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GNT Group bundles its power of innovation

GNT, the provider of colouring foods, has restructured and consolidated its innovation and R&D teams. The arget is to continue to be able to optimally meet the individual requirements of clients in the food and beverage industry.

Bettina Blau, Managing Director of GNT Europa GmbH and new member of the GNT Group’s Executive Committee, will head the newly created department. She says, “As a pioneer in this market segment, GNT is aware of its responsibility and is eager to actively support the development of its customers’ global markets with its newly created structures. In the future GNT will continue to be the guarantor for safe, clean and innovative products."

Her former sales responsibilities will be taken over by Petra Thiele, pictured right with Bettina, who has recently been appointed to the Managing board of GNT Europa GmbH. Petra has been working for GNT for many years. Prior to her new assignment she worked as Market Development Manager, where she was responsible for the opening of new markets and the establishment of a GNT branch in Singapore.

Sheep Print introduces NPD solution

One of the leading UK suppliers of labelling solutions for plastic containers, Sheep Print is targeting new product development managers with a low run in-mould labelling solution.

Thanks to new production developments Sheep Print can now do runs from as little as 10,000 labelled pots and matching lids, allowing food companies to professionally present their new products without needing to resort to self-adhesive labels.

IML provides a high quality, more professional appearance than a conventional sticky product label, but minimum label production numbers have previously often ruled them out for use on new food trials due to initial lower production runs.

The move by Sheep Print to offer lower IML production quantities should prove of particular benefit to new product development managers who are often under pressure to test the market with initial product launches, to determine whether there is a demand to justify full scale production.

Traditionally, the minimum number of IML labels that could be produced was 50,000 which meant that many companies were unable to justify the cost on low batch product numbers. However, this has also changed with the intervention of Sheep Print which is trying to pioneer a move towards companies always using IML.

Unlike many other suppliers, Sheep Print also offers quick project turnaround times, this is typically four to five weeks after the artwork has been signed off, which provides food personnel and new product managers with far greater flexibility. The company also offers a fast turnaround design service, providing samples of the whole range - for visual reference, advice on colour schemes for particular products and grant easy access to the technical information. This provides for an easier and faster decision making process.

Sheep Print, a BRC accredited supplier, is no stranger to the food industry and its extensive range of tamper-proof IML printed plastic containers are already used for a wide variety of food products including ready meals, snacks, soups, yoghurts, breakfast cereals, desserts, ice cream and many other foods.

IML plastic pots offer a number of advantages over conventional sticky labelled pots. These include a more professional finish, matching lids and containers, a security lock and are leak and tamper proof. IML eliminates the need for label application, thus reducing machine or labour costs. IML pots are also stronger than thermoformed pots and can be filled at much higher temperatures. The company hopes that the short batch runs will appeal to not just large food producers looking to do food trials, but also SMEs keen to present the feel of a more established on-shelf appearance.

Milda Laurikiete, Sheep Print’s Head of UK Operations, says, “We decided to introduce innovative new technology which has enable us to cut the production quantity from 50,000 to 10,000 IML labels to enable us to target the new product development market. This solution is ideal for product launches and trials and although the costs per label are a little bit higher on a 10,000 run we think the cost is justified because of the much greater professionalism the labels provide.”

The best of the best

It would be wrong to say that 2014 saw the effects of the financial crisis of recent years totally eradicated, and with the news that Japan has returned to recession the recovery is clearly somewhat fragile. Yet the news from the food and drink industry looks encouraging with many companies reporting hugely impressive growth over the past twelve months.

One way of tracing the success of the industry is to review the attendances at the various exhibitions and many of these are reporting increased numbers in 2014. The Nordic Organic Food Fair in Malmo enjoyed a 13% increase in total attendance, with the show itself doubling in size from its launch in 2013. There were also increased attendances at many other shows in recent months including lunch! and Packaging Innovations.

There was also a 37% increase in visitors at drink technology India this autumn – testament to how many previously under-developed nations are enjoying significant growth. The event was sponsored by the professional association Food Processing and Packaging Machinery in the German Engineering Federation, and its Managing Director Richard Clemens says, "Our expectations with respect to the number of visitors and competence were considerably exceeded. You sense a very positive mood with corresponding investment projects."

Other territories also report impressive growth. The second Foodex Saudi event took place in November and this is a market a growing number of businesses are looking to target. Simon Blazeby, Head of Exhibitions at Reed Sunaidi, who mounted the show, says, "The Saudi food sector is expected to grow by 55.3% over the next few years, reaching $70 billion per annum. Being the largest consumer in the Gulf, the Kingdom’s food and agricultural commodities account for 15%, or $17.5 billion, of its imports, with agricultural imports projected to grow by as much as 76% by 2016."

