Tesco opens up supply chain to sustainability start-ups

Tesco and WWF have launched a new accelerator programme which pairs pioneering start-ups with Tesco suppliers to fast-track sustainability innovation in the supply chain which can cut the environmental impact of food and support UK food security. Innovation Connections will address a key barrier preventing promising sustainability innovations from being adopted at scale in food supply chains, by identifying suppliers who can help to scale up new ideas and technologies. Applicants have been paired with long-term Tesco suppliers to pitch scale-up projects that apply their ideas in the real world of food supply chains. Winners will work with Tesco’s supplier partners to pilot and scale their innovation and will each receive up to £150,000 in funding support. Ahead of the Innovation Connections finals this month, Tesco is calling on the UK government to do more to unlock innovation in UK food supply chains and support innovations to market readiness, not just at the seed funding stage. Specifically, it is asking the Government to set out timelines and process for updating outdated regulations that hinder the scaling up of late-stage innovations such as insect protein in animal feed or sustainable low-carbon fertilisers, and to create incentives for businesses and consumers who are early adopters of new food system innovations. Ken Murphy, Tesco Group CEO said: “To deliver affordable, healthy and sustainable food for all, the entire food sector must innovate fast. That’s why, as well as driving improvements in our own operations, Tesco is collaborating with innovative suppliers and start-ups. But we also need government support, to help the food industry to scale proven innovations. “The upcoming Food Strategy White Paper is a great opportunity to transform our food system and enhance food security. We hope the paper will set out a process to update outdated regulations that hinder the scaling up of much needed innovations.” Tanya Steele, WWF CEO, said: “More than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions are driven by the way we produce and consume food, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible for farms to produce enough nutritious food and sustain farmers’ livelihoods at the same time as protecting and restoring the natural resources they depend on. “We hope the launch of this new accelerator programme with Tesco will bring innovative solutions a step closer and help us achieve our goal of halving the environmental impacts of the average UK shopping basket.” The following Innovation Connections finalists have been selected by Tesco and WWF experts from 70 applications. They will go head-to-head on Friday 6 May to pitch for the chance to see their project rolled out in the Tesco supply chain:
  • AgriSound & AM Fresh (Tesco fruit supplier) – technology that uses bioacoustics to monitor pollinators and pest levels on farm to help farmers protect biodiversity and increase produce yields
  • Aurea & Adrian Scripps (Tesco apple supplier)– full lifecycle crop intelligence for fruit trees that allows farmers to manage health and fruit-load for every tree individually, improving yields while minimising the use of inputs like fertiliser
  • ai & Hilton (Tesco meat and fish supplier) – a monitoring system that uses birdsong as a science-based biodiversity indicator in grassland farming
  • CCm, Andermatt, FCT & Branston (Tesco potato supplier) – a demonstration of low carbon fertilisers to reduce the carbon footprint of potato production
  • FCT & ProduceWorld (Tesco produce supplier) – advanced carbon footprint software for horticultural growers to analyse and reduce their emissions and increase carbon sequestration on farm, whilst also identifying cost savings and efficiencies
  • Future by Insects & Hilton (Tesco meat and fish supplier) – creation of circular fish feed using food waste to grow microalgae to feed fish.
  • Harbro & Muller (Tesco milk processing supplier) – technology to precisely measure nutrient efficiency on dairy farms
  • InsPro & Prepworld (Tesco prepared fruit supplier) – portable bioconversion units that use insects to convert food waste into chicken feed and reduce the use of soy feed in the egg supply chain

