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ARYZTA

A leadership position in the convenience bakery sector

DSI DANTECH

Mechanical, cryogenic, and plate technology for the food industry

ROVEMA

Machine packaging in German specialist’s DNA



John White Managing Director

LET THEM EAT BREAD! Managing Director John White misquotes Marie-Antoinette from the French Revolution.

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elcome dear reader to your latest edition of Inside Food and Drink. I am writing this piece whilst enjoying the arrival of the sunshine here in the east of England. Thankfully, summer seems to have finally arrived and with it, a change of menu. Although in this century we can pop along to the local store or superstore and pick up whatever food or drink item takes our fancy, regardless as to the season, the temperature or climate, I for one (and I suspect many of you) change your eating and drinking habits with the changing of the seasons. The moment the sun came out, I had an urge for an ice-cold glass of Pimm’s, where ordinarily I would be happy with a red wine. Likewise, salads and outdoor picnic type foods make an appearance and replace the heavier meals of winter. Maybe I am simply a creature of habit, and my dietary switch (well, not the alcohol part) harkens back to my childhood where my parents would serve up whatever food ingredients were available at the time. Certainly, my parents would have been conditioned into eating types of foods for each season as back in their day, many items readily available to us now were simply not to be found on the shelves of the local greengrocer’s counter and, assuming they could get them at all, were often seasonal. One item of food that makes an appearance throughout the year and, with the pos-

sible exception of some parts of south and east Asia, has been a staple part of our diet for tens of thousands of years, is bread. In all its gloriously different shapes, sizes and flavours, including brown, white, sweet, flat, rye, seeded and gluten-free to name but a few, bread has been around for at least 30,000 years. With early flatbreads baked with ingredients being ground on the top of a rock, to the wealth of bread types available to us today, bread can be traced back into the culture and indeed religions of most countries across the globe.

One of the reasons that bread transcends the seasons is because it can be served at many temperatures; once baked, we can eat it whilst it is still warm, wait for it to cool or it can subsequently be toasted. We can eat it in and out of doors, in a restaurant before or after the main meal, or on the go. As it

is most commonly eaten with the hands, either by itself or as the holder of other foods such as meats, cheeses, spreads in a sandwich, it is truly able to help sustain us, at any time and almost anywhere. I love bread and cannot imagine any time when it has not formed part of my diet. As a young boy, my friends and I would visit the local supermarket and purchase a freshly baked loaf along with some spreadable cheese. We would then sit on the sea wall and tear lumps off, spread a bit of cheese on and consume arguably far too much in one sitting. Later in life, whilst at sea on a long voyage, I would love the smell of freshly baked bread wafting around the compartments from the ship’s galley. Today, if I am rushed and do not have the time to prepare a meal, I am quickly satisfied by a couple of slices of toast with butter, a toasted muffin or crumpet. I have cut myself off mid flow there, not because I have run out of time to get this piece to the editorial team ready for print soon (although they have been chasing me for days now), but because I was making myself hungry by simply writing about this glorious food. Suffice to say that this edition, as well as being packed full of many wonderful articles, advertisements, news, event reviews and much more, is accompanied, as any good meal should, by a side of bread for you, our worthy connoisseurs. n Inside Food & Drink

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Managing Director John White Editorial Manager Daniel Barnes Feature Writers Jordan Yallop Phil Nicholls Filomena Nardi Colin Chinery Andy Probert Romana Moares Laura Watling Richard Hagan Business Development Manager Darren Foiret Senior Editorial Development Manager Jasmine Lodge Editorial Development Managers Adam White Cilla Crocker Jeff Johnson Ginelle Lorenzo Clare Bishop Sales & Marketing Director Richard Brightmore Sales Manager Helen Leisi Project Managers Alexander Paterson Kym Hamilton Tony Ingrouille Chris Renicar Ben Lloyd Becky Scrivens David Earl Callum Robb Tony Wright Art Director Ian Spencer

Introduction 3

Designers Daniel O’Malley Sarah Jones Georgina Harris

Telephone: +44 (0)1502 566216 +44 (0)1493 445121 Email: media@insidefoodanddrink.com Website: www.insidefoodanddrink.com

© Inside Food & Drink 2022 No part of this publication in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, must be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher.

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Events 6

Food and drink events Upcoming events in the industry

Country focus 8

Art Editor Philip White Webmaster Michael Stamp

Director’s comment Let them eat bread!

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Chile StePac’s automated packaging formats reign on the Chile – China route China Tate & Lyle to acquire leading dietary fibre business in China Norway Elopak and Nippon Paper Industries agree Oceanian license United Kingdom Diageo sets aside £73m for Guinness microbrewery and culture hub in London

News 16

Taste of the Season 12

The knack of the perfect picnic Creating the best picnic for Spring 2022

Food and drink news in brief The latest news from across the global food and drink sector

Food for thought 22

Did you know? Interesting and unusual food and drink facts from around the world


Contents

Brands, producers & equipment

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What’s new in the food and drink industry 24

From simple ideas to engineering feats The latest innovations, ideas and product launches

Bakeries 28

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Sunny flavours and cool offerings from Barbados BICO A guilt-free taste of Greece Unismack Coffee first – then we take on the world! Mikel Coffee Company Fresh food from the freezer DSI Dantech Nuts about nutrition Al Kazzi Trading

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Seeds & spices 86 92

Freshness in good hands Europe Retail Packaging

A spicy story about freedom of taste Dutch Spices Growing greatness in seed business Graines Voltz

Meat & fish 98

Packaging 68

Going further with sustainable packaging technologies Rovema Vertical ascent Manospack

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Poultry processing meets French quality Bayle In tune with sustainable fishing Echebastar

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Necessity is the mother-dough of inventions ARYZTA Dough maker continues rise in global popularity Evoiki Zimi Inside Food & Drink

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Food and Drink Events Upcoming events in the industry

upcoming events

Sweet & Snacks Expo – 23-26 May 2022 Hundreds of the world’s leading candymakers debut new products at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, hosted at McCormick Place, Chicago, with exhibitors ranging from global players to up-and-coming innovators new to the confectionery industry. Find the specialty, gourmet, organic or classic candies your shoppers are searching for in one centralised location and connect directly with the people behind them. The latest innovation in chips, nuts, sweet snacks, jerky, pretzels and more can also be at the expo, with new flavours and formats galore. Don’t miss all the snack innovation and real industry connections happening each day on the show floor.

www.sweetsandsnacks.com

PLMA International – 31 May – 1 June 2022 For more than 35 years, PLMA’s annual World of Private Label International Trade Show has brought retailers together with manufacturers to help them find new products, make new contacts, and discover new ideas that will help their private label programmes succeed and grow. PLMA’s 2022 World of Private Label International Trade Show will be held at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam. Products on display will include fresh, frozen and refrigerated foods, dry grocery, and beverages as well as non-food categories, including cosmetics, health and beauty, household and kitchen, auto aftercare, garden, and housewares & DIY.

www.plmainternational.com

Athens Coffee Festival – 24-26 September 2022 From its very first iteration, in May 2016, the Athens Coffee Festival has become one of the world’s finest coffee festivals! At a time when the coffee market is at the height of its growth, going through its most mature phase, the Athens Coffee Festival is now a reference point for professionals, but also for the general public, interested in learning about all the innovations and market developments, from flagship espresso houses and distinguished Greek and international specialty coffee roasters.

www.athenscoffeefestival.gr

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SIAL Paris – 15-19 October 2022 For over 50 years, SIAL Paris has been welcoming a melting pot of industry players to the French capital to share their savoir-faire and create the recipes of the future. Every two years, producers, importers, buyers and retailers, media specialists and independent associations of every shape and size meet at the largest exhibition venue in Paris for five-days of inspiration, debate and exchange. Whether you’re a rising start-up or a large group, a hot new product or a blue-chip brand, an established chain or a groundbreaking retail model, SIAL Paris is your springboard for sustainable success.

www.sialparis.com

The International Drink Expo – 19-20 October 2022 The International Drink Expo transforms the ExCeL London into the ultimate destination for beverage innovation, forming the UK’s leading event for maximising your drink sales. This free to attend event gives visitors the chance to gain exclusive access to all of the hottest new drinks trends, immersing them in the ultimate marketplace for revenue growth and equipping them with all the tools they need to boost their ROI and maximise their profitability.

www.internationaldrinkexpo.co.uk

Plant Based World – 30 November – 1 December 2022 Plant Based World Expo is the only 100% plant-based event for trade professionals – retailers, foodservice, hospitality, distributors, manufacturers and investors. Hosted at Olympia London, attendees can network with professionals who have successfully embarked on both personal and professional plant-based journeys, many of whom have created some of the world's most revolutionary plant-based products and foods. Share experiences, learn from peers, and immerse yourself in a truly collaborative industry. Plant Based World is a unique opportunity to help both established and start-up brands move from niche to mainstream with a captive and inspired audience.

www.plantbasedworldeurope.com

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Country Focus Reporting on the latest developments from the Chilean food and drink sector

Chile StePac’s automated packaging formats reign on the Chile – China route StePac’s lean, automated Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) solutions gained rave reviews among Chilean cherry packers and exporters especially during the China cherry export season ahead of the recent Chinese New Year celebrations.

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response to the boom in cherry exports from Chile to China and the rest of Asia, Chilean Packers are turning to StePac’s novel, lean Xflow™ proprietary films, inbuilt with properties specifically tailored for automated bulk-packaging and long-term storage and shipment of cherries. The novel packaging formats have proven instrumental in helping the packers make the transition from manual to faster and more efficient automatised processes to counter the recent labour shortage hurdles. Packers proclaim Xflow has drastically lowered the dependency on labour and has enhanced food safety by minimising handling during the packing process. Beyond the boost in operational efficiency, the packaging represents a considerable reduction in plastic packaging and stakeholders are enjoying the benefits of MAP technology, namely the extension of product shelf life, reduction in food waste and lowered shipping costs associated with sea freight. The fresh produce packaging innovators have been working with Chilean distributor Empack to diversify its portfolio of bulk and retail packaging to meet the evolving logistical needs for this high-demand fruit and to preserve its full freshness, flavour and nutritional value as it makes the lengthy journey from Chile to Chinese consumers which can last 35 days. 8

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Reducing plastic consumption by up to 40% The versatile film is especially suited to 2.5kg and 5kg packages and is easily adapted to automatic fillers and packaging lines, allowing for reduced handling and thus significantly less manpower. The lean film also effectively reduces plastic consumption by up to 40%. This product was successfully used by more than a dozen exporters of cherries during the 2021/22 Chilean cherry season. “The exponential growth in cherry exports, coupled with major labour shortages, created major challenges for Chilean cherry packing houses, calling for more sophisticated packing operations to accommodate both a jump in volume and the short and intensive packing season for cherries,” explained Gary Ward, Business Development Manager for StePac. With more than 44,000 hectares (almost 110,000 acres) of land dedicated to cherry cultivation yielding more than 300,000 tonnes in annual cherry exports, Chile is the leading global exporter of cherries and is on a trajectory for further year-to-year growth. More than 95% of cherries grown in Chile are exported to the Far East, mainly China, with the bulk of shipments timed to arrive in time for the Chinese New Year. Cherries are considered an ideal gift for the Chinese New Year, as their red colour and round shape represent fortune, prosperity, and eternity in Chinese tradition.

Meanwhile in China, StePac’s Xgo™ resealable top-seal/lidding film has been making waves in the e-commerce and retail sectors since the last Chilean cherry season. “This solution was designed to take the value of StePac’s MAP technology all the way to the consumer and has been eagerly embraced by our customers in China,” enthuses Guillermo Perez, Category Manager for Empack. “We currently supply 20 Chilean exporters cherry punnets sealed with personalised printed-lidding films that house smaller 500g to 2kg cherry volumes for the Chinese retail sector.”

MAP life-extension properties Xgo’s advanced, lightweight top seal is infused with StePac’s MAP life-extension properties. That preservation activity is regenerated each time the label is resealed, making it ideal for multiple cherry servings. The films can also be easily integrated into automated cherry packing lines and save the need for repacking in China. “The two novel products have garnered excellent feedback from our Chilean partners. They have reported up to 50% reduction in labour costs associated with sealing, while the customers in China welcomed the boost in customer experience owed to the new lidding film,” added Mr Ward. “We found a strong partner in Empack, who massively invested in flowpack and topseal machinery to propel the smooth transition to automation and to support customers that don’t have their own.” n


Country Focus Reporting on the latest developments from the Chinese food and drink sector

China Tate & Lyle to acquire leading dietary fibre business in China Tate & Lyle, a leading global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, has signed an agreement to acquire Quantum Hi-Tech Biological Co Ltd, a leading prebiotic dietary fibre business in China, from ChemPartner Pharmatech Co Ltd for a total consideration of $237 million.

A broader range of solutions Nick Hampton, Chief Executive at Tate & Lyle, said: “We are delighted to announce the agreement to acquire Quantum, a leader in prebiotic dietary fibres and a business recognised for its high-quality ingredients and solutions. This acquisition significantly strengthens our fortification capabilities and expands our customer offering in key food and drink categories. “FOS and GOS are highly complementary to our existing fibre portfolio and will enable us to offer a broader range of solutions to our customers. The acquisition is also very much in line with our purpose to support healthy

living by improving gut health and driving sugar and calorie reduction and fibre fortification for consumers across the world.” The acquisition expands Tate & Lyle’s ability to provide added-fibre solutions for its customers across a range of categories including dairy, beverages, bakery and nutrition (including infant nutrition), and to meet growing consumer interest in gut health. It also significantly expands Tate & Lyle’s presence in China and Asia and extends the company’s capabilities to create solutions across food and drink utilising its leading speciality ingredient portfolio. The transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of ChemPartner, a public company listed in China, of which Quantum is a wholly owned subsidiary. At completion, consideration will be paid in cash for 100% of the equity interests in Quantum. For the 11 months ended 30th November 2021, Quantum generated revenue of $46 million and EBITDA of $14 million. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to revenue growth and EBITDA margin for Tate & Lyle in the first year of ownership. Zeng Xianwei, Chairman of the Board of ChemPartner, said: “We are proud of the Quantum business we have built over the last 20 years, providing high-quality products to support healthier living for people across China and beyond. “Tate & Lyle, with its global customer reach, strong focus on R&D, and strong fibre portfolio, is the ideal company to take Quantum on the next stage of its develop-

Tate & Lyle, with its global customer reach, strong focus on R&D, and strong fibre portfolio, is the ideal company to take Quantum on the next stage of its development. I wish them and the management team at Quantum success in the future

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he acquisition of Quantum Hi-Tech Biological Co Ltd significantly strengthens Tate & Lyle’s position as a leading global player in dietary fibres, bringing a high-quality portfolio of speciality fibres, strong R&D capabilities and proprietary manufacturing processes and technologies. Quantum Hi-Tech Biological Co Ltd, headquartered in Guangzhou, engages in the research, development, production and sale of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS). Together, FOS (from sucrose) and GOS (from milk sugar/lactose) represent around 25% of the global dietary fibres market which is forecast to grow at around 6% per annum. In China, which currently represents most of Quantum’s sales, the FOS and GOS market is forecast to grow at around 10% per annum.

ment. I wish them and the management team at Quantum success in the future.” Quantum produces its range of FOS and GOS fibres at its production site in Guangdong Province, Southern China. The management team of Quantum will join Tate & Lyle at completion. Closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the second quarter of calendar year 2022.

