FDF sets out ingredients for a successful 2015

The food and drink manufacturing industry is committed to strengthening its industrial partnership with Government to deliver long-term, sustainable growth in the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.

At an industry reception, the Food and Drink Federation reaffirmed its ambition to grow sustainably by 20% by 2020 by continuing to grow UK exports and foster innovation, in partnership with government. The creation of a long-term, industry-led skills strategy and support for robust voluntary frameworks which incentivise industry action is also needed to deliver public health and environmental benefits.

The event builds on ‘Ingredients for Success: Delivering Sustainable Growth Beyond 2015’, FDF’s agenda for working in partnership with government post-election launched in the summer.

Fiona Kendrick, CEO and Chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland, was formally appointed FDF President-elect at the event, successor to Richard Evans, President of PepsiCo West Europe & South Africa Region. Fiona Kendrick says, “The food and drink industry has much to be proud of. We are determined to remain world-class with our products sought around the globe so our industry and the economy can enjoy continued export growth. Innovation, creativity and skills will unlock the next generation of product and process development that will help us improve employment, productivity and competitiveness.

“In my new role as FDF President I look forward to building on the sector’s many successes to date and strengthening our ability to grow sustainably by 20% by 2020 in partnership with Government and other players.”

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, pictured, who delivered the event’s keynote address, said, “The UK’s food chain is an economic powerhouse worth a record £103 billion and employing one in eight people. Our food and farming industry is exciting, dynamic and at the forefront of technology and innovation - I want to ensure we support it to remain world beating.

“The Food and Drink Federation plays a crucial role as the voice of UK food and drink manufacturers and I thank them for the continued work which is helping drive this industry’s ongoing success.”

Puratos confirms commitment to sustainable cocoa industry

Puratos, the specialist in bakery, patisserie and chocolate products, has inaugurated a Cocoa collection and fermentation plant in San Pedro province in Ivory Coast. Created in partnership with the French chocolate maker Cémoi, this confirms Puratos’ strong commitment to long-term sustainability of Ivorian cocoa.

The official opening ceremony of the cocoa collection and fermentation plant took place on the site near Adjamené village. The ceremony was attended by around 400 farmers from the cooperative, Puratos, Cémoi teams and local dignitaries.

Patrick Poirrier, President of the CEMOI Group, says, "Through this partnership of two family-owned companies, CEMOI and PURATOS team up to reinforce the cocoa network in Ivory Coast. This commitment is in line with the CEMOI sustainability vision to promote a traceable aromatic cocoa with respect for the people who grow it and the environment where they live."

The first Puratos cocoa collection and fermentation plant was opened in November 2013 in Vietnam. Ivory Coast is the logical location for a second plant - the country, the world's largest grower, will produce 1.55 million tons of cocoa in 2014/2015 according to ICCO. In doing so, Puratos will help accelerate the development of the sustainable cocoa supply chain, encouraging direct contacts with farmers communities to ensure full traceability for better livelihoods.

Eddy Van Belle, Chairman of the Board of Puratos Group, says, “Puratos believes sustainability is a win-win relationship for every actor in the cocoa supply chain, from the farmers to the consumers. Through better productivity, quality and returns to farmers, community development is improved, farmers are empowered and continue to grow cocoa, and chocolate can be enjoyed for many years to come. As a medium-sized user of cocoa beans and cocoa products from all over the world, Puratos Group is keen on securing future supplies of high-quality cocoa beans processed as part of a sustainable system.”

The CCFP is a community centre and post-harvest centre. Farmers from the cooperative can bring their wet beans for fermentation, drying and bagging for export. By handling the post-harvest process, Puratos gains full control over the quality of the cocoa products, to guarantee a constant taste profile of its chocolates solutions. In return, the farmers get a better income, as well as find support services offered by Puratos such as training.

Eddy Van Belle says, “Through our work with Cémoi, we believe Ivory Coast can produce great quality cocoa. That is why we provide training focused on quality management, as a good chocolate cannot be made without the best cocoa beans."

This initiative is part of Puratos’ Cacao-Trace initiative, its unique sustainable certification dedicated to partnering directly with farmers and working closely with them. Already active in Vietnam and Ivory Coast, the goal of Cacao-Trace is to secure long-term cocoa production and sustainable development in the whole supply chain.

