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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.”

Approved claims open the door to weight management success

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 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 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, said: “The European weight management sector was worth US$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.”

She continued: “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.”

New protein concept addresses growing demand for ‘recombined’ cheese

Arla Foods Ingredients has developed a range of next-generation ‘recombining’ solutions that will enable dairy companies to produce high quality speciality cheeses without fresh milk.

The solutions offer dairy companies the opportunity to create recombined white, processed and cream cheeses based on Nutrilac functional milk proteins, water and fat – usually butterfat or anhydrous milk fat. They work on existing recombining machinery and generate no whey side-stream, maximising output and reducing waste.

Recombined dairy products are particularly common in parts of the world where there is limited or no access to fresh milk. This is often the case in regions such as Latin America, Africa, South East Asia, China and Russia. Recombined liquid milk and simple yoghurts made from rehydrated milk powder are already widely manufactured. However, recombined speciality cheeses have traditionally proved more complex and challenging to produce.

Recombined dairy products are also expected to increase in importance in the European Union when milk quotas are abolished on 1st April 2015.

Allma announce ‘it’s crunch time for Chorella’

Portugal-based microalgae supplier Allma has launched Chlorella Crunches, a concept that blends rice cereals with sun-grown Chlorella vulgaris powder to create a natural crispy snack and ingredient solution.

Chlorella Crunches are available in a range of sizes, shapes and flavours and with varying concentrations of Chlorella. They can be seasoned and eaten alone as a tasty and healthy snack, or included in a salty snack mix. Alternatively they can be used as an inclusion in a wide range of products, including yoghurts, breakfast cereals, snack bars, soups, salads and many more.

New Chlorella Crunches contain Allma’s high quality sun-grown Chlorella powder blended with white rice powder sourced from Europe. They are free of GMOs, gluten and all other major allergens.

Sofia Mendonça, Business Development Manager at Allma, says: “Chlorella Crunches have a wonderful crispy texture that adds depth and excitement to all kinds of food products. They are available in several sizes and shapes, and a range of flavours, which means they are extremely versatile in terms of the applications they can be used for. They work equally well in sweet and savoury products and – thanks to Chlorella’s nutrition profile – provide the opportunity to boost the health credentials of products in a wide range of categories.”

The sun-grown Chlorella supplied by Allma is a rich, natural and 100% vegetable source of protein, including all nine of the essential amino acids. It also contains significant levels of Omega 3 and 6 oils, complex carbohydrates, phytonutrients including lutein, beta-carotene, chlorophyll and zeaxanthin, and a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy life.

Sofia adds: “Chlorella Crunches are a great example of how Allma offers its customers much more than just a commodity product. We are focused on adding value to Chlorella and working closely with companies to help them develop new products that really exploit the potential of this amazing ingredient. Microalgae production is very sustainable and Chlorella is emerging as the food of the future. We are committed to helping our customers ensure they are at the vanguard of this trend with fantastic innovations like our new Chlorella Crunches.”

Allma’s Chlorella is grown at the state-of-the-art Algafarm production unit in Leiria, 100km north of Lisbon, in closed food-grade production systems, called photo-bioreactors. The photo-bioreactors are exposed to sunlight to encourage photosynthesis, mimicking the growth of microalgae as it occurs in nature.

Sun-grown Chlorella is highly valued because it is exceptionally rich in nutrients that develop naturally as a result of exposure to the sun. However, because Allma’s Chlorella is grown in closed production systems, there is far less risk of the contamination often associated with Chlorella produced in uncovered ‘ponds’ that are exposed to external elements. The closed production systems at Algafarm also enable greater control over cultivation conditions, ensuring consistently high quality Chlorella every time.

Allma is able to guarantee the quality of its Chlorella thanks to a rigorous and ongoing testing and analysis programme. All of Allma’s Chlorella ingredients are manufactured sustainably in Portugal to HACCP food-grade standards. They are non-GMO and fully approved for use in foods by authorities worldwide, including in the EU.

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.”

Puratos inaugurates its new €15 million Inspirience Centre

Puratos marks another milestone with the opening of its new 6000 sq m Inspirience Centre in Groot-Bijgaarden.

