Aldi launches own-label chocolate bar with Tony’s Chocolonely

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Aldi is launching a new chocolate bar with Tony’s Chocolonely in a UK supermarket first. The own-label Choceur CHOCO CHANGER will be available as a Specialbuy in Aldi stores across the UK from 19th September 2021. The chocolate bar is Fairtrade certified and 100% responsibly sourced, adopting all of Tony’s Open Chain five sourcing principles to support cocoa farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and guaranteeing a transparent and traceable supply chain. Available in three indulgent flavours – Hazelnut, Salted Caramel and 70% Dark Chocolate – each bar sold means an additional premium is passed directly on to cocoa farmers. As the first discount retailer to join Tony’s Open Chain in December 2020, Aldi is committed to supporting Tony’s ambitious mission to change the norm in the chocolate industry. The supermarket has long been dedicated to sourcing cocoa sustainably through its Fairly Traded policy, to have 100% of cocoa in Aldi’s own-label products either Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified. “The collaboration with Tony’s Chocolonely is a UK supermarket first, and we’re delighted to be able to offer this amazing product to our customers,” said Mary Dunn, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi UK. “By choosing the CHOCO CHANGER, shoppers are getting a delicious chocolate bar while also doing their bit to support hard-working cocoa farmers. “As a member of Tony’s Open Chain, we’re committed to doing all we can to support the cocoa supply chain, ensuring transparency and fair pay for farmers in West Africa.” Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony’s Chocolonely, said: “We’re proud to welcome Aldi as a new mission ally. Together, we take responsibility for the chocolate industry to drive structural change towards a more equally divided cocoa chain.” Anna Barker, Head of Commercial Partnerships at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “The launch of CHOCO CHANGER is another highlight for farmers in the Fairtrade and Aldi partnership. It marks an important step towards farmers being able to earn a living income and demonstrates a pioneering approach to global change in the cocoa supply chain.”

Givaudan, Bühler & Migros join forces to launch cultured meat pilot plant

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Givaudan, Bühler and Migros have formed a new entity, The Cultured Food Innovation Hub, in Kemptthal near Zurich, to accelerate the development and market penetration of cellular agriculture products. The Cultured Food Innovation Hub will be a self-sustained, standalone company wholly owned by Givaudan, Bühler, and Migros, located in The Valley in Kemptthal, a hotbed of innovation and technology just outside of Zurich. The new entity will provide facilities and knowledge to accelerate other companies on their cultured meat, cultured fish and seafood, and precision fermentation journeys. The Hub will be equipped with a product development lab as well as cell culture and bio fermentation capabilities to help start-ups develop and go to market with the right product. Cellular agriculture for cultured meat provides the means for the farming of animal products without raising animals. Animal cells are used as a starting point, and then technologies such as fermentation are employed for the cultivation of meat products. The result is meat that is identical in structure and in taste to its animal counterpart with vastly reduced environmental impact and no mass farming or slaughter. “Cellular agriculture offers a solution in several areas from reducing land use and water, to animal welfare, to the safety and quality of the food chain. The three partners in this new venture are each committed to sustainability as individual companies; the combined effort enables the journey to a more sustainable food system,” says Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer at Bühler. Fabio Campanile, Givaudan’s Global Head of Science and Technology, Taste & Wellbeing, says: “Bühler contributes with industry leading solutions that are used in the scale-up and production of thousands of food products around the world; Givaudan brings in centuries of experience and knowledge in every aspect of taste, including all kinds of meat alternatives, and deep expertise in biotechnology, to product development; Migros is known for its competence in customer interaction and market cultivation. The combination of the three partners is remarkable.” “This truly unique partnership has the potential to be groundbreaking and to have an incredible, positive impact on the world,” says Matthew Robin, Managing Director Elsa-Mifroma at Migros-Industrie. “Consumers are beginning to understand the idea of cellular agriculture and the benefits it can provide; the market is poised for exceptional growth. When you put it all together, it is a winning combination for the planet.” The Cultured Food Innovation Hub will go live in 2022.