UK food and drink exports recovering from challenges of pandemic

Food and drink exports across the UK are recovering from the challenges of the pandemic with manufacturers taking advantage of new trading relationships across the world, according to research by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). The FDF’s UK Food and Drink Exports report reveals the latest breakdown of food and drink exports from across the UK during 2021. The report shows that Scotland, Wales, the West Midlands and the North East of England had the strongest export growth, reflecting encouraging recovery from the supply chain problems caused by COVID and that businesses are adapting to the new UK-EU trading relationship. An important sign that the food and drink industry can play a vital role in levelling up the country. Key findings from the report include:
  • Scotland accounts for the largest share of UK food and drink exports, with almost 30% of total exports. This was worth £5.7bn, up 14.6% since 2020.
  • Wales is the only UK nation to exceed pre-COVID export levels. This was driven by strong exports of cereals, up 173% since 2020, and now worth nearly £140m to the economy.
  • The North East saw the largest increase reaching £280m – a 20.4% increase from 2020 – while the West Midlands grew by £810m, a 12.6% rise from two years ago.
The share of exports to non-EU markets is increasing, with a strong growth in London, as companies take advantage of the opportunities to grow exports through the UK Government’s new global trade deals. However, more can be done to improve the implementation of the UK-EU trade agreement, to help companies recover exports in the EU alongside growing market share in other global markets. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not factored into this report, and we’re yet to understand its full impact on our sector’s exports and on the global supply chains on which our sector relies for some ingredients, such as vegetable oils, cereals and white fish. The Food and Drink Federation’s Chief Executive Karen Betts said: “It’s very encouraging to see exports starting to recover across many parts of the UK, with companies starting to pull out of COVID-related disruption and adapting to the UK’s new trading relationships with countries around the world. Every product we export is rooted in our culture and our communities, and it’s great to see that our food and drink is sought out by consumers all over the world. “Our report also shows the vital role that food and drink manufacturing plays in every community across the UK’s four nations, and how central our sector is to prosperity at home as well as in driving exports overseas.” Food and Drink Federation Scotland’s Chief Executive Officer, David Thomson, said: “Scotland continues to punch above its weight – accounting for the largest share of UK food and drink exports – with an impressive 30% of total exports. “It’s heartening to see an increase in Scotland’s food and drink exports as the industry begins to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit. We hope that new opportunities in different markets will further increase sales of Scotland’s food and drink abroad. “We will continue to work with Scottish and UK governments and partners from across the food chain to support the recovery and growth of our vital industry.” The FDF Cymru’s Chief Executive Pete Robertson said: “From cereals to coffee and ham to honey, we are proud that produce from Welsh food and drink companies is now a much sought after good around the world. “With more opportunities to export expected in the near future, Welsh food manufacturers are leading the way in putting the UK on the map while providing vital jobs for local people at the heart of our communities.”

£618k grant secured to help 100-year-old food manufacturer become more sustainable

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Bradford, in the UK, have secured more than £618k to support Leeds-based business Rakusen’s to become more sustainable and meet demand for growth. Academics from Sheffield Hallam’s National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) and the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering and Informatics will work alongside Rakusen’s to transform production methods to support the business to reduce emissions and energy consumption by 60 per cent. The project will also support the 100-year-old business, that produces flame-baked water crackers and biscuits in the UK, to meet demand for growth in international markets and help it to meet net zero targets while maintaining its heritage. The two-year project, funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, aims to transform Rakusen’s using digital technologies and food science to minimise the company’s carbon footprint and maximise capacity without the need to change the existing machinery. The business currently uses legacy equipment which provides limited manufacturing control and restricts the introduction of new product lines. The future of the business requires it to address these challenges and invest in innovation which is sympathetic to its heritage-based offering. Through this project, machine intelligence will capture knowledge and skills, moving to intelligent decision-making to support significant reduction in energy usage, carbon footprint and material waste. The project will also have a positive impact on the workforce by upskilling staff through training and introducing culture change as well as having an impact regionally as most ingredients are supplied locally. Rakusen’s Managing Director, Andrew Simpson said: “The company is excited to be working with two eminent Yorkshire-based academic institutions to modernise our production processes to improve our sustainability whilst maintaining our heritage-based offering.” NCEFE’s vision is to be internationally recognised for excellence in sustainable innovations for the global food system. The Centre has a mission to drive vitality, sustainability and growth in the global food system working with partners through research and innovation, aiming to deliver world-class capability, innovative sustainable food systems, technology-led solutions and sector competitiveness. Professor Martin Howarth, director of NCEFE at Sheffield Hallam, said: “Our research is focussed on improving sustainability and reducing waste in food production. Working with Rakusen’s and their material suppliers, we will use AI techniques to deliver new, highly efficient and low energy processing techniques to improve the consistency and sustainability of Rakusens’ traditional baked products using ingredients from the local region.” Dr Savas Konur, reader in computer science, University of Bradford, said: “We are delighted to work on this highly interdisciplinary project that addresses very specific technological challenges resulting from transforming a traditional food manufacturer to an efficient enterprise fully utilising digital technologies, including big data, industrial Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, as well as food science to minimise its carbon footprint and maximise its capacity without the need to change the existing legacy machinery and lose its ‘heritage’ identity. “The project will address the challenges in energy sustainability, productivity, operational efficiency, capacity constraints and waste in the baking industry and will also contribute to the UK’s net zero targets.”

