Interpack and components 2021 cancelled amid COVID concerns

Restrictions relating to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has led to Messe Düsseldorf cancelling both interpack and components 2021. The co-located events were originally planned to take place from 25 February to 3 March 2021. Wolfram N. Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, said: “We have done everything we can to do justice to interpack’s tremendous importance for the processing and packaging industry, even during this pandemic – above all because we have received encouragement from the industry in support of a face-to-face event and have a hygiene concept that has been tried and tested in practice in place to protect everyone involved. “Ultimately, however, feedback from our exhibitors has shown that the uncertainty is too great, and we are thus unable to host an interpack event that would meet the standards of a leading international trade fair,” explains “On 25 November, the Federal Government and the German states decided to implement stricter measures in Germany, and to possibly even extend these measures into the new year. This, unfortunately, does not give cause for hope that the situation will improve significantly over the course of the coming months. “This will affect all Messe Düsseldorf events in the first quarter. We are now focussing on the next edition of interpack, which will take place in May 2023 according to plan, and which we will supplement with extended online offers.” Messe Düsseldorf had offered registered exhibitors special conditions for their participation and at the same time granted them an extraordinary right of termination for those companies that were unable or unwilling to take part. Christian Traumann, President of interpack 2021 and MD & Group President at Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG, said: “Besides the unique market coverage, it provides, interpack is primarily characterised by the direct exchange of information between market-leading companies and top decision-makers for brand names around the world. “This is exactly what is now largely prevented by continuously high infection numbers in core Europe and the associated and continuing travel restrictions and quarantine regulations. “We therefore welcome Messe Düsseldorf’s decision to cancel interpack 2021 and are focussing on interpack 2023.” Richard Clemens, MD of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association, added: “For the industry, in-person meetings and live experiences are still extremely important, especially when it comes to complex technology. “Both enable a direct market comparison to be drawn and foster new ideas as well as new leads and networks – this is something online formats only offer in part. “We are now looking forward to a successful interpack 2023, where the industry can once again come together at its leading global trade fair in Düsseldorf.”

PepsiCo commits to 100% recycles plastic bottles

PepsiCo is committing to eliminate all virgin plastic from its Pepsi brand beverage bottles sold in nine EU markets by 2022. The company will package the entire range of beverages under that brand with plastics recycled from post- consumer packaging (recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or ‘rPET’). PepsiCo will also continue its progress towards growing reuse and refill systems such as SodaStream. The company estimates that the move to 100% rPET for these beverage bottles will eliminate over 70,000 tonnes of virgin, fossil-fuel based plastic per year, and will lower carbon emissions per bottle by approximately 40%. In 2018, the company had announced that it would get to 50% rPET usage across the EU by 2030 and has already reached 30%[2]. This announcement marks significant acceleration toward reaching this goal. Technological innovations in the use of recycled plastics in carbonated drink bottles, improvements in the appearance of recycled plastic, and greater availability of recycled materials on the market have made it possible for the company to accelerate its progress. Germany, Poland, Romania, Greece and Spain will switch to 100% rPET in 2021, while France, Great Britain, Belgium and Luxembourg will be at 100% rPET in 2022. The move applies to both company-owned and franchise bottlers in the relevant markets. In France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg the commitment goes beyond Pepsi brands, to include all soft drinks, for instance 7Up, Mountain Dew and Lipton Ice Tea. Poland and Romania will also use 100% rPET in Mirinda. Silviu Popovici, CEO, PepsiCo Europe, said: “We are committed to immediate action to address the plastic waste challenge. Starting with these nine markets, we are working to incorporate 100% recycled plastic into our beverage bottles so we can minimise our use of virgin, fossil-fuel based packaging. “Collaboration between all stakeholders across the EU is central to this issue. We need to design packaging to be recyclable, reduce the amount of packaging we use, and make it easy for consumers to recycle. “Working with policy makers and waste management systems, we need to collect more bottles so that plastic needs never become waste. Everyone can and should play a part in developing a circular economy for plastic.”

