Diageo acquires premium cold brew coffee liqueur, Mr Black

Diageo has acquired Mr Black, the Australian premium cold brew coffee liqueur. Mr Black was launched in 2013, by designer Tom Baker and award-winning distiller, Philip Moore, with the vision of bringing the global coffee culture to the world of spirits and cocktails. Mr Black has grown to become the leading premium-priced coffee liqueur in the United States, applying modern coffee brewing techniques and quality sourcing to reinvigorate coffee cocktail culture and consumers’ desire for premium coffee cocktails, such as the espresso martini and coffee old fashioned. In 2015, Diageo acquired a minority stake in Mr Black through Distill Ventures, the Diageo-backed accelerator program. Distill Ventures receives funding from Diageo and works with the company to support entrepreneurs as they launch and grow innovative drinks brands. Co-founder, Tom Baker, will remain actively involved with the brand, working with the Diageo team to build on Mr Black’s success. Claudia Schubert, president, U.S. Spirits and Canada, Diageo, said: “With its award-winning liquid, eye-catching design and packaging, and ability to thrive in culture, we believe Mr Black is just getting started in the dynamic coffee liqueur segment. This acquisition is in line with our strategy to acquire high growth brands in exciting categories, and we are delighted to welcome Mr Black into our portfolio.” Tom Baker, co-founder of Mr Black, said: “Coffee is more than just a drink – it’s a culture, ritual, obsession, aesthetic, experience, tradition and a community. We created Mr Black to embody that culture and inspire people to take their love of coffee into their evening drinks. Diageo understood our vision early on and now, after several years with them as a supporter, we are thrilled to be joining the Diageo family.” Frank Lampen, CEO and co-founder, Distill Ventures, said: “It was love at first taste with Mr Black, and Tom Baker is one of the most intuitive brand builders we’ve had the pleasure of working with. We’re proud to have helped him and his team turn those solid foundations into a commercial success globally and especially in the US.” Mr Black is currently available in 22 countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – which is its largest market. The acquisition has been funded through existing cash resources.

Nestlé Confectionery reveals packaging innovations for Quality Street and KitKat

Nestlé Confectionery has revealed packaging innovations for two of its best-loved brands – Quality Street and KitKat. In a category first, Quality Street will move to recyclable paper packaging for its twist-wrapped sweets. By replacing the double layer of foil and cellulose with a paper wrap, Quality Street will remove more than two billion pieces of packaging material from the brand’s supply chain. At the same time, KitKat will introduce wrappers made with 80% recycled plastic. These wrappers can be recycled at more than 5,000 supermarkets across the UK – and placed in household recycling in the Republic of Ireland. The rollout will begin this month on the brand’s flagship two-finger products, before being extended across the entire range by 2024. Purchased by more than 6 in 10 households in the UK, KitKat will use the highest proportion of recycled food-grade plastic of any major UK & Ireland confectionery brand. The launch is part of Nestlé’s ongoing commitment towards reducing its environmental impact and supporting a circular economy. This commitment is further demonstrated by the new Quality Street wrappers, which were developed by packaging experts at Nestlé’s research and development centre in York. One innovation is the development of a special vegetable-based coating for the paper, which does not hinder the recycling process. Nine of the 11 Quality Street sweets will move to paper-based packaging. The Orange Crunch and the Green Triangle will remain in their simple foil wrappers as, traditionally, they have not had cellulose wrappers. The transition to paper, which is now underway, will take several months to complete. This means that for Christmas 2022, consumers will find a mix of both the old and new wrappers in their Quality Street cartons, pouches, tubs, and tins. The mix of sweets inside is unchanged. Richard Watson, business executive officer, Nestlé Confectionery, said: “These major packaging innovations have been pioneered by our teams here in the UK. The new KitKat packaging is enabled by a significant upgrade to Nestlé’s York Factory, while the category-leading Quality Street paper twist-wraps have been designed at our Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York, and implemented in Halifax, the home of Quality Street for 87 years. “Nestlé Confectionery is taking a leadership position on packaging sustainability as we work towards reducing our use of virgin plastic by one third and making all our packaging recyclable or reusable within the next three years. The changes we are announcing today have been informed by detailed lifecycle assessments that have enabled us to identify solutions with a lower environmental impact than our current packaging.” The new KitKat packs will feature the Recycle At Store On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) – a UK labelling scheme established by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to help consumers correctly reuse and recycle more material. The wrappers will also provide information about the Recycling Locator Tool – a platform launched by the national WRAP recycling campaign Recycle Now, which guides consumers to their nearest recycling point. Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Aldi, and Waitrose now offer soft plastic recycling facilities in stores, while most consumers in the Republic of Ireland can put soft plastics into household recycling. Helen Bird, head of Business Collaboration, WRAP, said: “Plastic waste is a key concern for most citizens, and for many this is centred on whether it is easy to recycle. Recyclability is complex since it requires the culmination of good design, collection, recycling infrastructure, and importantly, market demand for recycled material into new products and packaging – manufacture is after all, the whole point of recycling. “Plastic wrappers are not yet collected by local authorities, but this is set to change in the coming years. In the meantime, leading supermarkets are providing 5,000 collection points for all types of plastic bags and wrappers. We welcome these new initiatives from Nestlé, founding members of The UK Plastics Pact, to improve the recyclability of Quality Street and using advanced recycling technology to include recycled plastic into its KitKat packaging – something we need to significantly ramp up in the UK, and across the world. We look forward to further roll out.”