About Tate & Lyle Tate & Lyle is a leading global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions with a 160-year history. Through the company’s expertise in sweetening, mouthfeel and fibre fortification, Tate & Lyle develops solutions which reduce sugar, calories and fat, add fibre, and provide texture and stability in categories including beverages, dairy, bakery, soups, sauces and dressings. The business has more than 3,000 employees working in around 60 locations across 30 countries. In the year to 31st March 2021, Tate & Lyle revenue from continuing operations totalled £1.2 billion. n Inside Food & Drink

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Country Focus Reporting on the latest developments from the Norwegian food and drink sector

Norway Elopak and Nippon Paper Industries agree Oceanian license Norway’s Elopak ASA and Nippon Paper Industries Co, Ltd have agreed that Nippon Paper will produce and sell Elopak’s line-up of Pure-Pak® packaging for liquid food and beverage products worldwide and introduce them to the Oceania region.

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Extending the relationship The two companies have worked closely together for many years. In March 2016 they signed a product licensing agreement allowing allows Nippon Paper to manufacture and sell certain Pure-Pak® cartons in Japan. When Elopak listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in June 2021, Nippon Paper entered into a cornerstone agreement to acquire shares equivalent to 5.0% of the share capital. In January 2022, the two companies also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their partnership and advance collaborative efforts in the field of liquid-paper packaging.

We are delighted to be announcing this latest collaboration with Nippon Paper, which is an important step in driving forward our growth strategy as a company

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ommenting on the license agreement, Elopak CEO Thomas Körmendi stated: “We are delighted to be announcing this latest collaboration with Nippon Paper, which is an important step in driving forward our growth strategy as a company. Given our established track record of working together, we are uniquely well positioned to deliver for customers in the region.” Nippon Paper, the largest liquid packaging producer in Japan, is concentrating efforts in the field of paper packaging with the goal of improving consumers’ lives and helping the planet under the slogan of “Pioneering the future together with trees.” Based on the slogan “What can be done with paper”, Nippon Paper is exploring the potential of packaging based on wood, a renewable resource, and offering a variety of proposals. Nippon Paper group is also one of the leading packaging companies in Oceania through its subsidiary business, Opal. Elopak, a leading global supplier of carton packaging and filling equipment, offers sustainable packaging solutions that provide a natural and convenient alternative to plastic bottles. This licensing agreement aligns with Elopak’s ambitions to meet the rising demand for sustainable packaging solutions by pursuing a growth strategy centred on investment in innovation; the pursuit of new business opportunities in existing and new markets across both fresh and aseptic markets; and driving the plastic to carton conversion.

The new license agreement will leverage the technological capabilities and innovation of both companies to pursue new business opportunities in the Oceania region, particularly in Australia and New Zealand where population growth and domestic demand are rising. It will also further promote the transition away from plastic towards more sustainable, low carbon packaging solutions for chilled liquid beverages. Collaboration between Nippon Paper and Elopak is built on the companies’ shared commitment to sustainability and innovation.

Both companies are members of the United Nations Global Compact and incorporate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their development strategies. They also have a shared dedication to sustainable forest management and improved recycling of their paper products. Commenting on the license agreement, Nippon Paper Managing Executive Officer and General Manager of Paper-Pak Sales Division, Yasuhito Obayashi, noted: “We are pleased to be working with Elopak to meet the rising demand for sustainable packaging in the Oceania region and supporting customers to transition from plastic bottles to cartons. We look forward to jointly leveraging our extensive experience and strengths to promote and deliver renewable, low carbon solutions.”

Carbon neutral packaging Elopak is a leading global supplier of carton packaging and filling equipment. The company’s iconic Pure-Pak® cartons are made using renewable, recyclable and sustainably sourced materials, providing a natural and convenient alternative to plastic bottles that fits within a low carbon circular economy. Founded in Norway in 1957, Elopak was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2021. Today it employs 2,700 people and sells in excess of 14 billion cartons annually across more than 70 countries. Elopak is a UN Global Compact participant with a platinum EcoVadis rating and has been carbon neutral since 2016. n


Country Focus Reporting on the latest developments from the UK food and drink sector

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Kingdom Diageo sets aside £73m for Guinness microbrewery and culture hub in London Diageo, maker of Guinness, is investing £73 million in ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’, a new microbrewery and culture hub in Covent Garden, London, set to open in Autumn 2023. Old Brewer’s Yard first brewed beer back in 1722. 300 years later, Guinness will be bringing the site back to life.

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he investment to create ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’, builds on the success of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and the opening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street in Edinburgh in 2021. It demonstrates Diageo’s confidence in London and the UK as a go-to destination for tourists and its commitment to the hospitality sector, which employs almost 2 million people in the UK. Guinness sales in Great Britain have grown by over 30% in the last six months and 1 in every 10 pints sold in London is now a Guinness. The new 50,000 sqft venue will create up to 150 jobs for the Capital and provide a community space within the Covent Garden area. The site will also become the Southern UK hub of Diageo’s award-winning Learning for Life Bartending and Hospitality Programme. The programme has provided skills and improved the employability of over 5,500 people across the UK to date. The ambition is for over 100 London based students to graduate from the ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ programme each year, with a proportion of the employment opportunities to be ringfenced for Learning for Life graduates.

“Government support over the last two years has been vital for pubs and bars. Coming out of the pandemic, the long-term vitality of the trade will be significantly helped by the alcohol duty review and continued freezes in duty.” The new site will cover locations linking Mercer Walk, Langley Street, Neal Street and Shelton Street. It will include a world-leading microbrewery which will produce limited edition beers and offer guests tours with Guinness beer specialists to taste/enjoy and learn about the iconic stout, its storied history and ambitions for the future. Event spaces and a central covered courtyard, will also be part of the layout, geared-up to host events across food, drink, the arts and special cultural occasions, which will be open for use by the local community. A new Guinness store will be selling rare items via collaborations and partnerships bespoke to the London experience. They’ll be a chance to try exciting new brews, some only available at ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’, and finally, rotating cuisine and events at a stunning open-fire kitchen, restaurant and 360 degrees glass rooftop space will also be an integral part of the development.

A new home for Guinness Dayalan Nayager, Managing Director, Diageo Great Britain, said: “We’re excited to create a new home for Guinness in the heart of London. ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ will strengthen London’s hospitality community and be a must-visit destination for thousands of visitors to enjoy.

Spirit of Progress In line with Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ action plan, the newest home for Guinness will be carbon neutral by 2030 and accessible to all when it opens. Key to the new site will be a community programme, details of which will be

designed following a consultation period with local residents. A similar programme took place during the pandemic at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, USA, where 500 loaves of ‘Brewers Bread’ were baked every week using ingredients sourced from within the brewery and donated to the local Maryland Food Bank Diageo and Guinness are investing £30 million in helping pubs, bars and restaurants in Great Britain recover from the pandemic through its Raising the Bar scheme, launched in 2020. Over 30,000 outlets across the country have benefitted from the scheme to date, through support such as hand sanitiser, PPE kits and parasols and ‘snugs’ for outside occasions. ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ is set to open in Autumn 2023, subject to planning permission and consultation period. Old Brewer’s Yard is owned by the Mercers’ Company. Rob Abernethy, Chief Executive of the Mercers’ Company, added: “We are delighted to welcome Guinness to our Covent Garden estate. We have worked closely with Diageo to develop proposals which will restore Old Brewer’s Yard’s historic origins in a contemporary context. “The significant level of investment is a major boost to London’s recovering economy and will provide a one-of-a-kind immersive experience, shining the spotlight on Covent Garden as a global visitor destination.” n Inside Food & Drink

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Taste of the Season Creating the best picnic for Spring 2022

knack

The

of the perfect picnic

With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning the classic outdoor event, the picnic. But here at Inside Food & Drink, we have elevated the humble picnic into a dining experience to remember thanks to a pick of premium picnic products. So, whether you are enjoying the sea air at the coast, taking in the sights on a forest trail or hauled up on a secluded cabin getaway, we have put together a picnic for all occasions. We give you the Inside Food and Drink Picnic Hamper! Curated and written by Jordan Yallop. Fen Farm Dairy The dairy segment of our picnic selection has been provided by Fen Farm Dairy, who in just a few short years have taken the UK food scene by storm. The dairy’s signature Baron Bigod cheese has become a beloved menu staple of top chefs and is known to frequently grace the tables of royalty. Baron Bigod is the only traditional raw milk Brie-de-Meaux style cheese produced in the UK and one of only a handful of its type in the world. Beneath the nutty, mushroomy rind, the cheese has a smooth, silky golden breakdown, which will often ooze out over a delicate, fresh and citrussy centre. The Bungay Raw Butter is made by hand on the farm in the traditional way. Using still-warm milk from Montbeliarde cows, these ancient breeds are hand-picked from small farms in the Jura region of France. They only give a small amount of milk, but it is rich and high in protein, producing beautifully creamy and complex flavours. Fen Farms’ traditionally made Icelandic Skyr yoghurts are a perfect way to cool off on a hot day, layered using four varieties of artisan fruit compotes; natural, gooseberry and elderflower, blackcurrant and redcurrant, and rhubarb and vanilla. Fen Farms’ offers a true and edible account of England’s “terroir” from a special part of Suffolk, nestled in the elbow of the Waveney River Valley.

Jordan – Feature Writer:

iFD “The raw milk products were &

bursting with flavours, from the sour skyr mixed with sweet fruit to the creamy raw butter. King of the dairy selection was the Baron Bigod Brie, soft and rich with a delicate flavour.

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Cartwright & Butler Delve into this delicious collection of Cartwright & Butler’s best-selling gifts and treats wrapped into one, beautiful grey hamper. Inside the Pocklington Tin Hamper you will discover full-bodied traditional English Breakfast tea, along with Café York Blend medium roast coffee, ready to be brewed to perfection and a warm kick-start to the day. Explore an array of sweet and savoury treats, ranging from crisp tomato & basil flatbreads to crumbling butter shortbread and maple pecan flavoured digestive biscuits – all designed to appetize your palate. The hamper also has both sweet and savoury preserves, with some incredible fine cut English breakfast marmalade to complement your alfresco tea, and caramelised onion chutney to elevate any cheeseboard. As an after meal treat, indulge in crystallised ginger in dark chocolate and all butter fudge. Perfect!

www.cartwrightandbutler.co.uk Daniel – Editorial Manager: “This hamper includes all the sweet, crunchy, refreshing and thirst-quenching

iFD indulgences you could hope for at a picnic. The Maple & Pecan Digestive Biscuits accompanied by a cup of &

English Breakfast Tea was the perfect way to finish off the picnic.”

Blacklion Vodka Blacklion Vodka is Europe’s rarest vodka! Handcrafted in small batches, the elusive Blacklion Vodka is made using the whey from Black Lion sheep. It’s the first vodka to be made in the UK from sheep’s milk and is the inspiration of husband and wife team Tim and Tanya Spittle, who amongst other things, rear and nurture their flock of rare breed sheep on their family farm in the Cotswolds. The vodka, distilled using Cotswold spring water, won Spirit Bronze in The IWSC 2022 awards. Blacklion Vodka has a creamy nose and silky palate. The heat of alcohol develops towards the finish without any burning. While this luxury vodka is amazing over ice alone, we feel it will really come alive as a premium base for a cocktail to be enjoyed before, during or even after the picnic. Taste rarity and adventure during your picnic with Blacklion’s take on a Manhattan – The Icebreaker.

www.blacklionvodka.co.uk

The Icebreaker: 40ml vodka, 10ml sweet vermouth, 10ml dry vermouth, 10ml fig liqueur, 2 dashes of bitters Finish with fig or maraschino cherry.

Jordan – Feature Writer: “Superbly smooth vodka, warming without much of a strong burn. You can tell it’s

iFD a premium drink from the first sip, while it is wonderful over ice, it works great as a base for a refreshing cocktail.” &

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Taste of the Season Creating the best picnic for Spring 2022

Petrossian From Paris to New York, Petrossian continues to rely on 100 years of know-how à la française. For the sake of our picnic round up, we focused on Petrossian’s seafood products – along with an extra sweet treat. The first is the emperor of ocean treats, a caviar masterpiece. Ossetra Tsar Impérial™ is a caviar that’s dark amber to golden in colour, with a firm and sensual texture. The Petrossian Tsar Impérial caviars are selected for their complexity of flavour and persistence. Tarama with caviar is a salted, beechwood-smoked cod roe blended into a paste. This tarama is mixed with different ingredients to make a flavourful, luxurious cream that is generously seasoned with Petrossian caviar. This is a creamy, smooth tarama, with a gentle flavour of smoked fish that’s heightened by the subtly briny flavour of caviar. A second, equally delicious tarama sees the caviar replaced by black truffle. Petrossian’s unique savoury macarons are handmade in Suffolk using only the finest ingredients. The Italian meringue shells are made with free range eggs and the filling uses Petrossian’s signature products to create delicious and innovative flavour combinations. Which one will you prefer? caviar & gold, chocolate & black truffle or wasabi & smoked salmon? As an after meal sweet treat, add some of Petrossian’s sweet macarons with 12 flavours ranging from salted caramel, pistachio, milk chocolate and blackcurrant.

John – Managing

iFD Director: “The caviar &

had a wonderful full-bodied taste. While not being as salty as one might expect, the complexity of flavours shines through. The tarama was a creamy, full flavoured sensation. While smoky, there was no overpowering of the delicate nature of the fish. The sweet and savoury juxtaposition that was present within the macarons was an event to remember in itself.”

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Moons Green Charcuterie If you want to find Britain’s most exciting pair of charcutiers, go no further than Owley Farm in the heart of the Kentish Weald. Here you’ll discover British Charcuterie pioneers, and the inventors of Beer Sticks, John Doig and Ian Jones, owners of Moons Green Charcuterie. More than 20 different varieties of saucissons are produced at Moons Green Charcuterie. Using British ingredients at every opportunity, these air-dried meats are all melt-in-themouth local versions of European classics. British versions of prosciutto, loma, coppa, bresaola, and chorizo are all made by hand. Moons Green offers both whole and pre-sliced versions of most products – including an instant charcuterie board. Highlights of some of the mouth-watering products include Rosemary and Garlic Saucisson, John’s perfect English saucisson with a strong nod towards Europe. Next up, Amazing Chorizo is the result of a recipe from the 18th century that gets to the heart of authenticity. And finally, Wild Mushroom and Truffle Saucisson is a superb rustic saucisson that delivers exactly what it says on the label.