First regulatory approval for cultured meat

Eat Just has been granted the world’s first regulatory approval for cultured meat. Following a rigorous consultation and review process, the company’s culture chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites. Moreover, the company has developed other cultured chicken formats that will be an extension to this product line. The first-in-the-world regulatory allowance of meat created directly from animal cells for safe human consumption paves the way for a forthcoming small-scale commercial launch in Singapore of Eat Just’s new GOOD Meat brand. Over the course of many months, Eat Just’s team of scientists, product developers and regulatory experts have prepared extensive documentation on the characterisation of its cultured chicken and the process to produce it. The company included details on the purity, identity and stability of chicken cells during the manufacturing process, as well as a detailed description of the manufacturing process which demonstrated that harvested cultured chicken met quality controls and a rigorous food safety monitoring system. Eat Just has demonstrated a consistent manufacturing process of their cultured chicken by running over 20 production runs in 1,200-liter bioreactors. No antibiotics are used in this proprietary process. Safety and quality validations demonstrated that harvested cultured chicken met the standards of poultry meat, with extremely low and significantly cleaner microbiological content than conventional chicken. The analysis also demonstrated that cultured chicken contains a high protein content, diversified amino acid composition, high relative content in healthy monounsaturated fats and is a rich source of minerals. The regulatory achievement involved an iterative and extensive safety review by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Singapore’s regulatory authority entrusted with ensuring a safe food supply. During this process, Eat Just complied with SFA’s food safety requirements for the assessment of novel foods. In addition, Eat Just’s cultured chicken was confirmed to be safe and nutritious for human consumption by a distinguished outside panel of international scientific authorities in Singapore and the US, with expertise in medicine, toxicology, allergenicity, cell biology and food safety. Concurrent to the consultation and review period, Eat Just formed strategic partnerships with well-established local manufacturers in Singapore to produce cultured chicken cells and formulate the finished product ahead of its historic sale to a restaurant and, ultimately, initial availability to consumers. “Singapore has long been a leader in innovation of all kinds, from information technology to biologics to now leading the world in building a healthier, safer food system. I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just. “Working in partnership with the broader agriculture sector and forward-thinking policymakers, companies like ours can help meet the increased demand for animal protein as our population climbs to 9.7 billion by 2050.”

Food and drink businesses target sustainability for future growth – research

In response to changing consumer demand, four in five (79%) small businesses in the food and drink sector are targeting growth through sustainability and have made “becoming more green” a top business priority for 2021, a new research report from E.ON reveals. The pandemic has caused a significant shift in consumer behaviour, with more than a third of the British public (36%) now purchasing more sustainable goods and services than they did before. The food and drink industry is where consumers most expect strong environmental credentials, with company websites (39%) and product packaging (36%) being the places they check most frequently for sustainability information. The demand for sustainability has been noticed across the industry, with over three quarters (78%) of SMEs reporting greater demand for sustainable products and practices from their customers in the last year. Three quarters (75%) said increased pressure to act is even coming from their own staff. Based on surveys of small business leaders and consumers across the UK, E.ON’s Renewable Returns report looks at the impact of changing consumer and business behaviour, and outlines some of the steps which small and medium-sized businesses can take to capitalise on the ‘green economic recovery’. The report demonstrates that more needs to be done to support SMEs in the sector. Despite a real and tangible opportunity for small businesses, currently only 30% of food processing firms regularly display their environmental credentials to customers. “The COVID pandemic has heightened people’s concerns around the climate crisis including the environmental footprint of the products and services we buy and what we can do to improve,” said Michael Lewis, CEO of E.ON UK. “It’s clear there is a real opportunity for small businesses in the food and drink industry to embrace the green economic recovery and lead the charge in providing customers with the sustainable products they demand. “Small businesses are the engine of the British economy, and we can help make sure they’re equipped to take maximum advantage of the green economic recovery – providing the smart, personalised and sustainable solutions they need to be part of the new energy world. “That means everything from 100% renewables-backed electricity at no extra cost for our direct customers, to smart meters and new technologies such as electric vehicle charging, solar panels and battery storage.” E.ON’s research shows there could be significant commercial gain for small food and drink businesses who can successfully convince customers of their environmental credentials. The results show more than a third (34%) of people have knowingly chosen to pay more for ‘green’ products since the pandemic struck and more than half (51%) think the environmental credentials of a product or service are now just as important as the price they pay for it. On average, consumers said they are willing to pay 3% more for goods that are sustainable. Based on the average yearly turnover of an SME in 2019 – which was £370,000 according to government figures – this increase could be worth as much as £11,100 a year to annual earnings.

