Kite Packaging attend NHS Supplier Awards ceremony due to their outstanding contribution

Kite Packaging was recognised at the NHS Midlands Excellence in Supplier Awards 2021 held at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club for their supply of around 400,000 of PPE visors to major Midlands hospitals. The Midlands based packaging distributor galvanised their resources to react to the national crisis in March 2020 with such rapidity that their first visor prototype was complete within hours on the 24th March: three days after a first lockdown was announced. The employee share-owned business was nominated for the Supplier Innovation Award to celebrate this achievement. The team overcame considerable supply chain challenges, calling in favours with their contacts and sourcing new suppliers when required to create the amount urgently needed by NHS staff. To compound this work, Kite employed their professional expertise and materials to send their bespoke face visors and back-to-work PPE packs to care homes, schools, psychiatric wards and other places in need during April and May. The in-house design engineers also created specialised packaging to transport respirators to places they were desperately required, demonstrating their consistent adaptation to changes in NHS requirements. The company is pleased to have been in a position to utilise all of their available resources toward this national effort, producing meaningful results for those on the frontline. As their work was purely focussed on alleviating the pressures placed on the NHS during the period of supply shortages, Kite ceased supply after May. These genuine efforts were recognised along with all the other nominees at the event who were dedicated to supporting the invaluable work of our NHS, not merely profiting from the dire situation that had arisen.  

Finlays Europe to fuel cold brew coffee boom with new UK facility

Finlays, an independent B2B supplier of tea, coffee and botanicals, has unveiled plans to fire up the UK cold brew coffee market with a multi-million-pound facility in the north of England. The coffee extraction plant is set to begin producing cold brew coffee for branded and own-label suppliers to the UK and European grocery and hospitality sectors in 2022. The site is located next to Finlays Europe’s tea decaffeination facility in Hull and will allow Finlays to supply bulk concentrate, RTD cans and bag in box through ambient and refrigerated supply chain networks. Packaging formats will be flexible to suit a variety of customer needs while also maintaining Finlays’ commitment to sustainable sourcing. The UK market for cold brew coffee is booming, with annual sales hitting £56m in 2020. The growth of the UK and Europe market is now set to mirror the cold brew boom that has transformed the US coffee market, where annual cold brew sales are now worth a staggering £917m and counting. Finlays Europe’s new facility in Hull will produce pure cold brew coffee from beans freshly roasted at its roastery in nearby Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

Irish dairy cooperative acquires US cheese business

Irish dairy cooperative, Ornua, has completed the acquisition of US cheese ingredients business, Whitehall Specialties Inc (WSI) for an undisclosed sum from Mason Wells, a private equity firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This acquisition complements Ornua’s US Ingredients division, Ornua Ingredients North America (OINA), and is central to Ornua’s long-term growth strategy in the US cheese ingredients market. OINA is a provider of customised functional cheese solutions for US food manufacturing and foodservice customers. This acquisition significantly increases OINA’s current position in the US cheese ingredients market expanding its production footprint across six well-invested facilities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. It will be an important enabler of Ornua’s long-term growth strategy, unlocking significant growth capacity and flexibility to support its existing and new customers’ ambitious growth plans. Ornua CEO, John Jordan, said: “Ornua Ingredients North America is a core part of the Ornua business, delivering strong growth over the last ten years. By bringing together two market leaders, in complementary parts of the ingredients sector, we are creating a powerful partnership that builds a strong foundation for a long-term, sustainable future. “We warmly welcome the Whitehall Specialties team and are looking forward to partnering with them as we look to our next stage of growth. Our combined business is centred around creating and maintaining long-term partnerships with our customers through innovation, best-in-class technical expertise and a true spirit of collaboration.” Headquartered in Wisconsin, WSI provides innovative functional cheese solutions to its longstanding food manufacturing and food service customers.

Brewery coalition calls on world leaders to respond to climate crisis ahead of COP26

