Be first out of the stalls in 2008

The FOOD Magazine Challenge Awards recognise and reward food and drink processors that most successfully demonstrate product innovation and excellence.

Entries are now open!

Has your company launched a product onto the market in the past year? If so, then why not enter the FOOD Challenge Awards?

As a processor, nominating your company for a FOOD Magazine Challenge Award is an excellent way of recognising all the effort and hard work your company has put in over the past year.

Entry is free.

Why enter?

There is a considerable amount of associated free publicity in entering the FOOD Challenge Awards:

• Finalists will feature in at least one issue of FOOD Magazine, as well as on the website.

• Winners will feature in at least two issues of FOOD Magazine, as well as on the website, and follow-up features are likely.

• Winners are able to use the Awards logo on marketing literature and packaging.

The awards are open to all companies, regardless of size, that have a food or drink processing presence in Australia.

There are 10 award categories with entrants required to demonstrate product innovation in ingredients, processing, food safety, packaging, marketing and, where applicable, exports.

How to enter

Click here for an entry form.

These should be forwarded to The Editor as soon as possible.

When do entries close?

The deadline for entries is April 1, 2008, but early entries are strongly recommended.

Don’t delay

To register your interest, contact The Editor.

Save money in cheese production

An integrated compound enabling manufacturers to produce various products similar to feta at low cost in a simple standardised process not dependent on milk has been developed by Hydrosol.

The process can reduce the cost of raw materials by as much as half compared with traditional cheese-making methods.

The process works with milk fat and vegetable fat and is so flexible that the milk fat can be replaced by vegetable fat.

Manufacturers are not dependent on fresh milk and and seasonal fluctuations in the composition of fresh milk.

The formulation is based on milk powder, the Hydrosol milk protein/hydrocolloid compound, vegetable fat and water.

Convential cheese-making equipment necessary.

All that is needed for production is an emulsifying machine of the kind frequently used in the delicatessen products industry, such as a Limitec, Stephan Cutter or FrymaKoruma.

Formulations can be adapted to individual requirements and small batches can be produced according to different recipes.

The products can then be flavoured, if desired, with herbs and spices to give them a characteristic note.

The cheese has a firm consistency that cuts well, and the end product can be shaped to particular specifications.

On request, Hydrosol will develop customised formulations and provide comprehensive advice on the manufacturing process, production plant, packaging and cost management.

Hydrosol Produktionsgesellschaft, with its registered office in Ahrensburg, is a member of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.

For further information contact Anne Bünting, marketing.

Sesame street water

Sesame Workshop, the organisation behind Sesame Street, has created a program in response to the growing prevalence of childhood obesity.

The Sesame Street Healthy Habits for Life program sets a benchmark in educational storylines, guiding guide pre-schoolers and their caregivers through lessons related to healthy eating, active play and issues such as hygiene and rest.

Australian FMCG manufacturers are supporting the program, including Aussie O with its Sesame Water featuring Sesame Street characters on its packaging.

Sesame Water contains 80% less sugar than most soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks and is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.

Vaalia’s omega-3 brainwave

Ingredients: Vanilla Mango: skim milk, milk, sugar, mango, milk solids, water, inulin (dietary fibre), maize thickener (1442), gelatin (halal), flavours, DHA algal oil (contains soy), food acids, (331, 296), colour, live yoghurt cultures

Shelf life: 40 days

Brand/product manager: Michael Goodhew

Packaging supplier: Carter Holt Harvey

Graphics package designer: Carpe Diem Design

Amcor’s healthy approach to packaging

There has been a heightened awareness across the community for some time regarding the importance of health and wellness.

Health and nutrition is one of the prevailing megatrends that are having a significant impact on consumer brand companies and retailers both here in Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere around the world.

Developing a deep understanding and insight of these market trends is seen by Amcor as critical in terms of responding quickly with new, innovative packaging solutions for customers.

This is certainly not the latest fad.

Amcor expects the focus on health and wellness to grow due to several factors — increasing concern regarding obesity, an ageing yet healthier and wealthier population, greater awareness of body image, rising ‘quality of life’ expectations, organic products moving to the mainstream and increased interest in functional and fortified products.

Some clear implications for packaging have emerged — information-rich labelling including nutritional benefits of the product, portion controlled formats, high product visibility on retail shelves, and wholesome image presentation.

Amcor is developing new packaging solutions to help make fresh produce more accessible to consumers by keeping it fresher for longer periods.