It not only covers the three pillars of sustainable development – social, environmental and economic – but also quality and traceability requirements. Cacao-Trace aims to upscale the livelihoods of the farmers by improving their income with quality premiums and providing them agricultural training. This allows them to increase yields and to develop an entrepreneurial spirit for future generations. Investments in cocoa collection and fermentation plants are one of the ways Puratos is able to implement its Cacao-Trace in producing countries.

Quest for digestibility drives yogurt consumption in China

DSM have published a paper investigating the reasons behind rising yogurt consumption in China and provides new insights in how health-conscious, lactose-intolerant Chinese consumers are embracing this dairy food. Based on a survey carried out in countries as varied as China, US, Brazil, and Turkey, the results reveal that perceived gut health benefits and added probiotics are driving significantly higher yogurt demand in China than the other countries surveyed. Moreover, improving digestibility would result in even further increases in Chinese yogurt consumption.

Part of the DSM Global Insight Series, the paper focuses on the main drivers of yogurt consumption in China – a significant emerging market for dairy manufacturers. It reveals the importance of probiotics as the driver of purchase, as 8 out of 10 Chinese consumers actively seek a product containing this added ingredient. The survey also shows that the rising yogurt consumption is heavily influenced by Chinese consumers embracing a healthy lifestyle and their belief that yogurt is good for their overall gut health. 76% of Chinese consumers choose yogurt for its gut health benefits compared to an average of 48% in the other markets surveyed including US, Brazil, Turkey, Poland and France.

Digestibility is also cited by our Chinese consumers as the key reason to further increase their consumption of yogurt. If it was ‘easier-to-digest’, Chinese consumers that have not increased their consumption of this dairy food over the last three years, report that they would eat more yogurt. Digestibility, as a barrier to increased consumption, is more pronounced in China – where up to 95% of the population may be lactose intolerant – than in other countries surveyed.

For the full report as well as inforgraphics, click here

Barry Callebaut inaugurates first chocolate factory in Chile

The Barry Callebaut Group, the leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, has officially inaugurated its first chocolate factory in Chile. The state-of-the-art facility in Paine, located approximately 40km from the capital city of Santiago de Chile, has an initial annual production capacity of around 25,000 tonnes of liquid chocolate and compound.

Paine was chosen as the site of the new factory due to its proximity to Santiago’s central economic district and geographic accessibility to existing and potential customers in Chile and adjacent countries. The factory will serve as a regional base for Barry Callebaut to tap into the rapidly-growing Chilean chocolate market while capturing new opportunities in the broader Andean region.

Juergen Steinemann, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, says, “The inauguration of our new factory in Chile further confirms our commitment to serving customers throughout Latin America. As the global popularity of chocolate continues to grow, our focus remains on expanding into emerging markets to better serve our customer being food manufacturers and confectionery companies. Chile is an attractive market for growth, as do neighboring countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru.”

Gerardo Elizondo, the Barry Callebaut Group’s General Manager for the Andean Region, says, “There is a significant growth momentum of the Chilean chocolate market compared to other Latin American markets. The growth potential includes a fast-growing demand for high-quality chocolate, technical services and innovations. That’s where we can offer added-value to our customers.”

With a yearly chocolate consumption of 2.2kg per capita, Chile is among the top markets in Latin America. Currently, the total annual volume of chocolate confectionery products consumed in the Chilean market sums up to 40,000 tonnes. The market is expected to grow by nearly 3.5% per annum in volume until 2019 – much higher than the long-term average annual volume growth rate of the global chocolate market of 2.0%.

Since 2008, the Barry Callebaut Group has accelerated its expansion efforts in Latin America by opening seven factories in three countries. In addition to the new Chile factory, the company operates two cocoa factories and one chocolate factory in Brazil, as well as one cocoa factory and two chocolate factories in Mexico.

The new factory in Paine, Santiago de Chile, is Barry Callebaut’s first chocolate factory in the Andean Region. It will also serve as a regional sales and management headquarters.

Bytronic achieve Cognex Platinum Partner System Integrator status

Midlands-based Bytronic Automation Ltd are celebrating being named as the UK’s first Cognex Platinum Partner System Integrator. The award was achieved in October 2014 and Bytronic are one of handful of companies worldwide to attain this status.