A coalition of 25 breweries from across the UK and Ireland have released an open letter calling on world leaders to make concrete commitments to tackle the climate emergency at COP26 next month. The letter urges leaders to seize the “once in a lifetime opportunity to protect people and nature from the effects of the global climate crisis”. It highlights reducing food waste as a key measure in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, citing evidence that food systems are responsible for one-third of GHG emissions and 80% of deforestation. Alongside the open letter, each participating brewery has brewed a new beer for the Companion Series, a limited-edition collection of beers that use surplus bread that would otherwise have gone to waste. Toast Ale, who coordinated the series and letter, has been brewing with bread since the company was founded in 2015. They have supplied pre-prepared surplus crumb and shared expertise with the fellow breweries to support the circular economy at this critical time. There will be 2,600 Companion Series boxes available to purchase from today, with £26 from each sale invested in conservation and regenerative agriculture projects. Toast Ale is partnering with Rainforest Trust UK to protect 3.25 million trees in threatened tropical rainforests, whilst a collaboration with Soil Heroes will support UK farmers to replenish the health of soils, sequestering 360 tonnes of CO2 as well as holding more water and improving biodiversity. The Companion Series is expected to raise over £65,000 for these projects. “It’s exciting to be launching the Companion Series alongside 24 of our Companion breweries. Not only are we raising funds for two fantastic organisations doing important work within forest conservation and regenerative agriculture, we’re also sending a message to world leaders, fellow businesses and society at large that we are committed to collaborating in order to tackle a problem that is bigger than all of us,” said Tristram Stuart, co-founder of Toast Ale. “The latest IPCC report reminds us that we have a narrow window to reduce further warming of our planet, and it’s closing rapidly. Food systems are responsible for one-third of GHG emissions and 80% of deforestation. However, one-third of the world’s food is never eaten, an unnecessary use of the land and resources, and emissions of greenhouse gases, to produce it. “As a business dedicated to positive social and environmental change, we’re dedicated to sharing our expertise and ethos with fellow breweries to make progress in reducing these numbers. “But we also need governments to make the necessary policy commitments, which is why we’re challenging world leaders and COP negotiators with our open letter. “We hope that those responsible for making policy decisions and setting international targets at COP will ‘use their loaves’ and work together to take meaningful action for the sake of our collective future.” In the letter, the breweries say they are “laying down the gauntlet” for world governments to follow their lead and to collaborate in order to combat the climate emergency. Participating breweries range from household names such as Guinness to smaller, independent breweries such as Fyne Ales, a family-owned Scottish farm brewery in Argyll.

One of world’s best bars to launch RTDs in UK

Heads + Tails, the London bar recognised in both the ‘UK’s Top 50 Cocktail Bars’ and ‘The World’s Top 500 Bars’, will launch a collection of nine premium small batch cocktails on 20th October across three categories; ‘Fun & Fruity’, ‘Contemporary Classics’ and ‘Serious & Stirred’. The cocktails are designed for both commercial and consumer markets with availability in two formats a large single serve measure (10cl rrp £7.99) and a larger bottle serving six (50cl rrp £34.99) with each expression offering a striking individual design that captures the personality of the bar and the cocktail it contains. In addition, there are two 50cl bottle (£64.99) and three 50cl bottle (£84.99) packs created via customer selection with the larger 50cl bottles packaged in a bespoke outer box adding value as a statement gifting option ideal for retail. “We have always been proud of being recognised for making some of the world’s best drinks so making them available beyond our bar was the logical yet challenging next step,” said Chris Dennis, Director, Heads + Tails. “With the help of our gifted and experienced bar team we’ve created an extensive and varied range of well-known classics and creative twists. “We’re proud to say that these have the same exceptional quality of our in-house cocktails and we’re excited that our drinks are now available wherever our customer happens to be.” Will Partridge, Director, Heads + Tails, added: “The pandemic accelerated the natural step for our Heads + Tails, and while this was a project born from the effects of COVID with EU & US markets expected to be worth £7.1bn and £6bn respectively by 2026, we are grateful we used our time wisely and are very proud of the RTD range we have produced.” The collection of nine signature drinks are sold exclusively on their own dedicated website and have been created by the team who boast over 50 years combined industry experience designed to suit a variety of tastes and occasion: Fun & fruity Peach Daiquiri: The timeless combination of rum, lime and sugar. We just made it peachy. (23.8% ABV) Pineapple Margarita: Refreshing, tropical twist on one of the world’s favourite cocktails. (19% ABV) Angel Face: Apple and apricot flavours bring a balance and zesty sweetness to a classic London dry gin. (22.3% ABV) Contemporary classics Negroni: A bitter Italian aperitivo classic that packs a punch. A bittersweet balance of dry citrus notes and a delicate spicy finish. (25.1% ABV) Cosmopolitan: The classic ‘Cosmo’. Refreshing cranberry, a sweet citrus finish and vodka throughout. (13.8% ABV) Espresso Martini: Rich and indulgent, the Espresso Martini is a sumptuous mix of vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso. The layers of sweet coffee balance the smooth and crisp vodka. (14.3% ABV) Serious & stirred Maple Old Fashioned: A delicious maple-sweetened take on the classic Old Fashioned. Caramelised flavours of burnt wood with a delicate and aromatic vanilla finish. (29.3% ABV) Old Fashioned: One of the great Bourbon classics. Made the old fashioned way (29.3% ABV) El Presidente: We use a blend of aged rums in our take on this rich and vibrant Cuban-inspired classic (28.5% ABV) The label and packaging design for Heads + Tails ready-to-drink signature range was designed by London based agency Colt and the different fonts used were inspired by each cocktail to maintain their individual identities.