Amcor’s LifeSpan is a world-leading modified atmosphere technology that maximises product shelf life of fruit and vegetables.

Amcor’s global packaging reach facilitates the transfer of these advanced technologies, particularly in the flexibles packaging area of the local Australasian market.

Other recent examples of Amcor’s packaging innovation in response to the growing health and wellness trend are:

• Amcor SureFresh carton, a new generation high gloss black paper and film laminate carton, which combines superior strength with premium product appearance at point of sale for Australian fresh fruit and produce.

• Eco-Punnet, jointly created by Pacific Coast Eco Bananas and Amcor, that takes four or six red wax-tipped bananas (grown with less fertilisers and chemicals) in an informative retail pack, which offers enhanced ripening and greater product protection for consumers.

Spam is 70!

Ingredients: pork with ham, chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium phosphates, potassiumchloride, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrate

Shelf life: 3 years

Brand owner: Hormel

Brand/product manager: Scott Martin

Packaging supplier: Crown Cork and Seal, US

Graphics packe designer: Hormel Foods

Can recycling education passed to manufacturers

The Steel Can Recycling Council (SCRC) will wind up and hand over recycling education directly to can manufacturers and local government as a result of recent changes in the local steel industry, including the withdrawal of BlueScope Steel from local manufacture of tinplate for packaging, the increasing pressure from packaging imports and the increased awareness among consumers of the availability of steel can recycling.

Over the past 11 years the SCRC, through its promotional initiative Cansmart, has worked with a wide range of stakeholders including all levels of government, recycling contractors, can manufacturers, marketers, retailers and the Australian public to encourage and promote steel can recycling.

As a result of these partnerships and the Council’s direct investment of over $2.5 million, 94% of Australians now have access to steel can recycling services with existing secure and healthy markets and infrastructure to underpin the collection and recycling of post consumer steel packaging.

SCRC chairman Joe Stefano said “whilst it’s a sad day for those of who have been involved in steel can recycling over the years, the effectiveness and vibrancy of the campaign has built a wide awareness and effectively a nationwide access to steel can recycling.

“People no longer need to be reminded to recycle.

“Eleven years ago ‘the environment’ was not even an issue for most householders yet now household recycling is a basic household task.

“It is a timely moment for the organisation to be changing shape and we know that manufacturers and local government will continue to carry the mantle.”

A website will continue to provide information to the industry and consumers about steel can recycling and can be found at

For further information, contact Lisa Kinahan at

Lady-like chocolates

Brand owner: Fyna Foods Australia

Brand/product manager: Melissa Daqunio

Packaging supplier: Colorpak

Graphics package designer: Motor Group

Health trend targets kids

Australian FMCG manufacturers are supporting a program by Sesame Workshop, the organisation behind Sesame Street, which has reacted to the growing prevalence of childhood obesity.

Aussie O is supporting the program with its Sesame Water featuring Sesame Street characters on the packaging.

Sesame Water contains 80% less sugar than most soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks and is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.

The Sesame Street Healthy Habits for Life program sets a benchmark in educational storylines, guiding guide pre-schoolers and their caregivers through lessons related to healthy eating, active play and issues such as hygiene and rest.

Stay slim with healthy snacks

Shelf life: 12 months

Brand/product manager: Sharon Thurin

Packaging supplier: Perfection Packaging

Graphics package designer: Visual Jazz

Daily Intake Guide useful, say consumers

Take for example a box of breakfast cereal, the label is no longer just about the name of the product and claims of ‘fat free’ or a ‘healthy start to the day’, it’s about recognising that one serve provides x% of energy, x% of protein and so on.

It’s a program food manufacturers are voluntarily introducing and that consumers have been calling for as a means of providing simple information to clarify the role of foods within the average diet, known as the Daily Intake Guide.

Providing a standard system via its thumbnail presentation, the Daily Intake Guide promotes informed purchasing decisions through at-a-glance information about the composition of the product and its relevance to diet.

“Unfortunately, despite recent campaigns, many consumers remain unaware of daily nutritional requirements highlighting that a practical approach is needed to help promote these messages,” said AFGC director of corporate and consumer affairs Jo Thomas.

“Our research shows consumers understand the Daily Intake Guide and find it useful as a means of demonstrating the relationship between a serve of food and their daily nutritional requirements and allowances.

