,
  • MasterFoods Australia, and
  • Simplot Australia.

Sustainability Victoria and the Commonwealth Department’s of Environment and Water Resources and, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts provided funding for the development of PIQET.

Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool

PIQET is an independently developed business tool that is used for rapid environmental impact assessments of packaging, now available from the Sustainable Packaging Alliance.

The Alliance is a not-for-profit company established as a focal point for strategic research, technology transfer and education to underpin and facilitate the development of sustainable packaging systems.

PIQET was developed by RMIT’s Centre for Design, Birubi Innovation and Victoria University’s Polymer Research Unit, in partnership with Cadbury Schweppes, Lion Nathan, Nestle Australia, MasterFoods Australia and Simplot Australia.

Funding support was also provided for its development by Sustainability Victoria and the Commonwealth Departments of the Environment and Water Resources and, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.

PIQET is based on internationally accepted life cycle assessment principles and allows rapid comparative assessments of packaging system designs at all stages of the design process.

By using PIQET companies can easily identify, review and prioritise actions to reduce the environmental impact of packaging and integrate environmental decisions into day to day business processes.

Companies such as Nestle Australia have manadated the integration of PIQET into their new product development processes to enable continuous improvement in environmental performance.

What can I use PIQET for?

PIQET models all stages of the life cycle for the complete packaging system and all its components.

Graphical and tabular reports inform the user of environmental impacts such as global warming (greenhouse gases); and water and energy use and solid waste generation at all stages of the lifecycle.

These include:

  • raw material extraction,
  • material manufacture,
  • converting,
  • transport of packaging to filler,
  • filling,
  • product and packaging distribution to retailer and end of life waste management – landfill, recycling, composting and waste to energy.

PIQET also reports packaging specific indicators that are required for reporting of National Packaging Covenant (NPC) Key Performance Indicators by NPC signatories and provides a robust process to demonstrate ECoPP compliance.

How do I use PIQET?

PIQET is a web-based tool available on a subscription basis or through services provided by SPA.

Subscriptions are based on the annual turnover (in Australian dollars) of the subscribing organisation.

Subscribers are allocated a number of user accounts which allows nominated users to access the tool via the web 24/7.

Each user has a home page where their existing projects are listed and new projects can be initiated. Each user is issued with a unique Login ID and Password.

Initial training and limited help desk support is covered by the subscription with additional support available through services from SPA. PIQET is used to compare the impacts of different packaging formats (e.g., can versus bottle) or materials (e.g. plastic versus glass or virgin material versus recycled material).

Once the user has defined a packaging system these can be easily replicated to allow a range of changes in design, material, transportation or waste management to be quickly compared with the status quo or benchmark.

An assessment of two similar packaging formats can be completed within 30 minutes ensuring that PIQET can be routinely used throughout the packaging-product development process.

Amcor’s $13.5 million upgrade of the corrugated operation in Townsville

State Member for Townsville and Speaker of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, Mike Reynolds, has officially commissioned the $13.5 million dollar upgrade of the Amcor Fibre Packaging Townsville production facility.

The upgrade has included a 3000m2 extension to the original facility, with a complete facelift of the facilities on the site.

The project has seen the replacement of an ageing corrugator with a Xitex corrugator, plus the introduction of a high volume die cutter, a new waste management system, as well as product wrapping and strapping facilities. Xitex is a patented product offering superior strength and performance to fruit and produce customers, and is the only facility of it’s type in the region.

This relocation has allowed the local production capacity of corrugated board in NQ to double, supplying 28,000,000m2 of fibre packaging to the market annually.

“Indeed a company such as Amcor, a significant and diversified global business, is perfectly located in our city of Townsville. I believe that Amcor has been in Townsville for 24 years and that this fibre packaging plant is unique in north Queensland. This recent expansion will add another layer of certainty of supply for north Qld customers by removing the freight demands currently built in to the delivery chain.” said Reynolds.