The state-of-the-art Inspirience Centre provides a platform for innovation through collaboration that will enable Puratos to continue to support its customers’ businesses around the world in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors.

The Inspirience Centre is where inspiration and years of experience and product knowledge from all over the world convene and are leveraged to create innovative bakery, patisserie and chocolate products and applications. Puratos researchers work in tandem with universities, research institutes and suppliers to research and develop products for the future in which nutrition, taste and convenience are key drivers. Internal and external research teams interact and exchange knowledge in an environment where technologies and competences criss-cross.

The Puratos Group already has local R&D units in all of its 69 subsidiaries around the world. The Inspirience Centre will develop innovative global technologies, which will then be rolled out and adapted accordingly by local R&D teams in function of their own market requirements. This global-local interaction and cooperation is vital for the successful development and implementation of new solutions for customers. As reliable partners in innovation, research and development has always been an important pillar for the company and its growth. The Puratos Group invests heavily in R&D - in 2013 this amounted to 2.5% of group revenues, a significantly higher proportion than is general for the food industry. The centre itself represents an investment of €15 million. Previously, Puratos also opened an Asian Development Centre in China, which represented an investment of €3.3 million.

The Inspirience Centre houses six laboratories, equipped with state-of-the-art material over an impressive space of 3000 sq m. Each lab focuses on a different stage of the highly sophisticated and complex research involved in analysing and creating today’s food products. Huge efforts have also been devoted to making the Inspirience Centre’s offices and labs as environmentally friendly as possible. A green roof helps modulate the impact of fluctuations in outside temperatures and slows down water run-off. Automated sun screens reduce the impact of heat through luminous windows, which in turn reduce the need for additional lighting. Smart use of natural resources such as light, air and rainwater means lower consumption of water and energy and lower CO2 emissions. Even the ovens have been given their own insulated room to lower their impact on the air-conditioning.

Daniel Malcorps, Puratos CEO, says, “We continue to invest heavily in R&D resources and infrastructures so as to be close to our customers and help them to further develop their businesses."

drink technology India sets outstanding visitor record

The trade fair duo drink technology India and International PackTech India were extremely successful with a visitor increase of 37%. Around 10,250 trade visitors came to the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre to obtain information about solutions for the international packaging, package printing, processing, beverage and food industries.

drink technology India and International PackTech India took place for the third time together under one roof. A total of 230 exhibitors presented their products on the three days, 119 of them exhibited at drink technology India, which experienced an increase of around 20% in its number of exhibitors and occupied net area. The area of food processing was represented at drink technology India for the first time and is to be expanded further in the future at both shows.

Dr Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Messe München International, says, "We have achieved a completely new level with this result. Following three joint events, drink technology India and International PackTech India have finally become established in the India market."

The Round Table Talk, held for the first time at drink technology India, generated a lot of interest. Five renowned representatives of the international beverage and food industry discussed the topic Outlook for Beverages and Food in India 2020. Topics such as hygiene, safety and waste management were focal points of the panel discussion, topics with which the Indian industry is increasingly dealing.

The next drink technology India and International PackTech India is expected to take place from 28th to 30th April 2016, again in the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre in Mumbai.

Double celebration for the School of Artisan Food

The UK’s award-winning School of Artisan Food, based in Nottinghamshire, is hosting its annual advanced diploma graduation ceremony in the same week as the School celebrates its fifth birthday.

The Advanced Diploma class of 2014 completed the course in July and all will graduate, with many already employed in artisan bakeries or setting-up their own business.

Since the School opened in October, 2009 there have been over 5,500 students through the doors. Traditional skills of baking, cheese making and butchery lie at the heart of the School’s teaching with additional skills such as chocolate making, business skills and brewing also being taught.

Joe Piliero, Director at The School of Artisan Food says: “When we initially set-up five years ago our aim was to deliver high quality training across a range of food skills which are in danger of being lost. We’re now in the position where we’ve not only passed those skills onto thousands of people but some of those are now leading a growing, artisan food industry.”

Sandie Tomlinson, one of the School’s graduates says: “The experience I gained was invaluable and definitely helped build my confidence in my practical skills as well as clarifying the realities of running a bakery as a business.”

The latest group of Advanced Diploma Graduates will be presented with their Diploma certificates on Thursday 16th October.

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