Microwaveable rice

Ingredients: cooked rice, sunflower oil, distilled monoglyceride

Shelf life: 18 months

Brand/product manager: Francesca Di Giorgio

Email: fdigiorgio@sunrice.com.au

Packaging supplier: Propak

Graphics package designer: Carpe Diem Design

Subscribe to e-newsletter to win

Subscribe online at www.foodmag.com.au to receive a free e-newsletter full of product information, news and features straight to your inbox every Monday and Wednesday, and be entered into a prize draw.

Those subscribed by Friday November 16th, 2007, will be entered into the draw to win a mystery prize.

The winner will be notified and announced on the FOOD Magazine website.

Why sign up?

The newsletter is a great way to keep up to date with the latest product releases (covering ingredients, safety, processing and packaging), industry news and interviews with key industry players from the comfort of your own desk.

Plus, you could be the lucky winner of the mystery prize.

To submit editorial for the website, which will be included in future e-newsletters, send material and high resolution jpgs to food@reedbusiness.com.au.

Multitest-i test frames and software

SI Instruments provides Mecmesin Multitest-i test frames and software measure loads from 2N to 25000N using intelligent load cells capable of collecting data at 2000 readings/second.

The machines are suitable for compression testing, deformation testing, extension testing, materials testing, packaging testing and top-load testing, among other things.

According to the company, the software is easy to use and ideal for routine analysis or sophisticated test routines.

SI Instruments

Mainland’s new cheeses

Ingredients: pasteurised milk, cream, salt, cultures, enzyme (rennet)

Brand owner: Fonterra Brands (Australia)

Brand manager: Tina Randello

Packaging supplier: Admark (Blue Cheddar), Film Chem (Creamy Blue)

Graphics packaging designer: Dow Design, New Zealand

Packaging reflects product shape

Ingredients: wholegrain cereals (oats, wheat), salt

Shelf life: 9 months

Brand owner: Uncle Tobys

Brand manager: Jane Truong

Packaging supplier: Amcor Cartons

Graphics package design: Cowan Design

Mouthful of chicken

Ingredients: chicken, flour (wheat, rice), milk solids, salt, gluten (wheat), vegetable oil, water, starch (wheat), vegetable powders (onion and garlic), mineral salts, soy protein concentrate, flavour (milk), thickeners, ground and extracted spice, yeast, flavour enhancer, raising agent, emulsifiers, antioxidants, vitamin (thiamin)

Brand owner: Inghams Enterprises

Brand manager: Kayvin Li

Packaging supplier: Carter Holt Harvey

Graphics package designer: Morton Branding Consultants

Vacuum packaging machinery

As food manufacturers’ turn to packaging formats that increase product shelf life, reduce storage space and are cost effective, the vacuum pack is in greater demand across various industries, including the food and beverage sector.

Vacuum packing allows products to be kept fresher for longer and opens up packaging design opportunities including high-quality printed graphics and innovative pack shapes.

According to machine suppliers Perfect Packaging, vacuum packing is ideal for retail packaging and is also a useful way to provide food service items.

“More cost effective than large cans, the pouches can be supplied with resealable zippers for convenience, are easier and safer to handle than cans and flexible packs reduce the enormous storage and disposal space that is required for cans,” Perfect Packaging business development manager Gary Anderson said.

Finding the right machine

When it comes to choosing between the multitude of vacuum packing machines available to food manufacturers, machinery supplier Perfect Packaging suggests three things: plan for tomorrow, not for today; keep flexibility as the key factor in any machine purchase; and avoid expensive agreements that force you to purchase the vacuum bags from the machine supplier.

As the food industry becomes a place of increasing competition and consolidation, packaging design, portion sizes and product composition are factors that must be considered when procuring new equipment.

Ranging from simple, manually operated hood machines to sophisticated, high-speed machines, vacuum packing machines are suited to small or large scale operations and now have the technological capabilities to meet a host of applications — be that packing peanuts, prepared meals or olives in brine.

High-speed automatic machinery

Perfect Packaging’s range of continuous motion rotary vacuum carousels from LeePack in Korea is suitable for numerous pack sizes and shapes, as well as a range of processed food products including vegetables in oil, meat, pasta and prepared meals.

The carousels work in a rotary motion, picking up pre-made pouches that are stored in a magazine or in-feed conveyor, transferring them by grippers to the filling stations and then moving them into one of the rotary vacuum chambers where a vacuum is created and the pouch sealed.

