Event preview: the return of Vitafoods Europe 2021!

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The nutraceuticals community is set to reunite once more in a new hybrid event format, with in-person elements enabled by comprehensive Informa AllSecure safety guidelines. For over 20 years, Vitafoods Europe has been at the heart of the nutraceutical community as the leading event to network and forge long-term collaborations, share ideas, source innovative ingredients, discover new product development solutions, and hear from technical experts or industry thought-leaders. The world of events and networking has been impacted significantly by the pandemic in the last 18 months and as a result, Informa Markets, the organisers of Vitafoods Europe, has accelerated the evolution of its market-leading portfolio. This summer, it announced the much-anticipated return of Vitafoods Europe in a brand-new hybrid format. Allowing attendees to join from all over the world, Vitafoods Europe 2021 is designed to reconnect a community in its mission to promote global nutritional health. Combining an in-person programme at Palexpo in Geneva (5-7 October) with an online event (4-8 October), Vitafoods Europe 2021 is set to bring together leading brands, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers from across the globe once again in a safe, yet inspiring environment. Health and safety first Responding to understandable concerns around the risks of COVID-19, Vitafoods Europe 2021 will adhere to strict COVID-19 public safety regulations, working with the Swiss authorities to follow all local legislation and guidelines in place at the time of the event. In addition, Vitafoods Europe will be run in accordance with Informa AllSecure health and safety standards, which have been created collaboratively with association partners, peers, venues, suppliers, contractors and health, government and local authorities. This means all visitors, exhibitors and staff will be required to adhere to critical safety measures in place at the Geneva Palexpo venue, including:
  • Checks on vaccine proofs and negative tests prior to entrance
  • Enhanced cleaning and personal hygiene, via sanitising stations, throughout the venue
  • Non-contact registration, food and beverage stations and social distancing
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in line with local government and health authority advice. This may include wearing a face covering and the use of gloves or face screens in certain roles.
Guidelines may be subject to change, so visitors are advised to visit the Vitafoods Europe website for updates from the Informa team. Who to expect at Vitafoods Europe 2021… Visitors can meet over 1,000+ leading exhibitors from across the industry’s four sectors – Ingredients & Raw Materials, Branded & Finished Products, Contract Manufacturing & Private Label, and Services & Equipment – including KSM-66 Ashwagandha, Lonza, Sabinsa, Sirio, Probiotical, and more. Plus, they can plan ahead by exploring the full list of exhibitors here. Event highlights This years’ exhibition will see the return of both popular and new features, designed to inspire, educate, and connect the nutraceutical industry. Highlights include:
  • Global connectivity via a new hybrid format
A seamless blend of Vitafoods Europe’s cutting-edge online platform and the traditional physical event will integrate presentations, knowledge-sharing and networking across both platforms.
  • Next level networking through data-driven matchmaking
Whether attending in-person or online Vitafoods Europe 2021’s networking service has Intelligently designed to drive business opportunities by matching attendees with shared goals, the right backgrounds and in-demand expertise.
  • The latest insights on ingredients, innovations, and trends
Discover the very latest ingredients and products at the New Product and Ingredient Zones, explore new research and innovations in themed resource centres, and hear Innova Market Insights present the latest market trends live in Geneva.
  • Sustainability success stories
Visit the Sustainability Corner and attend expert-led sessions to explore some of our industry’s greatest challenges and the success stories making the industry more sustainable. With an agenda exploring market trends, regulatory complexities, packaging and labelling challenges and more, the event will provide plenty of opportunities to explore and learn about the industry, keep up to date with the latest developments, and discover key insights that will allow you to plot a competitive course for your business. Registration for Vitafoods Europe 2021 is now open. Discover more about the new hybrid format, in-person safety guidelines, registration options and much more at https://www.vitafoods.eu.com/en/welcome.html

