Easyfairs announces new May dates for 2022 edition of Packaging Innovations & Empack at the NEC, Birmingham

Global event organiser Easyfairs today announces that Packaging Innovations & Empack 2022, the biggest annual event driving innovation and investment in the UK packaging sector, will be postponed from its current February 2022 dates to new dates of 25 & 26 May 2022. The decision to postpone the event has been made in consultation with the event’s many partners, exhibitors and the community as a whole. It is a result of the impact of the recent and rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, which has led to new recommendations relating to home working and significant new travel restrictions for overseas participants in the event. This combination of circumstances makes it impossible to plan for a successful event in February. With its new dates in May, the 2022 edition of Packaging Innovations & Empack will continue to be the essential event giving a vision of the future and driving investment and innovation decisions across the whole packaging journey. Packaging Innovations will connect packaging technologists, designers and buyers with more than 200 of the market’s leading suppliers of primary and secondary packaging materials and related technologies. Empack will bring together directors at packing and filling operations with more than 40 of the market’s key technology suppliers. Three conference stages will bring the latest thinking on the key issues in packaging development and processing; while a host of features and networking initiatives will ensure visitors find the partners and products that will define their next projects. Easyfairs is confident that moving the dates of Packaging Innovations & Empack 2022 to May is the best way to ensure a successful event that will continue to connect and inspire the whole packaging community that it serves. The event will be held at the same venue as originally planned, in Hall 1 at the NEC in Birmingham. Renan Joel, Divisional Director for Easyfairs’ packaging events in the UK and France, comments: “It is our mission to run fantastic events that connect the packaging community, drive innovation and business and give a truly inspiring vision of the future. “We want to ensure that the next edition of Packaging Innovations & Empack at the NEC does this and moving the event to May will give the whole community the best chance of having the event it deserves. “I would like to thank all the stakeholders in our event – exhibitors, associations, media and visitors – for their support for the change in dates. We can’t wait to bring them all together in May and help them drive their innovations for the year to come.”  