Ian – Art Director: “The quality of ingredients really stood out. The chorizo was full of flavour without being too spicy and various saucisson will make a premium addition to any picnic. The charcuterie just screamed luxury and the Beer Sticks were a revelation in flavour.”

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Food & Drink News The latest news from across the global food and drink sector

latest news ERDINGER Weissbräu launches second phase of media campaign with brand ambassador Jürgen Klopp

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RDINGER Weissbräu, the largest family-owned wheat beer brewery, has unveiled the latest phase of its ‘never skim an ERDINGER’ campaign featuring brand ambassador, Jürgen Klopp. Announcing details of the new campaign, Wolfgang Kuffner, ERDINGER Weissbräu Marketing Director, explained: “Jürgen Klopp personifies the pursuit of excellence that we strive for in every ERDINGER Weissbräu beer. “ERDINGER beers are brewed with only natural ingredients in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law and using the ‘Bayerische Edelreifung‘, or double maturity, method. With this process, we add our unique brewing yeast to the beer after fermentation and allow it to mature a second time in the bottle or keg, for up to three weeks. This gives extra time for the flavour of the beer to develop and the aromas to fully unfold.” The campaign has been developed to increase awareness of the quality attributes of ERDINGER beers and drive demand in the UK

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on-trade. It is expected to encourage more people to explore the characteristics and taste provided by ERDINGER’s unique yeast and increase sales. Since the launch of the original campaign in Spring 2020, ERDINGER has recorded year on year improvements in distribution and rate of sale and is the number 1 imported wheat beer across all channels in the UK. “By harnessing Jürgen’s enthusiasm for quality and passion for life, which mirrors our own attitude, the advice given in this campaign will help drinkers get the most enjoyment possible from drinking their ERDINGER Weissbier,” added Mr Kuffner. ERDINGER is the UK’s No 1 imported wheat beer with the brand portfolio, headed by ERDINGER Weissbier, also including Dunkel, Pikantus, Alkoholfrei and Alkoholfrei Grapefruit. ERDINGER Weissbräu beers are distributed in the UK by Carlsberg-Marston’s Brewing Company Ltd.


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Tetra Pak to help restore biodiversity and mitigate the effects of climate change

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orld leading food processing and packaging solutions Tetra Pak is launching a pioneering land restoration initiative called The Araucaria Conservation Programme in Brazil, marking the industry’s first nature-based restoration project. The ambition is to generate positive environmental, economic and social benefits for local communities and restore and protect biodiversity in the region. Developed in collaboration with Apremavi, a Brazilian NGO specialising in conservation and restoration projects since 1987, the initiative is set to restore at least 7,000 hectares over a period of ten years of the Atlantic Forest, one of the richest biomes and the second most endangered in the world. Originally, this rainforest covered 17 Brazilian states, but today only 12% of its original area is preserved, putting thousands of species that do not exist elsewhere at risk. The Araucaria Conservation Programme will target an area of particular risk, the Forest of Araucarias, which today only has 3% of its original area preserved. Julian Fox, Director Nature Programs, Tetra Pak, commented: “This initiative is our response to the United Nations challenge to make this the decade of ecosystem restoration. We are thrilled to be a lead partner of such a pioneering project, connecting a range of stakeholders and merging environmental restoration with carbon capture analysis to help mitigate climate change and recover biodiversity.” In addition to a pilot restoring 80 hectares, the project’s first year will focus on mapping potential areas for restoration. After the validation of this initial phase, the model will be replicated on other rural properties over ten years across the Atlantic Forest, which bridges the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná. Tetra Pak will also certify a much broader territory under international voluntary carbon and biodiversity standards. The certification will measure carbon sequestration, meaning the project will play a key role in Tetra Pak’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2030. The aim is for this territory to reach up to 13.7 million hectares – an area the size of England – and encourage other organisations to join the initiative.

Miriam Prochnow, Counselor and co-founder of Apremavi, added: “Among the proposed methodologies are the planting of native seedlings, the ecological enrichment of secondary forests and natural regeneration. In the long run, the restored areas will be integrated into ecological corridors, contributing to reducing pressure on endangered animals such as the purple-breasted parrot and the pampas deer. These actions are fundamental for the protection of biodiversity, the restoration of soil quality and the maintenance of water availability in the region.” The project will also help bring social and economic benefits to the area in the medium/long term, with hundreds of farmers and landowners having support to ensure their properties benefit from environmental legislation. Incentives are also in place to encourage landowners to become allies of the preservation of these areas in the long term. For example, farmers will be given the opportunity to diversify their income through the Payment for Environmental Services Programme, meaning they will be remunerated for land they restore linked to carbon credits, which is unprecedented in the country. In addition to Apremavi, the initiative’s strategic partners include Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Brazil. Klabin, a leader in paper production for packaging in Brazil and a supplier for Tetra Pak, is also participating. Mr Fox concluded: “This multi-faceted project demonstrates the complexity of addressing the climate challenge and how vital it is that stakeholders from across the value chain work together. We’re proud to be joining forces with industry experts to bring to life this industry-first nature-based initiative.”

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Food & Drink News The latest news from across the global food and drink sector

latest news Tate & Lyle acquires Nutriati, a developer and producer of plant-based protein T ate & Lyle PLC, a leading global provider of food and beverage ingredients and solutions, has purchased 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, commented: “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.”

Robertet acquires Omega Ingredients F rench-based sustainable natural raw materials supplier Robertet has acquired UK natural flavours and ingredients specialist Omega Ingredients. According to Robertet, the investment reaffirms the group’s determination to strengthen its leadership in natural flavour solutions by reinforcing its presence in the UK market. It will also create new synergies within the group to better address new emerging customers clearly identified for future growth. Omega Ingredients will benefit from Robertet’s expertise and creativity in naturals, to enhance all the values that made Omega so unique and successful. “We are proud to welcome Omega Ingredients into the Robertet family,” said Olivier Maubert, Head of Flavour and Health & Beauty Divisions, Robertet. “We share the same passion for natural products with a common concern for the future of the planet. Omega will add their unique approach complementing the creativity of Robertet. We are impressed by the motivation and dedication of their team, very aligned with the original values of Robertet.” Mr Maubert added: “This acquisition will help consolidate our leadership in natural flavours and strengthen the group’s 18

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position in the UK and in other markets where Omega has a good presence.” Robertet is the worlds largest source of natural, sustainable and organic ingredients to the fine fragrance industry, cultivating, processing and integrating more than 1,400 natural ingredients from 60 countries. Omega Ingredients was established in 2001 in the UK, focusing on the creation of the highest quality, provenance driven, natural flavours and ingredients for the food and beverage industry. Renowned worldwide for delivering innovative, cutting-edge biochemistry through the use of all-natural materials, Omega Ingredients has developed a stellar network of suppliers and partners to ensure the highest quality ingredients possible. Steve Pearce, founder and CEO, Omega Ingredients, commented: “Omega Ingredients is excited to begin the next chapter of its history as part of the Robertet Group. We share the same passion for naturals and products of excellence, the same vision with our CSR policies and of a strongly integrated sourcing of natural flavours and extracts. We are looking forward to contributing to Robertet’s vision and growth.”


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Hip Pop expands range of gut health drinks with launch of Apple Cider Vinegar Soda

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ast-growing functional drinks brand, Hip Pop, has launched the first in its new range of Apple Cider Vinegar Sodas. Initially available in Ginger, Turmeric and Black Pepper flavour, with an additional Peach and Mango flavour to be launched in May 2022, the new Apple Cider Vinegar Soda offers consumers a low-sugar gut health drink, rich in prebiotics and probiotics. With each 330ml can containing less than 30 calories and a full tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, proven to help improve digestion and boost immunity, Hip Pop’s new Apple Cider Vinegar Soda range is forecast to quickly dominate the UK gut health drinks market and is set to be listed by several retailers within the coming months. The Apple Cider Vinegar Soda follows the recent launch of Hip Pop’s CBD infused kombucha, which contains all the benefits of the brand’s original kombucha, with the added bonus of 100% plant-based CBD. Originally launched in 2019 as ‘Booch & Brew’ by friends Emma Thackray and Kenny Goodman, Hip Pop has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months, having also secured listings with health store and prestigious retailer, Harrods. Discussing the new product launch, Emma Thackray said: “Although Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) based products are heavily consumed in the States, there is less awareness around the health benefits of ACV in the UK. “We are, therefore, incredibly excited to expand the Hip Pop range with the launch of our first Apple Cider Vinegar Soda flavours and hope that our customers – old and new – enjoy it as much as we do.” Headquartered in Cheshire, Hip Pop is committed to brewing ‘gut lovin’ drinks’ that taste good, do good and look good. Having doubled its headcount over the last 12 months, the brand has been recognised for its superior brewing quality by multiple industry awards, including two stars at the Great Taste Awards. Inside Food & Drink

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Food & Drink News The latest news from across the global food and drink sector

latest news Swedish coffee company Löfbergs outlines Eastern European business growth

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wedish-based coffee roaster Löfbergs has created a new business area for sales in Eastern Europe. Kent Pettersson, CEO of Löfbergs in Finland, will lead the new business area to spread the Swedish fika culture to even more people. “We have great potential to grow in this part of Europe. The task includes securing a continuous growth in Finland and the Baltic region as well as finding developing possibilities in new markets,” said Anders Fredriksson, CEO at Löfbergs. The new business area will be led by Kent Pettersson, who has worked at Löfbergs since 2009. He has been Sales Director for retail in Sweden, Finland, and the Baltic region. In 2020, he was appointed CEO of Löfbergs in Finland, an assignment he will manage in parallel with his new tasks. “We are still a challenger in many markets, where we stand out as a Swedish family-owned company. We have successfully managed this in Finland, where we have seen a huge growth the last years. Now, we will try to do the same in more markets,” said Kent Pettersson, Chief Commercial Officer, Market East, Löfbergs. Löfbergs was founded in 1906 in Karlstad, Sweden, and is now one of the largest family-owned coffee roasters in the Nordic countries. The company started exporting coffee in 1993, and every second cup is sold outside of Sweden today. Over the past years, Finland has emerged as Löfbergs’s third largest market. Together with the Baltic region, it accounts for

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Anders Fredriksson, CEO at Löfbergs

17% of the coffee roaster’s sales. Löfbergs is now aiming to strengthen its position in neighbouring markets. “Löfbergs is a strong brand even outside of Sweden, and we will benefit from that. Poland is an interesting market that we have a great opportunity to enter. It would mean a lot for our business if we managed to lay our hands on some market shares here,” said Mr Pettersson. In connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Löfbergs stopped all export to Russia and Belarus, and terminated all agreements with Russian and Belarusian participation in other countries. The company said the decision is of indefinite duration.

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Food for thought Interesting and unusual food and drink facts from around the world

foodthought for

White chocolate is not technically chocolate. It contains cocoa butter but no chocolate solids and therefore doesn’t really qualify as chocolate. Although cashew nut oil from the shells is not safe to consume, it can be distilled and used to line brakes to provide friction or can make up one of the resins in epoxy finishes.

Peaches and nectarines are almost genetically identical except for a gene that is either dominant (peaches) or recessive (nectarines) which makes the skin either smooth or furry. In 1919, a storage tank that contained more than 2 million gallons of molasses exploded. It flooded the streets of Boston, destroyed buildings, killed 21 people and injured 150 more. It remains one of the most bizarre food related disasters in history.

Honey never goes bad. Bacteria and microorganisms that spoil food need moisture to survive and honey contains very little water. Honey might just outlive you!

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Green, yellow, and red bell peppers are actually the same vegetable, just at different stages of ripening.

Raw cashew nuts are poisonous as they contain toxic urushiol. To remove this compound, cashews go through an extensive roasting or steaming process before they are sold.

If you take some garlic and rub it on the bottom of your foot, you will actually be able to taste garlic approximately 30 minutes later. The molecules responsible for the smell of garlic can penetrate your skin and travel to your mouth and nose.

Real vanilla is incredibly labour-intensive to produce. When the flowers finally do bloom, they stay open for only one day. It can take at least three years for a vanilla plant to produce its first vanilla bean.

Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi all originate from the same plant. Brassica oleracea was selectively bred over centuries to create dozens of distinct vegetables.

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What’s new in the industry? The latest innovations, ideas and product launches

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Natural astaxanthin meets consumer demands

S-8 food can corrosion inhibitor awarded USDA Certified Biobased Product label Cortec Corporation’s S-8 corrosion inhibitor additive for food can processing has been awarded the USDA Certified Biobased Product label. S-8 is now able to display a unique USDA label that highlights its percentage of biobased content and signifies its qualification to meet mandatory federal purchasing requirements under the USDA BioPreferred Program. S-8 is designed for corrosion protection of sealed food cans during washing and sterilization. Newly packed and sealed cans pass through hot steam for sterilization, sometimes followed by a cold-water bath, before ever reaching the warehouse, store or pantry shelf. Exposure of the metal to steam, water and air at this stage of processing is a perfect recipe for corrosion if not properly addressed. S-8 can be added at a very low dose to the sterilization and cooling water to safeguard against the risk of flash corrosion from rinsing and sterilization.

Pharmaceutical company AstaReal has developed an astaxanthin derived from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, which is both a natural carotenoid and sustainable nutrient that aligns with emerging, plant-based product trends. Microalgae supply fish and krill with astaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids, yet are a sustainable as well as vegan alternative to both. AstaReal astaxanthin is supported by more than 70 human clinical studies reportedly demonstrating numerous benefits for the growing demographic of healthy agers. Its structure enables natural astaxanthin to target free radicals in the inner and outer layers of cell membranes, thus protecting cells and their mitochondria from oxidative stress. In doing so, the ingredient can boost muscle endurance, counteract fatigue, reduce inflammation, improve skin texture and enhance capillary blood flow in the eyes, as well as the brain. The company can offer natural astaxanthin as algal biomass, a cold water-dispersible powder, or oil extract.

Simpl-Cut by PE Labellers – changing the face of the labelling market Simpl-Cut™ by PE Labellers represents a change in traditional roll-fed machines. It changes its operating principles and overcomes the limitations that these labellers typically have. It is a rotary roll-fed machine for the application of pre-glued wrap-around labels, with differentiated advantages that bring major benefits to customers. Despite being widely used in industries such as soft drink and water, traditional roll-fed labellers have several areas that can notoriously cause downtime and frustration for users. The patented Simpl-Cut technology optimises the labelling process, virtually eliminating maintenance-related downtime and reducing cost.