The project has taken two years from conception and follows on from the $40 million spent by Amcor in creating one of the largest corrugating plants in the world at Rocklea, Brisbane QLD.

Amcor Australasia Chief Operating Officer, Don Matthews, said on the day that “the upgrade and investment enables us to service our north Queensland customer base with superior products, better lead times, and puts us in a great position to expand this business going forward.”

Working commenced on the structure in October 2007, and finished in July this year.

It will achieve significant improvements in operating efficiency and position the business to be the preferred packaging solutions provider through product leadership, superior customer service and operational excellence.

According to Amcor Australasia, major redevelopment of the Townsville site is a critical part of the major reinvestment plan for the Australian fibre packaging business.

The Amcor Queensland structure now has a regional manager on site in NQ responsible for the local sales and manufacturing team.

The Townsville plant produces a full range of corrugated boxes for the fruit & produce, agricultural, food, beverage and industrial sectors throughout Queensland and the northern territory.

Thirst quenchingly green

Victorian-based Cool Change Natural Spring Water has launched Australia’s first spring water packaged in a bottle made from plants, as they seek to go green in an industry often criticised for its lack of sustainability.

Rather than packaging a drink in PET, a polymer (plastic) derived from crude oil, Cool Change Natural Spring Water bottles are made using Ingeo PLA, derived from annually renewable sources – plants.

This new material is derived from plant sugars and requires less energy for production (67% less fossil fuels) which have the flow on effect of producing 90% less carbon emissions in producing the resin required for the bottle.

The new polymer also opens up opportunities for increased end of life options such as commercial composting (the bottle can compost in commercial composting conditions of high heat 55C+ and high humidity 90%+).

In addition to the packaging, Cool Change has taking into consideration all aspects of the business in an effort to ensure their carbon footprint is minimised by reducing energy usage then offsetting any green house emissions that have been created – making it the first water in Australia to have a carbon neutral production process (certified by Carbon Reduction Institute).

Cool Change Natural Spring Water is a privately owned business held by the Paterson family and based in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. An agricultural family, they’re made up of two brothers – Richard, James – and Mum, Helen.

Having been involved within the water industry since 1991, what started for Richard as the revamping of his family spring water business has shifted towards a journey on education of consumption and waste management.

Beyond that of bottled water, the scope for Cool Change as a wider business include being advocates for improved commercial composting infrastructure in Australia, close loop solutions for the food event and restaurant industry and wider food packaging opportunities (e.g. diversification into milk, fruits, contract packing).

They are beginning to make their mark in the burgeoning Australian bottled water industry, now being available Australia-wide throughout eateries, cafes, health, organic and independent food stores.

Recycling rates on increase in Australia

As part of national recycling week this week (10-16 November), it is refreshing to report that Australia’s packaging recycling rates are on the increase.

The National Packaging Covenant (Covenant) is a unique initiative between government and industry set up to stop packaging waste ending up in landfill.

A recent independent review of the Covenant has shown that the overall recycling rate for packaging was 56% in 2007 and it is likely the Covenant’s target of 65% will be met by 2010. This independent review was part of the requirements of the Covenant 2005-2010.

Environment Ministers discussed this report at their recent meeting on November 7, 2008 and requested that the Covenant Council prepare a framework for an extended Covenant beyond June 2010, plus other options for managing the environmental impacts of packaging. This will be given further consideration at their next meeting.

All of the mid-term review reports are now available on the Covenant website.

In addition to recycling rates other key Covenant review findings include:

  • Covenant funded projects are effective in making a contribution to the achievement of the targets;
  • An overwhelming majority of signatories want the Covenant to continue beyond 2010;
  • Since 2003, the amount of packaging going to landfill has decreased by 24%;
  • Signatory actions have drastically improved the recyclability and recycled content of packaging;
  • The level of participation in the Covenant has exceeded all expectations and the cooperative model is working well in Australia.