Kite reveal takeaway food packaging range

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The closure of restaurants prompted many food and drink vendors to explore ecommerce and takeaway options. Now that they have reopened, the lucrative benefits of deliveries or ‘food-to-go’ options have not diminished, causing many suppliers to continue selling through virtual channels. To meet the huge demand for takeaway products, Kite Packaging has now launched a comprehensive range of sustainably focussed food packaging. Each item benefits from an environmental awareness paired with excellent functionality at an affordable price. Parts of the range utilise kraft paper as the main material, which uses a self-sustaining production method and is stronger than most other types of paper. Plus, it’s fully recyclable. Kite now supply kraft salad bowls, takeaway boxes, burger boxes and pizza boxes. Most plastic products in the collection are widely recyclable, sometimes featuring recycled content to further boost your green credentials while providing an optimal standard of sanitation and safety. The technically excellent containers are leakproof and water resistant, making them ideal for sauces, dips, soups or dressed salads alongside a range beverages. Birch wood has been used as a sustainable cutlery option, boasting enough strength to optimise the user experience without using any more material than necessary to fulfil the purpose of single-use items. Kite’s paper straws emulate this approach, being tightly wound and reinforced to avoid disintegrating while customers consume their drinks while still enjoying great eco-friendly qualities. The whole range has been expertly collated to include only the best products that adhere to the Kite ethos of supplying environmentally conscious, industrial packaging at competitive prices.

RMGroup to showcase automated palletising solutions at PPMA

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Leading robotics and automation company, RMGroup, will be using this year’s PPMA show to demonstrate a collaborative cell, consisting of the compact ABB IRB 460 – the world’s fastest palletising robot – together with an omnidirectional platform AGV for automated pallet handling. To accompany the robots, RMGroup will also be showcasing their Easy Teach 2 programming software, which will be demonstrated to visitors via a remote HMI screen. Developed in response to the need for a simple user friendly interface platform, Easy Teach 2 allows users who have no robot programming experience, to create programs, and configure pallet stacks for individual products. RMGroup’s recently updated bespoke software, gives enhance flexibility to new packaging formats and is particularly suitable for FMCG and food and drink warehousing environments. Operating within the fully guarded cell, the IRB 460 is perfect for end-of-line palletising and bag palletising applications. With a reach of 2.4m and 110kg payload capacity, this compact, four-axis robot can achieve up to 2,190 cycles per hour with a 60kg load – its small footprint means that the robot is ideal for fitting into existing packing lines. Alongside the robot palletiser, RMGroup will demonstrate the multiple handling possibilities to automate manufacturing and logistics flows provided by a platform AGV. With its very low height profile and high payload (up to 2000kg), the platform AGV provides completely safe and precise handling of multiple applications including pallets, raw materials, WIP, finished products and fragile parts. RMGroup is exhibiting on stand G50.

Sysco acquires Medina Foodservice

Sysco Corporation, the global foodservice distribution company, has entered into an agreement to acquire specialist regional wholesaler, Medina Foodservice. Medina Foodservice has built an enviable reputation for product quality and service with its loyal customer base. From sites on the Isle of Wight and in Southampton, Medina serves Southern England with a wide range of products and has a particularly long heritage of providing high quality meat and local produce. Medina Foodservice will join another regional wholesaler, kff and the fresh businesses Fresh Direct, M&J Seafood, Fresh Fayre and Wild Harvest, within the Sysco Speciality Group portfolio. Medina will continue to be run and operated independently by the current leadership and colleagues, but with the additional support including investment, expertise and scale of Sysco. Raj Tugnait, CEO, Sysco Speciality Group – Europe, said: “Medina Foodservice is a fantastic addition to the Sysco Speciality Group. Its reputation is second-to-none, which is why we’ll preserve its independence, as well as giving the business access to an award-winning portfolio of fresh products and industry-leading management support. “Together we will help Medina achieve even greater growth through a highly differentiated and tailored customer experience. Medina customers will continue to experience the same local service, product quality and local relationship they rely on. We are delighted to be welcoming such a well-established business with dedicated leadership and passionate colleagues to the Sysco family.” Steve Ross, Medina Foodservice, said: “We’re very proud of Medina Foodservice’s heritage and how we’ve grown the business over the years. Joining Sysco will provide the support that will help us in the next stage of our development. “For our customers it will be business as usual, but with the added reassurance that we have the world’s largest foodservice wholesaler at our side. We are confident that this move is right for our loyal customers, our colleagues, and the family, and we’re delighted to be joining Sysco Speciality Group.”