This success in new markets doesn't mean existing markets are losing out and many companies are reporting new opportunities and successes during 2014. Those companies who have been able to meet the increased demand among consumers for more natural flavours and a more efficient production process are reaping the rewards, with Kite Packaging, for example, introducing new environmentally friendly options for their customers which have proven especially popular.

Efficiency and sustainability have probably been the key topics for the food and drink industry this year and many companies across the world have met the new challenges and enjoyed great success. They're also well-placed to reach even greater heights in 2015.

Kampffmeyer Food Innovation is now GoodMills Innovation

Kampffmeyer Food Innovation GmbH has a new corporate design and a new name - GoodMills Innovation GmbH. Following the renaming of the German mother company VK Mühlen AG to GoodMills Deutschland GmbH in October, this latest rebranding is the next step towards a uniform brand presence.

All business units remain unchanged under the umbrella of GoodMills Deutschland GmbH. The mills will continue producing their standard product range of premium milled grain products while GoodMills Innovation GmbH will continue refining the flours from its sister companies and serving the functional ingredients market.

Michael Gusko, Managing Director of GoodMills Innovation GmbH, says, “We are still far away from unlocking the full market potential of the raw material grain. According to our motto “We unlock the power of grain” we will continue to focus on the technological functionality of milled grain products and on exploring the health potential of grain. Being part of the largest milling group in Europe will enable us to further strengthen our market position and to become even more competitive.”

European Coffee Awards winners announced

The Allegra Group has announced the winners of the European Coffee Awards.

More than four hundred senior executives from across the coffee and food-to-go sectors gathered for a night of industry celebration at the InterContinental, Istanbul during the European Coffee Symposium. Award winners were honoured during a prestigious black tie gala dinner and ceremony, featuring music by Hedige Guven.

Costa Coffee were named ‘Best Coffee Chain – Europe’ for an incredible fourth year in a row, with indie Timberyard, who are based in the UK, named as ‘Best Independent Coffee Shop - Europe’.

Five individual awards were given out to personalities identified for their Outstanding Contribution to the Coffee Industry in their country or across Europe - Mario Pascucci, MD, Caffè Pascucci, Nick Tolley, Co-Founder, Harris + Hoole, Tim Sturk, Head of Training, BaxterStorey, John Nylon, CEO, Espresso House and Gennaro Pelliccia, Production Technical Manager, Costa Coffee. The awards culminated with the Lifetime Achievement award, handed to Andy Marshall, Managing Director of Costa Coffee.

Companies and individual award winners were recognised through a targeted voting campaign run by Allegra from July to October, where more than a thousand senior industry executives took part.

Approved claims open the door to weight management success

Health claims approved by the European Commission offer significant potential for nutrition companies operating in the weight management category, according to botanicals supplier Naturex.

Naturex has developed two innovative convenience food concepts incorporating active ingredients authorised to carry generic Article 13.1 claims related to maintaining a healthy weight. The products will be on show at Health Ingredients Europe.

The first concept is Slimming Noodles enriched with glucomannan (dietary fibre) from konjac, which means the product is permitted to carry the claim “contributes to weight loss” as part of a calorie-controlled diet. The Slimming Noodles are prepared with a delicious stock containing a blend of unique aromatic flavouring extracts, which makes it possible to reduce salt and fat levels and enhance the health credentials of the product further.

The second concept is a Gluco-Control ‘Mug Cake’, an apple and cinnamon-flavoured muffin presented in a cup and formulated with oat beta-glucans, which are approved for the claim “contributes to the reduction of post-prandial glycaemic response”. Controlling blood sugar levels is associated with maintaining a healthy weight. In addition, blood sugar concerns and being overweight are health risk factors that are often associated with metabolic syndrome.

Leslie Lannebere, Business Manager at Naturex, says, “The European weight management sector was worth $2.8 billion in 2013, according to Euromonitor. It is a thriving category and the key to success in this market is to create products that help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight while also offering convenience, delicious taste and a pleasant eating experience. Our Slimming Noodles and Gluco-Control Mug Cake concepts tick all the right boxes in this respect. Not only are they highly effective and backed by approved health claims, but they also taste fantastic and showcase just what is possible with the right ingredients and recipes.

“In spite of concerns about the impact of the European Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, in fact there are many approved claims which provide the opportunity for companies to develop healthy food and beverage products backed by substantiated and approved claims. The applications we have created for Health Ingredients Europe will inspire companies who are looking for fresh opportunities to create new weight management products that will really resonate with consumers.”

Food and Drink Forum stages annual networking event

Around 85 guests attended the flagship event of business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum. Staged at Southwell Racecourse, the annual supper is one of the largest networking events for the East Midlands food and drink sector and attracted delegates from across the region.

The Food and Drink Forum, which is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, has members across the district, including manufacturers, food service operators and businesses providing services for the food and drink sector.