“As the LeePack carousels work with pre-made packs, manufacturers can be flexible in their pack design,” Anderson said.

“We have a lot of clients in the can filling industry that are limited to putting all their products into the same round can.

“With a flexible pouch machine, stand-up pouches, flat four-sided pouches, traditional vacuum bags and shaped pouches can all be handled on the same machine, allowing for flexibility and fast change-over times,” he continued.

Using pre-made packs, as opposed to forming the pouch in line, reduces the time required for changing from one pouch size to another or from one pouch design to another.

“All you do is take the old stock off the in-feed magazine, introduce a new design or different sized pouch and it’s ready to go again,” Anderson said.

The LeePack carousels offer a variety of different filling methods, enabling food items traditionally stored in cans, such as fruit pieces in syrup or soups, to be vacuum packed in a flexible pouch.

With the rapid growth in prepared meals, the requirement for double shot dosing, adding two different items at the point of packaging, has increased.

The LeePack machines have up to three filling stations, allowing for combinations of solids, liquids and powders to be filled into each individual pack.

“We recently installed a machine at a company that produces semi-dried vegetables in oil,” Anderson said.

“There seems to be more and more interest in the prepared meal sector and technological advances in vacuum packing machinery, like the high speed range, is at once meeting this need and driving the trend.”

Vertical pouch packaging

Cryovac, a specialist in perishable food packaging technologies, uses a process called vertical pouch packaging (VPP) to pack products such as fruits and vegetables in brine into hygienic and highly resistant flexible pouches, extending product shelf life.

According to Cryovac, the extreme external pressure created in a vacuum packing machine can cause bubbles to form in the pack and can cause the liquid to be sucked out or evaporated.

As such, VPP does not create a vacuum but an airless pack.

The process involves vertically loading hot or cold products such as a metre-long tube of fruit and syrup into Cryovac’s VPP Onpack 2070 packaging system.

This is instead of loading horizontally, as is necessary with a rotary chamber vacuum machine.

Rollers then squeeze the excess product out of the seal area and seal the pack immediately to create a hermetic seal.

Manually operated machinery

Depending on the size and production specifications of a company, manually operated vacuum packing machinery may be a better option than high-speed automatic machinery.

Vacutec, an Australian supplier of complete vacuum packing systems, offers a range of Euro-Pak equipment, including small bench-top units for delis and large double chambered machines for high quantity outlet applications.

Fitted with Busch vacuum pumps and equipped with specifically designed computer programs that offer nine different settings for nine different products, the Euro-Pak range is ideal for small- to medium-sized food companies and is suitable for different pouch sizes.

The nine-setting program function allows for simple and precise operation by multiple users and ensures that different products are vacuum packed appropriately.

“Tailoring the settings ensures the vacuum pack performs at an optimum level, achieving maximum shelf life and preventing surface spoilage during transport or storage,” Vacutec managing director Peter Steinmann said.

The ability to individually program packing requirements for various items means a number of people can use the same machine with ease, saving time and making production more efficient.

Reliable pumps

Vacutec highlights the importance of considering the quality of the vacuum pump when determining the best vacuum packing machine for a particular operation.

Described by the company as the heart of the machine, they recommend a high-quality pump, such as those used in the Euro-Pak range, be chosen over cheaper alternatives.

A reliable pump will last the lifetime of the machine and reduce maintenance costs.

“Despite being highly sophisticated, Busch pumps operate on a simple principle,” Steinmann said.

“As there are less moving parts inside these pumps compared with others, there is less chance of them breaking down.

“If the pump dies, you might as well throw away the entire machine, particularly if it is a bench-top model,” he said.

With cheaper pumps it is not uncommon for them to break down within the first two years of use.

However, the Busch pumps are said to last the lifetime of the machine, approximately 10 to 15 years for a small bench-top model and longer for the double chambered machines.

With food prices increasing in Australia and as the food sector continues to consolidate, vacuum packing can reduce costs along the supply chain and provide products with a point of difference.

As a result, competition in vacuum packing machinery has significantly increased during the last five years in line with demand.

www.perfectpackaging.com.au

www.cryovac.com.au

www.vacutec-australia.com

NZ functional ingredient

A New Zealand functional food ingredient has captured the attention of European and Australian consumers, with its inclusion in unique, high-end products.