Chair of Covenant Council, Cr Dick Gross said, “This is great news. The findings of the mid-term review show that the Covenant has been part of a dramatic revolution in Australian packaging which brings great credit to federal, state and local governments, the packaging and waste industries and the community.”

China’s dairy industry turmoil

Blame it on western demand for cheap food or lack of domestic controls in place, but the current milk crisis has led to the public scrutiny on food products as never before.

While manufacturers are striving to better their standards to compete in the global marketplace, China has become a pariah in the food industry landscape.

What this means for the food industry in general, and manufacturers specifically, is a cautionary tale – the lure of economies of scale, and greener pastures, should be treaded carefully by upping the surveillance.

Local manufacturers lead the dairy sector in China. The Inner Mongolia Mengniu Milk Industry Group ranked first in 2006, with a 17% value share. Euromonitor International forecasts the Chinese dairy sector to grow at a CAGR of 9% over the 2007-2012 period.

Although still relatively small when compared to domestic players, international firms have increasingly secured a more influential role in the market. Danone ranked fifth in drinking milk products with a value share of 4.5%, followed by Nestlé with 2.1%.

However, the scene is set to change with the current milk safety lapse. Resurrecting the image of the dairy industry to tempt new entrants will be a mighty challenge.

Impact and effect

Although there have been many food accidents during the past few years, this time the milk formula problem has by far triggered the biggest storm, without sparing even the top players like Mengniu, Yili, Bright and (the now infamous) Sanlu.

“Although not all their products contain melamine, Mengniu, Yili, and Bright are finding themselves in a very critical situation,” said Euromonitor International senior research analyst, Yang Fan.

In response to the crisis so far, 20 countries have banned Chinese dairy products and some have stopped importing Chinese goods with any measure of dairy content.

In Singapore, Euromonitor’s statistics show only 5% of cream, 20% of liquid milk and 0.02% of powdered milk bought by consumers are from China, and local manufacturers’ use of Chinese dairy products is also low.

Even so, trends reveal that retailers are distancing themselves from being associated with Chinese products, not wanting to risk their own public image.

Plugging safety loopholes

Although for many manufactures the top-line impact has been minimal, additional measures to ensure safety have put a strain on their resources.

NTUC FairPrice director of food safety and quality, Chong Nyet Chin, said that the scare has heightened the importance of food safety and the need for quality assurance. It has also highlighted the need for a close relationship of all stakeholders in the industry, from the regulator to manufacturers, importers, suppliers, retailers and customers.

Attesting to that, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s (AVA) spokesman Goh Shih Yong, said that “food safety is a joint responsibility. There are many opportunities for pathogens and chemicals to sneak into our food at various stages along the food value chain from production, processing, packaging and distribution, and right through to consumption,” he said.

Apart from the food safety authority’s stringent import controls, the food producers, manufacturers, importers and distributors must do their part to uphold the high food safety standards by complying with regulatory requirements and adopting good agricultural and manufacturing practices.

As well as this, food safety assurance standards, such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), that are designed to ensure the quality and safety of their products, must be adhered to.

Some industry pundits believe that food manufacturers should check on the links in the food production chain stretching from ‘farm to fork’ and therefore resort to importing from reliable suppliers, checking suppliers’ data and doing more risk analysis to ensure that food remains safe along the entire value chain.

Key lessons

Countries which had depended on imported products and raw materials from China, are on high alert. However, some have had their strategies heading in the right direction all along.

In the case of NTUC, the company “has been adopting a strategy of diversified sourcing to ensure our customers have a stable supply of products. Some of the countries that we currently import milk and dairy products from include Australia, NZ and Malaysia,” said NTUC’s Chong Nyet Chin.

Other manufacturers and retailers have put up notices at stores to assure customers that they have removed Chinese made milk and milk products from their supplies. Customer service hotlines are also in place for feedback about any associated concerns.

At this time of the crisis, Singapore Food industries (SFI), one of the largest food distributors and manufacturers in Singapore, has begun preliminary talks with the Chinese government to develop a disease-free food zone, with comprehensive food safety measures.