Food and drink businesses front and centre of new UK Government export campaign

Food and drink businesses are at the forefront of the new phase of the UK Government’s ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign, creating pride in UK exporters and growing exports around the world. The campaign includes twelve food and drink exporters from all four nations, including ice cream maker Yee Kwan in Sheffield, Drop Bear Beers in Wales, Isle of Harris Gin Distillery in Scotland and Burren Balsamic in Northern Ireland. Minister for Exports Marcus Fysh said: “The UK is home to world-class food and drink, so it is brilliant to see so many great exporters join the ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign, showcasing their excellent products, helping to grow our economy and supporting local jobs. “We are proud of our great British exporters, but we want to see more businesses take advantage of the potential they could achieve if they get onto the exporting ladder. As the campaign says: if you make it in the UK, why not sell it to the world?” UK food and drink is an exporting success story. In 2021, UK food and drink exports were worth £20.3 billion. The food and drink sector also employs 3.7 million people across Great Britain. Exporters create jobs, pay higher wages and help grow the economy. That’s why the UK government has committed to becoming an export-led economy and to reaching a trillion pounds of exports a year by 2030. This includes free expert advice from a network of local and international trade advisors offered by the Government, to support businesses to boost their exports and take advantage of exciting new opportunities across the globe. Export Champion Granny Gothards produce premium luxury ice creams and sorbets in over 190 flavours. Handmade in Devon, the company exports to consumers in Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Amanda Stansfield, director, Granny Gothards, said: “Granny Gothards is proud to be part of the Government’s ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign, encouraging other businesses from across the UK to make their first steps in to exporting. “We’re thankful for all the support and expertise the Department for International Trade has given us over the years, making it easier for us to export our products around the world and in new markets.” Superfood company Creative Nature, based in West Molesey, has become a market leader in snacks and baking mixes that are free from the top 14 allergens and now export to over 16 countries around the world including Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the US. Julianne Ponan, founder, Creative Nature, said: “As an Export Champion for the Department for International Trade, it’s great to play a further role in getting more small businesses like my own trading and exporting around the world. “The support from DIT has been invaluable to our success, meeting the right people, attending the best tradeshows and getting our products on shelves globally. I’m proud to have my products made in the UK and sold right around the world.” Minister for Growth and Rural Affairs, Scott Mann said: “People around the world are lining up to buy British food, and this government is making sure that they can get it. From our fantastic seafood and meat to our world class produce, British food and drink is renowned for its high-quality and exceptional standards. “This campaign ensures that all businesses making wonderful products have the tools they need to sell them around the world, bringing even more jobs and growth to a flourishing sector of our economy.”