8 tips for making the right food processing equipment purchase

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In the ever-changing world of food processing, understanding cutting-edge technologies can be a significant advantage for food producers. Food processing equipment is an integral part of the industry, so it’s essential to know your options before purchasing. What Is Food Processing Equipment? Food processing equipment includes machinery used in the manufacturing, harvesting, and packaging of food products. It’s crucial for all food producers to choose the right equipment directly to influence production cost and product quality. So, how do you identify a good piece of food processing equipment? The following guide provides you with eight helpful suggestions and tips on finding the right food processing equipment for your business. 1. Consider The Type Of Food You Manufacture The first thing you need to look at is the exact type of food products you plan on manufacturing with your new piece of equipment. Is it something that’ll be used daily or just once in a while? How long are the production batches normally, and how large are they? Will you need to store the food once it’s processed? These are the questions you need to ask yourself before making your purchase. After you have a good idea of exactly how much and often your equipment will be used, you can begin to consider the size of food processing equipment that would suit your business best. This step is necessary if you plan on expanding or needing more than one piece of equipment in the near future. 2. Do Your Research For this next step, you may refer to many online resources available to find out more about food processing equipment. The internet is full of unbiased reviews and experiences from other buyers and videos that give you a better picture of the result. Having as much information allows you to decide which equipment is right for your business. 3. Take The Price Into Account One of the most important things to consider when purchasing food processing equipment is the price. Naturally, some pieces will cost more than others due to their features, quality, and sizes. If you have a limited budget, it’s best to choose a piece that can get the job done perfectly instead of buying several inferior products for more money. 4. Ensure It Is Easily Customizable One thing that’s often overlooked when choosing food processing equipment is its ability to be customized according to your specific requirements. Does the equipment offer changeable functions and attachments, or does it only come in a fixed size? Ideally, you’ll want a piece of equipment that can be adapted to suit your needs without too much hassle. For example, if you know that your production method will change or grow in the future, choose flexible and modular equipment. This way, you can quickly and cheaply update and modify it to suit your evolving business model. Nonetheless, if you’re on a tight budget, it may be best to avoid customization in favor of choosing equipment that’s already the size you need. There are plenty of available options that suit all budgets and requirements, so there’s no reason why you can’t find exactly what you require. 5. Ease Of Use And Maintenance Is A Must No one wants to deal with a complicated machine when they could’ve purchased an easy-to-use one instead. The various functions, attachments, and sizes of food processing equipment make it essential to find something that multiple people in your business can use. It’ll ensure that no person is overburdened with the task, even if they’re new to working with food processing machinery. Another consideration when purchasing food processing equipment is how easy it is to maintain the piece of equipment you’re considering. The rule of thumb here is the more accessible everything is, the easier it’ll be for you to get things functional again when they break down. 6. Always Look For Durability And Quality When choosing food processing machinery, quality should always come before the price. You should always find the most durable piece you can afford, as this saves you money in the long run and helps ensure that your equipment doesn’t break down during use. The best way to determine the quality of a machine is by reading food processing equipment reviews and consulting with an equipment dealer or supplier. 7. Check The Guarantee Another thing you should always check before making your final purchase is the guarantee. It’ll tell you how confident the manufacturer or supplier is that their equipment won’t break down. Food processing equipment reviews are also a good source of information about this, as they often mention any issues buyers have had with the machine breaking down over time. For a piece of food processing equipment to be worth your investment, it should last for a long time in one piece. If there’s no guarantee or warranty involved, you may want to shop around and see if someone else is offering the same type of machine with better terms included. 8. Think About The Future As mentioned previously, it’s best to purchase your food processing equipment from a supplier who can provide customization and after-sale service with the piece of machinery you choose. You should also think about how one piece of machinery will fit into a larger production plant. If you have a limited budget for this investment, going with a piece that can be used in multiple ways will save you money in the long run. What Is The Return On Investment? You’ll want to purchase food processing equipment that’ll return a profit on your initial investment in the long run. You should always ask yourself what the machine will bring to the business before making a final decision. For instance, a piece of machinery that helps speed up production may be worth the cost if used often enough. On the other hand, a piece of equipment that isn’t frequently used may not be worth the expense. Conclusion While some businesses will want to invest in high-tech machinery to attract customers, others may need only basic equipment that does its job well enough to keep up with demand. Before purchasing new food processing equipment, you should research the kind of machines your competitors are using. It’ll give you an idea of what is offered in your industry before deciding on a final purchase.

Kite’s new nano tape with strength to replace nails

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Sometimes called ‘magic tape’, this transparent and lightweight double-sided tape can hold objects up to 1kg in weight. This outstanding adhesive strength makes it an incredibly versatile product for an assortment of decorating, DIY or domestic applications in addition to the professional purposes it can satisfy within an office or a warehouse. To use, simply cut off the required amount, seal it onto almost any surface and attach the item you want to suspend. The tape can even be reused by peeling it off the surface, washing with water and leaving it to dry naturally and regain its stickiness. Hence, Kite’s nano tape is a sustainable, multi-purpose solution built to last. Office applications include organizing workspaces to be as ergonomic and easily customisable as possible through attaching pens, pencils, calendars and posters to walls or desk divisions. Furthermore, you can elevate desks without causing slipping by inserting tape underneath a table leg, for example. Within a packing station, tapes, scissors or label dispensers can be secured at the most convenient position for the user. The advantage of non-permanent fittings is the flexibility it grants the space. For small businesses, a pack bench may double as a product image backdrop and the tape can facilitate this transformation via the easy removal of suspended objects or the quick tidying up of the flat surface. The nano tape is also popular for household tasks such as hanging picture frames or mirrors without inflicting potential damage to the wall. The clear and washable appearance will not interfere with any existing colour schemes while providing optimal decorative freedom for the user. The tape offers excellent versatility and convenience with the potential to revolutionise many processes.    