“It supports people when they are thinking most about the food they eat — at the time of purchase and prior to consumption — so they can quickly and simply relate it back to their daily intake.”

What does it all mean?

Labelling is one of the best forums the food and beverage industry can use to empower consumers to make informed choices which best meet their nutrition and activity needs.

Take for example the energy label which identifies that for every 60g serve of the food displaying this label, 10% of the daily intake energy requirement of the average consumer is met.

This means that in considering the remainder of their diet for the day the average consumer can select further foods to meet the remaining 90% of their energy requirements, as well as ensuring other nutritional requirements are met.

“Our research suggests people still find it difficult to understand what a kilojoule actually represents, yet we all know the impact too many kilojoules can have on maintaining healthy weight,” said Ms Thomas.

“With this in mind, the energy thumbnail with its percentage representation is a simple and effective way for consumers to understand the value of the food consumed and use this in relation to improving their overall diet.”

Using and supporting the guide

The complete Daily Intake Guide contains seven categories: protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fat, saturated fat, sodium and energy.

Manufacturers may display the complete Daily Intake Guide, or just the ‘energy’ thumbnail, recognising that size and style of packaging may limit use of the complete Guide.

The Daily Intake Guide is currently supported by more than 15 of Australia’s leading food and beverage companies, including George Weston Foods, Mars, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Nestle and PepsiCo.

“While a number of high profile organisations have already begun to promote the Daily Intake Guide, we urge all food manufacturers to actively and voluntarily support uptake of the program.

“It is only through the industry working together that we will have a truly consistent approach to labelling that informs consumers across all the products in their supermarket trolleys or in their fridge to allow informed nutritional decisions,” said Ms Thomas.

To assist in widespread education of the Daily Intake Guide, the AFGC has recently launched

For further queries about the Daily Intake Guide and labelling please contact AFGC Jo Thomas on 02 6273 1466.

Easy gourmet chicken

Ingredients: chicken, ham, cheese, flours (wheat, rye, soy), vegetable oil, thickeners, dried yeast, salt, wheat starch, sugar, wheat gluten, vegetable gum, emulsifiers, mineral salts, herb and spice extracts, colours, preservative, vitamin (thiamine)

Shelf life: 12 months from date of manufacture

Brand owner: Inghams Enterprises

Brand/product manager: Kayvin Li

Packaging supplier: Carter Holt Harvey

Graphics package designer: Morton Branding Consultants

Bitter sweet cordial

Ingredients: Lemon, Lime & Bitters Cordial: water, cane sugar, lime juice, food acid (citric), aromatic bitters, preservative, natural flavour, vegetable gum (xanthan gum)

Shelf life: 18 months

Brand owner: Buderim Ginger

Brand/product manager: Mark Stanley (retail marketing manager)

Packaging supplier: Print World

Graphics package designer: Eclipse Advertising

Sugar-free crush candies

BENEO-Palatinit’s Isomalt has been used for the development of a new kind of candy.

“Crush Candies”, the name given to an innovative, sugarfree product currently being manufactured and sold in Asia and Europe, are manufactured like classic, deposited hard boiled candies but differ in that they are cooled with liquid nitrogen, resulting in fine cracks being formed on the surface.

When sucked or chewed the candies disintegrate in the mouth, releasing flavour quickly and intensely.

Look and feel

The crystal clear “glass” surface that is achieved by using Isomalt results in individual cracks on the candies being clearly visible while achieving a smooth, even exterior.

Since Isomalt candies are stable and abrasion-resistant, no unwanted chippings occur after packaging, storage or transport.

Fruity flavours

Isomalt is derived from pure beet sugar and therefore has a mild, sugar-like sweetness about 50% that of sucrose.

It does, however, have more scope for flavour development.

Consumer tests conducted by BENEO-Palatinit showed that candies made with Isomalt are often considered more fruity.

This effect supports the novel release of flavour in crush candies.

Support for the 4th year running

Amcor will sponsor the FOOD Challenge Awards’ Health and Wellness category again in 2008.

As a leading supplier of innovative packaging solutions in Australia and New Zealand, Amcor is proud to be again supporting the Food Challenge Awards.

Amcor is a global packaging manufacturer offering a broad range of fibre, metal, plastic and glass packaging products, along with packaging-related services.

Understanding the needs of today’s consumers requires great insight, expert knowledge and experience.

Amcor works closely with customers to understand their challenges and the markets in which they operate.