Automation adapts to sustainable packaging: By Patricia Torres, Industry Marketing Manager Food and Commodities, OMRON Europe

Have you ever ordered a small item online, and then felt incensed when it arrived in an oversized box packed out with bubble wrap, air-filled cushions or paper inserts? Consumers (and I am as guilty of this as the next person) are very quick to criticise – particularly when it comes to over-packaging. They don’t appreciate that the e-commerce retailer might not be able to sustain the higher cost of stocking ten different boxes sizes, or have an automation system that can cope with varying sizes. Consumers don’t care about the barriers that businesses have to overcome to make their packaging more sustainable. Smaller boxes. Thinner walls. Lighter weights. Lower virgin plastic content. Surely that’s simple enough to do? Only it never is that simple. Whether it is switching from rigid to flexible packaging, light-weighting, thin-walling, incorporating recycled content, moving from multilayer to monolayer material or migrating from plastic to paper, rethinking packaging to make it more sustainable is a highly complex process. Black box technologies have the answers One of the biggest challenges that FMCG manufacturers face during packaging redesign projects is how to adapt their production and packaging lines to accommodate new materials, formats and designs. Here, the key to making a painless transition to sustainable packaging lies in technology. The ‘black box’ technologies that you can’t even see. Algorithms. Motion control. Programming. Sensors. Artificial Intelligence. It’s about harnessing these to drive flexible and future-proof automation solutions that are intelligent and dynamic enough to cope with whatever they encounter. Take, for example, the flexible films used in form, fill and seal, flow wrapping and pouch making. They are a huge focus area for innovation, as not only is there a steady stream of brands looking to switch from rigid to flexible formats, there is also a large existing base of film users who are wanting to move to more eco-friendly films. Their strategies range from downgauging to thinner films to switching to recyclable monolayer films, biodegradable films, paper films or films with recycled content. When new materials meet old machines… Most packaging machines in operation today weren’t designed to accommodate any of these ‘new’ films. They were designed to run highly consistent virgin plastic films of a certain thickness. The ‘pain points’ that need to be addressed when adapting equipment to run emerging materials are film tension control and sealing; thin films burn and tangle more easily; paper films tear; and films with a high recycled content are inherently variable from one batch to the next. Even slight changes in film thickness lead to uneven winding and unwinding and increase the tension on the film. Uneven tension, in turn, causes defects during pouch forming and sealing, such as curling, ripping, folding or misalignment. Not only do these issues make these films unworkable, they also have a waste generation implication, which defeats the object of moving to a ‘greener’ film. OMRON has addressed this through the development of its Film Tension Control System, which provides synchronised control of tension, feed and cut. This system is one of a series of ‘Function Blocks’ for optimising film processing in form, fill, seal machines. Essentially, our engineers have developed an algorithm and programmed it into our motion control platform, making it easy for OEMs and system integrators to build this functionality into a machine. Smart temperature control In sealing, temperature control is the challenge. Thinner films are very susceptible to burning and the variability of recycled films means that running the sealing system at a constant temperature will result in defects. One of the solutions here is using AI to enable dynamic temperature control. A sensor on the sealing bar links to an adaptive algorithm within the control system that will automatically adjust the sealing temperature when it encounters variability in the material. AI-driven dynamic temperature control has potential value not just on flexible film lines but in any packaging application involving heat and variable materials. We see a huge opportunity in blow-moulding. Many brand owners are opting to outsource blow-moulding because of the complexity of producing lighter weight bottles incorporating recycled content – a slight variation in the resin composition can result in huge volumes of rejects. Closed loop temperature control can solve this problem. It is not just on primary packaging operations that manufacturers are migrating to more sustainable packaging strategies. Secondary operations such as cartoning and palletising are undergoing transformation. Flexible pallets confound robotic controllers As smaller orders of multiple SKUs become the norm in the retail supply chain one of the most obvious ways for FMCG manufacturers to make sustainability gains is to optimise the pallets they ship. However, from a palletising perspective, this could be a headache, and manufacturers will usually opt to send two pallets rather than trying to rationalise two different products onto one pallet. This is because the algorithms of most robotic palletisers in use today were written for programming pallet patterns with identical boxes, and these are stand-alone programs embedded in the robotic arm controller itself limiting the possibilities to work with multiple palletising layouts. Developing a solution that enables arranging multiple layers in a pallet and that could control multiple palletising stations is a major challenge. However, our engineers are working on it and have improved the palletising process, embedding an easy to use “function block” into our automation system that allows setting up different layers and controlling multiple stations from one single controller. Thanks to this palletising solution, system integrators can easily build flexible palletising systems without extensive reprogramming saving engineering, implementation and ultimately integration costs. Coming full circle Circularity is an important theme in sustainable packaging, so it is apt that this article should come back to where it started. Through clever control and automation, oversized cartons and wasteful fillers could soon be a thing of the past. Our technology has helped our partner machine builders to develop a cartoning platform based on our cutting-edge motion control platform that enables cardboard boxes to be ‘made-to-measure’ so your products could be delivered in the right size of box. Moving to lower impact packaging is rarely simple but, thanks to advanced automation and control technologies that support flexibility, it is achievable.