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Mixing oil and water boosts functional food and beverage development

UK’s first fully biodegradable disposable water bottle

Product developers can now create new categories of functional foods and beverages thanks to Prodalim Resources Ltd’s new Capsoil Foodtech. The company advanced the capacity for mixing oil and water by developing ultra-fine, water-soluble powders out of natural oils. This breakthrough presents new possibilities for integrating beneficial nutritional oils, fat-soluble vitamins, and lipid-based nutrients into a broadened range of functional foods and beverages, as well as in new supplement formats. The company said this development opens the doors to products such as juices enriched with MCTs or ice pops fortified with omega fatty acids.

The eco-friendly bottle, developed by DrinkWell, is made entirely from polylactic acid (PLA), a plant-based compound derived from corn starch, with the label being printed using vegetable ink. This innovative use of technology means that the bottle will biodegrade within three to six months if placed within home or commercial composting. As composting isn’t always a readily available option to all, the bottle has been designed to ensure that it can also be incinerated without releasing any toxins into the atmosphere, taking a huge step forward in the fight against harmful single-use plastic, and their effect on the planet.

Gousto launches free smell training kits to help long Covid sufferers Gousto, one of the UK’s leading recipe box providers, has teamed up with smell loss charity AbScent to create limited-edition ‘Flavour Saviour’ kits. The smell training kit has been designed to get long-Covid sufferers smelling and tasting again. According to Gousto, smell training helps stimulate your smell receptors, and is scientifically shown to help recover lost senses. Rather than being marketed as a cure, Gousto says the kits are considered a helpful tool that you can use every day to support your natural recovery. Like physio for your nose. The kit includes four fragranced jars to actively sniff, alongside a flavour pack of ingredients hand-picked to stimulate the five basic tastes that are perceived by our taste buds: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami, to enhance the training experience.

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from crop to consumption

BAKERIES aryzta

evoiki zimi


ARYZTA AG

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ARYZTA AG is a Bakery company with a global reach holding a leadership position in the convenience bakery sector. Headquartered in Switzerland the company has operations in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. With roots dating back over a century, ARYZTA has shown unparalleled capabilities in the baking industry with products including artisan breads, pastries, cookies, donuts, muffins, buns and so much more. Jordan Yallop reports.

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all begins with the finest ingredients – along with bakers and chefs whose top priorities are great taste, consistency, and creating memorable foods for consumers. Owing to this, ARYZTA AG aims to be the preferred baking partner for customers across the retail, foodservice and convenience sectors. With a heritage dating back to the 19th century, initially plying its trade as an agricultural wholesaler in Ireland, the combination of fine ingredients and high quality products have been mixed, kneaded, proved and baked into the business for generations. Created following the merger of Hiestand Holdings AG and IAWS plc 28

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in 2008, ARYZTA (derived from arista, the Latin term for beard of grain or the point on the ear of wheat), holds a leadership position in the convenience bakery sector. “ARYZTA is an international business dedicated to local market needs that empowers local leadership teams and creates value for our customers,” described Anthony Proctor, Managing Director of ARYZTA Ireland/UK. “This multi-local approach allows us to have a very simple structure which facilitates fast decision making to address our local customers’ needs. Our bakery heritage and expertise delivers gold standard quality food through customer focused trustworthy partnerships.”

Going back to go forward While the success and growth that ARYZTA has achieved can be attributed to the development of state-of-the-art bakeries, and by utilising the combined expertise of innovative teams in areas ranging from culinary research to engineering, the company has adopted a retrospective approach to its innovation. Mr Proctor said: “Current trends in bakery have been leading consumers back to traditional tastes and values. Consumers want bread products that have a high nutritional value which have been produced under authentic and time-honoured baking methods. Our sourdough products honour the essential elements for authentic sourdough production.


“We use a live perpetual starter which has been grown, used and regenerated for over 30 years and which gives the ARYZTA sourdough product its unique and recognisable flavour. This combination of long fermentation and resting times, means ARYZTA has the ability to produce authentic sourdough bread – both efficiently and in high volumes while adhering to the highest food safety and quality standards.” As a result, ARYZTA’s customers get both traditional baking methods and the precise standardisation of modern manufacturing – truly the best of both worlds.

Next-generation baking While ARYZTA operates 22 bakeries across Europe from Holland to Romania and a further 10 locations across the rest of the world, Mr Proctor was keen to highlight the company’s endeavours in the UK and Irish markets. ARYZTA Ireland/UK employs over 500 highly skilled people, many of whom are

based at the main manufacturing facility located at Grange Castle. Upon opening in 2008, the new bakery incorporated stateof-the-art production, automated warehouse solutions and a centre of excellence for both innovation and R&D. The mammoth site is comprised of 45,500 sqm of facilities and required an initial investment of approximately €195 million. However, the facility has continued to evolve since it was established. “We are delighted to announce that we are in the final stages of completing the installation of a new speciality bread manufacturing plant at Grange Castle,” Mr Proctor revealed. “The investment, which includes a significant expansion of our state-of-the-art live sourdough starter plant, will result in a doubling of capacity for the production of sourdough and speciality breads.” Recent years have seen demand for sourdough grow significantly to the point the company is expanding production capabili-

ties to satiate public demand. The expansion will also allow for greater research and development into new products for the ever more complex tastes of the Irish and UK consumer. In 2020, the business took the decision to step change its French bread production at the Grange Castle bakery which saw the installation of baking capability for what ARYZTA describes as ‘next generation stress free French bread’. This aims to produce the highest quality French bread available on the market today. When speaking about ARYZTA Ireland/ UK, Mr Proctor said he was proud of three things most of all: “Our products, in particular our sourdough and speciality bread combined with our next generation French bread. I would confidently put these products up against any competitive product as being best in market. “Second is our people. We have a team which are highly skilled and highly committed to the goal of being the best in Inside Food & Drink

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ARYZTA AG

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market and it makes me very proud to work alongside these colleagues.” He added: “Third is our customers. Over many years we have built excellent working relationships with our customers, and they have supported us through many challenging times. While we will always be proud of our products and service, it is important that we approach our customer relationships with humility and always be prepared to listen to the feedback we receive, while looking for opportunities to deliver success for our customers.”

Sustainability culture Mr Proctor also stated that sustainability is high on ARYZTA’s agenda and that he likes to think that Ireland/UK is ahead of the curve in this respect, starting with the construction of the Grange Castle site. This site was built to sustainable specifications including double skin glazing on the office buildings and the centre of excel-

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lence to minimise the need for air conditioning. All elements of the site have been constructed to minimise energy usage with high coefficient of performance. At the front of the office building is a manmade pond, where all the rainwater on site is fed to. This doubles as both an attractive aesthetic and as an attenuation reservoir that feeds the site’s sprinkler system. Aryzta Ireland/UK is a founding members of CIRCULEIRE – The National Platform for Circular Manufacturing. This private-public partnership aims to take manufacturers and their supply-chains on a journey from linear to circular business models through business case development and “deep demonstration innovation projects”.

The journey to premiumise ARYZTA Ireland/UK operates across three channels: convenience retail, retail multiples and foodservice. There are sev-

eral brands under the ARYZTA label in these markets. “Our primary brand is Cuisine de France, which recently celebrated 32 years in the Irish market,” remarked Mr Proctor. “It is primarily an Irish business and is very much synonymous with bakery and convenience bakery in the Irish market.” ARYZTA Ireland/UK is extremely proud of the Cuisine de France brand, said Mr Proctor. It was conceived as a way to introduce French breads to the burgeoning Irish market. As a result of this, customer loyalty, and brand recognition remain constantly high. Other brands include a high-end foodservice channel under the Coup de Pates range and the savoury hot food category called Pierre’s. ARYZTA is also the distribution and supply partner for Seattle’s Best Coffee which, again, serves the Irish market.


Anthony Proctor, Managing Director of ARYZTA Ireland/UK

A large portion of ARYZTA’s product is also supplied to the private label market. Over decades the company has built up significant trust and close working relationships with customers when supplying bespoke bakery solutions. But one of the most important decisions the company has made in recent years is premiumisation. Mr Proctor said: “Three years ago, we embarked on what we call the ‘journey to premiumise’. Simply put, we recognised that consumer tastes and expectation, when it came to bakery products, were changing. Customer focus on nutritional value had increased significantly with demand increasing for fiber, seeds, grains, and most of all, sourdough. “With strong year-on-year growth in demand for high-end, specialty breads, this was clearly the sector which is most relevant for us. From our Grange Castle site, we continue to increase our bakery export to serve a growing number of UK customers. Clearly a business model to export low value commodity bread would never be attractive, therefore our business will continue to focus on high quality differentiate products that give our customers exactly what they need,” he concluded. n

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EVOIKI ZIMI

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maker CONTINUES POPULARITY Dough manufacturer Evoiki Zimi is about to realise history-changing plans with a €5 million relocation to bigger premises to boost capacity output and introduce a new line of plant-based products. Export Director Konstantinos Konstantakis spoke to Andy Probert about how the family business evolved into a globally-focused Greek-based leader in the dough sector.

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passion for personally crafted dough has enabled manufacturer Evoiki Zimi to evolve from a small-scale business to one that now exports to more than 50 countries. With over 30 years of experience, the company’s owners are now poised to take their steps of evolution in 2022 with a new manufacturing plant that doubles capacity and new diversifications in their product mix. Zimarika Psahnon, the forerunner to Evoiki Zimi, was launched in 1984 as a small personal enterprise crafting pasta from the best ingredients and reflecting the traditional recipes of Evia, the second-largest Greek island after Crete. Separated from mainland Greece by the Euripus Strait, Evia has remained the home of the dough-making business, which came into its own in the 1990s when it was incorporated with the investment of the Konstantakis family and became Evoiki Zimi SA. The company scaled up, expanding its activities in frozen dough products, such as pastry and pasta, and emboldened by export sales to Greek diaspora in various countries, moved to new production facilities in Chalkida in 2004 with a new focus in chilled dough. As its presence and reputation have grown in supermarkets across Greece and in top-selling exporting countries of Israel, Italy, the USA, China and Germany, the company grew with additional facilities in Crete and on mainland Greece.

Investment game-changer With crust filo pastry, Kataifi pastry, country style filo pastry, puff pastry and traditional Greek pasta at the forefront of the business, Evoiki Zimi is quickly advancing on its day of reckoning, with the opening of its new ‘game-changing’ €5 million manufacturing facility in Vathy, within the Evia municipality of Avlida. Export Director Konstantinos Konstantakis explained: “Our existing facilities are 3,000 sqm, but the new manufacturing plant will be 7,000 sqm and represents the biggest investment in the company’s history.

“Our philosophy is simple: to offer the world our culture, our products and our recipes. That has been embraced around the planet, from the US to Japan. We are in the Gulf, across Europe and Asia, and export accounts for 42% of all our trade. “To continue to do that, we aim for greater capacity to help reach more consumers, with more products in more places, and increase market share. This is a very exciting time in our history and it will cement our presence among the top five dough manufacturers in Greece.” The company annually produces 1,700 tonnes of filo pastry, 1,400 tonnes of country-style pastry, 1,200 tonnes of Kataifi pastry and 800 tonnes of puff pastry. Once in full-scale production

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EVOIKI ZIMI

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at the new facility, those numbers will rise by about 120% – to 4,000 tonnes of filo pastry, 2,000 tonnes of country-style pastry, 2,400 tonnes of Kataifi and 3,000 tonnes of puff pastry. “Evoiki Zimi remains family-owned, and we have faced many difficulties, such as bigger brand names with more experience in the field, the costs involved and finding suppliers to provide us with smaller volumes of raw materials,” stated Mr Konstantakis.

Business boost Nevertheless, the company posted robust business growth over the pandemic era – 20% in 2019-20, 15% in 2020-21 and a predicted 20% for 2022. “Our customers trust and know our quality products. They are the most hand-made on the market, and we aim to be as close and as loyal to our clients as possible,” Mr Konstantakis elaborated. “We offer new products every year and these enable us to stand out from our competitors.” He explained further: “Differentiating from competitors has been in our DNA since the 1990s when they were in mass production of puff pastry. Instead, our co-owner, including my father, invested in filo and Kataifi pastry and chilled products. “After 12 years, we succeeded to have a 60% market share in the filo and Kataifi sectors in Greece. Those products have made us famous and, year after year, more clients come to us demanding more of these types of products.” Moving to the new facility, featuring modern and state-of-theart automated equipment, will present new opportunities for the

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company to drive down costs, become even more competitive, and gain more market share. Mr Konstantakis commented that in 2020 the company began new collaborations in the US, and sales of Evoiki Zimi’s products have since increased. Further emphasis on this key market is planned, with a potential option to open a satellite manufacturing plant there to respond to rising demand. “We are presently focusing on a presence in smaller, local supermarket chains, but I believe in a few years we will be able to scale up further.”

New products planned Mr Konstantakis acknowledged the export business was essential to the future of Evoiki Zimi, given that it first began with supplying products to Greek expat communities worldwide, before, around ten years ago, breaking into the mainstream.


“We are open to other cultures, and we are probably the only Greek company in our sector to invest in product packaging that is designed and written in Arabic and speaks directly to the Arabic world and grabs the attention of clients from Qatar to Bahrain.” He said the company remains committed to using only the finest ingredients. “We try to give other options, such as making pies with filo pastry as it is more digestible. Our flour is 100% Greek, which is our primary raw material. The quality of our goods and our approach differentiates us from competitors. We try to build for the long term and consider all clients, no matter how big or small, the same. Loyalty, transparency and being honest are the main characteristics of these relationships.” Reflecting this healthy approach and to the changing trends in the market, Evoiki Zimi plans to launch a series of new products in 2022, with four being plant-based. “Others will include hand-made products that can be fried, and we are also planning to appeal with the release of Mastic ice cream, using filo and Kataifi pastry as a base. “We are also diversifying with olive oils, green and black; vegan chocolate, and soya beans and locally farmed mushrooms from Evia.” These products are planned for initial release to the domestic sector. He added: “The company structure is flat, and there is direct communication so that ideas, knowledge and practices are easily disseminated. We have chosen to grow with steady steps, oriented towards quality, tradition and innovation. Our goal is to create value for society, for the economy, for our employees and the business.” Mr Konstantakis concluded: “With changing times and trends, and our planned investment, we are now entering one of the most important periods in Evoiki Zimi’s history.” n

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iFD &

from crop to consumption

BRANDS, PRODUCERS & EQUIPMENT bico

unismack

mikel coffee company

dsi dantech

al kazzi trading


BICO

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As one of the oldest ice cream companies in Barbados and possibly the Caribbean, BICO has continually licked the competition in terms of novel offerings and traditional flavours for the whole family. A renowned innovator in business, the company is advancing forth with new ’game-changing’ products, ambitions to export to the UK, and getting serious about its sustainability ambitions.