The functional ingredient, Glucagel, is manufactured by GraceLinc, a New Zealand food ingredient company and subsidiary of the New Zealand government-owned research company, Crop & Food Research.

Glucagel is a high-purity barley beta-glucan ingredient.

Barley beta-glucan is a soluble fibre which is widely recognised for its heart and digestive health benefits.

Glucagel’s appeal lies in its ability to be added to foods to provide health benefits without changing the sensory appeal of foods or the production process.

“This, combined with its high purity, is attracting multi-national food companies to our ingredient,” GraceLinc chief executive John Morgan said.

Italian food company Barilla evaluated a wide range of competitive offerings before selecting Glucagel and are including a heart health claim on the packaging of their new bread and brioche, which is part of their new Alixir healthy food range.

Glucagel is distributed in Australia by CSR Ethanol.

For further information, contact John Morgan.

Oz exports soar

Demand from China, India and Russia is opening doors for local manufacturers of processed foods, seafood and wine.

Australia’s annual food and beverage export revenue of $24 billion is predicted to rise as new export markets create opportunities for manufactur­ers of processed foods and pre­mium dairy products, seafood and wine.

Austrade, the Australian Government’s export develop­ment agency, said while traditional export markets including Japan, US, UK and New Zealand remain strong, developing economies with emerging middle class con­sumer populations such as China, India and Russia are of growing interest.

This is despite fears that ongoing drought conditions and the Australian exchange rate will restrain growth in the food and beverage industry.

Factors including rising incomes in China, India and Russia, and awareness of international food trends are contributing to export growth in these markets. The spread of international supermarket chains across Asia and a trend toward wholesome, convenient food is also driving demand for Aus­tralian processed food.

“In China, Australia has long been a supplier of com­modities including grains, but over the past two years we have seen sales of Australian bottled wine taking off and have had buyers from China wanting a whole range of grocery lines for supermarkets and specialty food stores,” Austrade’s senior export advisor Gary Hullin said.

“Products like biscuits, con­fectionery items, honey, macadamias and non-alcoholic beverages are in strong demand from China because of the dif­ferences in packaging, quality and taste of these Australian products compared with what is produced and sold locally.”

The growth of supermarket chains in India’s more affluent cities has also contributed to demand for processed foods including sauces, snack bars and cake mixes.

“While modern retailing is only just taking off in India, accounting for approximately 1% to 2% of total food retail­ing, it is an area that will gain momentum as it has in other parts of Asia,” Hullin said.

The poor quality of India’s refrigeration and cool chain currently limits export to dried, shelf stable grocery items.

In Russia, however, Austrade has identified an increase in beef, wine, premium dairy prod­ucts and seafood.

Independent research con­ducted by Austrade showed product quality, freshness of produce, health and nutrition­al value, taste, and food safety as driving the success of Aus­tralian food exporters in exist­ing and emerging markets.

“Australia is recognised internationally as growing and producing clean and natural food products as well as adher­ing to strict quality control and food safety standards,” Hullin said.

www.austrade.gov.au

Gary.Hullin@austrade.gov.au

TraceTech: free registration

Members of the food industry that have not already registered for tomorrow’s TraceTech conference can register today for free.

The supply chain and logistics event will take place from October 23 to 24 at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney, and will involve over 15 sessions by industry experts including:

Food & Agricultural Case Studies chaired by Nick Smale, CSIRO with Aaron Iori, Meat & Livestock Australia.

Logistics Sessions chaired by our own David Doherty, SCLAA and featuring Gerry Wind of CHEP, Renzo Bevinetto & Brett Armitage of IFC Global Logistics

Technology Sessions chaired by Frank Dorrian, RFIDba, with Sean Sloan GS1, and a panel with Scott Austin, Sunshine Technologies, Dave Ffowcs Williams Blackbay and Sean Sloan

Packaging Sessions chaired by Ray Chappelow FAIP, Scale Components with Mark Luft, AAIP – Dy-Mark, Phil Biggs, Matthews.

Cold Chain Sessions chaired by John Howell, RWTA with Colin Baskin, Comvita, Don Richardson Ceebron and Dr Nick Smale CSIRO.

For full details of the conference sessions or to register, click here.

www.tracetech.com.au

Opinion: beginning of the end for cans?

On a recent trip overseas, the UK news reported that sales of canned produce in the UK were down 8% over the past year.

This caught my attention.

After all, the can, or tin as it is referred to in the UK, is an iconic form of packaging that is incredibly useful.