Scientists use machine learning to help fight antibiotic resistance in farmed chickens

Scientists have used machine learning to find new ways to identify and pinpoint disease in poultry farms, which will help to reduce the need for antibiotic treatment, lowering the risk of antibiotic resistance transferring to human populations. The study, published in Springer Nature, was led by Dr Tania Dottorini from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and Future Food Beacon at the University of Nottingham. The research is part of the FARMWATCH project, a £1.5m partnership between the University and the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment.
The rapid increase in poultry production to meet growing demand in China has resulted in extensive and indiscriminate use of antibiotics. This has led to a worrying increase in cases of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) diagnosed in animals which could potentially spread to humans, via direct contact, environmental contamination, and food consumption.
With antibiotic resistance now one of the most threatening issues worldwide, effective and rapid diagnostics of bacterial infection in chicken farming can reduce the need for antibiotics, which will reduce epidemics and AMR. In this project, researchers in Nottingham collected samples from the animals, humans and environment in a Chinese farm and connected slaughterhouse. This complex ‘big’ data has now been analysed for new diagnostic biomarkers that will predict and detect bacterial infection, insurgence of AMR, and transfer to humans. This data will then allow early intervention and treatment, reducing spread and the need for antibiotics. The study produced three key findings. Firstly, several similar clinically relevant antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and associated mobile genetic elements (antibiotic resistance genes able to move within genomes and between bacteria), were found in both human and broiler chicken samples. In particular, eleven types of clinically important antibiotic resistance genes, with conserved mobile ARG gene structures were found between samples from different hosts. Dr Dottorini said: “These similarities would have been missed if we only used large-scale conventional comparative analysis, which, in fact, showed that microbiome and resistomes differ across environments and hosts. Overall, this finding suggests the relevance of adopting a multi-scale analysis when dissecting similarities and differences of resistomes and microbiomes in complex interconnected environments.” Secondly, the study showed that by developing a machine learning powered approach integrating metagenomics data with culture-based methods, the team found the existence of a core chicken gut resistome that is correlated with the AMR circulating in the farms. These results supported the hypothesis that correlations exist between resistance phenotypes of individual commensal and pathogenic bacteria and the types of ARGs in the resistome in which they exist in. Finally, using sensing technology and machine learning, the team uncovered that the AMR-related core resistome are themselves associated with various external factors such as temperature and humidity. Dr Dottorini said: “The food production industry represents a major consumer of antibiotics, but the AMR risks within these environments are still not fully understood. It is therefore critical to set out studies and improved methods optimised to these environments where animals and humans may be in close contact. Precision farming, cost-effective DNA sequencing and the increased adoption of machine learning technologies offer the opportunity to develop methods giving a better understanding and quantification of AMR risks in farming environments.”