The supper heard from several key speakers including Beckie Rowland of bakery giant Greggs who spoke about the recruitment of ex-offenders and the importance of this within the community. Oliver Brown from Derbyshire family firm Bluebells Real Dairy Ice Cream also spoke about the difficulties milk farmers face and farm diversification as a solution to this. He also added that the Food and Drink Forum had played a vital role in helping his company to achieve SALSA approval allowing them to expand to sell to the National Trust.

Other speakers included Dips Patel from Loughborough-based Mistry and Co who spoke of their mission to use food to educate and inspire others.

Key industry figures from across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland attended the event which also featured displays by Nottingham Trent University, The Federation of Small Businesses, Chemex and From The Notebook.

Food and Drink Forum chairman Peter Knight said the food and drink sector had faced an interesting and exciting year, speaking in particular of the success of the Leicester Food Park, with the Forum having recently secured the management of the park in a joint bid with the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce.

He says, “I am very pleased with how the first members’ supper at Southwell Racecourse has gone. The evening has been a great success with members’ produce enjoyed by around 85 guests and thought-provoking speeches.” Peter Knight also thanked the Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2 for helping the Forum move forward once again.

Chairman of D2N2 Peter Richardson says the food and drink sector was key in creating new jobs. He says, “The Food and Drink Forum are vital in providing businesses in the private sector with everything they need to drive themselves forward. In the East Midlands we are at the heart of the UK’s economy and we need to strive to be at the heart of Europe’s too. However, to do this the private sector needs a voice, and the Food and Drink Forum offers companies that voice.”

Line proves dedication to accurate meat portioning

The capability to have a whole line dedicated to the portioning of fresh meat is now available in the UK and Ireland from Interfood Technology following the introduction of TVI’s total concept.

TVI’s new line offers crust freezing, slicing, portion control, shingling and tray dispensing, providing the ideal solution for a wide range of fresh meats – beef, lamb, pork and turkey – for both bone-in and bone-less products as well as dicing, all on the same machine.

The patented gripper-less press and slice system ensures excellent yield and reduced give-away, with figures typically less than 3% give-away for bone-in products and less than 2% on bone-less. It also provides significant advances in terms of pack presentation, a major benefit as retailers look to maximise shelf appeal.

TVI is a name that is becoming synonymous with fresh meat slicing as major food producers increasingly recognise the benefits that it brings to their operation. Central to the line is the GMS 500 singlecut multi-functional portioning system which even shingles the product, making it easier to inlay into trays.

Flexibility is also ensured with the capacity to change product type in minutes, with the portioner featuring up to12 different cavities to enable quick changeover for a wide range of products, from sirloin steaks to pork loin steaks, from cutlets to belly strips, from dicing to neck steaks, without the need for tools, thereby optimising machine uptime.

This flexibility also removes the need for different, separate slicing lines to deal with bone-in and bone-less product. With just the change of a mould and a blade, the switch can be made from bone-less to bone-in loins in minutes.

Through the innovative design of the product transport and slicing system, the meat can be processed without intensive crust freezing or tempering being required. This reduces energy costs, means less drip-loss and again adds to a better visual quality in store.

When it comes to investing in a line, the support from the supplier is a vital element in the equation. Interfood Technology, the sole supplier of TVI pressing and slicing systems in the UK and Ireland, has a TVI- trained team dedicated to providing the knowledge and support necessary to optimise productivity.

This team has recently been further extended with the appointment of two new engineers, an investment made by Interfood to reflect the growth in the fresh meat slicing market and the increasing role that TVI is playing in delivering the technology required.

Richard Nethercot, Product Manager for this line, at the Interfood Group says: “The growth in TVI equipment being employed in fresh meat applications throughout the UK and Ireland has been dramatic.

"With the capability we now have to provide complete lines, we see tremendous potential for this trend to continue and even develop further, hence the addition of the two new engineers to our team.

"Time and time again, customers are commenting on the flexibility, with the technology able to do anything that is asked of it, providing fixed weight and regular slice thickness, as well as high capacity through its short loading cycles, whatever the product. Also proving popular is the internet connection diagnostics facility which allows remote dial-in, thus saving time in fine tuning.”

Cuckoo Bircher Muesli wins raft of new listings

A national call for innovative and exciting breakfast and snack foods has secured award winning Bircher muesli brand Cuckoo three new listings at Waitrose, Booths and First Great Western Trains.

Cuckoo is a British start-up success story that has transformed the traditional breakfast Bircher muesli offering of soaked oats, grated apple and yogurt with a range of delicious flavours for the modern palate, including Choco Sour Cherry and Mango & Coconut in easy on-the-go pots.

Tapping into the healthy breakfast and snack trend, Cuckoo was founded by Lucy Wright and Anna Mackenzie, aged 25, childhood friends and young entrepreneurs who eschewed the traditional graduate options of internships and office jobs to launch a colourful muesli brand.