SFI chief executive officer, Roger Yeo Kok Tong, explained that “these cluster champions will put in the quality control system through different levels of the value chain – from its feed, grandparent stock, breeders, abattoir, processors and to the ground output at the end.”

In Indonesia, the Food and Drug Monitoring authority (BPOM) has announced that it has implemented stricter measures to address the issue. Hefty penalties and jail terms have been put in place for stores carrying banned products.

As FOOD Magazine went to print, 12 Chinese products had been found to contain melamine in Indonesia. Of these, six had been taken off the shelves and the other six were said to have been illegally imported into the country in the first place.

Euromonitors’ Yang Fan highlighted the lessons to be learned by manufacturers, saying that “although consumer confidence in international brands is generally higher than domestic brands, it is still very vulnerable and can be destroyed overnight.

“All manufacturers have to be highly careful to maintain high levels of quality control in the future. Otherwise they will face the same crisis as domestic players.”

Manali Pattnaik is a freelance journalist for FOOD Magazine.

Zip it up to pack it in

As the largest supplier of flexible packaging in Australasia, Aperio produces innovative packaging solutions for food, beverage and other consumables, as well as a broad range of industrial packaging requirements.

Aperio has a strong focus on the fast moving consumer goods market, supplying packaging solutions for some top household names. The company’s packaging can be found in every aisle of the supermarket – keeping coffee beans fresh on the shelf, wrapping chocolate bars, and sealing in sauces.

Aperio Flexipac specialises in printing, laminating and converting a variety of different substrates into a large range of products; with reel-stock, preformed bags and pouches, including those with re-sealable and easy open systems. It is this investment in leading edge technology and alignment with innovative suppliers such as Zip-Pak which enable Aperio to constantly develop new packaging systems and solutions for its customers.

Key reasons consumers prefer zippered products are the ease of opening and access to the contents of the package, and secure closing to protect product freshness.

Zip-Pak re-sealable technology aims to enhance convenience and enable freshness, eliminating the need for consumers to transfer package contents into separate containers for proper storage. According to the company, brand owners benefit from the packaging which stays in front of the consumer throughout its use, maximising marketing impact.

Aperio NZ general manager of sales and marketing, Andreas Haussrer, has said that flexible packaging is now the fastest growing packaging medium. “There is a lot of growth in this field around convenience, grab and go type products, in packaging that is easy to open and close, that is microwavable and offers portion control.”

Flexible pouches are one of the biggest packaging developments in recent years. They offer greater design options as they can be made in a variety of shapes, sizes and formats and can be printed all over, enhancing overall presentation.

Given this trend, Aperio is constantly improving its pouches and has recently developed and commercialised a Zippered Quad style bag. This pouch format is growing in popularity internationally as it provides a means to maximise a products differentiation by its package design. The bag’s design of side gussets maximises shelf space and the re-sealable zip feature, supplied by Zip-Pak provides additional convenience to the consumer.

Kim Gormack is the new business development coordinator for Aperio.

Fresh innovation for a sustainable future

Today’s competitive corrugated market is being innovated through the launch of a new generation of packaging solutions for chilled goods.

Building on earlier successes with the Amcor SureFresh range of black PET laminates for fresh produce, Amcor’s packaging solutions team have developed this new range to deliver chilled goods in an environmentally sustainable format.

The pack is made from recycled paper fibre and functional film laminate, recently developed by Amcor’s functional coatings team and known as Thermshield, which combine to produce a light weight, environmentally friendly, corrugated material solution.

An alternative in packaging solutions for premium chilled goods is offered with the new patented air-gap insulation, dual wall pack design, utilised in conjunction with the Thermshield laminate. Scientific studies and field trials within the aquaculture industry have confirmed the performance of Amcor’s ChillFresh as the new generation environmentally friendly alternative to traditional Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging.