SEA Brew 2021’s going digital

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Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic the in-person SEA Brew event in Taipei has been re-organised as a virtual conference this year. The latest pandemic wave has meant that many countries around the region have had to maintain strict border controls, restricting movement in a way that would make it difficult for international delegates and exhibitors to attend the annual conference and trade fair. As part of the organiser’s commitment to the region’s brewing community, it shall be hosting SEA Brew 2021 online with a virtual programme scheduled for the first week of November (2nd-5th). This will be a selection of technical seminars, interactive question and answer sessions and Happy Hour discussion groups over a period of 4 days.

Nomad Foods and BlueNalu to introduce cell-cultured seafood to Europe

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Frozen food company, Nomad Foods, and BlueNalu, a developer of seafood products directly from fish cells, are collaborating to introduce cell-cultured seafood in Europe. Europe is the largest importer of seafood in the world due to high consumption rates, with EU citizens consuming more than three times as much as they produce. The agreement represents the first of its kind in Europe between a consumer packaged goods company and a cell-cultured seafood company, and underpins Nomad Foods’ commitment to sustainable growth through the development and scaling of emerging food technologies. The agreement also signifies a mutual interest in the commercialisation of cell-cultured seafood in Europe to help meet rising demand and support wider efforts to safeguard the long-term availability of quality, affordable seafood that is healthy for people and sustainable for the planet. It includes a collaboration to conduct market research and identify consumer insights, assess regulatory requirements, and explore new business and product opportunities that would be unlocked by the introduction of cell-cultured seafood throughout Europe. “The food industry is at a transformational moment as consumer demand for nutritious, high-quality food is growing, the importance of sustainability has never been more apparent, and the role of technology in delivering these needs is accelerating,” said Stéfan Descheemaeker, CEO of Nomad Foods. “We are at the forefront of a generational shift towards healthier, more sustainable eating and are delighted to announce our collaboration with BlueNalu. Their breakthrough technology in cell-cultured seafood perfectly aligns with our purpose and will enable us to continue to introduce innovative and great tasting seafood products that are good for people, good for the planet and accessible to all.” Lou Cooperhouse, President and CEO of BlueNalu, added: “As the latest IPCC report4 on the climate crisis demonstrates, the decisions we make over the next decade will have a profound impact on life on this planet for generations to come. “We are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with Nomad Foods, which has revered, market-leading brands such as Birds Eye, Findus and iglo, to accelerate our market strategy in Europe. “With this announcement, BlueNalu is well-positioned to bring our leading-edge innovation into Europe in the coming years, which complements our existing collaborations in Asia and North America.”

Israeli start-up emerges with new tech producing plant-based whole cuts

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Israeli start-up, Alfred’s FoodTech, has introduced a new platform for producing plant-based whole cuts that mimic animal-derived products. The company developed a versatile platform for whole-cut texturization to produce plant-based meat alternatives that, it says, can answer the growing need for flavourful, sustainable, animal-free products. Alfred’s joined the foodTech scene to solve one of the alt-protein movement’s key challenges: creating whole cuts that mimic their animal-based counterparts in terms of texture, mouthfeel, and flavour tones. The technology focused company has successfully produced prototypes of deli meat, high-in-demand chicken nugget analogues. “Plant-based whole-cut products that resemble meat are the ‘Holy Grail’ of the industry,” enthuses Ronny Reinberg, CEO and co-founder of Alfred’s. “Our tech uses only simple ingredients, such as pea protein and canola oil. Yet we can still custom-design compositions for food companies using protein sources of their choice, including cell-based ingredients. “With Alfred’s versatile technology, any food company can easily create alternative products that give consumers the exact experience of real meat and poultry.” Alfred’s technology can scale up outputs quickly, making it suitable for mass market-oriented food corporations, and can be integrated into existing food processing systems. The start-up plans to establish a low-volume production site to serve initial market demand. Rafi Shavit, Alfred’s other co-founder and COO brings vast experience in business, engineering, and operation management from various industries, helping to ensure that the start-up can rapidly accelerate production. “We were founded with the goal of bolstering food companies and innovators within the alternative protein landscape,” said Shavit. “We see ourselves as the engine that enables companies achieve new organoleptic heights in plant-based protein alternatives. “Our mission is to elevate the plant-based experience for the growing ‘conscious eating’ consumer market notably flexitarians aspiring to presume more plant-based lifestyles but still crave for that sensation of biting into a beefy steak.” Alfred’s formed earlier this year and has raised US$1.3 million in seed funding. The company is now entering its next A-round stage and is currently in dialogue with various leading international food companies, including meat producers and cultured meat companies.