Holyrood Distillery launches height of arrows gin

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Holyrood Distillery is a modern distillery in the heart of historic Edinburgh, dedicated to shaping the spirit of tomorrow. Inspired by its unique position in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Distillery has created a brand-new gin that is both rooted in and elevated by the City of Edinburgh and experimental whisky-making. Launching in September 2021, Height Of Arrows is a gin that has been created with whisky in mind. Drawing on the idea that whisky’s myriad of flavours rely on a handful of ingredients, Height Of Arrows rejects the idea of numerous botanical additions. Height of Arrows is gin stripped back to its core, juniper alone and juniper celebrated. The mouth feel evocative of a whisky experience is also achieved through beeswax and salt, lending layers of texture and full-bodied flavour to the gin. The distillery’s imposing backdrop of Arthur’s Seat provides the inspiration for the gin, Height Of Arrows being the literal translation of Àrd-Na-Said, the Gaelic name for the mountain. Standing at 251m, the height of Arthur’s Seat is the furthest distance an archer could fire a bow. Edinburgh is at the heart of Holyrood Distillery. The city’s unique identity, its contrasts, landscapes and its brewing past and distilling present, are all explored by the team through experimental methods and collaborative projects. Holyrood Distillery is in turn at the heart of Edinburgh’s discerning drinking scene. Boasting its own outdoor courtyard bar, Height Of Arrows was served to locals throughout the summer, giving them the opportunity to exclusively try the gin before it was launched. “In Height of Arrows, we have made a gin that is distilled from our DNA as whisky makers. In whisky making we work with simplicity. Barley, water and yeast,” Managing Director of Holyrood Distillery, Nick Ravenhall. “We’ve taken this same mind set to Height of Arrows and created a complex gin born from juniper alone taking centre stage. Our hope is that gin fans will be thrilled to explore a new direction in modern gin; one that elevates today’s gin drinking experience.” Tasting Notes Nose: A balanced presentation of clean fresh pine & resin coupled with light citrus zest Palate: Initially oily and mouth coating with juicy and rich orange zest and lemon pith then a bold emergence of black pepper and cardamom, tempered with tapered herbaceous smoothness. Finish: Long, smooth and dry finish with effervescent spicy notes Serve: With Height Of Arrows, the drinker is invited to revisit the classics; The Martini, Gibson, Negroni and rediscover these timeless serves anew. Height of Arrows takes these recipes deeper into their classic space by minimising the ‘noise’ around the juniper and accentuating its power by delivering layer, texture and mouthfeel. Sold in a 70cl bottle and priced at £34.95, Height Of Arrows is currently available to buy at Hard to Find Whisky and Royal Mile Whiskies but will also be available from Holyrood Distillery’s website from late September 2021.

UK’s food and drink exports outside EU nearing pre-pandemic levels, FDF data shows