Food group seals sweet deal with desserts manufacturer

Regal Food Products Group Plc, the Yorkshire-based food group behind brands Regal Bakery, Regal Foods and Yorkshire Baking Company, have acquired premium desserts manufacturer Just Desserts for an undisclosed sum – backed by the commercial team at Virgin Money UK. Established in 1985 in Shipley, West Yorkshire, Just Desserts specialise in baking a range of over 130 hand-crafted desserts and cakes, that are distributed throughout the food service industry. The range of hand-crafted desserts include tarts, cheesecakes and gateaux which already are well established within restaurants, cafes, and retail outlets. The acquisition of Just Desserts will add to the growing success of Regal Foods Group, whilst complementing and broadening the offer available within the food service and retail industry. Younis Chaudhry, CEO of Regal Food Products Group Plc, adds: “We immediately recognised a business that presented itself with opportunity, not just for us as a food group but also for our customers. “New product development and innovation has always been at the forefront of our work and bringing Just Desserts and it’s team of craft bakers into the fold, enables us to offer flexibility and the scope to develop the growing range of quality products that are on offer within the retail and wholesale sector. Further developments will also see the high-quality desserts available through ecommerce platforms. “We are extremely proud to be scaling our portfolio beyond the circle of Regal founded brands and branching out to becoming new owners of Just Desserts – a bakery that harnesses true craftsmanship within the confectionery industry.” James O’Dwyer, former Managing Director, adds: “We are delighted and excited to be joining the Regal Foods family and know that the Just Desserts brand and all the team behind its success are in the best possible hands to ensure its future growth and prosperity. It really is exciting times ahead.” Younis Chaudhry confirmed the acquisition will mean business as usual for Just Desserts, which will continue to run as an independent business whilst benefiting from the recourses and ongoing investment the group has to offer. The acquisition was advised by Mazars, Clarion Solicitors and BHP Corporate Finance.

Seasonal Worker visa route extended until end of 2024 for UK horticulture sector

The Home Office and DEFRA have announced that the Seasonal Worker visa route will be extended until the end of 2024, which allows foreign workers to come to the UK for up to six months to work in the horticulture sector. There will be 30,000 visas available this year, but this will be kept under review with the potential to increase by 10,000 if necessary. The number of visas will begin to taper down from 2023 and the sector will have to improve pay and conditions. Following the 2019 review of the pilot, the Home Office has reviewed the requirements placed on the scheme operators and updated the seasonal worker sponsor guidance to tighten the compliance requirements. Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster, said: “The extension to the Seasonal Worker visa route strikes the right balance of supporting the industry while it transitions to employing and prioritising domestic workers.” Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “We had a seasonal worker scheme for agriculture from the time of the second world war and long before we joined the EU. We recognise that agriculture has unique and seasonal requirements for labour at harvest and have listened to our world leading fresh produce industry to understand their needs.” Changes to the route, which has run since 2019, will force companies to pay those using the route a minimum salary to discourage poor conditions. The changes follow a review of the seasonal workers pilot which found the reliance on foreign labour held down wages, disincentivised investment and discouraged workers (both resident and non-resident) into these roles. While the visa scheme will continue to allow seasonal workers to come to the UK, the government has demanded a plan from the sector to cut the reliance on foreign labour.

Natural colours supplier continues growth with acquisition of Food Ingredient Solutions

Oterra, the supplier of natural colours, continues its strong growth acceleration announcing the acquisition of Food Ingredient Solutions. Founded in 1999, Food Ingredient Solutions is an American producer of colours and natural antioxidants, with a strong exposure to, and growth from, natural colours. The company serves more than 400 customers annually and has two certified processing facilities located in Teterboro, New Jersey, and Marshfield, Missouri. Oterra continues its strong growth with multiple complementary bolt-on acquisitions since its inception, including the acquisition of SECNA Natural Ingredients Group S.L. and Diana Food’s colouring business in Europe earlier in 2021. Food Ingredient Solutions will mark its first US-based acquisition. “North America is one of the fastest-growing natural colours markets, and this acquisition puts Oterra in a great position to further support our customers in the conversion towards natural colours,” said Cees de Jong, chairman, Oterra. Jeff Greaves, founder and CEO of Food Ingredient Solutions, will join Oterra. “I’m thrilled that Food Ingredient Solutions will become a part of Oterra. We have a strong local presence and great customer relationships, and as Oterra we will be able to offer our customers access to the most extensive portfolio of natural colours in the world,” said Greaves. “We look forward to welcoming the Food Ingredient Solutions team to Oterra. They will join a strong team of dedicated natural colour specialists from around the world, and their addition will be met with excitement, especially from our US employees as we further strengthen our US position,” said Odd Erik Hansen, CEO, Oterra.