Olam Food Ingredients to develop New Zealand dairy processing plant

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OFI, a supplier of natural and sustainable ingredient solutions, is to develop a new dairy processing facility in the North Island town of Tokoroa, New Zealand. The first stage of the new investment development, expected to be commissioned in Q3 of 2023, in time for New Zealand’s peak season, will involve the construction of a spray dryer facility, capable of producing high-value dairy ingredients. The Tokoroa plant will become part a global network that spans 20 major milk consumption markets, such as South-East Asia, China, the Middle East, and Africa. Mr. Naval Sabri, Senior Vice President OFI Dairy, said additional facilities at Tokoroa will be added over time to expand the range of high-value ingredient products manufactured at the site, targeting key customer applications in dessert, bakery, beverage, and confectionery categories. “This facility will complement and enhance our ability to support our global customers meet growing consumer demand for products that are natural, nutritious and delicious. It will also help address their innovation, traceability, and sustainable sourcing requirements as New Zealand’s farming standards and high-quality milk are very well regarded,” said Mr Sabri. “Further, the Tokoroa dairy ingredients will form part of OFI’s much wider natural ingredients portfolio which includes cocoa, coffee, nuts and spices, ideal combinations with dairy for customised products such as yogurts, protein bars and ready-to-drink tea, coffee and cocoa beverages. “OFI has 14 innovation centres across the world, where our R&D teams will be excited to co-create new tastes and textures with our expanded range of dairy ingredients.” OFI’s new processing plant investment follows 10 years as an investor in the New Zealand dairy sector. “We are pleased to now be deepening our relationship with the industry. By developing our own plant at Tokoroa we are opening up more supply options for farmers in South Waikato and employment opportunities in the community,” Mr Sabri said. The new facility, which will source milk from farms in New Zealand’s dairy heartland of the Waikato, is expected to create 50 to 60 full time jobs when fully operational. “At OFI, we aim to source, process and deliver our products and ingredients in a way that is right for the planet and the people who produce them – values long upheld by New Zealand,” said Mr Sabri. “By working together with farmers and customers we can make a positive impact and realise joint sustainability ambitions.”

Kite champions sustainable paper products in new food packaging range

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Takeaway food has soared in popularity both during and post-lockdown, causing attention to turn to the environmental impact of the packaging used by cafes, restaurants and other eateries. Kite Packaging champions paper products to best showcase sustainability while retaining professional standards of protection and presentation. Paper is one of the most widely recycled global resources with an impressive recycling rate of 74%. Moreover, the paper industry is leading the way in terms of its renewable energy uptake and mitigation of carbon impact. As a result, natural kraft paper is a superbly eco-conscious material for the burger boxes, takeaway trays, salad bowls and pizza boxes that Kite has recently launched. Paper is also utilised for the company’s coffee cups and straws, both of which are also fully recyclable. These items present visible sustainability with the recognisable kraft hue, granting your business instant associations with environmental awareness and social responsibility. Customers can easily scrape food off the packaging thanks to the grease resistant PE lining before popping the products into their own recycling bin for domestic collection. This ease of green disposal will cultivate strong customer relations as it is simple and understandable, with paper recycling already a habit for most households. Additionally, many items in the range are biodegradable and commercially compostable to increase the wealth of eco-friendly options. Environmental considerations have been instrumental in the selection of products to be supplied within Kite’s food packaging launch. The best solutions for meeting consumer demands have been specially handpicked by the expert product team to make your buying decisions easiest.