The award, for partner involvement and performance, is based on the commercial actions taken by Bytronic to reach their goals and turnover target and recognises the company’s advanced knowledge of Cognex hardware and software offerings. Bytronic’s innovative vision system project planning and singular approach, together with great results and high standards, has enabled them to expand and contribute to Cognex’s global success. To date, Bytronic have sold hundreds of Cognex systems.

Cognex is the leading machine vision systems manufacturer, offering complete turnkey solutions from feasibility studies, design and implementation of vision systems through to documentation, training and support. The Cognex Platinum Partner System Integrator (PSI) Programme aims to provide customers with superior service standards, as both Cognex and Bytronic are 100% committed to responding efficiently to queries, with both teams dedicated to satisfying customer needs throughout the life of a project.

Cognex Barcode Readers ensure accurate product labelling
At the manufacturing plant and distribution centre of a global consumer product manufacturer, boxes of powder products are produced and packaged ready for distribution. As part of the vital pre-shipment labelling process, approximately 150 boxes are stacked on each pallet which is then stretch wrapped before a label is printed and affixed. This ensures complete product traceability and accurate delivery of goods to their destination.

Previously, information on the pallets’ contents was stored on a PLC. However, this was not 100% accurate and occasionally led to mislabelling. To overcome this and ensure products were shipped accurately, a new system was required to identify all the products within one pallet. Bytronic, experts in test and measurement, automation and process control solutions, developed a system that could cope with these challenges. Responsible for the complete design and installation, Bytronic undertook extensive testing using a Cognex DataMan barcode reader with enhanced Field of View (FOV) capabilities. This high performance camera delivered significantly improved results at a lower cost option than a laser scanner system.

Stewart Jackson of Bytronic commented, “Cognex products consistently deliver unrivalled read rates across a wide range of applications. A laser scanner would not be able to handle the challenges of this application, which is vital for maintaining accurate product distribution.”

The system uses a DataMan 303 camera permanently installed on the line. Only one camera is required per line due to the expanded field of view technology. The pallets leave the stretch wrapper on a conveyor and move past the camera, which reads the barcode on each box contained within the pallet. The barcodes can appear anywhere within a 500mm tall x 1m wide FOV with the 1-D barcode code being only 60x30mm. The camera is integrated to the pallet labeller via Ethernet to send the scanned codes and set up the appropriate pallet label, which is then affixed automatically to the pallet ready for shipment. With line speeds of approx. 0.5m/s processing around three pallets per minute, the system has provided a 100% read rate.

Tel: 01564 793174

OAL Group scoop Technological Development of the Year

OAL Group has won the award for Technological Development of the Year at the Food Processing Awards for the second year running. This year the company’s patented high accuracy liquid dosing technology Batchmate proved triumphant in the highly competitive innovation category.

Batchmate allows bakeries to produce a more consistent loaf of bread with less ingredient waste by dosing high concentrate ingredients accurately. Furthermore by enabling the use of higher concentrate liquid ingredients, the volumes of ingredients transported has fallen thus reducing the carbon footprint of their bread production.

Harry Norman, MD of OAL Group, syas, “It’s fantastic for OAL Group to be recognised for innovation. We invest considerably more than the average engineering company in R&D, circa 8% of turnover, because we know that innovation is critical to not just to our own success but the challenges the food industry faces.”

Last year OAL Group’s revolutionary heating and mixing process Steam Infusion won the same award. OAL are leading a £1million UK government funded Nutrition for Life project into the development of healthier food using Steam Infusion in partnership with the University of Lincoln and a leading UK food manufacturer.

Off the back of this research project, one of OAL Group’s talented young engineers was shortlisted for the young talent of the year category at the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards. Ben Bowman joined OAL in 2013 after graduating from the University of Bristol with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and has been heavily involved with the Steam Infusion Nutrition for Life project.

Acting Director of FDF announced

Jim Moseley, former Managing Director of General Mills UK, Eire & Nordic and FDF President from 2011 to 2013, is to become Acting Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, following the resignation of Melanie Leech. Melanie joins the British Property Federation in the New Year and the process of recruiting her successor is underway.

President of the Federation Richard Evans says, “I am delighted to welcome Jim back to FDF. This is an important time for the sector and Jim has a wealth of industry experience and a knowledge of FDF that equips him well to see the Federation through until we have a permanent Director General in place.”