Packaging innovations on show at UK’s largest industry event

The latest cutting-edge packaging developments will take centre stage when Packaging Innovations and Empack 2022 returns to the NEC Birmingham on 25 and 26 May. The sold-out show floor will feature 280 exhibitors, with the majority using the event to launch new products to market across the food and drink, cosmetics and beauty, label and print, household, pharmaceutical and chemical, and contract packing and fulfilment sectors. Here are some of the most innovative on show: Sustainable Packaging Solutions
Item products – Corra-Screw
  • Skanem will launch its Sustainability Agenda designed to help brands reduce their carbon footprint through its sustainable, CSR, and plastic tax avoidance road maps
  • Shredhouse will showcase its newly BRC Food Grade accredited decorative and protective paper packaging solutions
  • Item Products will launch Corra-Screw, a re-usable fixing for corrugated packaging
  • Lactips will highlight its Plastic Free Paper, a fully recyclable and compostable coating solution providing a barrier to oxygen, fats, and mineral oils
  • Camvac will debut ExtraPET PCR, its high barrier lidding film with over 30% post-consumer recycled content
  • Roberts Mart and Co will launch PaperfoRM, its heat sealable papers, designed to run on conventional packing lines, which are recyclable and compostable
Food and Drink
i2r – Ultra
  • i2r will display Ultra, a smoothwall aluminium foil container, used for packaging ‘ready to cook’ convenience products including meat, vegetables, and desserts
  • WePack will present Alaska Pack, an environmentally-friendly way to transport temperature-sensitive items, like produce and meat
  • PFF will debut IMPAC-T, a fully recyclable packaging solution for dairy products
  • Tadbik will launch its Multilayer Retort Pouch, a food grade accredited solution for the packaging of food products
  • Schur Star Systems will present the Schur®Star Zip-Pop bag, a solution that allows ingredients to blend during the cooking process
WePack – Alaska Pack
Beauty and Cosmetics
  • Consumables Manufacturing will showcase its Co-Packing solution with patented single-handed opening and dispensing technology for controlled doses
  • Colorlites will present its array of decorative techniques, suitable for any sized glass bottle
  • Robinson will highlight its new range of plastic bottles, pots, tubs, containers, and jars
  • Selectpackaging will display its sustainable jars for beauty products, made from Sulapac biodegradable material
  • New Vision Packaging will present a new selection of luxury folding cartons
Digital Label and Print
AM Labels
  • Epson will showcase its C4000E label printer, a compact, full colour, on-demand, printing solution
  • Screen Europe will highlight Truepress PAC830F, its water-based inkjet digital printing press for sustaining flexible packaging films such as PET and BOPP
  • AM Labels will introduce a new range of liner-less labels, which replace traditional backing paper with a more environmentally friendly silicone release
  • Harkwell will present Electroink, an invisible ink security solution to prevent forgery and counterfeiting
Harkwell – Electroink
Packaging Converters and Machinery
  • CERM will present its MIS software, which increases the productivity of packaging converters, due to its focus on the technical packaging production process
  • Ehcolo will display HM80, a stretch hooding machine designed to improve the final pallet presentation and provide improved support during transport
  • Excel will present its EX-FILL-S, a semi-automatic volumetric filling machine to aid the efficient filling of liquids within a busy production environment
  • Bobst will display its DIGITAL MASTER 340 and 510, providing a fully digitalised and automated production line, from printing and embellishment through to cutting.
Renan Joel, Easyfairs’ divisional director, says: “As always, our goal is to showcase the most exciting developments, solutions and technologies that the packaging industry has to offer. And this year really does not disappoint. Our sold-out event floor provides visitors with more products and services than any other UK packaging event. “Indeed, the sheer variety on offer this year is incredible to see, from sustainable packaging solutions through to intricate design-led options. I can safely say that innovation is well and truly alive at Packaging Innovations and Empack 2022!” To register to attend Packaging Innovations and Empack NEC 2022, please visit the registration page. For any further information, please visit the Packaging Innovations and Empack NEC 2022 website or contact the show team on +44 (0)20 196 4300 or PackagingUK@easyfairs.com.

Krone present the ultimate in container carrier flexibility at MultiModal 2022

Krone is showing their ‘all-rounder’ Box Liner container carrier at this year’s MultiModal Show which, say the company, guarantees greater versatility and easier handling for operators in the UK and Ireland. The versatile Krone Box Liner, sliding-bogie skeletal trailer is designed to carry 20’,30’,40’ and 45’ containers; two boxes at once or any standard sized tank. Quick-release twist locks also ensure fast and easy handling for tough, pick-up-and-drop container work. Manufactured by Krone and designed in Germany with close involvement from the Krone UK sales team, the Box Liner comes in four colours and with Krone’s 10-year guarantee against corrosion perforation. The Box Liner also comes with an optional telematics package for performance and location monitoring: Krone’s-own telematics technology enables operators to benefit from remote tyre pressure monitoring, mileage recording for maintenance intervals, empty or reduced load detection, braking system status and trailer location. Additionally, an automatic notification can be given, to alert regarding ABS or EBS malfunctions and a further alert made to the customer if any remedial work has not been carried out within a given time frame. Full details are available from the Krone team, who will be present from 14-16 June, NEC on stand 1020.