PepsiCo to invest £24m in UK factory

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PepsiCo is investing £24 million in its Lincoln, UK factory to upgrade its facilities, meet growing consumer demand for Quavers and secure the listed building’s future. The investment will see existing machinery at its long-standing city centre site replaced by new equipment – including a compact packaging machine – creating training opportunities for employees including apprentices, some of whom will be upskilled in using the state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Quavers have continued to grow in popularity over the past year and are now bought by nearly one in three households in the UK. The investment will increase capacity at the factory, enabling the team to produce more Quavers to help satisfy this demand, as well as make space for new production lines. It also follows PepsiCo’s multimillion-pound investment in its Skelmersdale and Coventry Walkers factories to install specialist compact packaging machinery, leading to a 30% reduction in outer packaging on average across snacks multipacks. The new equipment at Lincoln will help remove even more packaging from the supply chain. Nigel Beilby, Lincoln site operations manager, PepsiCo, said: “We’ve always had a strong heritage in the Midlands, providing jobs to almost 2,000 people in the region across our factories in Lincoln, Leicester and Coventry. “For decades, our Lincoln factory has brought much-loved Quavers snacks to consumers up and down the country, and with this state-of-the-art technology, we’re confident that the site will continue to serve the nation for many years to come.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, said: “It’s brilliant to see PepsiCo doubling-down on its commitment to Lincoln through this significant investment in the city centre factory Walkers has called home for more than half a century.
“This investment will help to deliver on our plan to spread opportunity across the Midlands by future-proofing the jobs of the factory’s outstanding employees by training them to use state of the art equipment, and further bolstering the workforce through their apprenticeship scheme.”
The new equipment will be installed at Lincoln in mid-2022, with initial work now underway.

McDonald’s to launch vegan McPlant burger in UK & Ireland

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McDonald’s UK&I is set to trial its first ever plant-based burger – the McPlant – comprising a vegan patty co-developed with Beyond Meat. The company has spent three years on research and development to bring a plant-based offering to British and Irish customers. Every element of the McPlant, it said, was designed with taste and quality top-of-mind – from the plant-based patty co-developed with Beyond Meat, to vegan cheese based on pea protein, and a new vegan sauce. UK&I is the latest market to introduce the McPlant plant-based burger since McDonald’s officially unveiled its global McPlant platform in 2020. Based on feedback and expectations from local customers, the UK&I version of the McPlant is fully accredited as vegan by the Vegetarian Society to ensure it meets the highest vegan standards. It is cooked separately from other McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches using dedicated utensils. “As with every McDonald’s offering, we take our time to ensure it meets the highest standards and is something that all our customers will enjoy,” said Michelle Graham-Clare, Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s UK and Ireland. “We are always looking for different ways to innovate and meet our customers’ needs, and with McPlant we have a delicious plant-based burger that will appeal to everyone. Whether you’re vegan or just fancy a plant-based patty, we’re confident you will enjoy the McPlant.” McPlant will be available in 10 restaurants in Coventry from 29th September, 250+ from October and nationwide from January.

Packaging Automation to launch its most advanced machine ever at PMA Fresh Summit, New Orleans

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Four years in Research and Development working alongside food producers and manufacturers, Packaging Automation have challenged industry limits to create the latest and most advanced machine ever developed by #TeamPA. Until now engineering principles have limited tray sealing capabilities but, when science meets Industry, anything is possible. The only thing limiting this machine’s output is the upstream process, so the team set about optimising every operation required to seal a tray, accurately, reliably, and efficiently. They employed the latest ground-breaking technology to develop a patented design and to present a world first for this type of application. Using new Syncro technologies this machine optimises every operation required to seal a tray, accurately, reliably and efficiently and it is by far the most technically advanced machine they have ever produced. This machine does the thinking for you and has been designed for ease of use during operation. But also, and as importantly, when it comes to cleaning and maintenance attention has been paid in the design to making this as simple as possible. This latest and most advanced machine ever developed by Packaging Automation features the latest in robotic technology and for this type of application, the first in the world for maximum outputs. Here’s just a few of the new and exciting features:
  • Eliminates intermittent stop – start, removing the need to decelerate or stop to position the packs.
  • Achieves continuous controlled movement.
  • Facilitates transporting packs three times faster whilst maintaining optimum accuracy and accommodating all pack formats without the need for a tool changeover.
  • Removes the need for transfer arms which can be heavy and awkward to move and set up and can also be difficult to store.
  • Enables high speed feeding of the film for accurate and consistent printing.
  • Offers the ultimate in precision control avoiding any costly errors.
  • Features clear visuals and prompts for optimum output with minimal operator input.
Challenging industry limits Packaging Automation have managed to create a seismic shift with the production of their most technically advanced machine which basically runs itself. Packaging Automation will reveal the evolution S, a machine unlike any other in the industry, at PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans on 28 October. To find out more visit www.pal.co.uk or call 01565 756555