Jim Moseley says, “I'm delighted to be asked to lead FDF through the transition to a new Director General. FDF has enjoyed huge success under Melanie's leadership and I look forward to continuing that progress with her talented team."

Pluckr wins Food Valley Award

Pluckr, a machine that uses ultrasonic vibrations to rapidly de-bunch grapes without damaging them, has won the Food Valley Award 2014. The machine was developed by JFPT/foodlife and TOP.

“Winning this prize is fantastic,” says Patrick Jansen of JFTP/foodlife.

“It’s a real perk to continue to innovate. Launching a new technology and finding markets for it is quite a challenge. No doubt winning the Food Valley Award is going to make a difference.”

Wouter de Heij of TOP adds: “We are incredibly proud of the fruit of our partnership. Winning this award is the cherry on the cake. And it shows that innovative technologies can help increase profit margins in the sector. We are happy to be contributing to that.”

The new grape de-buncher is a compact piece of equipment featuring 3-12 heads, each of which consists of a small, stainless steel gripper and a vibration system.

Depending on the number of heads, Pluckr can de-bunch 300-600 kilos of fruit per hour. By comparison, the top speed of manual de-bunching is 20 kilos per hour.

The equipment is unique in its use of ultrasonic vibrations combined with the multidirectional drive technology. Grapes are gently shaken off their stems and stay whole, while on existing systems the fruit suffers damage from being ‘massaged’ off the stalks. An additional benefit is that the machine can easily be combined with another new technology for packaging the loose grapes in a modified atmosphere that extends their shelf life to 3 or 4 weeks.

In its praise for Pluckr, the Food Valley Award judges’ panel said: “We are impressed with the amount of research and development that went into this innovation. Thanks to their intensive collaboration, JFPT/foodlife and TOP successfully developed and combined new technologies into a single machine. We believe the de-stemmer has considerable market potential because of its wider applicability and offers great benefits to the fruit and vegetable processing industry. These considerations convinced us to crown the Pluckr the 2014 Food Valley Award winner.”

This is the 10th year that Food Valley NL has presented the Food Valley Award. An independent panel of experts has judged the entries on their innovativeness, economic viability, originality and degree of collaboration. The other nominees considered for this year’s prize were the biodegradable, isothermal champagne packaging developed by PaperFoam and Veuve Clicquot, and fresh, chilled, pressure-treated baby food by Pit-Foodconcepts.

FB Chain tastes success with food-grade conveyor solutions

A new range of lube-free plastic combination chains from FB Chain for the food and drink industries meets strict EU food processing standards.

The traditional stainless steel chains typically used in the food and beverage industries are ripe for premature wear. A risk of contamination from lubricants, especially where direct contact with consumables is unavoidable – such as in the production of bread and other baked goods – means that the chains are frequently required to operate dry. With a short service life and high replacement costs, these chains can be a drain on resources.

Enter FB Chain, who have developed a new range of corrosion-resistant chains specifically for the food and beverage industries that do not require lubrication for optimal performance and meet strict hygiene standards. FB Chain’s plastic combination chain is constructed from food-grade engineering plastic inner links, supported by 304 grade stainless steel bearing pins and outer link plates. The PC chain matches the strength of standard stainless steel chain but has a much lower friction co-efficient, eliminating the need for lubrication and increasing wear life.

The PC chain is also much quieter and an impressive 50% lighter, helping manufacturers to meet energy efficiency and environmental targets, while enjoying a significantly lower total cost of ownership. Furthermore, the bushed design of the plastic inner link ensures that in wash down applications there is no risk of food residue becoming trapped between the chain components and resulting in contamination over time.

FB Chain’s PC chain is available from stock in food-grade blue. A general purpose white engineering plastic is also available, with both versions supplied in sizes 3/8” to 3/4” pitch. The chain is dimensionally interchangeable with stainless steel chain, meaning no adjustments to sprockets or other existing conveyor components are required to accommodate it. Nevertheless, the company is able to supply a wide range of sprockets made from either stainless steel or food-grade approved polymers, as well as high quality thermoplastic chain guides as part of a total package.

Robert Young, process industry sales manager at FB Chain, says, “Plastic combination chain – even of the non-food-grade variety – is currently only available from a small number of chain manufacturers. We aim to be the leading supplier in this niche, helping customers in the food and beverage industries to significantly improve their safety, efficiency and profitability.”