Recipe box company to create hundreds of jobs with move to £40m bespoke, chilled fulfilment centre

St. Modwen Logistics has signed a deal with recipe box retailer, Gousto, to deliver a 295,000 sq ft fulfilment centre at St. Modwen Park Burton, UK. The £40m bespoke, chilled fulfilment centre will increase Gousto’s operational capacity by 40%. The sustainable warehouse space will be home to a highly automated, chilled fulfilment centre where Gousto recipe boxes are picked and packed before being delivered to homes across the country. Hundreds of new jobs will be created to run the operation, from engineering managers and warehouse managers to operatives and front-line leaders. Recruitment is expected to begin next year. CEO and founder of Gousto, Timo Boldt, said: “The future is incredibly exciting for Gousto, as we capitalise on the accelerating trends of convenience, health and sustainability that are driving change within the grocery market. “We’re delighted to be occupying the space at Burton – not only will this increase our capacity, but it will bring hundreds of job opportunities to the area. We look forward to embarking on our next stage of growth, as we get closer to achieving our vision of becoming the UK’s most-loved way to eat dinner.” Polly Troughton, Managing Director at St. Modwen Logistics, said: “It’s fantastic to be working in partnership with Gousto and to offer them a bespoke, sustainable warehouse as their operational needs increase and their business flourishes, bringing further employment to the area to support economic growth. “Our shared mutual values in the environment and sustainability will allow Gousto to innovate, grow and respond to the heightened demand of their expanding customer base.” St. Modwen Logistics has appointed Readie Construction Limited to deliver the fulfilment centre, with SBH Property Consultants acting on behalf of Gousto.

Sargento Foods to acquire string cheese producer

Sargento Foods has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Wisconsin-based Baker Cheese Factory. As consumers seek more “on-the-go” options, cheese snacking has become the one of the fastest growing sections of the Cheese category and shows no sign of slowing. This acquisition will enable Sargento to better serve consumers by adding to the wide variety of sliced, shredded, and snack natural cheese products already offered by Sargento. “Throughout our history we have always looked for new ways to build long-term stakeholder value. We’re excited to welcome Baker Cheese and its employees to the Sargento Family. This is a great opportunity, and will allow us to continue our industry-leading growth in the marketplace,” said Louie Gentine, 3rd Generation CEO Sargento Foods. “We take pride in our track record of successful innovation and look forward to unlocking new pathways for our portfolio, processes, and employees.” Founded in 1916, Baker Cheese is known for its mozzarella string cheese, which is sold in all 50 states. Its cheese production has grown aggressively the past 20 years and Baker Cheese is one of the top string cheese companies in the U.S. “We believe Sargento has the right culture, capabilities, and commitment to innovation to grow our business for generations to come,” said Brian Baker, 4th Generation CEO of Baker Cheese. “Our award-winning string cheese and commitment to service and quality aligns with everything Sargento seeks to accomplish. We welcome this important step toward our future.” As privately held companies, Sargento and Baker will not disclose any financial details of the sale. Baker Cheese employs 250 people in St. Cloud, Wis. while Sargento has more than 2,000 employees at its four Wisconsin locations, as well as a remote sales team across the U.S. This acquisition will not displace any employees.

Tate & Lyle acquires Nutriati, a developer and producer of plant-based protein

Tate & Lyle, a global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, has acquired substantially all of the assets of Nutriati, an ingredient technology company developing and producing chickpea protein and flour. Under the terms of the transaction, Tate & Lyle has acquired certain assets, including intellectual property assets, and assumed selected liabilities from Nutriati. Nutriati’s responsibly-produced chickpea ingredients have been providing customers with highly nutritious plant-based solutions since 2018, offering a superior, premium taste and mouthfeel experience. Both the Artesa® Chickpea Protein and Artesa® Chickpea Flour can be found in leading non-dairy, plant-based meat and gluten free brands, mainly in North America. This transaction builds on the distribution agreement previously signed between the two companies. Nick Hampton, Chief Executive of Tate & Lyle, said: “Tate & Lyle is committed to breakthrough, innovative and sustainable plant-based solutions. This acquisition complements our existing ingredient portfolio perfectly and supports our purpose pillars of supporting healthy living and caring for our planet. We look forward to fully maximising the strong functional benefits of these plant-based, chickpea derived products and offering an even wider range of fortification solutions to our customers.” Michael Todd, Chief Executive of Nutriati, said: “Since establishing Nutriati, we have worked to solve taste, nutrition, functionality and sustainability challenges for the plant-based and gluten free markets. With a global reach and strong focus on health and wellbeing, Tate & Lyle is very well positioned to develop this offering and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Chivas Brothers invests £88m in sustainable future of Scotch