Invented in 1810, canned food allowed stock cupboards to be filled for the entire win­ter and it played a part in keeping people fed during the Second World War when food was scarce and trade difficult.

The decrease in sales is thought to be the result of the UK Government’s ‘5 a day’ campaign that, much like the Australian Government’s ‘7 a day’ campaign, advocates intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, the sales of which have increased.

Also thought to have played a part in the downturn of canned food’s fortunes is the difficulty faced by older people in open­ing cans.

For those with arthritis, even the pullback tops used on many cans these days can be awkward.

So does this signal the demise of canned produce?

Today, there is a multitude of processing and packaging options available, many of which offer benefits such as taking up less space on pallets and reducing transport costs such as vacuum packing.

In October FOOD Magazine there is a host of articles outlining the features of vacuum packing equipment and bags, offering food manufacturers advice and tips on getting the best out of the process.

Water goes pink for charity

Ingredients: mineral water

Brand owner: Coca Cola Amatil

Brand/product manager: Joanne Pitsikas

Packaging supplier: Le Mac Australia Group (sleeve), Amcor Closures (closure), Oberland Glass (bottle)

Graphics package designer: Design Nucleus

Workshop: packaging & shelf life

A workshop on polymer packaging and shelf life in Melbourne on November 14th-15th 2007 will be lead by Dr Gordon Robertson, FAIP, in association with the Australian Institute of Packaging.

Decisions about which polymer to chose or what the effect on shelf life will be if a change is made in package dimensions or polymer type are often based on trial and error or intuition.

This course is an attempt to fill that gap with respect to plastics packaging by discussing the basic principles behind polymer selection, deteriorative reactions in foods and shelf life.

The workshop will provide attendees the opportunity to construct connections between food chemistry, packaging design and polymer science to expand their knowledge base and competence.

Participants will identify key packaging decision-making processes and will validate their new knowledge to reframe package challenges and make winning food packaging decisions.

Learning objectives

  • To understand the properties of the key plastics polymers available for food packaging;
  • To comprehend the major plastics processing methods;
  • To appreciate the key deteriorative reactions which determine end of shelf life;
  • To solve food packaging challenges in package design and plastics material selection;
  • To justify and appraise package design and plastics material selections as related to shelf life.

Details

Melbourne: 14th-15th November

Medina Executive Flinders Street

88 Flinders Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Dr. Gordon L. Robertson, FAIP, was Foundation Professor of Packaging Technology at Massey University where he taught food packaging courses for 21 years. He then spent 11 years with Tetra Pak in Asia. Now he is an adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland and a consultant in food packaging based in Brisbane, Australia. Dr Robertson is the author of the definitive textbook on food packaging, the 2nd edition of which was published last year by CRC Press.

For further details and a registration form please contact Dr Robertson directly.

Protecting food innovation

Australia’s leading branded food manufac­turers and marketers are to be congratulat­ed on their achievements in a very competi­tive market.

However, even the most successful companies will be aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Not least of these arise from the private label business: its growing sophistication, the increas­ing number of private label products, and com­petition for space on the retailers’ shelves.

The threat to brand owners is that private label operators will quickly assimilate inno­vations, focusing the market on price alone as a differentiator and discouraging invest­ment in all but superficial innovation.

The value of brands is tied up in intellec­tual assets: brand names, logos, pack design, manufacturing technology and know-how, product design and formulations.

It is likely that the most successful mar­keters of the future will be those most adept at protecting and leveraging these assets.

In particular, with the present trend toward out-sourcing and contracting research and development and product development services, it is inevitable that greater use of formal intellectual asset protection strate­gies will be key to effective intellectual asset management and commercial advantage.

For Australia in particular, it is likely that the recently introduced Innovation Patent system will be increasingly used to protect the incremental, but important, product and packaging developments that might not have been protectable under patents in the past.

In addition, the recent overhaul of the Reg­istered Design system is likely to make it more useful than it may have been in the past for effectively protecting product and packaging design innovations.

Taco patent

The Old El Paso Stand’N’Stuff taco shell is a great example of how a useful, marketable product development can be protected by the innovation patent in Australia.

General Mills Marketing Inc. owns a certi­fied (enforceable) innovation patent (no. 2006100568) entitled ‘Square Bottom Taco Shell’.