Pacepacker rolls with UPM’s modular food-safe conveyer

With food automation making up such a large slice of Pacepacker Service’s pick, place and packing business, the equipment manufacturer recently specified a UPM Conveyors food safe IP69K certified conveyor system as part of a Cartesian pick and place robot solution for handling packs of fresh food.

Referred to by UPM as ‘SYSCON’ conveyors, the simplistic ‘groove’ design with side channels made from High Molecular, Weight Polyethene (HMWPE), appealed to Pacepacker, because it can be deployed in hygienic food processing areas. Ideal for transporting unpackaged primary products, this HMWPE conveyor caters to every type of product handling requirement, from raw fish, meat and poultry to sliced vegetables, biscuits and confectionery and fresh and frozen produce.

“Client requirements in the food sector can be both challenging and unique,” explains Pacepacker’s Business Development Manager Paul Wilkinson. “Like us, UPM Conveyors specialise in creating bespoke automation solutions. Their HMWPE conveyor system is just one of the design types we’re increasingly starting to integrate into our robotic pick and place systems, as it meets food manufacturers stringent hygiene requirements.”

Providing the full array of conveyors, manufactured in all types of materials, Pacepacker can supply everything from gravity rollers to belt conveyors and heavy duty palletisers. “Our clients may need delayed stops, accelerated sections or turning devices,” says Paul. “In every instance, the conveyor element is about optimising the production flow.”

When assessing conveyor options for food manufacturers, Paul cites flexibility, robustness and food safety as key criteria.

“This food-grade conveyor from UPM Conveyors is one of the few systems on the market that meets all of these specific needs and allows us to continue giving customers trouble-free and application-appropriate choices. As a company, they have more than 40 years expertise in the conveyor market and their HMWPE conveyor has been operating successfully the world over for over two decades.”

Since Pacepacker showcased the HMWPE ‘SYSCON’ conveyor at its recent open day event, the likeminded innovators have already collaborated on several client projects. So, what makes this conveyor different to conventional belts? “In traditional conveyors, the belt is stretched over two rollers and this requires regular tracking and tensioning,” explains Roy Fowler, UPM Conveyor’s Sales Director. “With our HMWPE design, the belt runs in the side channels - top and bottom. As a result, friction is significantly cut. And because there are no pinch or trap points, manufacturers can maintain the highest level of hygiene and reduce the risk of cross contamination.”

The sides of the conveyor are made of HMWPE with stainless steel support frames. This makes it fully compliant with FDA regulations and being IP69K rated can withstand high pressure and close proximity washdowns.

Having fewer parts also means there’s less to go wrong, which also reduces maintenance time. As a result, UPM confidently offers customers a zero maintenance guarantee. UPM can also customise the conveyor for any automation format, including horizontal (flat), bucket, vertical, swan neck and carousels.

Modular by design, Paul admits that he was impressed by the conveyors flexibility, which can be adapted to production flow changes. “Inevitably, production layouts change, especially if your conveyor has a 25 year life span! Built using joining rods, this UPM conveyor can easily be reconfigured. For example, if you have a horizontal conveyor but want to introduce a vertical element, modules can be inserted.”

“In terms of RTI, this increases the life of a conveyor indefinitely,” exclaims Roy.

“Because the conveyor is not welded together, you can break in at any point. Which means it is never obsolete.”

Another key benefit of the channel design is holds down rollers are eliminated, explains Roy. “If we look at a swan neck conveyor, any incline or decline in a traditional belt requires hold down rollers, which drastically increases the friction and wear and tear on a belt. With the channel design, you can create a food safe swan neck layout without them.”

UPM’s unique HMWPE design, which was awarded the Queens Award for Innovation, can be interfaced with any type of Cartesian, delta or robotic automation system. What’s more, the belt is so robust it can be installed in environments where temperatures reach or drop to +/- 200 °C. It can also be found in injection moulding and dye casting environments. “We’ve even created customised installations for blow moulding settings where operators can physically stand on a UPM conveyor,” claims Roy. “They are that durable and sturdy.”

As with any Pacepacker automation installation, production flow efficiency remains paramount. Collaborating with UPM is enabling the award-winning company to continue meeting customer’s exact specifications for food handling whilst also boosting the lifespan of their conveyor.

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