Chivas Brothers, the Scotch Whisky business of Pernod Ricard, has announced a £88 million investment into Aberlour and Miltonduff, two of its strategic single malt distilleries. The investment will go into upgrading sustainable distillation technologies at the Speyside distilleries along with significant production capacity expansions to meet the growing global demand for Scotch. The distillery expansions will grow Chivas Brothers’ total production by 14 million litres of alcohol per annum. The investment is further confirmation of Chivas Brothers’ commitment to Scotland and a testament to the growing global demand for Scotch whisky which has seen exports increase across all regions, with market gains in Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia. In its Half Year results in February, Chivas Brothers announced a net sales increase of +23%, confirming the company’s recovery to beyond pre-Covid levels. The distillery expansions will also serve to accelerate Chivas Brothers’ ambitious goal of reaching net zero distillation by 2026 with the installation of new bio plants and high-efficiency Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR) fan technology for pot still distillation across both sites. This mechanism enables a major energy recovery by compressing the vapor which thus rises in temperature and is then sent back to heat the wines during the distillation process. Last year, the company announced plans to roll out MVR technology across all viable sites in its distillery portfolio by 2026 following a pilot study at its Glentauchers distillery which resulted in energy reductions of 90% on a single pot still there. Jean-Etienne Gourgues, chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “Scotch has demonstrated its resilience as a category over the past few challenging years and in the process has opened new avenues for growth. This expansion will allow us to increase our volume to capitalise on the increased demand and interest in Scotch, but also supports our drive to reduce emissions in line with our sustainability ambitions. We’re once again betting big on the future of Scotch so we can bring in new consumers to the category and continue to shape a sustainable future of whisky.” The Aberlour distillery, which has been producing whisky since 1879 will see its production capacity double to 7.8 million litres of alcohol per annum. This additional capacity will support the accelerating global demand for the cult favourite Scotch which continues to be the best-selling single malt whisky in France and has made significant gains across Asia. The distillery will also undergo a significant facelift with an upgraded visitor centre which will draw more whisky fans to the area and boost local tourism. A new still house will be equipped with large windows providing visitors with views into the nearby woods and the River Spey; the water source for the spirit. Miltonduff’s expansion will consist of a brand new state-of-the-art sustainable distillery built next to the existing facility. The distillery, which will include a bio plant and evaporator, will add 10 million litres of alcohol per annum to the total production capacity. Miltonduff single malt is one of the foundations of Ballantine’s blends and is a key component of other blended whiskies in the Chivas Brothers portfolio. This increased capacity will further accelerate Ballantine’s pace of growth which in HY22 results saw global sales rise by +29%, fuelled by a range of new expressions. Both sites are expected to be operating at full production capacity by mid-2025.

Loma Systems to unveil at IFFA 2022 the latest inspection solutions for X-raying taller products and metal detectors for harsh washdown environments

Check and Detect specialists, Loma Systems, will be showcasing its latest technology in inspection solutions at IFFA, to be held on 14-19 May 2022 at Messe Frankfurt – the world’s leading meat and alternative proteins industry fair attracts over 60,000 trade visitors. Loma is exhibiting in hall 12.0, stand A51. On preview will be the latest addition to Loma’s X5 X-ray inspection series – the X5 SideShoot. Further defining their X-ray offering, X5 SideShoot complements existing applications including the X5 Pipeline X-ray Inspection System for pumped and free flowing product. Being a sideview X-ray inspection system, X5 SideShoot is designed for taller products allowing accurate inspection where top down and bottom up X-ray solutions are not optimal. Also on display will be Loma’s RUN-WET® series, consisting of an IQ4 metal detector conveyor and a metal detector and checkweigher combination system. Designed to the latest EHEDG guidelines the new machines offer the ultimate in cleaning efficiency for harsh washdown environments. The IP69 rated systems can withstand high-pressure and high-temperature cleaning regimes and run while still wet, thus maximising production uptime. Loma’s range is designed and manufactured to withstand the harshest of meat processing environments and intensive cleaning regimes. With over 50 years’ experience of designing and building Check and Detect inspection technologies, Loma provides industry-leading equipment, plus expert service and support to the meat and protein industries.