FANUC support helps Samey Robotics to revolutionise fresh fish supply chain

A 22-year partnership with leading industrial robot manufacturer FANUC has been hailed as a key factor in Icelandic firm Samey Robotics’ role in revolutionising the international supply chain for fresh fish. Specialising in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke automation for the food processing industry, Samey Robotics has delivered over 150 projects across 10 countries including Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and the UK. At the heart of many of its tailored solutions is FANUC’s M-410 series of industrial palletising robots, renowned for its ability to handle heavy items, such as pallets of fresh produce. With over 100 FANUC M-410 robots already purchased by Samey Robotics (including 25 in 2021 alone), the company currently has a further 25 on order. “We know we can trust FANUC products to deliver time and time again in harsh operating environments while handling delicate and high-margin fresh produce,” says Kristjan Karl Adalsteinsson, Samey Robotics’ chief sales & marketing officer. Just-in-time supply chain Samey Robotics was founded 32 years ago, just south of Reykjavik in Iceland; a country renowned for its seafood. During this time, the company has built a reputation for delivering robust robotic systems that promote the safe, efficient and fast handling of fresh fish. Blazing a trail for other food sectors to follow, Samey Robotics has revolutionised the fresh fish supply chain, with distribution handled by automated centres supported by robotics. In many cases, fish may be landed, processed and shipped to the customer within just 24 hours, meaning every second counts. “An order can be placed in London, logged onto one of our customers’ operating systems in Iceland or another coastal country, and a robot will automatically start feeding the raw produce into the production cell,” explains Kristjan. “In less than an hour, it will be palletised and on its way to being shipped, without anyone having to send an email, take a phone call or make a decision as to when to start or stop the system. The whole process, from order to delivery, is fully automated.” As well as the ability to gently and rapidly handle large quantities of fresh produce, it is imperative that any robotic solutions specified by Samey Robotics are also robust and reliable. “Given the nature of our clients’ supply chain, the fish will spoil if production stops for any length of time,” states Kristjan. “Some of our customers handle up to 500 tonnes of fresh produce per day, so unexpected downtime is simply not an option. The reliability of FANUC robots has been a huge factor in our joint success.” A changing market A perfect storm of rising labour costs, post-Covid digital transformation and affordable automation has helped drive a surge in industrial robot installations throughout the food and beverage processing industry. In fact, the number of industrial robots installed in European food processing applications is set to double in the 10 years from 2015 to 2025, and Samey Robotics is experiencing this growth first hand: “Demand is increasing every year, especially with regard to high-throughput cells that can operate within stringent hygiene parameters,” says Kristjan. “The market is seeing the benefits that automation can bring from both a productivity and profitability point of view.” Trust and transparency For Oliver Selby, robotics business development manager for FANUC UK, supporting Samey Robotics’ innovative and forward-thinking approach to automating the fresh fish supply chain is testament to the power of a strong supplier-client relationship: “We have a number of longstanding client relationships, but to go from strength to strength like we have with Samey Robotics is especially rewarding. Key to our partnership is transparency. It’s a trait which runs throughout our business, right from the very top at our headquarters in Japan down to our delivery drivers meeting clients on the ground. This builds trust and gives our customers confidence that they can rely on us to deliver what we’ve promised.” Setting the standard Also key to the partnership’s success is a focus on innovation. “For a number of years now, Samey Robotics has been leading supply chain development in the European fish sector, with their automated approach to distribution serving as an example for other food sectors to follow. Going forward, Samey Robotics’ customer base is changing as the company embarks on a growth initiative through acquisition. Moving beyond Europe, it is now opening up to a global audience. At the forefront of this strategy is of course robotics and automation, and Samey Robotics is keen to spread its commitment to automated supply chains into regions that are not necessarily renowned for automation. We are excited to continue supporting them in this exciting phase of their journey, derisking their future business to ensure that Samey Robotics continues to be renowned for implementing solutions that facilitate the fast, safe and efficient handling of fresh fish, right across the world.” Diverse offering To this end, FANUC has recently begun supplying Samey Robotics with an alternative to the M-410, providing the company with a different robotic solution to improve end product handling even further: the M-2000. On the inbound supply chain direct from the boat, fresh fish is loaded directly from 460 kg totes into the fish processing equipment by the M-2000; the strongest 6-axis robot on the market, boasting a handling capacity of up to 2.3 tonnes and a maximum reach of up to 4.7m. This robotic solution changes the way food producers need to think about their onsite logistics, removing the need for specialist forklift trucks and drivers, and representing the ideal choice for gentle handling of what is a delicate food item. For Samey Robotics, a commitment to innovation, transparency and reliability ensures that FANUC remains a key partner in its ongoing global success. Kristjan concludes: “We are proud to have enjoyed such a longstanding relationship with FANUC. For us, and our customers, the reliability of their robots is priceless.”

Could energy bills push small food businesses to collapse?