Plans for ‘better, fairer’ farming system published

The government has this week set out plans to deliver a “better, fairer farming system” in England. According to government, the new plans will “transform the way we support farmers, in the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years”. The roadmap outlines changes that will come into force over a period of seven years to help farmers adapt and plan for the future. Outside the EU and no longer bound by the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, the plans set out how government plans to introduce a new system that is tailored in the interests of English farmers, centred on support that rewards farmers and land managers for sustainable farming practices. The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions. Next year marks the start of the transition where we will begin to move away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards new policies that will be co-designed and tested together with farmers, land managers and experts, to ensure that the new systems work for them. The ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ sets out more detail on the changes government is going to make, and what they will mean for farmers. The key changes include:
  • Introducing the Environmental Land Management scheme to incentivise sustainable farming practices, create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change.
  • Investing in improving animal health and welfare as part of our sustainable farming approach. This will initially focus on controlling or eradicating endemic diseases amongst cattle, pigs and sheep .
  • Direct Payments will be reduced fairly, starting from the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme year, with the money released being used to fund new grants and schemes to boost farmers’ productivity and reward environmental improvements.
  • Launching a Farming Investment Fund, which will support innovation and productivity. This will open for applications next year and will be used to offer grants for equipment, technology and infrastructure for the future.
  • Simplifying and improving existing schemes and their application processes further from January 2021 to reduce the burden on farmers, and we will take a modern approach to regulation, cutting unnecessary red tape for farmers and working together with industry to design a more targeted regulatory system.
In a speech to farmers and environmental groups at an Oxford Farming Conference OFCBitesize event, Environment Secretary George Eustice will say: “We want farmers to access public money to help their businesses become more productive and sustainable, whilst taking steps to improve the environment and animal welfare, and deliver climate change outcomes on the land they manage. “Rather than the prescriptive, top down rules of the EU era, we want to support the choices that farmers and land managers take. If we work together to get this right, then a decade from now the rest of the world will want to follow our lead. “While the roadmap provides a clear view on the changes coming through the transition, this will be followed by a period of engagement with farmers, land managers and other stakeholders to finalise the design and operation of the future system to ensure they work for everyone. “For example, the final design for the future Environmental Land Management scheme will continue to evolve and adapt to the lessons learnt through co-design exercises, such as the ongoing tests and trials and upcoming National Pilot for the scheme.”