This patent allows them to stop any com­petitor making or marketing any free-stand­ing taco shell which has the key elements of a flat base attached to upright sides — regard­less of any other feature or the appearance of the competitor’s taco shell.

This is not a high-tech develop­ment, but it is a useful and mar­ketable point of difference which can be protected.

Contact Adam Hyland, Watermark, for more information.

AIP focusses on MAP

The Australian Institute of Packaging’s September meeting, held recently in Melbourne, focussed on Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP).

Brian Day, food tech client services manager at Food Science Australia and an acknowledged global expert in MAP technology led the discussion.

MAP is used to inhibit microorganism growth, inhibit oxidation and extend shelf life in a wide range of food products.

The growth of single individual lifestyles and time-poor consumers has been a driver in the need for fresh food that comes in a package.

Chilled products such as meat and some ready-to-serve meals are packaged using MAP techniques but the technology is also a major participant in the supply chain.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are despatched in shipping containers that have liners made of MAP material and refrigerated pantechnicons and export containers have MAP technology added to the refrigeration systems.

Day emphasised that the success of MAP is dependant on good cold-chain husbandry as once the package is opened, or even leaking slightly, all benefits are lost.

MAP, utilising a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, can inhibit mould growth and the correct gas mixture maintains the red colour in meat, but inhibits microorganisms that cause spoilage.

MAP is often used in conjunction with oxygen scavenging and moisture absorbing technologies.

The critical message from Day was to seek advice from the gas suppliers and the packaging companies that specialise in MAP before utilising this packaging format.

Two experts in material supply and technology followed Day’s presentation and supported his opening comments: Gareth Reynolds, sales manager — Australia & New Zealand for Cryovac Food Solutions, and Tony Whelan, regional sales manager ULMA [Packaging] Australia.

Make the National Packaging Covenant work for you

Greenstreets Environmental Resources specialises in assisting companies compile statistics and prepare detailed action plans and annual reports in relation to their obligations under the National Packaging Covenant (NPC).

Over the past seven years the organisation has assisted a wide range of European and Australian companies, allowing them to concentrate on their core activities.

Its current client base includes companies such as Cadbury, Compass, GlaxoSmithKline, Sony and many other international firms.

Greenstreets has recently opened a dedicated Australian office to offer consultancy services, and a software product to assist signatories swiftly and accurately meet their key performance indicators (KPIs) while providing a transparent and auditable data trail.

The software also facilitates the input of the required data into the annual Industry Data Aggregation System (IDAS) online KPI Survey.

The organisation aims to empower its clients to prepare annual reports and statistics going forward with minimal cost and disruption to their core activities, while making them aware of cost savings related to packaging waste management.

Greenstreets can provide the following services to assist manufacturers, brand owners and members of the packaging supply chain:

  • Carry out packaging audits to ensure accuracy and completeness in line with the NPC’s requirements.
  • Review current systems and reporting tools.
  • Extract all available data within the company as required to prepare KPIs and apply this as a baseline for the statistics submitted for the period under review.
  • Prepare an internal report showing a full audit trail from the source data to the conclusions highlighted in the KPIs.
  • Prepare an action plan.
  • Provide one on one and online training for staff with responsibilities in relation to the NPC.
  • Present KPI analysis to senior management when required.
  • Provide ongoing support in performance improvement and preparation of action plan reports.

For further information contact Robin Tuckerman.

Industry update: beer grows locally while wine goes abroad

Government regulations, health concerns, competition from wine and ready-to-drink spirits, and a rise in imported beer relative to export growth have been responsible for the beer market remaining stagnant during 2006-07.

During this period, a growing trend in consumption of higher-priced premium beer was evident, with sales of premium brands growing 15-20% from the previous year.

In fact, in 2006-07 beer industry revenue grew by 2.4% to $4129 million as a result of pricing gains from greater consumption of higher priced premium beers as opposed to standard beer.

Demand for premium and boutique beers also led to an increase in imports from Europe and the US, growing by an average annual rate of 9.4% over the last five years.

However, growth has slowed due to Lion Nathan locally brewing Heineken.

The establishment of Pacific Beverages, a joint venture between Coca-Cola Amatil and SABMiller that will distribute a range of SABMiller’s premium beers including Italian beer Peroni Nastro Azzurro and US beer Miller Genuine Draft, will also increase competition from imports.

Government regulations and health concerns have led to a decrease in beer consumption, making packaging, brand values, advertising campaigns and the introduction of new product segments such as low-calorie beers increasingly important in securing market growth.