Tyson Foods investing $61m to expand Vicksburg poultry plant

Tyson Foods is investing $61 million in its Vicksburg poultry plant as part of the company’s commitment to meet increasing demand for protein and deliver on its strategy of accelerating long-term growth of its retail brand. The Vicksburg facility makes fully cooked chicken products for foodservice and retail customers. The expansion will increase production capacity of chicken products for foodservice customers such as restaurants and schools. “The demand for convenient, high-quality chicken products continues to grow and there is no brand more trusted than Tyson – we are pleased to invest in our business as we invest in the great state of Mississippi,” said David Bray, Group President of Poultry for Tyson Foods The Mississippi Development Authority is providing assistance for infrastructure improvements. Warren County and Entergy Mississippi are also assisting with the project. The expansion is expected to be complete by next summer.

Hormel Foods partners with Better Meat Co. for vegan products

Hormel Foods has entered into an exclusive partnership with food-tech start-up The Better Meat Co. to bring new mycoprotein and plant-based protein products to the marketplace. 199 Ventures, Hormel’s venturing company, was formed in 2019 to be the company’s food forward incubator, which includes investing in companies that align with Hormel Foods growth strategies. The two companies will work together to develop the next generation of great-tasting, wholesome, and sustainable alternative protein products with The Better Meat Co.’s innovative Rhiza mycoprotein ingredient. Produced via a potato-based fermentation pioneered by The Better Meat Co., Rhiza is an all-natural whole food mycoprotein with a remarkable meat-like texture. Boasting more protein than eggs and more iron than beef, Rhiza offers a new generation of sustainable animal-free protein for the burgeoning alternative meat market, Hormel said. “We’re proud to partner with Hormel Foods to unleash the power of fermentation to build an even more sustainable food supply,” said Doni Curkendall, executive vice president of operations at Sacramento-based The Better Meat Co. “Hormel Foods has a deep bench of expertise in both animal and plant proteins, and we look forward to working together to bring our delicious mycoprotein to the world.”

Tong keeps an eye on automation at BP2021

Leading potato and vegetable handling equipment manufacturer, and sponsor of the BP2021 British Potato exhibition, Tong Engineering, will be showcasing equipment advances from field to pack, as well as the latest technologies in automation and optical sorting, at the UK’s largest biannual potato event in November. Exhibiting in Hall 2 at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate, Tong is welcoming visitors to the company’s stand to discuss how the latest equipment developments can address the real challenges currently facing vegetable producers, by minimising labour requirements whilst maximising capacity and yield. “Since the industry last met at the British Potato event the handling requirements of growers and fresh-pack companies have far from stood-still,” says Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering. “The priority for our customers to maintain efficiency at every stage of the vegetable handling process is greater than ever, and we have introduced several new product developments across our range during this time that are truly streamlining the potato handling process.” As part of the company’s ongoing product development programme, advancements have been applied to its in-field, on-farm and packhouse solutions, including the launch of the new FieldLoad PRO mobile field-loader, MonstaFill high-capacity box filler and patented E-Tip all-electric box tipper, as well as design updates across its best-selling range of washing and polishing equipment. “Optical sorting technologies are also progressing incredibly fast and are replacing manual sorting facilities more and more,” says Edward. “Reducing the reliance on the workforce to achieve efficient grading and sorting is at the forefront of equipment upgrade projects large and small. We have seen significantly increased demand for handling solutions that integrate advanced vision grading systems, and a large number of our latest turnkey projects feature specialist optical sorting equipment.” “An exciting advancement for the potato industry is the new internal potato defect sorting capabilities of the MAF Pomone weight grader. We have been the UK distributor of MAF equipment for over 30 years and we are very excited to unveil the new MAF-exclusive, patented IDD8 internal defect sorting technology for potatoes at BP2021.” “The event is the perfect opportunity to meet with customers old and new to showcase the advanced handling solutions we offer as a dedicated manufacturing partner from post-harvest to pack. We very much welcome visitors to join us over the two-day event on our stand 211, to discuss their upcoming projects with a selection of tasteful appetisers and refreshments.”