When the headlines started to pour out recently, talking about high energy bills, the focus for many was on householders and domestic bills. Here, Rick Smith, MD of Forbes Burton, an insolvency and business rescue specialist, asks what is in store for food manufacturers. Rightly so, as many believe that this Winter will see many consumers in the UK slip not only into fuel poverty, but actually cross the poverty line too. However, another real risk is small businesses, particularly food manufacturers or micro businesses, running into real financial difficulties thanks to the wild, uncapped prices that may be on the way. There have already been multiple stories of businesses crying out for help with their energy bills, but there’s also many that have already closed up shop, including well-established restaurants, takeaways and small family businesses, some producing artisan food for generations. The SME Insights Report, published by small business insurance provider Simply Business, also found that one third of UK businesses (36%) stated tax and national insurance hikes are their greatest concern. The report found that 70% of SME owners say that rising costs across the board are their biggest challenge this year. Half (49%) said that they are set to increase their prices in an attempt to offset increased expenditure. One in five (21%) intend to raise prices by 6-10%, and for almost one in 10 owners (7%), these increases could be as much as 20%. As a result, three in five (59%) small business owners are calling on the government to review or reduce the energy price cap. One fifth (21%) state that the VAT cut needs to be reviewed or extended, and over one in 10 (12%) feel that the government should review or reduce national insurance. While the energy price caps do not apply to businesses directly, millions of small business owners are still experiencing increased energy bills at a time when costs are rising in most operational areas. The report also lists that the greatest threats to SME survival in 2022 are: Rising fuel and energy costs – 54% Tax and national insurance hikes – 36% Lack of funds or access to credit – 22% Marketing and the ability to find customers – 26% Recovering from pandemic related losses – 18%   Recovery? It’s hard to see a way out here, most businesses in food lost a good amount of money during COVID, particularly in foodservice and hospitality and with other setbacks present in the world in recent years. Prime Minister Liz Truss means to bring the UK into a high wage, high productivity way of working, but more needs to be done to stimulate that growth as many still feel not enough has been done since COVID to prop up a huge amount of financial trauma that has taken place. Consumers are already feeling the pinch due to recession warnings, but this, coupled with energy costs soaring may be too much of a squeeze from all sides for businesses. Seeking help and advice about business debt or recovery? Talk to one of our team for a free consultation today.

Diageo terminates conditional agreement for sale of Windsor business

Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, has terminated the conditional agreement to sell the Windsor whisky business, including the W series, to the Bayside Private Equity and Metis Private Equity consortium (Bayside/Metis). The termination of the £124m deal is said to be a result of Bayside/Metis being unable to meet certain conditions for completion which formed part of the sales agreement announced in March. Windsor Global will continue to operate the Windsor business under an independent entity to the Diageo Korea international spirits and beer business.

Catering to on-the-go sandwich sustainability

With over 3 billion sandwiches purchased from UK retail or catering outlets annually, and part of British culture for over three centuries, our love of the humble and portable sarnie is back. Derailed by the combination of Covid and Brexit, the reduction in office workers and changes in working habits significantly influenced lunchtime purchasing decisions. Yet, for coffee shops and cafes, Lumina Intelligence forecasts that this market will grow 14.4% to £4.6bn in 2022. Part of this growth can be attributed to coffee shop operators extending their drive-thru businesses. The forecast for independents is even more reassuring. A growth of 25.3% in 2022, taking the value of this segment to £1.6bn. However, with record increases in ingredient prices, coupled with widely reported labour shortages, extending the freshness of sandwiches, salads, wraps and fresh grab-and-go snacks and reducing preventable food waste has become even more imperative. A subsidiary of Jenton International and celebrating 40 years of packaging innovation, Soken Engineering launches its fully-inclusive range of waste-reducing heat sealing packing systems at this year’s PPMA Total Show (Stand A50). Rather than hand-packing lunch items in takeaway cartons/boxes with press-on lids that can be prone to air leaks and fast-track spoiling, Soken’s 3-in-1 Soken Heat-Sealing System consistently achieves the perfect pack seal on the widest variety of lunch and snack products. Including baguettes, bagels, sushi, platters and other grab-and-go culinary lunchtime variations. With only a simple tool change, artisan lunch and sandwich suppliers, including cafes, garden centres, healthcare and workplace catering facilities, and businesses supplying garage forecourts and drive-thrus now only need to invest in a single system to improve pack presentation, hygiene and preserve lunchtime foods by up to three days. Putting an end to preventable food waste and subsequent lost profits. For small and independent cafes, the 3-in-1 Soken range comprises the level 1 machines that seal takeaway lunch items freshly made and packed individually to order. The level 2 machines – which seal up to four packs at the same time – are engineered for caterers supplying mobile vans and local shops. For higher output suppliers, the level 3 intermediate automated systems perfectly seal up to 48 packs per minute – making this machine ideal for medium-sized enterprises, such as airline caterers or large garden centre chains. All Soken equipment is manufactured in the UK and backed by a two year return-to-base warranty. Further improving the machines environmental and sustainability credentials. As all tooling and parts are designed and manufactured in-house, spares can be provided within very short time scales. It also means that caterers with unusual packaging requirements can commission bespoke tooling. For additional convenience, Soken can supply all associated consumables, including sandwich packs, ready meal trays with lidding film, and salad boxes. Sustainable plastic-free packaging options are also in development. Stephen Hawes, Soken Engineering sales manager, said: “Helping to reduce waste is a key priority for food suppliers of all sizes. If catering outlets and vendors can extend the shelf life of on-the-go-foods by even a day using tamper evident heat sealed packaging, this makes a significant difference to food waste as well as operating profits.”