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perating the coolest business in the Caribbean for 120 years, the Barbados Ice Cream Company (BICO) is synonymous among residents and tourists, young and old, as the go-to provider for premium ice creams, novelty lollies and desserts. Famous for its ice cream jingle and catchy motto ‘Happiness is Here’, BICO has resolutely stood the test of time, despite being buffeted by disasters and crises, whether natural or man-made. Evolution has been a firm friend as BICO has diversified to supply a wide range of world-famous brands, including croissants, baguettes and bread, premium novelties and desserts. It also has one million cubic feet of commercial cold storage at its Bridgetown port base. While Covid-19 continues to play out on the global stage, BICO has been resilient in its approach in maintaining its presence in the market and developing a series of innovations to tempt the masses. 42

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A serious drive for sustainability And while customers naturally delight in their offerings, BICO has also firmly placed sustainability at the heart of everything it does – from its electric vehicle fleet to the solar power that contributes 10% of the factory’s power. BICO is undoubtedly at the forefront of the regional ice cream manufacturing sector in joining the groundswell of businesses backing the Barbadian government’s fight to turn back the tide of climate change. “We need to focus attention on protecting our island and fully endorse aligning our sustainable development goals with our Prime Minister’s ambitious goals,” confirmed BICO CEO Glen Stuart. “Our drive and development in the photovoltaic and electric commercial fleet sectors will see significant acceleration.” He added: “We also have a wide range of famous compostable food containers. This sums up how diversified we are. Sustainable packaging is a critical aspect of our medium-term strategy.”


BICO’s Quart and Pint Size Ice Cream leads the way in protecting the island, its marine life and landfill by being compostable. “We have paid close attention to the global effort to clean up single-use plastics,” asserted Mr Stuart. “We are aligned in this drive and continue to push the boundaries in all areas of our business.” When Barbados instituted laws on single-use plastic, BICO demonstrated leadership, investing significant time in consulting restaurants and food vendors on their options and strategies to transition to BICO’s range of compostable food containers. “It was such a success that our distributed brands Vegware and Ecopak became household names for compostables,” he added. “BICO is setting the standard in the Caribbean for the use of compostable containers for ice cream, and in Barbados for the restaurant and food services sectors.” To improve the company’s carbon footprint further, BICO has focused on using alternative technologies. Its fleet of electric

cars, vans and forklifts are charged at a facility on-site in tandem with the photovoltaic system. “We are also studying innovations in the market to acquire more vans for our fleet,” Mr Stuart confirmed.

Quality in every lick Such is BICO’s passion for setting the green agenda: the company’s efforts are helping to take the sustainability message into every home, business and beach where its ice creams and other products are happily consumed. “I would say most residents in Barbados – young or old, grandparent to a young child – know and love BICO’s ice creams and are familiar with the jingle when our ice cream vans are in their communities,” smiled Mr Stuart. “Indeed, Happiness is Here is easily defined by whatever flavoured ice cream or product they love.” This affiliation with BICO is deeply entrenched in Barbadian society, given it is among the oldest ice cream manufacturers in Inside Food & Drink

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WILLIAMS SOLAR Williams Solar is one of the largest and most experienced developers of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Barbados, with installations in other Eastern Caribbean islands, having installed over 200 PV systems to date, with a total installed capacity of over 20 MWp. Williams Solar was established over 14 years ago to lead the Williams Industries Group’s efforts in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The combination of solar photovoltaic systems installed on Williams Industries Inc businesses generates over 100% of the annual energy used by the Williams Industries Group of Companies. Williams Solar has progressed into providing Build Own Operate (BOO) and turnkey systems for commercial and residential customers that include EPC and O&M. As an active member of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA), Williams Solar is fully committed to taking positive action to help the government achieve its stated goal of 100% renewable energy. Step by step, Williams Solar is powering Barbados towards a sustainable future.

editorial mention

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the Caribbean. The history of its evolution can be traced back to 1887, but it officially came to prominence in 1901 as an ice company located in Bridgetown, the capital. By 1910, the company had added its commercial cold storage facility and continued to expand its product and service offering to include ice cream and other products. In August 2009, BICO’s factory was devastated by fire, necessitating the company to outsource production to countries from Trinidad and Tobago to Canada. Suriname became the only and last producer before BICO rebuilt stronger and brought production back home, complemented by a state-of-the-art factory. Today, BICO produces a million litres of ice cream annually and is sold through ice cream scoop shops, restaurants, hotels and from its fleet of ice cream vans. Mr Stuart affirmed: “There are three factors that differentiate BICO from its competitors; the fact we are a legacy ice cream maker, we have superior product quality, and we employ highly skilled people. In essence: quality, quality, and more quality.” Underlining the company’s approach to clients and suppliers, he added: “We value the building of great relationships with all our partners. Some of these relationships are older than 30 years. This is testimony to our focus on solving problems together, timely communication, frequent check-ins, mutual trust and overall responsiveness.”



BICO

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Meeting challenges, promoting innovation With competition as stiff as it ever has been in the ice cream market in the Caribbean, BICO remains firmly optimistic about strengthening its brand and reaching beyond boundaries. Mr Stuart attested: “The pandemic has been at the forefront of our recovery from our 2020 performance. Other significant challenges are related to the effects of the pandemic: alternative sourcing of raw materials and their associated, significant price increases. With careful planning, we are navigating these well.” He spoke warmly of the hard work and commitment of BICO’s +70-strong staff. “The resilience of our team through weather storms, volcanic ash fall, Covid-19 and deaths in their families has kept me going. “They have then returned to the factory comforted by the fact that we bring happiness to our customers around the region in a time of uncertainty. This was very evident during lockdowns and curfews. Our success is the result of their dedication.” The company has also adapted in many other ways. Their various teams operate to minimise cross flows external to their departments, while maintaining communication and interaction through the greater use of virtual tools. “In addition, we have implemented measures to protect our customers who interact with our vans and within our shop,” Mr Stuart explained. “We can now sell ice cream to customers based on their requesting interest on the BICOGO online platform. Soon they will be able to pay using a touchless method using their phones and a virtual wallet.” While looking to attain ISO certification, BICO has several innovations on the product front in the pipeline. One includes a soon-to-be launched nut-based chocolate bar, demonstrating the brand’s ability to listen to customers and provide what they need. “We also have a range of two flavoured tubs of ice cream coming soon. These will serve as game-changers in the market as our customers can soon enjoy the best of two worlds,” he tantalisingly teased. While exceptionally strong in the Caribbean region, BICO has firm ambitions to steadily grow and is discussing the potential to take their brand to the UK market. “Our customers enjoy our products while on vacation and are naturally requesting this level of happiness at home in the UK,” remarked Mr Stuart. ”Our short to mid-term plan is to recover and rebuild the gains we lost due to Covid-19, and then chart the company on a trajectory of rapid growth over the next five years.” He concluded: “As BICO’s ’Happiness is Here’ tagline demonstrates, we provide happiness today and for future generations by being a responsible, sustainable, happiness-centric manufacturer. We want to ensure our products are always the preferred choice.” n 46

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UNISMACK

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Greek snack manufacturer Unismack is on a mission to change the face of snacking. Armed with a catalogue of healthier snacks, the company promotes ‘better for you’ snacking through its delicious, unique portfolio of baked snack products. Featuring unusual ingredients and flavours like lentils, hummus, chickpeas and others, its products are surprisingly healthy for a segment better known for its indulgence. Unismack’s management team met with Richard Hagan to talk about the company’s pioneering products, techniques and philosophy.

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UNISMACK

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nismack, based in Greece, manufactures a range of delicious baked snacks – both under its own inhouse brands and also in the form of white-label products for customer brands. The company’s standard range consists primarily of a variety of cracker-type snacks. These range from familiar snack flavour profiles like cheese, to less familiar ones like hummus, ancient grains and lentils. Its products all comply strictly with Unismack’s tagline, ‘Better for you’. Broadly speaking, this means that its range is baked rather than fried, and all of it is preservative-free, free of artificial flavours and colours, and also free of all allergens including wheat, gluten, egg, soy, nuts and sesame (except dairy). A complete range of vegan snacks and crackers is also proving popular.

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Snack on some history The business was established in 2008 by brothers Dimitrios Stratakis (CEO) and Alex Stratakis (Innovation Director). The two aimed to continue and build on their father’s legacy of creating and operating one of the biggest traditional bakeries in Greece. But rather than taking the easy route of producing the typical industry fare of delicious baked goods that typically come with hefty calorie, fat and salt levels, the two set off on a mission to harness the family’s extensive baking know-how of baking to pioneer a range of snacks that were actually healthy, and could safely be eaten on a regular basis. Their strategy was a success as the orders soon started arriving. “We launched in the UK and were exporting our Cheese Ups product

Dimitrios (L) & Alex (R) Stratakis Dimitrios Stratakis – CEO Alex Stratakis – Innovation Director



UNISMACK

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That flexibility is expected to deliver Unismack’s upcoming pretzel line as well as to open doors for it to enter other product categories such as laminated crackers, which is something its current range lacks. there within a year of starting up,” revealed Dimitrios. By 2011, Unismack had established its first in-house brand called Wellaby’s, and two years later began shipping its lentil and chickpea crackers. Less than five years after that, the business launched its vegetable and vegan snack range. Not content to sit on its haunches, Unismack is actively pursuing further expansion. The company is in the midst of a three year, €10 million investment program that will see production capacity double as well as securing its entrance into the pretzel and biscuit markets. “We’re positioned as the house of snacks,” said Dimitrios. “There’s lots of room for innovation in the category.” A recent example of its ongoing innovation is the launch of one of its newest products, the Mediterranean Snack Collection. “It was an immediate hit with our distribution partners,” declared Strategic Development Director, Sue Warren. “It delivers an authentic range showcasing the best of the Mediterranean

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culture, with ingredients sourced from across the region and paired with the finest worldwide flavours for a real Mediterranean experience.”

Perfectly baked expansion plans Unismack operates from a single, 6,000sqm facility in Greece. Its 130 employees operate the company’s three production lines that together produce 8,000 tonnes of product annually for partners across the globe, including the US, the UK, Australia and South Africa. Its newest production line is geared towards the production of pretzels and is expected to be a major driver of the company’s near-term growth. “The line is quite flexible,” explained Alex Stratakis. “It combines different technologies such as a rotary moulder as well as extrusion, sheeting and lamination technology. By changing out parts of the line and playing around with combinations, we can produce lots of different products using the same equipment.”

Healthy snacks for healthy habits Dimitrios explained that Unismack finds itself successfully riding a wave of consumer interest in healthier snacking, added to a renewed interest in food quality and ingredients. “While there’s a higher interest in healthier products, there’s also an interest in exploring new flavours,” he said. “What we’re seeing now is that consumers no longer simply accept a generic flavour – they want provenance from it. They want to know what the flavour is, where it’s from – which country/region – and who makes it, as well as how. “The huge popularity of cooking shows has a lot to do with that because they’re educating consumers,” he added. “And Covid, of course, has increased our awareness of dietary health and overall health, in terms of what we eat, as well. It makes for an interesting product development process.” The company is also focused on ensuring that its products are able to integrate with


popular diet regimes, and according to Dimitrios, consumers are becoming increasingly educated regarding their diets. “Consumers no longer just accept generic terminology regarding their diets,” he emphasised. “You’ve got Keto that is very strong in the market and the Mediterranean diet which is trending. Consumers are following these diets and they want information from us about how our products affect their programs. They want to know what things mean, how many carbs are in the product, is this compatible with the Mediterranean diet, and so on.” Alex’s work, meanwhile, has been highly focused on ensuring that Unismack’s products are fully compatible with these and other diet regimes, from both a scientific and nutritional perspective. “When you combine the consumer’s overall needs to still snack during the day, we’re the ones that combine both their need to snack and their dietary restrictions,” said Alex. “We authentically service specific diet needs.” Unismack’s sales figures offer the perfect evidence that the company is successfully hitting those consumer demands, according to Ms Warren. “The demand for our core focus of ‘healthier’ and ‘better for you’ great tasting snacking continues to drive high growth volume. Despite the significant impact of Covid on global markets, we have seen our volume more than triple over the last five years.” Its vegan range and its vegetable range are seeing continued strong demand and thanks to consumers trending away from meat, the company expects that demand curve to continue upwards. Meanwhile, “our current best seller is a cracker made from cauliflower,” revealed Dimitrios. Another strong product is a unique cheese snack made from various, local cheeses. “It contains feta, haloumi and other cheese provenances,” explained Dimitrios. “We use these provenances because they’re usually more expensive but they’re also more authentic and consumers are looking for that. At the same time, it’s delicious. It has few ingredients and it has a great nutritional profile high in protein.”

Investing in innovation To keep Unismack at the forefront of its snacking revolution, the company has made a substantial investment into building its brand new innovation hub. The facility, which is expected to be ready for use by the end of 2022, will significantly accelerate and diversify Unismack’s product development cycle. “We don’t want to be just another snack manufacturer,” Dimitrios highlighted. “We want to build our vision to create the next generation of snacks and genuinely offer something different. The proof is in what we’re doing with this investment – you don’t see innovations hubs in standard snack manufacturing operations.” Outside of this huge investment into its new innovation hub, the company is engaging in a significant expansion. This will see its production and warehouse space

increase by 2,000sqm as well as the addition of a new production line. In closing, Dimitrios emphasised the company’s ethos and the role that its insistence on high standards have played – and will continue to play – in its success: “We’re the only company that combines innovation, capability and allergen-free production. You may find other manufacturers that have one or the other, but not all three.” “We’re also adamant about working with strong partners who supply high-quality ingredients with specialised characteristics. Without strong partners, especially from a supplier perspective, we cannot succeed. We’re not dealing with materials and processes that are mainstream commodities.” He concluded: “The quality and the excellence we’re known for are not just about delivering a good product: It’s a long-term mentality and a constant way of working.n

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MIKEL COFFEE COMPANY

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then we take on the world! Mikel Coffee Company continues to keep blending a better tomorrow for customers, given its coffee shops are popping up at a rapid rate around the globe, and there is no sign of the Greek company’s expansion slowing. Chief Marketing Officer Stelios Papakostas chatted to Andy Probert about how 2021 played a “hugely influential role” in its business, and providing a cup of goodness for the environment. 52

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offee makes the world go round. And none more so than the Mikel Coffee Company’s. The Greek business’ expansionist ambitions have remained largely intact, having seen 60 shops open in 2021. And coffee will again fuel another major mega-opening phase in 2022. While priding itself on immersing the customer from the point they step in store, the Mikel Coffee community goes further than most with its dedication to raw materials, protecting the environment and social cohesion.