Supply deal agreed for carbon dioxide in UK

A lifeline has been thrown to the UK’s food and drink sector after supplies of carbon dioxide (CO2) were secured until early next year. CF Industries’ Billingham Complex in Stockton-on-Tees will continue to operate through at least January 2022 after its UK subsidiary reached CO2 pricing and offtake agreements with its industrial gas customers in the country. The agreements between the UK subsidiary and its industrial gas customers run through the end of January 2022. During this period, it is expected that the UK government and industrial gas customers will develop robust alternative sources of CO2 as part of a long-term solution for meeting demand in the country. The Billingham Complex is capable of producing 750 tonnes of CO2 per day for commercial use as a by-product of the ammonia production process. The gas is vita in the beer, soft drinks and meat industries. “We are pleased to have reached a commercial solution that enables the Billingham Complex to continue to operate through January, alleviating near-term CO2 supply concerns in the UK,” said Tony Will, President and CEO, CF Industries Holdings. “We want to thank The Honorable Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, his staff and our industrial gas customers for the speed and spirit of cooperation that have marked our discussions over the past three weeks. “We look forward to working with them in the future as they develop a longer-term solution to CO2 supply and to support sustainable and competitive UK ammonia and fertilizer production.” CF Industries’ Ince Complex in Chester, UK, will remain offline, it said. The company does not have an estimate for when production will resume at the facility.

High-precision weighing and filling delivers great results for Molkerei Biedermann

Swiss dairy company Molkerei Biedermann AG, a member of the Emmi Group, has recently installed an Ishida multihead weigher for handling nuts and cereals, which are packed as separate portions to accompany yoghurts and desserts. The dairy is currently using the Ishida multihead to handle five different products at target weights from 14 g to 25 g and with pinpoint accuracy: the standard deviation for a 25 g weight, for example, is just 0.165 g. Molkerei Biedermann AG, based in Bischofszell in the canton of Thurgau, is one of Switzerland’s most innovative dairies, operating processing lines for milk and cream and for making yoghurt, quark cheese and butter. Growing demand had led the company to urgently seek an automated and more accurate weighing and filling solution for its most popular product lines. Some of these products are yoghurts and desserts with separate portions of additional ingredients such as cereals or nuts. To keep these ingredients crunchy and fresh until they are added to milk or yoghurt, they need to be packed separately. Molkerei Biedermann’s solution is a double-compartment arrangement involving two pots stacked on top of each other, with the smaller pot also acting as a lid. These double-compartment packs have proved extremely popular.  However, the company found that its existing volumetric dosing system for the cereal and nut mixtures was no longer able to keep up with the throughput necessary to meet rising demand. In particular, volumetric dosing resulted in very high product giveaway due to overfilling. “We were experiencing overfilling of up to 30%,”explains Operations Manager Mario Dux. “We could cope with that when quantities were small, but our production volumes are getting bigger all the time.” To make sure that the company could weigh its high-value nuts and cereals with much greater accuracy, Molkerei Biedermann decided to invest in a multihead weigher. Itech, Ishida’s representative in Switzerland, installed an Ishida CCW-SE 10-head weigher, an ideal entry-level solution for multihead weighing needs. The SE-range offers significant advances in speeds and accuracy compared with dosing machines, linear weighers or static weighing solutions. The rotary filler’s fill rate of 25 portions per minute currently dictates the speed of the line, which is well below the weigher’s capability of up to 70 weighments per minute. The new weighing and packing solution offers a range of other benefits. While the old filling system led to many line stoppages, the Ishida multihead weigher has not caused a single fault. “What used to happen was that the different product mixtures would get blocked in the funnel during dosing, which interrupted the filling process,” says Mario Dux. Today, thanks to its Ishida multihead weigher, Molkerei Biedermann can process these tricky products without any hassle. Equally important, the flexibility that this has given the manufacturer has opened up opportunities to implement new product ideas from the marketing department. Another benefit is the fact that this new weighing and filling solution has significantly reduced product breakages as the system is able to transfer the product more gently into the pots. Molkerei Biedermann makes its double-compartment products in relatively small batches. To keep the product fresh for longer, the company aims to weigh and pack the product just before it is due for delivery to customers, meaning that product changeovers are frequent. With the Ishida weigher, changing products by calling up pre-sets at the touch of a button on the touch screen display has proved to be a valuable time-saver. To minimise downtime for cleaning, all contact parts can be removed and replaced without the use of tools.