ChillFresh solutions are a scientifically engineered material and style solution that facilitates the replacement of EPS foam packaging and other non-environmentally friendly packaging formats for chilled products. As with other SureFresh laminate solutions, the new premium chilled goods packaging formats are recyclable through the current corrugated packaging recycling chain.

According to the company, ChillFresh offers customers other logistical benefits such as lower freight and storage costs of the flat packs. There are a number of ChillFresh solutions available that can either match or exceed EPS foam performance, depending on material finish and carton design features.

The solutions offer a robust construction with high scuff and impact resistance, semi leak proof design through full depth gussets, built in lateral air gap for greater insulation, and are available in both hand erect and machine erect formats.

Megan McInnes is the marketing communications coordinator for Amcor.

McDonald’s introduces new packaging

Beginning this month, McDonald’s will introduce its new generation of global packaging, which the company says is the most comprehensive rollout in the brand’s history.

All 118 McDonald’s countries will participate in the new packaging introduction over the next two years.

According to the company, the new packaging uses a blend of bold text and powerful images to illustrate the ingredients and food prepared at McDonald’s.

“Our new packaging is a fresh way of sharing McDonald’s food quality story with our customers,” said McDonald’s gobal chief marketing officer, Mary Dillon.

“The more people know about our food the more they’ll love it.”

While the packaging will reflect a global framework, the company says it is flexible enough to accommodate 21 languages while sharing stories about the quality of McDonald’s ingredients in a way that is locally relevant for customers around the world.

The new McDonald’s packaging will be introduced first in the UK, Ireland and the US, and continue rolling out worldwide through 2010.

McDonald’s new packaging was developed by Boxer, a subsidiary of The Marketing Store Worldwide, located in Birmingham, UK.

Boxer also worked on the original “I’m lovin’ it” and Global Casting Call packaging designs for McDonald’s.

Haigh’s Chocolates launch bio packaging

Haigh’s Chocolates, Australia’s oldest family-owned chocolate manufacturing retailer, has introduced new biodegradable packaging for its White Ballotins Chocolate Box, made possible through the advanced biopolymer technology of Plantic Technologies Limited.

The new 200g White Ballotins chocolate box contains a varied assortment of hand-packaged dark connoisseurs, milk, milk and dark, cream centres, truffles and dark ginger chocolates.

Haigh’s chose the Plantic tray inside the box for its unique functional and environmental benefits.

Plantic trays offer anti-static and odour barrier solutions, essential for chocolate packaging. They are fully biodegradable, water dispersible, home compostable and compostable to European (EN 13432) and American (ASTM 6400) standards.

Additionally, Plantic materials — which are made from non-GM corn starch — have a renewable bio-content of approximately 85%.

“Our decision to incorporate Plantic packaging in the White Ballotins chocolate box has grown from our overarching commitment to sustainability and the environment,” said Haigh’s Chocolates ioint managing director, Alister Haigh.

“As an original signatory to the National Packaging Covenant, we are always looking for ways to improve our environmental footprint.

“We are pleased that Haigh’s are using Plantic’s bioresponsible packaging which represents their commitment to sustainability and the environment,” agreed Plantic Technologies CEO, Brendan Morris.

“Plantic is pleased to be associated with Haigh’s, whose name is synonymous with fine chocolates and quality.

“Plantic offers Haigh’s sustainably-sourced packaging which delivers superior value through a combination of functional, environmental and cost benefits.”

Brau Beviale’ll be baffled by beer bottles

A total of 1,500 collector’s edition PET beer bottles designed by Sidel will be distributed at the Sidel stand during the Brau Beviale trade show on 12 to 14 November in Nüremberg, Germany.

At first glance, this object does not even seem to be a bottle. It boasts an unusual shape with very sleek lines, and the cap is completely hidden. It is only when you turn it over and remove the protective cap that you see that it is a beer bottle – upside down.

Right side up, with the protective cap still on, it looks like a stem glass.