The decline in consumption of standard beer has also resulted in major beer producers looking to the export market for growth.

As a result of Asia’s growing beer brewing industry, Australian beer and malt exports have increased over the last five years by 6.9% per annum, amounting to $348 million in 2006-07.

In the future, IBISWorld has predicted that price increases and growth in premium beer sales will continue to drive revenue growth, anticipated to be worth $4.74 billion in 2011-12.

Wine manufacture

Wine exports continue to be the largest market for Australian wine manufacturers, rising from 42.1% to 54.3% of total revenue over the past five years.

However, global over supply of wine since 2003 has led to heavy discounting and a rise in the number of low margin clean-skin wines on the market.

Consolidation in downstream liquor retailing has also led to market-wide discounting.

The wine manufacturing industry has grown at an average annual rate of 1.4% since 2001-02, amounting to $5212 million in 2006-07.

IBISWorld has predicted that in 2011-12, wine manufacturing industry revenue will increase by an average annual rate of 2.6% as a result of export growth.

However, the domestic market is expected to remain stagnant.

Industry at a glance: beer and malt manufacturing

Industry revenue: $4129 million (2.4% growth)

Export revenue: $348 million (6.9% growth)*

Import revenue: $111 million (9.4% growth)*

Major players: Foster’s Group, Lion Nathan, Coopers Brewery, ABB Grain, J Boag & Son

* Estimated figures Source: IBISWorld

Subscription

If you would like to receive FOOD Magazine’s weekly e-newsletter, subscribe here.

If you would like to receive FOOD Magazine, subscribe here.

Fonterra lead the pack

Fonterra Australia and New Zealand was ranked as the number one food processor by IBISWorld in 2006-07.

Fonterra’s general manager operations and supply chain, Bruce Donnison, talks about the innovation and development that has lead to Fonterra’s success within the dairy sector, and the industry at large.

Q. What do you think has contributed most to Fonterra’s success this year?

A. On June 1st, 2007, Fonterra formed the ANZ business unit which, bringing together a number of Australian and New Zealand food companies, aims to leverage Fonterra’s global capacity to make certain its customers are delivered safe products that taste great, are convenient and highlight the nutritional benefits of milk.

I believe innovation has been the key to Fonterra’s success.

Having a presence in 140 countries around the world enables us to leverage our experience to ensure we provide customers in Australasia with the right products at the right time.

Fonterra will continue to invest in developing innovative products that allow consumers to have healthier snacking options over the next 24 months.

As part of its $44 million investment in national dairy food production, Fonterra is upgrading the Darnum Park site to extend its production capabilities beyond whole milk powders to nutritional infant milk powders for the South East Asian market in particular.

Q. What products have driven growth at Fonterra and across the dairy sector?

A. Dairy manufacturers have encouraged greater consumption [of milk] by tailoring products to consumer needs, such as value-added products that have strong shelf presence.

Fonterra has introduced many innovative products in the last year that have capitalised on consumers’ increased awareness of, and demand for, healthy and nutritious dairy products.

The launch of Mainland Munchable Milk Protein Bars in April enabled Fonterra to promote the health benefits of milk in schools through the school canteen.

CalciYum, a range of nutritious flavoured milks, was also launched in school canteens in 2007.

The product leverages…attractive packaging, great taste and nutritional benefits that appeal to both children and adults.

A specially formulated milk product, Anlene, is another example of how innovation in functional dairy products is driving growth in the sector.

Industry update: dairy exports set to soar

Largely reliant on production levels and price, Australia’s milk and cream pro­cessing industry is estimated to have grown by an average rate of 1.3% per annum in the five years ending June 2007.

As the second largest segment in the milk industry, yoghurt has increased by approximately 8% per annum over the past two years with sales growth being attributed to product innovation in the areas of packaging, flavour, probiotic cul­tures, low-fat varieties, drinking yogurts and snack yoghurts.

The dairy segment is becoming increas­ingly focussed on health conscious con­sumers with concerns over the high fat content of dairy-based foods having an adverse effect on demand for products like cream.

Technological advances in ultra-filtra­tion techniques combined with increased consumer demands for healthy, low-fat products have seen a growth in reduced-fat or low-fat milk products as opposed to traditional fresh full-cream milk products.

A number of companies now produce a full range of milk products, offering vary­ing levels of fat content, enhanced calci­um content, extra vitamins and mineral fortifications.