Schouten Europe takes over Nijland Food

The Dutch family business Schouten Europe, producer of meat and fish substitutes, is taking over Nijland Food from Goor, the Netherlands which recently declared bankruptcy. Schouten will take over all buildings and machines and said it is committed to ensuring that as many Nijland employees as possible can keep their jobs. The market for plant-based alternatives to meat and fish has been steadily growing. Competition within the market has also increased. “We have always outsourced production and packaging in order to remain flexible and focus on innovation. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing shortage in production and packaging capacity. This did not benefit our market position. This acquisition offers us room to grow further,” says CEO and owner Henk Schouten. Schouten and Nijland are no strangers. Nijland has been packaging products for Schouten for 12 years. Several Schouten products have also been produced at Nijland for five years. Nijland also packaged products for other parties. Chicken was also processed in a separate hall. “We are specialists in the development, production, and packaging of plant-based products. Processing chicken does not fit in with that. We will therefore not continue this,” says Schouten. The acquisition of Nijland does not mean that Schouten will produce and package all its products itself. “We have a strong network of specialised and valued production partners who will continue to add value to our company and with whom we are happy to continue to working with,” says Schouten.

Sushi rice prices explode

People who love sushi will have to pay more or go without as the UK is about to experience a significant increase in the price of sushi rice. Ingredients experts, Eurostar Commodities warn that the since September 2020 freight costs alone have increased approximately 19%. Raw material has increased by approximately 35% due to short supply and very high demand. There may not be enough rice produced globally this harvest to satisfy 100% of demand this year (2021-2022) creating a potential shortage in the market. Price of paddy rice is increasing and will no longer be available on the open market from March 2022. By Spring, the forecast is that there will be no paddy rice left in the entire global market. There will be 13% less rice available in total volume than the previous year, meanwhile global demand is soaring. This includes round grain and long grain and extends into the various cereal processing industries that are dependent on rice as a key ingredient. Ingredients expert, Jason Bull, director, Eurostar Commodities, said: “Right now the entire industry is clamouring to buy the rice that they need, and this is driving the price up further. This cycle is going to continue into Spring 2022 increasing prices even further. The prediction is that this will affect the price of products for consumers especially consumption of sushi in restaurants and supermarkets. I have heard industry people describing it even though we are at the beginning of the new harvest ‘the prices are like we are at the end.’” Much of the sushi rice consumed in the UK comes from paddy fields in Northern Italy where the rice harvest begins in the Autumn. However, Europe does not grow enough rice to fulfil demand and so it is topped up with rice from the rest of the world – but this year they will also have a massive shortfall due to freight and logistical issues. Major rice producing countries include Thailand, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, South America and Italy. The situation in Italy is that there are continued increases in the price of paddy due to short supply and this is forecast to continue over the next few months. Compared with one year ago it is now more expensive to transport the product from the far east than it is to produce it. Energy, transport and packaging costs have all increased as well as surcharges being imposed on freight due to ‘UK congestion’ at ports. Lack of drivers is also affecting availability and increasing delays. Total cost of rice has increased dramatically year on year driven by freight rate spikes and limited import options from EBA (duty free) countries. However, pressure is on Italy’s supply to fulfil domestic demand, and price of global rice is so expensive that it is not a viable option to meet the shortfall.