Sales of UK food and drink to non-EU countries were up 13%, accounting for 46.6% (£4.3 billion) of all UK food and drink exports in the first half of 2021, driven by a return to growth in China, Singapore, Australia, Japan and the Gulf region. This increase means non-EU exports are now almost back to pre-COVID levels. In other non-EU markets, including in Central and South America, sales to some countries have doubled since H1 2020. The fastest growing major export markets in the region were Colombia (+142.6%), Mexico (+111.2%), Chile (+105.4%) and Brazil (+87.2%). This increase has been driven by a recovery in sales of whisky and vegetable oils, supported by increased demand for other UK products growing rapidly from a much lower baseline. Despite the return to growth in these countries, overall sales of UK food and drink are down £2 billon compared to pre-COVID levels, because of a sharp drop in sales to the EU. A combination of the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and new barriers to trade resulting from the new trading arrangements, have led to a fall in exports to the EU of more than a quarter since H1 2019. Exports to nearly all EU member states fell significantly, including a loss of more than £0.5 billion in sales to Ireland, while sales to Germany, Spain and Italy are each down around a half since H1 2019. UK imports of food and drink were down nearly 10% in the first half of 2021 compared to pre-COVID levels, however imports from non-EU markets increased during this period. Imports from the EU were particularly badly impacted by the pandemic and the new trading relationship, falling nearly 15% since 2019, a loss of £2.4 billion. The loss of UK exports to the EU contributed to reduced demand for EU ingredients for use in UK manufacturing, while import substitution by UK manufacturers and retailers also had an impact. Imports from the EU are likely to deteriorate further in 2022 after the UK’s full border controls are in place. Products of animal original were heavily impacted, with a large fall in imports of pork (-19.6%), cheese (-17.6%) and chicken (-17.9%). “The return to growth in exports to non-EU markets is welcome news, but it doesn’t make up for the disastrous loss of £2 billion in sales to the EU. It clearly demonstrates the serious difficulties manufacturers in our industry continue to face and the urgent need for additional specialist support,” said Dominic Goudie, Head of International Trade, the FDF. “At the same time, we are seeing labour shortages across the UK’s farm-to-fork food and drink supply chain, resulting in empty spaces on UK shop shelves, disruptions to deliveries and decreased production. Unless steps are taken to address these issues, the ability of businesses to fulfil vital export orders will be impacted.” John Whitehead, Food & Drink Exporters Association (FDEA), said: “So many factors continue to impact on the drop in value of UK food and drink exports, with supply chain challenges and the inability to connect face to face with customers adding to the difficulties. “FDEA’s bespoke support to its member community is a valuable resource to identify new opportunities and accelerate new market entry. It is therefore pleasing to see growth in sales to non-EU countries. However, this in no way replaces the loss of £2.2 billion sales to the EU since 2019. “There is growing evidence that the complexity of trading with the EU has led to businesses moving operations into Europe and of importers looking for alternative suppliers, contributing to the ongoing decline in both UK exports and UK jobs.”

Two CCEP manufacturing sites certified carbon neutral

Two of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ (CCEP) manufacturing sites have been certified as carbon neutral. The sites at Jordbro in Sweden and Vilas del Turbón in Spain are CCEP’s first carbon neutral sites, and are part of a pilot programme that aims for at least six CCEP sites to become carbon neutral certified according the international standard PAS 2060 by the end of 2023. This programme is a key part of CCEP’s emission reduction target that focuses first on reducing its own value chain emissions before investing in verified carbon offset projects, prioritising those that remove carbon from the atmosphere, to take away any remaining emissions. Both sites were chosen to be part of the programme by demonstrating a historic reduction in their carbon emissions and have plans to continue to reduce emissions for the next three years, in line with this target. Both sites already use 100% renewable electricity, and have also made a number of changes on-site to reduce their emissions. The Jordbro site is CCEP’s sole production facility in Sweden that produces over 350 million litres of beverages each year. Over the past five years the site has reduced its total emissions to only 1274 tonnes CO2e, which is a reduction of 68% per litre of product produced there, through a number of measures. These include using CO2 (that is used as an ingredient in the carbonated drinks produced at the site) from a carbon neutral source; this CO2 is a by-product of bioethanol (a form of renewable energy that is produced from feedstocks) production. LED lighting has also been installed at the site’s warehouse, and all forklift trucks on-site are electric. The Vilas de Turbón site is a mineral water facility in the Spanish Pyrenees with one production line that exclusively produces over 10 million litres of still mineral water every year from a natural spring. Over the past five years the site has reduced its total emissions to only 87 tonnes CO2e, which is a reduction of 36% per litre of product produced there, by installing energy efficient LED lighting across the site and adding frequency convertors to its water pumps to improve the efficiency of its water extraction. Other measures include the installation of a biomass boiler later this year, that uses sustainably sourced wood pellets in place of fossil fuels. As part of the PAS 2060 certification the sites have committed to a further CO2 reduction plan for the next 3 years. To offset the remaining emissions at both sites CCEP has purchased Gold Standard certified carbon credits from a reforestation project in Orinoco, Colombia. This carbon sequestration project will support an area of savannah that has been damaged by agricultural activity through reforestation and the restoration of its ecosystem.