Cuckoo launched at the 2013 Lunch trade show and was listed in Selfridges in December. The brand has gone from strength to strength and a flurry of 2014 listings now includes Waitrose, First Great Western Trains, Booths, Partridges, Amanzi Tea, Harvey Nichols, Daylesford, AMT Coffee, Whole Foods, As Nature Intended, Recipease, Sourced Market, Bayley & Sage and The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel.

Lucy Wright, Co-Founder of Cuckoo says: “We thought the on-the-go breakfast and snack sector needed a fresh, modern brand that transports Bircher muesli into the 21st Century.”

“We are delighted by the reception Cuckoo has received and the raft of new listings is testament to the fact that national demand is growing for original and premium on-the-go food products.”

“We are extremely excited about the next twelve months, which we predict to be a period of accelerated growth for the brand and we are planning to unveil new products in summer 2015.”

Every mouthwatering, healthy and satisfying spoonful of Cuckoo Bircher muesli is varied and interesting with juicy berries, crunchy dark linseeds and flavourful swirls of fruity compote. The bold colours and attractive layers of finest quality natural ingredients ensure Cuckoo Bircher muesli appeals to the eye and stands out on the shelf.

From a range of five, the on-the-go pots are designed to be enjoyed at any time: not just for breakfast.

Cuckoo Bircher muesli is proud to be made in Britain with home-grown jumbo oats and creamy West Country yoghurt and provides consumers with the perfect balance of health and satisfying deliciousness.

The Cuckoo Bircher muesli selection comprises five flavours, all RRP £2.49 for a 190g single-serve pot:

• Apple & Cinnamon Spice, with plump and juicy flame raisins

• Mango & Coconut, with a tropical twist of lime and ginger

• Elderflower & Cranberry, with a blueberry and blackcurrant compote

• Choco Sour Cherry, with a smooth layer of Madagascan vanilla

• Apricot & Madagascan Vanilla, with a tangy raspberry compote

Bread with the emphasis on health

A team of leading European researchers, industry partners and artisan bakeries has developed a range of innovative grain-based raw materials for baked goods with improved nutritional profiles.

The EU-funded HealthGrain and HealthBread projects set out to develop wheat-based raw materials that would help to improve the nutritional value of baked goods. Intended to boost health promotion by improving the nutritional content of staple foods, the interlocking projects were the EU’s largest in this area to date. Now, following seven years of research and product development and a total investment of €17.5 million, the studies are complete and the results are bearing fruit.

The project partners have developed new technologies for the production of more nutritious raw materials on an industrial scale. The new wheat products can be used to produce white and whole grain baked goods with better nutritional profiles. Artisan bakeries from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria have verified the ingredients’ feasibility in practice by producing popular region-specific baked goods. The findings of the projects have now been put together in a bakers manual which will be made available to bakeries across Europe to encourage the production of health-promoting staple foods.

Researchers working on the HealthGrain project came to two main scientific conclusions. On the one hand, their studies proved that it is the aleurone layer surrounding the wheat kernel that contains the grain’s highest amount of valuable nutrients – and not, as was previously believed, the wheat germ. The research showed that wheat aleurone cells contain considerably more vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and antioxidants. On the other hand, the scientists discovered that the whole grain’s nutrients are more bioavailable after the grain has been fermented. Using this knowledge as a base, technologies for the production of corresponding wheat raw materials were developed.

During the HealthBread project, the theories of the HealthGrain project were put into practice. The industry partners implemented the innovative technologies to produce wheat aleurone and fermented wheat whole grain concentrate. Both raw materials were made available to the participating bakeries. The bakeries then created several recipes for delicious and nutritionally improved baked goods, with one product being brought to market maturity.

The findings of the projects are summarised in a bakers manual which provides inspiration for the production of health-promoting baked goods and gives advice about possible health-related claims that can be used when marketing these products.

Dr Carola Funk, Head of R&D at Kampffmeyer Food Innovation, says, “These projects provide an impressive demonstration of how outstanding and innovative products can come to life if research is combined with artisan craftsmanship. The HealthBread project was particularly exciting because of its diversified character. On the one hand, we were able to draw on our expertise in the development of grain-based raw materials. On the other hand, it allowed us to demonstrate our competence in regulatory and marketing related issues.”

Erich Kasses, Artisan project partner from Austria, adds, “I have taken part in several EU projects, but this one was unique because research and practice were very tightly interlocked. I learned a lot about wheat, our main raw material, and am now able to bake the most health-promoting baked goods in the world. Although at times it wasn’t easy to juggle the project with our everyday work, our personnel were very motivated and keen to see the results. In the end, all of our efforts were worth it - the bread we created has become a best-seller.”

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