The recent establishment of Amcor’s Customer Solutions and Innovation Group will drive Amcor’s product leadership and innovation capability and raise its customer and market focus in the future.

The increasing importance of healthy lifestyles in Australia and New Zealand, as well as around the world, is having a profound influence on packaged food and beverage product development within the fast-moving consumer goods sector.

Amcor’s innovation capability and broad product offering enables the company to meet the challenge of delivering on the ever-changing packaging requirements of brand owners and retailers in the growing health and wellness market.

Further information

What are the FOOD Challenge Awards?

Application form 2008

Categories and sponsors 2008

Winners 2007

Best in Show 2007

Best-buy cookies

Choc Chip Homestyle Cookies: flour (thiamine), milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa mass, milk solids, cocoa butter, emulsifiers, flavours, dark compounded chocolate (sugar, vegetable fat, cocoa powder, emulsifier [soy lecithin, 492]), sugar, brown sugar, butter, margarine, preservative, antioxidant, vitamins, flavour, colour (beta carotene), egg, water, raising agent, natural flavour

Shelf Life: 10 months

Brand Owner: FoodWorks

Brand/product manager: Amanda Swanell


Packaging supplier: Litho Superpak

Graphic packaging designer: Hayes Berry Tehan

NZ food sector remains strong

Leone Evans

New Zealand’s (NZ’s) food and beverage industry, including agribusiness, primary production and foodservice, is critical to the country’s overall economic performance.

As such, any changes in the food and beverage industry’s performance will materially impact on the national economy.

At present, the sector employs one in five New Zealanders.

It generates half of NZ’s mercantile exports, comprises 10% of gross domestic product and has grown 5.3% over the past decade (the same rate as the overall economy).

The productivity of the food and beverage industry is better than that of many other sectors, with agriculture having achieved a 60% increase in the last decade.

The sector itself capitalises on NZ’s natural advantages in food production including abundant rainfall, a temperate climate and the plentiful supply of arable land.

However, growth has come largely from productivity gains.

The sector faces the challenge of developing stronger technology and knowledge-based businesses and, as a result, will continue to be characterised as a basic agricultural industry until improvement is gained via increased research and development.

Industry at a glance

Like the economy as a whole, the food and beverage sector exhibits low capital intensity, relatively low levels of research and development investment, skill shortages, low levels of outbound foreign investment and limited access to global value chains.

The sector is dominated by co-operatives, comprising four of the five largest companies and accounting for over 50% of the total sector revenues.

Fonterra alone constitutes 40% of total sector revenue, the top 10 companies comprise 66%, the top 30 companies over 85% and subsidiaries of foreign owned multinationals constitute 24% of total sector revenues. Small-to-medium enterprises make up the remaining 25% of the industry.

International market

In terms of the international market environment, NZ’s food and beverage industry is facing rapid change with greater demand for products that foster wellbeing, meal solutions rather than just ingredients, and a greater emphasis on ethical and ecological standards.

Consumers and retailers have become more attuned to food safety issues, in terms of health concerns and food security, resulting in a convergence of food and health. Consumption patterns are also changing due to an ageing population in the West and an increasingly affluent Asia.

These changes are resulting in the acceleration of market segmentation as trade in processed products outstrips trade in bulk commodities.

In the UK, New Zealand’s fifth largest export market, environmental sustainability and ethical issues including fair trade, free-range and organic have gained increasing dominance on the public’s agenda.

This trend is also gaining momentum in some European markets and has the potential to extend to other parts of the globe.

Rising concerns over climate change have been linked to the food miles debate, which suggests the further a product has travelled the greater its environmental impact.

Retailers such as Tesco have announced that within the next five years labels on packaging will display a product’s carbon footprint. At present, this issue does not seem to have affected NZ’s trade with the UK. However, NZ exporters will need to carefully monitor and appropriately react to these important social issues and their potential impact on both trade and consumer purchasing decisions.


New Zealand has already established itself globally as environmentally conscious, particularly in food production, and its ability to effectively communicate this message and position to the international market will become increasingly important.

As a result of the global food industry consolidating into fewer and larger multinationals wielding the power of fewer and larger brands, NZ businesses will need to connect more effectively with global value chains in order to succeed in the international market.

In order to do this, the NZ food and beverage sector, which continues to be constrained by insufficient investment and expertise, requires more skilled workers and spending on research and development.