This trend has also been fuelled by the rise in popularity of milk substitutes such as soy milk, which poses an increasing threat to the industry.

Innovation and growth areas

Product innovation has been a major focus and area of growth for the dairy sector in recent years.

Dairy Australia invests approximately $10 million a year on research and devel­opment in manufacturing, including cur­rent research projects looking at UHT and shelf life, cheese and starter cultures, milk components and their interactions, and bioactivity.

In recent years there has been growth in flavoured milk and yoghurt varieties, pack­aging formats, and products that meet specific consumer demands such as extra-frothing milk for cappuccinos.

Innovation is expected to increase to maintain the dairy industry’s profit margins.

Although the perishable nature of fresh dairy products like milk, cream and yoghurt makes export difficult, techno­logical innovations including refrigerat­ed transport and the increased longevity of milk are expected to increase exports to emerging markets such as Asia and the Middle East.

While the industry currently exports over half of the cheese produced annual­ly, this is expected to increase as both Asia and the Middle East are consuming greater amounts of cheese.

Despite health concerns contributing to downstream consumer demand for cheese, there has been an increase in demand for cheese from fast food outlets as more meals are being consumed away from home.

Industry at a glance: cheese manufacturing

Industry revenue: $1314.5 million (1.7% growth)

Export revenue: $823.7 million (7.2% decline)*

Import revenue: $111.8 million (3.3% growth)*

Major players: Murray Goulburn Co-operative, Australian Co-operative Foods, Fonterra Co-operative Group

*Estimated figures source: IBISWorld

Subscription

If you would like to receive FOOD Magazine’s weekly e-newsletter, subscribe here.

If you would like to receive FOOD Magazine, subscribe here.

Industry update: energy and sports drinks in high demand

The soft drink manufacturing industry is dominated by carbonated beverages such as colas, but energy and sports drinks are the fastest growing segments, fuelled by consumers’ increasingly active lifestyles and effective marketing campaigns.

Energy and sports drinks

Growth in the energy and sports drink sectors, as well as new product developments such as non-sugar soft drinks, have led to a revenue increase of approximately 7.2% from last year, amounting to $3187 million in 2006-07.

In a market where sales of traditional soft drinks remain stable, product innovation in new segments is vital for market growth.

Both energy and sports drinks have achieved a growth of approximately 20% per year as a result of packaging redesign, flavour innovation and marketing campaigns which have created new sub-segments within the category.

The market for sports drinks has broadened as they are increasingly promoted as a rehydration beverage for anyone feeling run down, not just sportsmen and sportswomen.

Competition from new categories such as sports water has also lead to sports drinks being reformulated to be low in sugar, appealing to health-conscious consumers.

IBISWorld has predicted that in the next five years industry sales revenue will increase at an average annual rate of 3.5%, amounting to $3.93 billion in 2012-13.

While increased consumption of bottled water and fruit juice will impact negatively on the soft drinks sector, a rise in consumers’ disposable income and growth in take-away and restaurant dining will see consumption patterns include more carbonated beverages, energy drinks and sports drinks.

Fruit juice and Fruit-flavoured drinks

Fruit-flavoured drinks and flavoured ice teas are also expected to rise as consumers opt for healthier beverages.

Fruit juice drinks containing less than 50% fruit juice have been losing market share to pure juice over the last few years due to consumers’ increasing health awareness.

This has also lead to an increase in the premium juice category within the chilled juice segment, as these juices are preservative and additive free.

However, during 2006-07 an increase in the price of fruit as a result of crop damage by Cyclone Larry in Queensland and frost in the Victorian Goulburn Valley led to a rise in chilled juice prices and, subsequently, growth in ambient juice sales despite their higher sugar and preservative content.

Single-serve premium fresh juices are expected to continue to represent a growing niche market in the future.

Supermarket house brands have become increasingly common and in demand across the beverage sector, making price an important basis of competition.

In the juice sector particularly, house brands have gained market share over the last year due to lower pricing, despite perceived lower quality.

In 2006-07, IBISWorld has estimated that fruit juice manufacturing industry revenue increased by 3%, to $955 million.

Growth within the juice sector is expected to continue at an average annual rate of 3.2%, amounting to $984 million in 2007-08.

Subscription

If you would like to receive FOOD Magazine’s weekly e-newsletter, subscribe here.

If you would like to receive FOOD Magazine, subscribe here.