JentonDimaco launches real-time Veri-VIEW at PPMA Total 2022

Underpinning its commitment to help food manufacturers reduce waste and avoid unnecessary emergency product withdrawals (EPWs), at PPMA Total 2022 (Stand A42) JentonDimaco – part of the Jenton Group – unveiled its newest food label verification innovation, Veri-VIEW. After biological contamination, label related defects are cited as the second most common cause behind costly and brand-damaging product withdrawals and retailer returns. Typical errors include incorrect use-by dates, missing allergen, country of origin or cooking time information, illegible barcodes, special promotions, or mis-aligned and crumpled labels. Many of which can be attributed to printing faults or human errors. And all of which are entirely preventable with the use of automated label verification technology. Speed of response is critical. To support this, JentonDimaco has engineered a new software providing an instant overview of label integrity. Demonstrated alongside JentonDimaco’s extensive online and offline label verification systems, Veri-VIEW offers real-time viewing of all the data generated by every Veri-PACK system on the factory floor, from one convenient central display.  Presenting the current status and KPIs, Veri-VIEW gives lineside QA managers all of the data needed to constantly stay on top of all labelling issues. Closing the data, audit and supply chain traceability loop. Managing Director Dr Russell Sion explains: “JentonDimaco label verification systems are an efficient way to authenticate all aspects of data and artwork on retail labels including price, barcodes, use-by dates and artwork revisions. All of this data is verified against a master specification held on the JentonDimaco Veri-CENTRAL server, which sources data from each food manufacturer’s MRP server or production spreadsheets. “This automated alignment of data significantly mitigates the risk of human errors, most of which occur in fast paced food processing and packaging environments due to operative fatigue and when variable and non-variable data doesn’t match up.” Verifying the very latest data Applying JentonDimaco’s advanced optical character recognition (OCR) software, Veri- PACK units can scan up to 200 pack labels per minute, triple the speed and more reliably than the human eye. Additionally, the technology can simultaneously inspect characters, 1D and 2D barcodes, data-embedded barcodes, numbers, RFID and LFC tags, plus much more. Always verifying against the very latest data. Veri-PACK units can be supplied as off-line sampling stations, online systems integrated into other packaging machines, or as independent conveyorised units with reject devices. Rather than random samples, a Veri-PACK unit inspects the label on every pack. Providing food processors with 100 percent assurance that every pack meets the labelling criteria. This also reduces the volume of false rejects and consequently preventable food manufacturing waste. All verification data including images and statistical data from every Veri-PACK is securely stored on Veri-CENTRAL for future reporting and auditing. The addition of Veri-VIEW software completes the cycle, enabling production and QA personnel to see what’s happening in real time without having to log in to the system. Lastly, if a supermarket makes a label adjustment during the production run, for example to a price, the JentonDimaco Veri-CENTRAL server will pick this up instantly. This information is then automatically relayed to every Veri-PACK labelling system within seconds and the action taken documented on Veri-VIEW.