Food and Beverage Taskforce

In July this year, the NZ Government announced it’s response to the Food and Beverage Taskforce’s report Smart Food, Cool Beverage, which outlined the challenges and opportunities faced by the sector and the industry’s outlook, and committed to a work program of six key initiatives including $19 million for in-market assistance for the sector offshore.

The Government’s response also included improved infrastructure for new product development to help test and develop innovative food products, increasing the business capability of food and beverage exporters through an audit and mentoring program, and raising productivity and sustainability in pastoral industries.


New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will continue its involvement in the food and beverage innovation process, both in terms of product development and in-market infrastructure development, fostering an even closer working relationship with industry, universities, crown research institutes and Technology NZ.

Raising the international profile of the sector is also a critical element that will underpin sector growth in selected markets.

Looking forward, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will strive to protect and renew the core of the industry including agribusiness core competency, bio-security, food safety, market access, production efficiency gains, and improved productivity, while continuing to build the base.

Handling bulk ingredients

When it comes to bulk storing ingredients, manufacturers must be able to integrate a system into their production areas seamlessly and efficiently. Celia Johnson speaks to Matcon Pacific business development director David Newell.

Q. What are the main trends in ingredients handling?

A. The method of preparing a batch, which normally involves the decanting of numer­ous 25kg bags and manually scooping minor ingredients, is usually very labour intensive.

Therefore, automating the formulation of the ingredients to prevent operator error and provide batch traceability is a significant trend.

There is also a trend away from decanti­ng raw materials from bags and towards receiving the pre-mixed ingredients in bulk from the supplier, which not only makes the plant more efficient but reduces the manu­facturing cost per kilogram.

Q. What are the main challenges associated with handling and storing ingredients?

A. Reducing dust contamination in the pro­duction area is a major concern and challenge when it comes to handling and storing ingre­dients.

The use of traditional bulk storage sys­tems, such as bulk bags, is the main cause of the problem.

The bags are often left sitting on the floor of a warehouse, become contaminated with dirt from the floor and are then taken into the production area for processing, placing the product at risk of contamination.

Suppliers of bulk storage systems are also challenged to provide manufacturers with systems that can easily be integrated into the production area while also providing inter-company transportation of pre-mixed products.

The bulk storage system needs to ensure the ingredients or premixed products are dis­charged efficiently in a contained way, without traditional flow problems such as segregation of a pre-mixed batch, bridging or rat-holing.

Q. How are these challenges being over­come?

A. Ingredients manufacturers may choose to incorporate a closed-system approach, com­bining a typical packaging system such as a CHEP or TNT container with a compatible hopper design that can be discharged or dosed into the production mixer.

Similarly, an Intermediate Bulk Container system (IBC) could be used for this purpose.

Once the container or IBC has been dis­charged it can be cleaned off-line or trans­ported back to be filled.

Q. What are the latest innovations and equip­ment that will benefit manufacturers?

A. Operator errors in ingredient preparation can be prevented and product recalls low­ered with an automated or semi-automated approach to ingredient formulation.

By using an IBC to discharge the product automatically, not only is the loading of the mixer simplified but the availability of the mixer for mixing more batches is increased, as compared with manual loading.

The IBC is loaded onto a discharge station above the mixer and will discharge the for­mulated batch in a controlled and hygienic manner.

The discharge station incorporates a pneu­matic actuator and an internal vibration to provide guaranteed discharge of even the most difficult flowing products.

The Matcon Flexi-Batch recipe formula­tion system is a way of formulating the batch to a known recipe by using a moving batch container located under the ingredients.

The ingredients can easily be changed or increased according to the production demands.

The Variable-Lift Matcon Discharge Hop­per provides a high accuracy dosing of the ingredient, typically down to 50g in a 100kg batch, while being a single machine cuts down on cleaning time.

Matcon’s IBCs are manufactured from FDA-approved polyethylene material and incorporate cone valve technology.

RVO supplies Matcon equipment in Aus­tralia.

On the shelf: organic salad

Ingredients: Organic Salad Mix: seasonal baby leaf salads; red and green oak, red and green coral, mignonette, red chard and mizuna

Shelf life: 10 days

Brand/product manager: Steve Skopilianos


Packaging supplier: Biopak

Graphics package designer: Dzign Diezel Group

Frozen berry mix

Ingredients: Four Berry Mix: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries

Shelf life: two years

Brand owner: McCains

Brand/product manager: Derrin Johnson

Graphics packaging designer: Pinpoint Design Group