A natural blend This was underlined when, in 2021, the company proudly received the Corporate Social Responsibility social media award in Greece for its Blending A Better Tomorrow campaign in the eco-friendly category. “We are the only coffee company in Greece which uses an eco-friendly cup, lid, and straw,” related Stelios Papakostas,

Chief Marketing Officer. The company also contributed to planting 1,000 trees in Athens, with a view to 5,000 more in 2022. “Our duty, and every company’s obligation, is to pass on a better and safer world to the next generation and seek new solutions to reduce our environmental impact. Environmental awareness and the reduction of harmful materials are ones that Mikel strongly cares about and promotes.” As a conscientious coffee company, Mikel has also driven change through its food and beverage menu range, incorporating healthier choices, such as vegan and well-being options. That’s why when you pop into a Mikel coffee shop, wherever in the world, you can park your stresses at the front door, step in and luxuriate in an oasis of calm and indulgence: a ‘chill moment’ in a highly-charged world. To differentiate itself in such a crowded marketplace, Mikel focuses on its raw

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MIKEL COFFEE COMPANY

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materials to make quality, eponymous coffee. Its stores use 100% fresh ground Arabica coffee beans, and while some peers use and mix powders in their coffees, Mikel uses homemade ice cream and milk across its entire beverage range, allowing the natural approach to define Mikel’s rich aroma, flavour and taste. R&D has helped Mikel produce new beverages that reflect the low calorie, high nutritional, vitamin-rich trend demanded by customers. “We offer top quality products at competitive price points,” confirmed Mr Papakostas. On the food side, such as sandwiches, Mikel collaborates with several experienced chefs to produce new fresh and healthy food. Soya milk, almond and coconut milk are incorporated in the Mikel beverage range.

Adapting to new norms 2021 proved another exceptional year of advancement for Mikel despite the impacts of the pandemic. Despite Covid restrictions and quarantines, the company collectively managed to reorganise on an operational and executive level. “We were faced with never-before-seen challenges in servicing our customers, but we were able to adjust to meet their needs,” reflected Mr Papakostas. The company was forced to alternate its training procedures, with training taking place directly in-store rather than at its academy. With restrictions limiting staff’s 54

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ability to travel to new stores for training, experienced support teams now conduct real-time training remotely via camera. Mikel’s biggest achievement in 2021 was the tech aspect of the business. “We focused on e-commerce and grew our online sales. We continue launching new technology on our website and platforms and expect the completion in the second half of 2022,” he related. While e-commerce was always an option for customers, the Greek market was not accustomed to using electronic means for ordering. “One of the pros was that the Greek market became more comfortable with ecommerce in general. Because of this, our company gained more exposure on a global level,” said Mr Papakostas. “As we’ve been providing takeaways at stores since 2018, this also proved very convenient during the pandemic. We alternated store design from dine-in to takeaway and cooperated with delivery services to serve more customers.”

Brewing further expansion With this perfect blend in place that matches business aspirations to the consumer’s last sip of their iconic coffees, Mikel has been able to continue rolling out these dynamic features to the wider world. 2021 saw the company open 60 new Mikel franchise stores in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. And within the first three months of 2022,

Stelios Papakostas, Chief Marketing Officer


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MIKEL COFFEE COMPANY

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Mikel opened 15 new shops, with an anticipated aim of 90 shops for the whole of this year. “We have more than 300 shops in 17 countries on five continents,” reflected Mr Papakostas. “We extended into new markets such as Oman, Qatar, and in the Long Island Astoria district of New York. Mikel is in discussions for further extensions in the USA, Europe, and China, with expected openings within 2022. By the year’s end, we hope to be in 20 countries.” He added: “While we are focusing on expanding further into new markets globally, such as Jordan and Iraq, our goal is for a stronger presence in Europe and the Americas. That will also include our first shop in Germany.” The franchise rollout has been largely unstoppable since Mikel launched its first store in Larissa, Greece, in 2008. Such was its popularity, Mikel rapidly expanded and now has 300 stores across Greece.

Challenges and opportunities Through Mikel Global’s international franchise operation, business growth has proved exceptionally brisk, opening branches in Cyprus, UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Romania. “Since 2018, we have opened dozens of stores abroad, and the Mikel experience has been one of considerable success,” he added. The successful extension of any franchise depends on its financial progress, and the pandemic, admittedly, caused some concerns and made things difficult for 2021. “While recent studies have confirmed a financial plateau in the market, it is worth noting there was progress in adapting to the new circumstances. When the pandemic ends, we hope to see the market self-heal and progress with new business models for franchises,” he confirmed. Mr Papakostas revealed the company did encounter some hurdles in the marketing department, citing unstable markets. 56

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“Trial and error testing led us to a successful marketing flow within our franchises and we have high hopes for the future. While growth is appreciated, the rate at which we grow has brought the challenge of keeping up with staffing,” he noted, with Mikel employing over 3,000 people. “Sometimes finding staff fast enough to keep up with our growth can be difficult. “Our trainers and state-of-the-art training facilities have adapted to our growth rate, making the hiring process faster and easier.” Another challenge Mr Papakostas identified is when Mikel sets foot in a new region or country for the very first time. “Establishing a name for ourselves in a market where we are not known is not an easy task. Luckily, our success is proven in numbers globally which, in itself, says all we need to say when introducing Mikel to a new market.” And while Mikel has grown into a large franchise, its locations continue to maintain a warm and friendly ‘‘mom & pop’’ shop feel.

“After all, our logo depicts our founder’s father on it, and it is representative of how we want our customers to feel like family when they visit our shops,” he said. “Our quality control, high standards, premium raw materials and expertise in production and service are just some of the values that set us apart from the competition.” Mr Papakostas reflected: “Coffee has always been a personal matter for the coffee lover. The coffee industry has proven successful over the years. If we consider that coffee franchises are fewer than stand-alone shops within the market, we can see there is an opportunity for growth. “While Mikel started in a small town in Greece, it has proven that with its strategic growth plan, it can claim a spot among larger and more popular franchises in the industry.” He concluded: “Mikel’s growth to 350 shops in 13 years speaks volumes for its success. Our ambition remains: for everyone to enjoy a coffee in the right place in the right environment. After all, we’re not just a coffee company franchise: we are family.” n


DSI DANTECH

d o o f h s Fre

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e h t m fro

r e z e e r f d nic, an e g o y r c l, ality of ch a n i c a u e q m h f g o i r h supplie es in a a m b iv r e e a i h l l T e u b . g s n y ie si compan ch n o l o g e d’s first e l t h r T r o i . w e y h r e t s th a t t c h st f t u u o s d d i h o n t r i h g p c d n e o nte the stre r the fo ting-edg t n o DSI Da i f u c s y e g d v o l l n e a s ch n o ovative n g th e m n i n d plate te i i r h p et . t i f str y w h staf s’ budg t r u i e d w n m i d o t o e s h fo u t and c hange t c n e o t m s n i o vir tion h th e e n t o b t i f bene

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DSI DANTECH

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SI Dantech builds on the strong foundations of three former organisations: Belgian Cryogenic Equipment and Services NV, Dantech Freezing Systems A/S, and DSI Freezing Solutions A/S. While the companies had strong positions within their respective fields, they joined forces in May 2021 with a new name and one goal: to change the market for thermal treatment food. CEO Lars Priess stated that it was “important to create one common platform and approach to the market”, which lead to the birth of DSI Dantech. With a new brand identity and matching website, the aim is to stand out in the industry. Today, the company is a market leader with a global reach and 325 employees spread across seven main production facilities and additional sales offices in Europe, the United States and Asia. Combined, the facilities have 100 years of knowledge within freezing, cooling, and heating solutions and more than 10,000 solutions installed across the globe. With this expertise and a constantly growing range of products, it’s safe to say that DSI Dantech is here to stay.

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DSI DANTECH

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Mr

The strength of technology The range of thermal treatment technology offered by DSI Dantech falls under three categories. First, there is mechanical freezing that uses a circulating refrigerant to reduce air temperature surrounding the food; while plate freezing is a double contact freezing method, where a coolant passes through the plates and freezes them quickly. Food is then placed in the freezer in between the frozen plates. Lastly, DSI Dantech also offers cryogenic technologies, in which gas, usually in the form of Nitrogen or CO2, is sprayed across the food to instantly freeze it. The promise is a single supplier for any freezing, cooling, and heating solutions, and with these technologies, DSI Dantech lives up to that promise. Among its products are mechanical spiral freezers, chillers, and ovens that are specially designed to minimise the cost per kilo treated product. 60

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With a unique and efficient airflow, DSI Dantech’s spirals provide faster freezing times that result in a higher quality of the food’s quality and yield, as well as maximising the food safety. The spirals also have an open and compact design, which makes them easier to clean and maintain, avoiding corrosion of the material. Another of the company’s stand out products is the IQF Tunnel Systems, which are ideal for freezing, cooling, and heating food without having to compromise the freshness or natural appearance of frozen food products. By conveying the food through a tunnel of circulating air, the thermal effects are efficient and gentle, so it doesn’t affect the cell structure of the food too harshly. This helps improve product quality and yield with, for instance, significantly optimised drip loss. Much like the spiral freezers, the tunnel systems are designed to minimise

Lars

P ri e

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CEO

the cost per kilo treated product and ensure a low energy consumption. Mr Priess stated that one of the crucial aspects of the company is to “help promote sustainability”. According to him, by collaborating with customers and offering new technological solutions, DSI Dantech can help with a “significant energy saving while minimising product loss and optimising food quality”. This can be done by, for example, replacing traditional blast freezers with new IQF spiral, tunnel or plate technology, which save energy while minimising product loss and secure a high food quality. While DSI Dantech offers innovative technologies, it’s the customisable thermal solutions that make them unique. Every detail is based on product characteristics and its customers’ capacities, facility space and line layout, but most importantly, DSI Dantech makes it possible to combine dif-


ferent thermal technologies, so you get everything you need from a single supplier. From freezing to cooling and heating.

Strong relations It’s evident that DSI Dantech takes great pride in working closely together with customers as well as suppliers and other key stakeholders. “One of our three core values is strong relationships,” Mr Priess states. “On the supplier side, we have a mixture of large international supplies and smaller local suppliers that very often offer significant advantages when it comes to flexibility.” To the company, a good collaboration makes it easier to develop the right solutions for the customers and thereby honouring DSI Dantech’s purpose of optimising results and contributing to the protection of the environment. Reflecting on Covid-19, Mr Priess mentioned how amazing the entirety of DSI Dantech handled the pandemic as a team. “Our own employees have shown fantastic support and flexibility during the pandemic,” he acknowledged. “In certain parts of Denmark, where we have our main production facilities, they were under tight restrictions, but there were a lot of clever ideas and a collective can-do attitude from our employees during this time.” This engagement of employees shows that strong relationships are prominent throughout the company, and not only when it comes to customers.

Mapping out the future The company’s future plans include both expansion and a higher focus on sustainability. Most notably, DSI Dantech is actively seeking to increase its production and presence in the United States “to be closer to the market both to provide better and faster service to our customers but also to help avoid transportation cost and environmental impact”. Mr Priess also revealed the company is currently researching and investing both time and energy into automation. By automating more products, DSI Dantech would make it easier to lower energy consumption. As for the future Mr Priess has cited 2022 as ‘the year of consolidation’,

after two major acquisitions during the pandemic. With these new acquisitions on board, he stated that “the company is also actively working on mapping the total CO2 usage of all aspects of the business”. By looking into and adjusting its own carbon footprint, DSI Dantech is fully committed to its sustainability agenda. For future endeavors, Mr Priess informed that the company has identified nine core markets to which DSI Dantech will endeavor to excel further. He concluded by saying: “At DSI Dantech, we always have an appetite for further acquisitions.” With the cutting-edge technology to back up global ambitions, DSI Dantech is definitely a name to look out for. n

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AL KAZZI TRADING

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about Family-owned Al Kazzi Trading has cracked the Lebanese nut industry with the production and distribution of quality nuts, seeds and health-oriented snacks for over 40 years. With innovative new products to release and exciting new snack food categories to enter, Al Kazzi’s unique production process remains integral as it pursues an export-led growth strategy. Jack Salter spoke to Supply Chain Manager, Mona Kazzi, to find out more.

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he late Joseph Al Kazzi first established Al Kazzi Trading in 1980 as a one-man show, initially producing and selling various confectioneries, snacks and nut products in Lebanon – a rare feel-good story in a country ravaged by civil war at the time. He later decided to focus on nuts and seeds, having identified a unique opportunity to produce quality, healthy products in that category, and thereby a company that was scalable both domestically and globally. The opportunity was clinically taken, as evidenced by Al Kazzi’s 24,000 sqm plant in the municipality of Hsoun, which the company moved into in 2013.

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With an increased production capacity of three tonnes per hour to meet increasing demand, (courtesy of two additional roasting lines) the factory neighbours the historic Lebanese city of Byblos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been continuously inhabited since 5000 BC, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. “Our plant has been designed to cater for export sales and private labels worldwide; thus it has the ability to comply with the most stringent international standards and quality requirements,” revealed Supply Chain Manager, Mona Kazzi, daughter of Joseph Al Kazzi.


A year on from moving into its Hsoun facility, Al Kazzi Trading established another factory dedicated to roasting yellow chickpeas, the first factory of its kind in Lebanon. With preparations also underway for a new coffee roasting plant, Joseph sadly passed away in January 2021. His legacy, however, lives on at the family-owned business.

Roasted, not fried What can’t be emphasised enough is Al Kazzi’s unique dry roasting production process, which provides the great taste of a roasted nut coupled with the health benefits of a raw nut. The acclaimed production process is the brainchild of the company’s founder, who altered machinery imported from Europe.

As a result, Al Kazzi has the distinction of being the first and only producer of exclusively roasted nuts, without any being fried, in the area. “We believe this is the key to our products being liked. The consumer will feel it’s a light snack in the sense that it’s not soaked in frying oil; nor does it contain trans-fat oils,” explained Ms Kazzi. “After consumption, the consumer also isn’t forced to clear traces of oil from their hands. It’s a neat product offering a positive experience that is different from the crowd.” The Al Kazzi Mixed range, popular in the local Lebanese market, combines a variety of nuts, shelled and unshelled seeds in mixed assortments, whilst the Al Kazzi Mono selection includes individual packets of cashews, pistachios, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, yellow chickpeas and much more. “As my late father used to say, Al Kazzi will only provide customers with products that he would feed his family with. If they’re not good enough for his family, they’re not good enough for customers either,” Ms Kazzi affirmed. Sourcing is of paramount importance in this regard, with the shape, quality, price and packaging of raw materials defining Al Kazzi’s capability to remain competitive. For this

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reason, the company’s relationship withsuppliers is never compromised. “The secret to this relationship is to ‘never default, never manoeuvre’. We honour all commitments and keep a very high level of transparency,” shared Ms Kazzi. “Due to our long-term tenure with suppliers, we have built up a significant amount of mutual trust.”