Danish Crown to future-proof production

Danish Crown, Europe’s largest pork producer, will increase its investment budget by 25%, investing 2 billion DKK in automation as it looks to future-proof production over the coming year. In 2021, the palletising area at Danish Crown’s abattoir in Horsens will be expanded and upgraded with an investment in a new multi-million kroner robot setup. “It is crucial for us to keep investing decisively in our production facilities through continued automation. This is the way to enhance both the working environment and our competitiveness – which in turn is the way to secure jobs. So even though we invest a huge amount, it makes sense in every possible way,” said Jais Valeur, Group CEO of Danish Crown. Another major investment is planned in Germany, where the capacity for producing ham for pizzas at the factory in Dinklage is to be increased. In recent years, Danish Crown has captured market share in the European pizza toppings market, most notably in the pepperoni category, and now the capacity and range will be expanded. CEO Kasper Lenbroch said: “Toppings is one of the markets in growth in Danish Crown Foods, where Danish Crown Toppings in Thorning produces large volumes of pepperoni for the pizza industry every year. “Now we are expanding our repertoire with new lines in Dinklage, where we can make ready-cooked ham products in several formats, and in turn, align us more closely with our customers. “With the new production facilities, we will increase our market share in the ham segment of the toppings market through Danish Crown Toppings’ sales channels with an almost fully automated and very modern setup.” Danish Crown’s total investment budget will increase from DKK 1.6 billion last year to around DKK 2 billion in the coming year. Investments are planned across the Group’s business areas. Danish Crown Pork accounts for the largest share of revenue and, not surprisingly, the largest investment plans. In addition to the investment in the expansion of the palletizing operation in Horsens, there will also be major investments in the abattoirs in Blans and Ringsted in the coming year. In Blans, changing and office facilities are to be expanded and modernized, and the abattoir will see new equipment in the cutting department, while in Ringsted, investment will establish a facility to produce a special minced product for the Japanese market. Moreover, plans include multi-million kroner investments in projects to further improve working conditions and to drive reductions in the Group’s climate footprint and environmental impact.

Labfacility to celebrate 50th anniversary in 2021

Next year, Labfacility, the UK’s leading manufacturer of temperature sensors, thermocouple connectors and associated temperature instrumentation and stockists of thermocouple cables, celebrates its 50th anniversary. The company has been trading since 2 April 1971 and operates from two UK sites – West Sussex and South Yorkshire – and exports to over 85 countries. To mark the incredible milestone, and to say a thank you to clients and customers, the company has released a celebratory video:

RMGroup offers best-in-class service and support to customers throughout the UK

Leading robotics and automation specialists, RMGroup, prides itself in offering its customers the best service and support provision throughout the UK. Consisting of a network of highly trained mechanical, electrical and control systems engineers, the Newtown-based manufacturer maintains that, even while adhering to current coronavirus restrictions, it can respond to any service or support requirement across the length and breadth of the country in the shortest possible lead time. RMGroup’s service engineer locations are based at: Leominster, Oxford, Colchester, Newark, Newtown and Brecon. From their 50,000 sq ft mid-Wales factory, RMGroup designs, manufactures and supplies a wide range of manual and automatic packaging machinery, packaging systems and robotic automation to a customer base spanning food & beverage, horticultural, aggregates, chemicals and agricultural industries. The company’s service packages cover a wide-ranging toolbox of support options and can be configured to suit customers’ equipment and requirements. Typically, with a service contract in place, their customers will benefit from a 24/7 rapid response, UK-wide technical support and preventative maintenance visits to suit, including testing and advice on programming, fault-finding and diagnostics. All RMGroup engineers are multi-skilled and have extensive knowledge of all makes and models of packaging machinery, robotics, wrappers and weighers – they can also assist with other makes of equipment if required. For additional reassurance and peace of mind, RMGroup provide free remote monitoring equipment as standard on all of their high-end products. As an internet-based remote access tool, RMGroup’s eWON system allows the company to remotely monitor customers’ equipment, thereby having the ability to diagnose and respond to any breakdowns or problems that may affect the customer and cause expensive downtime. “We are confident that our service and support packages provide customers throughout the UK with the very best levels of our attention at all times,” said Rosie Davies, group director, RMGroup. “In an increasingly disconnected world, it’s crucial for businesses to know that their equipment is being looked after, monitored and that any issues will be quickly rectified. “The RMGroup offers a full range of service products to its customers – and with engineers based across the country, we can provide a reactive response service at very short notice, even despite travel and lockdown restrictions caused by the current pandemic. “Needless to say, all RMGroup engineers are fully trained to operate within government guidelines and site procedures during this difficult time.”