According to the company, more than a bottle, this object is unique, fun, multi-functional and pleasing to the eye, creating a new beer-drinking experience.

With this bottle, Sidel breaks with the formal codes for beer packaging, particularly in glass bottles.

“We wanted to explore the opportunities that PET offers, so as not to reproduce what is done in glass, thus avoiding any comparisons,” explained bottle designer, Laurent Lepoitevin.

“Our aim was also to show that PET is not just for low-end bottles.”

This bottle takes the demonstration to an extreme.

With its sleek lines, original shape and high-prestige design, the bottle is inspired more by packaging codes for the luxury market than by those for the beverage sector.

PET: market stimulus

While the beer market is highly dynamic, with both industrial giants and family-run businesses cultivating a taste for innovation, changes in packaging codes follow longer cycles.

Glass and metal have dominated the market for 50 years. However, the plastic bottle has yet to show all it has to offer: its capacity to give shape to distinctive, modern, trendy and economical packages.

For Sidel when it comes to brewers looking for marketing diversification tools, PET is the ideal solution.

Environmental considerations also make PET more and more interesting: less energy is needed during the PET manufacturing process, and PET is 100% recyclable.

With a market share of just 3% today, PET bottles can be considered a potential stimulus for the beer market. An example can already be seen with its breakthrough in Eastern Europe, where its market share is nearly 10%, versus 5% in Germany.

First DHA Omega-3 baby food range in Australia

Australian parents now have a new way to help ensure their babies have optimal brain and eye development thanks to Rafferty’s Garden’s newly released range of food for bubs, containing the vital DHA Omega-3 compound.

The brand’s Platinum DHA Omega-3 Range comprises six options which all provide the essential fatty acid that occurs naturally in the body and is particularly important in the first two years of life and early childhood. Studies have linked higher levels of DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, with improved memory, cognitive function and clear vision in children.

DHA is especially crucial for babies as they are weaned off breast milk and are introduced to solids as, although the omega-3 compound is found in breast milk, it is not contained in many foods normally found in an infant’s diet and is a key factor to ensuring optimal neurodevelopment.

The Platinum DHA Omega-3 range is for babies 12 months and over and extends Rafferty’s Garden’s existing lumpy range. Dishes such as macaroni and cheese, creamy tuna mornay and spaghetti and meatballs introduce different textures and savoury flavours that help infants learn to enjoy the taste of real food.

The innovative new range is a key feature of the brand’s major expansion into fresh ways of bringing healthy food to babies and toddlers of all ages.

New products on supermarket shelves include a puree range for babies six months and over, which has two Grandma’s Favourite Desserts custard options.

Launched in Australia in 2007, Rafferty’s Garden provides an alternative to preparing food from scratch. With smooth, puree, lumpy and cereal ranges for babies four months and over, the products are made from all natural ingredients and nothing else.

According to the company, like all of Rafferty’s products, the new offerings contain no added sugar, salt, preservatives or anything artificial and are not pumped up with thickeners, artificial flavours and colours.

Developed in consultation with paediatric nutritionists, food technologists, packaging experts and discerning parents, the reliable and healthy options contain only the freshest, top quality fruits and vegetables and finest cuts of meat, and are packaged in unique pouches that help the products last for 12 months at room temperature without any compromise to quality, flavour or nutrition.

Rafferty’s Garden baby foods are available from all major supermarkets and independent retailers across Australia. The new Platinum DHA Omega-3 and puree ranges are available from Woolworths supermarkets.

4 days. 200 exhibitors. 900 brands.

The largest biennial packaging and processing machinery, materials exhibition AUSPACK, is on once again in 2009.

Held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park, from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 of June 2009, AUSPACK will have over 200 exhibitors under one roof showcasing over 900 brands.

According to Exhibitions & Trade Fairs (ETF) event director, Rob Keen, visitors will have the opportunity to gain insight into:

  • automated processing machinery,
  • robotics,
  • mixing and batching equipment,
  • product identification solutions,
  • quality process and ancillary equipment,
  • plastics extrusion,
  • powder and liquid fillers,
  • shrink wrap packaging machines, and more.