Commitment to quality Of the company’s 150 employees, Al Kazzi is especially proud of its Quality and R&D departments, through which innovative ideas are fed and product profiles are adapted to consumer needs in every geographical market. Quality is not merely an empty slogan for Al Kazzi, who incidentally have gained ISO 22000:2018 food safety certification, but the result of state-of-the-art production processes and technologies, whilst the company’s advanced R&D capabilities ensure innovative products are created to both satisfy consumer preferences and maintain healthiness. “The key in the nuts and seeds market is not just to have a big budget, but to have the right quality and commitment to serving the consumer,” Ms Kazzi pointed out. “When it comes to production processes and innovative products, we bank on our Quality and R&D departments to stay abreast of the latest developments in the field.” One such innovation currently in development, an exciting new peanut-based product, was teased by Ms Kazzi. “This is a new invention that we’ll be releasing. It’s a peanut product which is far healthier than any other peanut available on the market,” she hinted. “This important innovation is the fruit of our cooperation with one of the most eminent food technology professors in the country. We expect it to become big news and help us become a global actor.” 64

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Continuous improvement Currently, our main objective is to dramatically develop our exports. Therefore we’re entering new food categories which will improve our chance of increasing our market share internationally

Al Kazzi’s sales team, meanwhile, is the company’s primary source of information in terms of consumer needs and trends, supported by sales analysts. Though the consumer shift to healthy or organic products, such as nuts, has recently been curtailed in Lebanon by domestic economic conditions, it continues to grow elsewhere. “In our export markets the trend is continuing, and it’s even supported by some governments who are using fiscal tools, as well as awareness campaigns, to support it in their respective territories,” Ms Kazzi observed. “Needless to say, due to the current economic difficulties in Lebanon, we also still have to do our best to keep the prices as accessible as possible.”

Despite an impressive estimated market share of 28% in Lebanon, Al Kazzi remains keen on continuous improvement, particularly in export markets. “Currently, our main objective is to dramatically develop our exports. Therefore we’re entering new food categories which will improve our chance of increasing our market share internationally,” revealed Ms Kazzi. “We aim to become a player in various snack categories.” To this end, Al Kazzi’s window to the world will be the company’s new website, which is on the brink of launching and will include an e-commerce platform. In spite of the several challenges facing Al Kazzi within Lebanon, from currency rate instability to lack of energy supplies and soaring living expenses, the company is optimistic about ongoing efforts. “We have experience of operating in VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) environments, we have a team committed to the company, and we have plans in place which we are confident will enable us to succeed and emerge stronger,” Ms Kazzi concluded. n Inside Food & Drink

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from crop to consumption

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EUROPE RETAIL PACKING

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FRESHNESS IN GOOD HANDS

It’s highly likely that when you’re considering your fruit and veg on the weekly shop, they may well have been packed and shipped to the supermarket shelf by Dutch-based Europe Retail Packing. Sourcing only the best providers on the planet, the 20-year-old family-run company firmly remains at the cutting edge of packaging solutions, with innovation and sustainability key to all its operations. Profile by Andy Probert.

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urope Retail Packing (ERP) was established in 2000 by Dolf Reijgersberg, who, at the same time, celebrated his 50th birthday. Today the company operates seven facilities in Holland – in Poeldijk, Barendrecht, Den Hoorn and De Meer. Early on, Dolf’s son, Menno, joined ERP as a warehouse employee to learn the business. Today, he is the company CEO, with Dolf continuing to guide behind the scenes. The company’s initial core business was providing packaging services and options to fruit and vegetable traders, but after a few years both father and son realised the significant potential in transforming ERP into something bigger. ERP employee Omer Kamp commented: “ERP has since evolved to include commercial trade for herbs, fruits and vegetables, alongside providing a complete A to Z of packaging services with the product either included or excluded. “Before the end product reaches a local retailer’s shelves, there are several different processes it needs to go through. So, ERP decided to ease the process by offering its clients diversified services of procurement, packaging, freight forwarding, haulage and labelling.” Not only has ERP consolidated these tasks into a single location, saving time and cost, it allows the product a more extended shelf-life via proper care and handling.

Going above and beyond ERP trades nearly the entire range of fresh-cut herbs, exotic fruits, general fruits and vegetables. There are over 400 different lines that include basil, rosemary, edible flowers, sweet potatoes, capsicums, aubergine, citrus, grapes, cucumbers and much more. Procuring and managing this vast assortment is no easy task, since growing regions are spread worldwide. ERP takes products from countries as diverse as Holland, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Israel, Kenya, Ethiopia, USA, Colombia, and Uganda. 68

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Intakes are conducted daily, with inventory being carefully managed by highly skilled staff using integrated computer systems. To accommodate a steady flow 364 days a year, ERP includes many growers that meet Europe’s strict requirements and accreditations that ensure product safety, cleanliness, healthiness, and social responsibility for the environment and farm employees. Mr Kamp spotlighted one supplier, Jordan River, of Ethiopia, a chives farm that has taken actions above and beyond to protect and care for its employees. These include funding a local school, opening a medical centre on the farm’s premises, planting trees for the environment, building a bridge over a local river, allowing a pipe for free-of-charge drinking water, and arranging Covid-19 vaccines to be administered to its employees and their families. Mr Kamp said: “Packaging at ERP is a major issue that is never taken for granted. Just as the name implies, our core business was and still is – to provide exceptional and extensive packaging services – to best accommodate the needs of the market and provide swift solutions to any changes that may come along.” These services include customs clearance, transport, warehousing, packing and quality control. In total, ERP has 40,000 sqm of facilities, with 35,000 sqm of space for pallet storage. ERP utilises over 60 different machines, including those needed for topseal, flow pack, net and citrus washing processes, an Aweta sorting line for avocados and mangos, high-care stores for ginger and an in-house developed packing machine for sweet potatoes. 2021 saw the addition of eight new ripening stores for avocados and mangos. “To support this massive operation, long term cooperation is essential,” asserted ERP CEO Menno Reijgersberg. “That’s why we have opened five locations with one of our partners so we can aim to serve our clients for many years to come rather than just for the short-term. Personal relationship and customer intimacy are key for ERP.”

Highly flexible Due to the company’s flat organisational structure, decision making is swift and flexible. This characteristic is essential for running warehouses of this magnitude. “If that’s not enough, we have included a scanning system for all facilities and lines. So, at any given point, we can trace back and check the status for every kilo found at the warehouse,” disclosed ERP’s Raymond Van Der Burgh. ERP’s business growth has taken on new dimensions in the past few years: before Covid, the company experienced steady annual growth with routine expansion programs tied to supply and demand. “The first five years accounted for excellent growth due to more services being included, but later, the growth rate stabilised and reacted accordingly to market’s natural expansion,” he added. During the second period – in the pandemic – from the end of 2019 onwards, the “rules of the game” changed, remarked Mr Van Der Burgh, and the economy shrunk substantially. “Nevertheless, our sector deals with products which are inelastic. No matter what, consumers still need to buy fruit and veg. “We had to adjust accordingly and find ways to best meet the market’s sudden changes. Since the gastro-sector endured lockdowns, retailers continued at an even higher pace. Fortunately, we have a solid background in packaging.” Mr Kamp continued: “Our ability to provide flexible packaging solutions allowed ERP the opportunity to grow despite the challenges. This transformation did not happen overnight. The first year of Covid, we saw an obvious decline, but a swift recovery in 2021 saw growth reach pre-Covid levels.” Since Covid’s first outbreak, ERP began offering peppers packed individually. “Yes - each pepper was wrapped with nylon,” he affirmed. “It consumes much time and labour, but that’s what Inside Food & Drink

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Menno Reijgersberg, CEO

the market wanted – a sterile product with minimal to no human touch. This adaptation was made feasible thanks to our facilities and automation.” Due to the prevailing challenges, it could be forgiven that ERP’s 20th year of trading has been overlooked. “We postponed the anniversary party until November 2021, but it was a huge success,” recalled Mr Kamp. “I was flown from Israel to join the party. It turned out to be much more than an anniversary. It was a statement that even amid Covid and economic crisis, we could celebrate our achievements together.”

Planning for the future ERP’s senior management team is working on a new strategy for the next five years where the most important spearheads are: automation, sustainability, customer intimacy and good employment practices. “We are looking at the use of 100% recyclable packing materials, reducing waste, and developing new sustainable packing lines along with our partners,” revealed ERP colleague John Duijnisveld. “The goal is to reduce plastic that pollutes the environment. “Take topseal, for example, which is an alternative way of sealing the shell. Today, we all know the standard packaging of clam shells, but most people fail to realise that by switching to topseal, there is a reduction of 3.3 grams per shell of plastic. Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands sold daily and you’d be surprised at the plastic reduction this move can create. “Additionally, the topseal shells we plan to use are made of plastic litter from the so-called ‘plastic ocean’. We try to reuse plastic as much as possible via litter from all over the world. The plastic we use is recyclable and can be used multiple times.” To reduce warehouse waste, ERP sends its shells to growers, and they can have them filled without the topseal. The reason is simple: during transport, the fruit can breathe and move more freely, with less pressing damage of the product. “Our machines will later topseal the fruit, so once more, there will be no hands touching the product,” underlined Mr Kamp. “As a result, quality is higher, shelf life longer, and the product more sterile.” Another innovation in the offing is laser imprinting in the product’s skin. Implications for such technology are vast and 70

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include better labelling, better tracing, better appearance and a more trusted, branded product. ERP also plans to expand into the UK and prepare pre-packed mixes for more accessible DIY culinary recipes. “Being three years into the pandemic, we have come to realise consumers are seeking easy solutions to prepare restaurant-style dishes. The problem is that when you start breaking down the ingredients, the list becomes long and inaccessible.” He said ERP’s solution is to prepare ingredient mixtures associated with various dishes. “So for a beef stew, trying to get sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon, and oregano is both costly and hard to obtain. But what if you can buy all from any local retailer packed in a 50g bag? Not only that, it would be inexpensive compared to buying 100g of each. It is accessible and with nearly no wastage.” Same for tea mixes: ERP is looking at enabling a consumer to make a brewed tea from a selection of the world’s finest flavours all fresh from the bag.

Facing up to challenges When pressed on the trials and tribulations facing the fresh produce industry, Mr Kamp was honest: “The truth is you could write a book about the challenges we currently face.” On Brexit, he reflected the move had caused additional import charges, document preparation and delayed transportation. “In the fresh produce industry, there has been a near 15% price increase on goods entering the UK from the EU. This makes trade highly complicated, and with rising inflation, it has now reached the level where consumers can no longer absorb prices. “The only possibility to tackle this predicament is via direct flights to the UK from non-EU states and consolidated shipments of large volumes from the EU. That being said, we see no alternative other than opening a branch in the UK to accommodate this wealthy market.” With air freight for the first time being more economical than sea freight, competition for space availability has been driven up. Consequently, on average, there is 50% less space allocation for perishables. Global warming has made weather patterns more unpredictable and droughts more common. Furthermore, supply chains are


further impacted by strikes, lower production by growers who, (due to limited cash flows), are taking a more precautionary approach, while raw materials shortages, inflation and price increases are further complicating matters. Mr Kamp said: “Electricity costs have gone up by nearly 60% and raw materials have not only risen dramatically but lead times have gone from two or three weeks to as many as 12 weeks. This is without even mentioning a near 300% increase in sea-freight prices.” He warned: “Let there be no mistake, aside from prices changing each week that passes, the implications are much worse and could potentially take the industry back 20 years. Not being able to cover the costs would result in compromises on the expense of quality, food safety, shelf-life and availabilities. We know the inconvenience it causes the consumer, but there is nothing in our power to control or manipulate this. “And all this without mentioning the impact of Covid. ERP accepts the reality and makes the best out of it by continuing to serve its clients.” He added: “ERP is a family-oriented company and realises that humans are the most essential resource to be a successful company. The entire workforce is exceptionally dedicated, and the overall atmosphere is of teamwork and mutual understanding. “This is the primary aspect that differentiates us from others. When it comes to plain professionalism, we have an excellent service-based methodology. We not only keep daily replenished stock of all lines to accommodate both immediate same day orders and long term programs, we also provide same-day sorting, packaging and labelling services. “Imagine a retailer coming short on packed tomatoes on the vine. They can call us and have the shelves packed and filled hours later. This strength, underpinned by having satellite offices globally, such as Israel, makes us different and more able to exceed customer satisfaction.”

Client oriented ERP’s warehouses are becoming fully automated; the company has spared no expense to prepare each facility for the future. Detailing the process, Mr Duijnisveld added: “Once a product enters our facilities, it is scanned, allowing complete control and traceability via computer. I can tell you exactly how many kilos of grapes are bigger, smaller in diameter, what time they will be packed and so on. It may sound simple, but when you have over 2,000 lines and formats to deal with, this is nothing less than ingenious.” Mr Van Der Burgh lauded ERP’s clients and suppliers, who are considered more partners and friends. “The key to maintaining a positive relationship is listening to them. If a cucumber grower, for instance, is worried about costs,

yields and market demand, we explain the situation as we see it and communicate his needs forward. Everyone in the industry needs to realise that for every kilo harvested, there are many families behind them, counting on us for the process to go smoothly.” For that reason, ERP issues daily newsletters to clients, partners, suppliers, and service providers, giving an honest and objective analysis of the market and trade. Topics include weather, price increments, supply issues, and details of each country’s Covid limitations. . Assessing today’s industry, Mr Kamp was brutally frank: “The market has changed dramatically since the Covid outbreak. Predicting has become impossible so many distribution centres have reduced stock levels to minimise risks. When restrictions are over, demand is too high compared to the available supply and covering the gap is impossible. “The industry is currently facing some of its most difficult challenges, including demand instabilities, diminishing farms, logistical crisis, and price increments. The current state is of uncertainty and survival. Any minor change in cost is crucial. “Unlike local industries, we rely on other countries as well. Since we import from over 20 countries and deliver to another 15, coping with today’s changes is becoming unlikely. ERP has decided to position itself as a market leader. We did not compromise or reduce any of the services offered.”

Market leader of substance Regardless of the challenges – and the economic uncertainty as a result – ERP runs all the packing machines and continues to consolidate from all sources to ensure stability for immediate supplies and availabilities. “From a strategic point of view, this capability has become possible as we have expanded our reach to serve nearly every European state,” said Mr Reijgersberg. “We adjusted to the new realities, and thanks to our staff, no obstacles are impossible. “That being said, while we make inevitable price adjustments, we are also looking to minimise costs and moderate price increments. These actions include automated lightning systems and switch into LED lightning systems that consume far less electricity.” Given the relative unpredictability and uncertainty in the marketplace, he reflected: “The fresh produce industry is known for its ability to fully utilise the globalisation concept. What we do connects more countries than the UN, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day we import, export, trade, pack, distribute, sort and claim product from every corner of the world.” Mr Kamp concluded: “If you take a minute to think about it, our actions spread even faster than Covid-19. What we do daily leaves a deeper impact. This we must treasure as a reminder that we will always be stronger and better than any virus or economic crisis.” n Inside Food & Drink

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Rovema is the industry specialist in packaging machines and an international technology leader in the equipment business. With an agile approach to clients’ needs, the German company takes a holistic approach to the modern circular economy, taking into account the environment, the market, the product and the packaging, ensuring efficient and top-of-the-line designs that fully embrace innovation and new technologies. Article by Andy Probert.