DSM launches enzyme for lactose-free, sugar-reduced dairy

Royal DSM has launched a new enzyme to produce high-quality and clean-tasting lactose-free and sugar-reduced dairy products. Joining the company’s Maxilact lactose portfolio, Maxilact Super improves taste and texture whilst also helping to cut hydrolysis time by 33% and achieve optimal production efficiency. Moreover, it is suitable for all dairy product positionings, from regular to organic and Verband Lebensmittel Ohne Gentechnik (VLOG). With this new enzyme innovation, lactose-free dairy producers can deliver the authenticity, health appeal and sensory experience consumers expect in all applications, without adding complexity to the production process, DSM said. This ‘one-stop-shop’ enzyme innovation is suitable for all lactose-free dairy applications, whether it is milk, milk drinks or yogurt, enabling manufacturers to ‘live’ their labels and create authentic, appealing dairy. Maxilact Super is free from invertase and arylsulfatase, which can produce off-flavours and reduce stability during the shelf life of dairy products – guaranteeing a clean taste and consistent high quality over a product’s life cycle. “With 71% of consumers checking the labels of the products they purchase3, combined with the ever-growing preference for lactose-free dairy and the sugar reduction trend that is here to stay, it is clear that prioritizing health and authenticity is more important than ever for individuals today,” says Ben Rutten, Global Business Manager for Milk at DSM. “DSM understands the challenges these diverse needs create for lactose-free dairy manufacturers, and with the innovative Maxilact Super solution – made possible thanks to more than 50 years of experience in lactase development and manufacturing – producers across the globe can efficiently deliver high-quality sugar-reduced and lactose-free dairy with next generation consumer appeal.”

Fourth production site for Troy Foods

Troy Foods, a producer of vegetable, salad and mayonnaise, has expanded its operations with the completion of a fourth site. Supported by a £500,000 investment from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), the new ready-to-eat vegetable processing facility is expected to create more than 20 new jobs. Located in Wakefield, Yorkshire the 30,000 sq ft site is dedicated to the preparation of freshly prepared ready-to-eat vegetables, such as carrot batons and herby potatoes, which are supplied direct to the retail and food service sectors. The ready-to-eat range is an extension of Troy Foods’ existing offering which comprises prepared vegetables for use in ready meals, plus dressed salads and mayonnaise. The company’s latest BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standards) approved site features a fully equipped processing plant with separate high care areas as well as refrigerated storage facilities. It has the capacity to process 1,000 tonnes of vegetables a week, the equivalent of 700,000 retail packs per week. The site complements Troy Foods’ two Leeds sites for prepared vegetables and dressed salads/mayonnaise production, plus its nearby head office and distribution hub. “This latest investment from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, arranged by David Wright, marks another key step in our ambitious five year vision for Troy Foods to be the largest prepared vegetable produce supplier across all sectors, including B2B, ready-to-eat, food service and retail,” explains group managing director James Kempley. “Already, we are the UK’s leading B2B vegetable processing manufacturer and the leading supplier of branded salads. “The addition of a fourth site in the region increases our capacity, enabling us to offer customers an even greater choice of prepared vegetables with the introduction of ready-to-eat lines. “As a fourth generation Yorkshire family business with a heritage of almost 100 years, we are proud to be continuing to drive the company forward while never losing sight of our values and traditions. “The support of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund through this new development has been outstanding, and we look forward to working with them again as we continue to grow the business, creating jobs and helping build the regional economy.” Mark Wilcockson, senior manager at British Business Bank, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund seeks to boost growth in businesses across the region with finance to support new jobs and expansion. “Funding such as this highlights the important role of external finance, helping local businesses to fulfil their growth ambitions. We would encourage other businesses seeking to grow to see what funding support is available from NPIF.”