Getir snaps up Ace+Freak

Crafty canned cocktail brand Ace+Freak has been snapped up by ultra-fast grocery home delivery service Getir in a swift move that makes it available nationwide for the first time, in time for new year celebrations. In a deal brokered by purpose-led drinks firm Ten Locks, Ace+Freak Mint & Elderflower Spritz (5.5% ABV), Ginger & Lemongrass Mule (5.5% ABV) and Watermelon & Cucumber Sangria (4% abv) will be listed nationally, available across 34 major cities where Getir have distribution. The brand will be featured on the Getir: Groceries In Minutes app for home delivery within as little as 10 minutes. A drinks range with its finger on the pulse it brings bold branding and an exceptional quality cocktail serve to the booming canned RTD sector. Ace+Freak appeals directly to the millennial consumer; bar quality drinks that look and taste great, made to the highest standard and in the most sustainable way possible. Ace+Freak’s recipes are designed by Thomas Soden, a multi-award-winning mixologist and co-owner of Nine Lives cocktail bar in London. Soden co-founded the brand after writing two books, over 300 cocktail menus and racking up 15,000 hours of cocktail-making-experience. Every can of Ace+Freak is made with high quality craft spirits, 100 percent natural ingredients, pressed fruit juices and purées, and wines sourced directly from co-operatives. The team at Ace+Freak distil their own botanical spirits specifically for each recipe. Becky Davis, head of commercial at Ten Locks, says: “Getir and Ace + Freak share an ethos of disruption and a hyper-focus on millennials. Bringing together the two creative, top quality and razor-sharp propositions mean we can insert Ace + Freak into lesser tapped territories; impromptu get-togethers, outdoor drinks and drinks at home. The real win is that drinks at these occasions can now be every bit as good as when a bartender makes them.” RTD volume share is expected to double in the next five years in top markets with ready-to-drink products anticipated to command 8% of Total Beverage Alcohol by 2025.[1] Davies continues: “With all eyes on RTDs and the love consumers have for brands that are striving forward with true purpose, coupled with convenient, tech-based quick commerce platforms asserting themselves among consumers, Ace + Freak and Getir are well positioned for a powerful partnership.” Earlier this year Ace + Freak successfully crowdfunded £250,000 investment to fund further growth and further expand into the ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail market.

Seafood Scotland awarded £100,000 to support industry with new training programme

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Seafood Scotland has been awarded £100,000 of funding from the National Transition Training Fund and Skills Development Scotland to support onshore activities of seafood businesses across the country, upskilling and training employees to support company growth. Delivered by a range of training providers, the ‘Business Improvement Programme’ will provide bespoke training packages to companies to help support their objectives. Free webinars and funded courses will be available to meet business and team needs and strategic goals. Companies will have access to over 60 courses covering four key training areas: 1. Upskilling and multiskilling staff – training for employees and teams 2. Career recruitment and retention toolkits for businesses – helping to develop recruitment and retention policies 3. Process automation and business implications 4. Women in Seafood in Scotland The programme will be delivered to current staff members over the age of 25, using flexible and hybrid methods, such as self-taught online modules and guided virtual sessions. Courses range from fish frying, knife skills and monger training to customer and human resource services, as well as guidance on business planning and strategy. The National Transition Training Fund was launched in 2020 by Skills Development Scotland following the rise in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme aims to give individuals the opportunity to gain industry recognised qualifications to support with employment. Donna Fordyce, Chief Executive at Seafood Scotland, said: “It’s important that the businesses in our onshore seafood sector continue to grow and this funding can help them do just that. With the support received from the National Transition Training Fund and Skills Development Scotland, we will help companies plan their training opportunities and the courses available to them in line with their business objectives. “The window for this funding is open until March and I would strongly encourage any onshore seafood businesses to take this great opportunity to upskill and train staff without the burden of additional costs.” Gerry McBride, Strategic Relations Manager – Food & Drink at Skills Development Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to see this valuable work given the green light and now being able to see the positive impact it will have to seafood businesses across Scotland. “Given all the challenges the sector has been forced to face into over the past two years due to the pandemic and other huge obstacles, everyone recognises the need for businesses to be as agile as possible. “The programme will enable businesses to retrain, upskill and adapt their workforce to meet the ever-changing requirements of the marketplace and the economic landscape. We’re really looking forward to seeing all this excellent work coming to fruition.”