“AUSPACK is the one exhibition designed to bring together all industries. Regardless of whether you come from food, beverage, packaging, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, medical or wine; there is something for everyone.

“Close to 60% of the exhibition space has now been booked; which is a true indication of the success of this event,” he said.

Some of the exhibitors planning to showcase their products in 2009 include:

  • ABB Australia,
  • Beumer,
  • Beverage Packaging Solutions,
  • Contract Packaging Systems (CPS),
  • Fallsdell Machinery,
  • Heat & Control,
  • ITW Industrial Packaging,
  • JL Lennard,
  • The Le Mac Group,
  • KHS Pacific,
  • Markem-Imaje,
  • Norsdon Australia,
  • Propac Industrial,
  • Rhima Australia,
  • Rockwell Automation,
  • RML,
  • Sancell,
  • Selpak Automation,
  • Solari Packaging Systems,
  • Ulma Packaging,
  • Visy Automation, and
  • Walls Machinery.

Fourth time for Markem-Imaje

According to Markem-Imaje National Business Manager, Linda Gleeson, the company is once again proud to exhibit at AUSPACK.

“2009 will be the fourth time that Markem-Imaje has participated in this prestigious event – formerly exhibiting as Imaje Coding Technology and Unimark.” Gleeson said.

“Markem-Imaje views AUSPACK as a significant exhibition in the Australian packaging industry as it provides an opportunity to showcase new cutting-edge technology and provide solutions to the FMCG and packaging industry as a whole.” she said.

Markem-Imaje is a manufacturer of product identification and traceability solutions, offering a full line of reliable and innovative inkjet, thermal transfer, laser, print and apply label and RFID-based systems.

In addition to local companies, there will be a significant amount of international exhibitors, including:

  • AmbaFlex,
  • Beumer,
  • Food Processing Equipment,
  • Jackway Convertor Industries,
  • Krueger & Salecker,
  • Sky Softgel Co, and
  • Utien Pack Co.

Automated inspection with vision

According to Adept Vision Specialists managing director, Marc Fimeri, the company will be demonstrating the latest technology in machine vision systems for automated inspection in packaging on their stand at AUSPACK 2009.

“Expert vision engineers will be available on our stand to discuss the live demonstrations of high speed label and cap inspection, web inspection and plastics inspection including flash detection” Fimeri said.

“Also on display will be a wide assortment of cameras, lenses and lighting that are used to integrate optimised vision systems for packaging inspection. The systems will feature Dalsa’s latest Vision Appliances – embedded vision computers with simultaneous support for multiple cameras. The Vision Appliances are running with either Sherlock or iNspect vision software.

“These both offer full vision functionality for vision inspection including Optical Character Recognition, 1D and 2D Barcode Detection, Pattern Tools for registration, colour analysis and all other tools required for a state-of-the-art packaging inspection system. Adept Vision Specialists can help you specify your needs and supply vision systems that work.” he said.

New Exhibitor: Bizerba Australia

Bizerba Australia will be exhibiting at AUSPACK 2009 as part of its process to establish the company locally.

According to national sales manager, Grant Harpur, “while Bizerba is well known in Europe and North America, we see AUSPACK 2009 as an opportunity to promote our weighing and labelling technologies to the Australasian industry.

“Our exhibit will include GLMI weigh labelling, CWE check weighing, and metal detection equipment. Our participation in AUSPACK 2009 is also an important opportunity to engage prospective customers, while raising awareness of the potential that new Bizerba products have to offer, such as TTI (Time — Temperature Indication) and RFID labels” he said.

AUSPACK is owned and presented by the Australian Packaging Machinery Association (APMA), Australia’s only national packaging and processing machinery organisation.

For further information about exhibiting at AUSPACK 2009, please contact Rob Keen.