Approval heralds MENA’s first cultivated meat facility

Sustainable foods company, Eat Just, has partnered with Doha Venture Capital (DVC) and Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), to build the first-ever cultivated meat facility in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region. The regional hub will be located in the Umm Alhoul Free Zone, one of two free zones overseen and regulated by QFZA, with direct access to Hamad Port. It will initially comprise a large-scale facility for Eat Just’s GOOD Meat division, which created the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock. There are plans to add a protein processing facility for JUST Egg, the company’s plant-based egg division. The hub will be staffed with research and development, engineering and business development professionals. This is DVC’s first investment in the protein innovation space and the forthcoming meat facility will be a first for QFZA, which is focused on bringing together leading global companies using innovative technologies to build a more sustainable future. The Qatar Free Zones Authority and the Ministry of Public Health have indicated their intention to grant regulatory approval for GOOD Meat cultivated chicken very soon and have formally granted an export license for the pioneering product. The GOOD Meat team is currently identifying restaurants in Qatar that would be ideal launch partners for this historic moment in the Middle East. “Our team is grateful to take the next step in our global expansion in the Qatar Free Zones. Their commitment to accelerating our work in building a more sustainable food system was apparent from day one of our dialogue – and we’re expecting to look back decades from now on this partnership with them as key to how we made that vision a reality,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.

Up close and personal

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Stockport-based packaging manufacturer Macpac has launched a dedicated campaign delivering a personal and key sustainability message to its customers. The customised newsletters will explore the changing packaging legislation policies and how these could affect a customer’s business. The company says that other matters will be discussed such as designing for sustainability. The newsletter will cover such imminent new legislation as Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR, the Plastic Packaging Tax coming next April applying to plastic packaging  that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, (Macpac assert that its packaging has a minimum of 80% recycled content). Other aspects covered will be the Deposit Return Scheme (DR) and increasing consistency in kerbside collection. Macpac say that no one is doing what it is doing – this is going the extra mile with a dedicated section on their website covering designing packaging for sustainability and offering advice on the best choice of materials to empower customers to propose the best possible solutions to their clients. Macpac say it has come up with key sustainability goals to reduce their environmental impact these include the use of recycled materials, efficient production, zero-waste-to-landfill, renewable energy, carbon footprint. Click or tap here to find out more.

Sealed Air packs a punch with new products launching at PPMA 2021

Global packaging provider Sealed Air will be showcasing their range of automated protective and food packaging solutions on stand C40 at this year’s PPMA show. As Sealed Air continues to expand its portfolio of next generation sustainable solutions, the latest additions to the range will be unveiled on the stand. The new SEALED AIR® brand FasFil® Jr paper void fill system has been specifically designed to combine all the key performance features that enable companies to confidently increase their packaging outputs from low to medium capacity. The system is ‘plug and play’ with a super small footprint, fully integrated user-friendly controls, toolless jam clearing and anti-jam sensors. It can create custom void fill material using 100% recycled fanfold paper, which is also responsibly sourced. Another exciting addition to the Sealed Air portfolio to be revealed on the stand will be the new SEALED AIR® brand Bubble Wrap Inflator. This all-in-one system creates on-demand inflatable bubble bags on a roll, for void-fill, cushioning, wrapping or inflatable pouches, using over 80 types of BUBBLE WRAP® brand materials. The smart technology interface enables operators to easily switch between materials, based on their needs. Again, this has a small footprint and can be mounted in various ways to save space, which makes it ideal for businesses needing to rapidly expand their fulfilment operations. Companies looking to increase their levels of automation would benefit from viewing the popular range of AUTOBAG® brand automated packing solutions, including systems designed to improve productivity in mail order fulfilment and primary packing solutions. Features such as secure bag opening and positioning, integrated label printing and compact footprints makes the Autobag® range an essential part of any efficient fulfilment operation. E-commerce retailers and 3PLs will be particularly interested to see SEALED AIR® brand Korrvu® suspension and retention packaging in action. Quick, cost effective and easy to use, Korrvu® packaging uses minimal materials for effective protection and optimum presentation, without the need for void fill materials. The PPMA Show 2021 is the leading UK event for processing and packaging machinery, robotics and automation. It takes place 28th – 30th September at NEC, Birmingham, UK. Click or tap here to register to attend.