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oday, the name Rovema continues to resonate with a widelyheld excellent reputation throughout the packaging world as much as it did in the 1960s, when it made spectacular advances with the invention of the first vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) machine with rotating belts. Rovema is now a significant specialist in packaging machines and an international technology leader in the equipment business. Almost all leading branded goods manufacturers in the food and non-food sector pack with Rovema’s innovative technology.

Holistic approach At production sites in Fernwald and Reiskirchen in Germany, Rovema manufactures systems for the vertical primary packaging of food and non-food products, for packaging in cartons or shelfready, and transport-optimised end-of-line packaging. With subsidiaries and agencies worldwide, the company, which generated around €127 million in sales in 2020, is now present in more than 50 countries. Rovema offers a wide portfolio for the packing industry. These include dosing systems with volumetric, gravimetric and combined operating principles; vertical form fill and seal machines with an intermittent and continuous mode of operation; block or brick pack machines (Form Fill Seal machines with downstream systems for bag and bag closure designs); and cartoning machines (vertical and horizontal end load). Finally, packaging machines and packaging lines and systems that integrate all devices or technologies into turnkey systems are also offered.

Ingo Hamel, Rovema’s Head of Innovation and R&D, said the company’s systems suit the complex demands of a modern circular economy. “We think holistically, taking into account the environment, the market, the product and the packaging. We offer a sustainable solution that fits the characteristics of the product to be packed, and its demands in logistics, packaging material, shelf life, and energy efficiency.” Rovema actively searches for possibilities to save packaging materials and has prepared machines to process very thin packaging materials. “With profound application expertise, innovative approaches and new technologies, we find the optimum packaging solutions for our clients,” added Mr Hamel. “Custom-fit and individual, they enable us to secure competitive advantages. “With our global network, we are on-site for clients and offer decade’ of support throughout a system’s entire machine life. We offer various retrofits and modifications for existing machines that allow an adaptation to new demands, for example, for paper materials.”

Machine packaging in its DNA Indeed, Rovema does not shy away from developing pioneering technologies built to last. 30 years after the first VFFS machine, the company introduced the first Stabilo-Seal pouches patents forming on the filling tube, and later at the reel carrier. A great advantage in output rate for the coffee industry and ideal for processing mono-materials, the Stabilo seal module for the reel carrier also allows the reduction of the machine height Inside Food & Drink

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ROVEMA BVC 260 vertical Form, Fill and Seal machine

and a gentler packaging of products. Product drop height and auger length can also be optimised. In 1999, Rovema developed Sense and Seal technology, the most accurate product detection during the sealing process and then successfully introduced the BVC series. This BVC machine was honoured to win the German Packaging Award 2014. Equipped with Premiumseal technology, it sets the sealing force at the HMI and delivers additional flexibility to alter the sealing pressure along the sealing process according to the settings the material requires. In 2022, Rovema will launch the new valve applicator for button valves. Over the last five years, the 700-strong company became part of the Haniel Group, developed a new 3,300 sqm production hall at Fernwald, invested in expanding its production capacities and introduced a complete ERP system and a modern CRM. It has also acquired DL Packaging to strengthen second life and retrofit business; bought Hassia India as a reliable service and assembly location; expanded the Life Cycle Service concept for Africa and Asia; and in 2021 acquired Inno-tech GmbH to expand its competencies for the frozen food and fresh produce sectors.

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A cup of quality Mr Hamel said Rovema had provided more than 500 coffee packaging machines to the sector, underlining its competencies and experience in the industry. “We know how to pack coffee, and that has been one of many key strengths. The replacement of the traditional vacuum pack with the sealed pack in the 1990s gave Rovema a lot of application know-how in the coffee industry for which we have been present for at least 40 years. “What we have done in the last couple of years is to look at the sustainability factor. We have spoken and worked with film producers who offer paper packaging with a barrier inside, which is entirely sustainable and biodegradable.” Mr Hamel confirmed Rovema is not only focusing on the paper materials but other materials too. “When we started with our testing of alternative packaging materials, we soon found out that we need an improved valve applicator to meet speed demands in coffee packaging. New materials need longer weld times, so the applicator has been re-designed so they now allow packing at a faster speed while having a longer sealing window to meet packaging material demands.


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“We focus on the sealing technologies, as well as the folding process of the side tools. It has always been one of our strengths and helps to provide total control of the sealing process – not only for paper but for mono-materials, as they need the longest weld time possible.” He said: “We have worked on the serration of our sealing tools and the design of the jaws to enable an even temperature distribution. We go further, as we have sought to integrate third-party components for the sealing tools to benchmark our sealing tools.” According to Mr Hamel, the staff at Rovema discovered the importance of having very stable temperature controls and longweld times for mono-materials and paper. “These findings are spoken about transparently between us, the film producer and the client, to ensure we give the bestin-class machine. We are completely flexible in our approach and adapt our development, particularly in coffee, to the consumers’ requirements.” Until now, coffee beans have been packed in classic PET/aluminium composite packaging materials due to their high barrier requirements. But Rovema’s tested polypropylene packaging material offers excellent aroma protection combined with a fat, oil and oxygen barrier and can be fully recycled as a mono packaging material. Additional light protection through metallisation is available as an option. Mr Hamel said: “We build our own dosing systems and are able to dose, for example, ground coffee and coffee beans. One of the points why consumers buy our machines is because we have a brickpack machine, the SBS. We are the leader in SBS brick pack machines in the market, offering more than 30 different top shapes, from a gable top to a brick pack. “What certainly gave us an advantage in the coffee industry is that we offered the first SBS brickpack machine which had a fully automatic 3D changeover in width, length and height of the pack on the system’s conveyor section. Versatility and flexibility enable our machines to adapt to industry trends and consumers’ demands.”

Sustainable focus Mr Hamel said the company’s efficient, innovative and sustainable packaging solutions have contributed to the global supply of safe, hygienically packaged food for decades. By joining the United Nations Global Compact in 2020, Rovema officially committed to integrating ten principles from human rights, labour standards, environmental protection, to anti-corruption in its corporate strategy and reporting annually on its progress.

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WIPF AG Wipf AG has been developing and producing high-barrier packaging films and pouches for the food, pharmaceutical and non-food industries for more than 100 years. Thanks to Swiss engineering skills and a state-of-the-art production facility, Wipf also supplies disposable degassing valves for a wide range of applications under the WICOVALVE® brand. In the coffee valves market, Wipf AG is the quality leader and recognised by major coffee roasters worldwide. The product range also includes sustainable solutions such as monomaterial laminates, recyclable PE and PP valves, and certified bio compostable valves. editorial mention

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“Sustainability is an elementary part of Rovema’s corporate strategy, and that has already secured competitive advantages and growth opportunities for us today,” he added. “It is a particular concern of ours to not only underline the importance we attach to sustainability at a product level but in our cultural interaction and to constantly drive forward the diverse opportunities for change with clear targets.” Annual progress reports describe Rovema’s approaches and measures to continuously improve the integration of the Global Compact and its principles into its business strategy, corporate culture, and daily operations. Mr Hamel said the business was fully mobilising to meet the challenges of today and the future – notably new packaging materials and the higher demand for sustainable packaging solutions. “We are more agile and have been preparing our machines for maximum flexibility and speed for decades. This enables us to meet new expectations quicker and more reliably.” Rovema undertakes more than 130 packaging material tests annually at its in-house technical centre in close cooperation with customers and packaging material suppliers. “We seek alternative sustainable packaging materials in the application test,” Mr Hamel explained. “Finding the suitable packaging material for the product is rarely possible without the manufacturers of the packaging materials and their in-depth expertise.” 78

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The new Rovema button valve applicator allows higher output rates and a calmer film run for longer bag shapes. It is also prepared for more flexible sealing times when applying button valve to new alternative packaging materials


Rovema continues to test a variety of alternative packaging materials for coffee and other fatty products, with some positive alternatives. Four alternatives include coffee beans in polypropylene (PP) with EVOH oxygen barrier; ground coffee safely packed with particularly thin PP packaging material; coffee powder in PE Mono material; and coffee powder packed in poly-olefin composite with a sealing medium made of 85% renewable raw materials. Rovema said not all of the options currently offer flexibility in bag design, but issues of product protection seem to be solved even with the sustainable variants. At the IPACK-IMA 2022 trade fair held in Milan in early May, ROVEMA presented a fully recyclable coffee pack with button valve that can also be conveniently retrofitted to existing BVC machines. Both valve and the packing material itself are made of a polypropylene mono-material. Wipf's recyclable WICOVALVE® W109PP disposable degassing valve for bean-to-cup coffee is ultrasonically applied to Hatzopoulos all-PP (89my) packaging film designed for recycling, based on the converter’s X-CYCLE TM technology. On the challenges and opportunities of packaging demanding products in plastic and paper, Mr Hamel said: “The demand for sustainable packaging solutions is growing continuously. Consumers today like to buy their products in paper packaging, which presents packaging machine manufacturers with a number of challenges. “Rovema has been working on packaging solutions made of alternative packaging materials for years and is continuously developing and testing.” For the past three years, the company has been using a machine in its test centre dedicated to paper packaging material testing.

Here, tests are undertaken on the latest developments based on specific customer requests or in direct cooperation with packaging material manufacturers. “This way, we can support customers at an early stage in the decision-making process for machine-compatible paper packaging materials,” Mr Hamel continued. “A pack is only as good as its seal, so we continuously develop them further, such as through unique geometries, better heat distribution and heat transfer of the sealing tools. “The optimised motion control of the sealing and side gusseting tools as well as the sealing force control of our machines enable us to realise the longest possible sealing times per cycle. We also consistently adapt our machine software to the special requirements of new packaging materials.” Rovema boasts a large selection of sealing tools at its technical centre for this type of application test. As part of these tests, staff also coordinate with packaging material manufacturers to make the respective packaging materials even more efficient to process on machines. The company also has a global service presence and even buys back machines to retrofit with new technology. Asserting its dedication to detail and clients with its range of turnkey solutions, systems, testing facilities, and offering a local presence, Mr Hamel commented Rovema would continue to push forward and break new ground in the packaging field. He concluded: “While modern corporate values and an open and fair company culture form the basis for our sustainable successes and healthy economic growth, Rovema is also determined to position itself as a leading global partner of sustainable packaging solutions.” n

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Flexibility and highly focused customer service have seen Manospack grow to become one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of folding cartons in Greece. “Together with the customer, we look at what is the most efficient and complete solution for their needs,” said CEO Thanasis Manos. Report from Colin Chinery.

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ith an agility to meet the most demanding requirements while offering high-scale production capabilities, Manospack has grown to become one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of folding cartons in Greece. “Our flexibility means we can not only meet today’s demands but also anticipate tomorrows with complete product packaging and design solutions for the food and drink industry,” said CEO Thanasis Manos. Based in the north of the country near Thessaloniki, Manospack designs and manufactures high quality cartons at competitive prices. Cosmetics, clothing, and electronic industries are other end users. The business was founded in 1976, but it was nearly 30 years later in 2004 that the rapid expansion to today’s prominence began, said Mr Manos. It was a quantum leap powered by the continuous investment in technology and human resources – typically €1 million a year since 2015 – that is now a company trademark. A pivotal point was the completion of a €3 million vertical integration programme in 2017. This gave Manospack the total in-house capacity and capability to deliver the flexibility and a customer-centric focus that distinguishes it from its multinational rivals.

Complete solutions

“Customers are used to having big lead times, and we answer this by having high stocks of raw materials in bulk. It’s a buffer every customer needs, and this is the way we work.”

Exports grow Vertical integration has also been the key for the company’s increased presence in both the local and European markets, said Mr Manos. Exports currently account for a third of an €8.5 million turnover, with Belgium and the Netherlands the major markets, followed by Germany and the Balkan countries. Powering everything is an impressive and inclusive portfolio of applications and services. “We work with the customer so we can find solution he actually needs, with a range of finishing characteristics; innovative cartons that are essential for product differentiation,” stated Mr Manos.

“We are a true one stop shop,” detailed Mr Manos. “Nothing is outsourced, and together with the customer we look at what is the most efficient and complete solution for their needs.” Across the packaging industry, 2021 has seen rising raw material costs and massive availability issues. “At the same time, the market is growing, and we have the resources to meet this,” commented Mr Manos. And in a competitive domestic market where multinationals are its rivals, flexibility is the ace in Manospack’s hand. “The multinational companies are not very flexible, with different production facilities all around Europe. But with us, the customer can find everything under one roof, giving us a flexibility that is the direct result of vertical integration. “For example, given the market upheaval we are going through, it is very important that the company has all the production in its hands and can make everything easier and straightforward for the customer. Inside Food & Drink

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High quality five colour offset printing and advanced finishing techniques with inline acrylic varnish, UV, plastic film lamination, embossing and hot foil printing, are readily obtainable at Manospack. Cartons suitable for direct contact with frozen or non-frozen-food are sourced from around the world with special extrusions, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate (a form of polyester) and aluminium.

Great offset printing With ovenable and microwaveable paper trays widely used by frozen meals and a lucrative fast-food market, Manospack delivers the advantages of this type of packaging with great offset printing results in three-ply clay coated cartons with custom made inside extrusions. Manospack also manufactures paper trays up to 75mm deep on substances such as virgin fibre board, recycled carton, and corrugated board, serving specific customer needs for crispy baking, seal ability, production efficiency, packaging functionality and promotion. Packaging for the beverage industry is crucial for promoting and differentiating among similar beverages and spirits.

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“We provide our customers with various varnish coating combinations offering cost effective quality packaging,” asserted Mr Manos. “We offer a special window patching application, pick and place, that along with hot foil and embossing techniques, creates an eye catching and innovative carton.”

Visual appeal Mr Manos continued: “Visual appeal is a main factor in packaging. Customers spend on competitive designs which we develop for them with structures and shapes, while following the advertising company’s design instructions.” Display stands are an advertising and merchandising tool with a direct impact on product sales, and here Manospack provides market specific solutions to create and produce an innovative and attention-grabbing display. “We communicate and cooperate with our customers to provide them solutions and a combination of materials including carton board, corrugate board, PVC and corrugated plastic. “Our large size printing format and converting ability allows us to develop a cost effective and functional display carton, by


Sustainably – a top priority Sustainability, and carbon reduction, form an integral part of the Manospack strategy, improving operational performance and reducing potentially harmful emissions. Supplier locations are already short-distanced, with wood and paper sourced from forests with the highest environmental and social standards, and the company became only the second in Greece to be awarded FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. “Certification was a pioneering decision we took. We are able to provide customers with this certification when requested. Pricing is the same both for FSC and non-FSC, and that’s another advantage for the customer,” underlined Mr Manos. “Customers, and especially their buyers, such as Marks and Spencer for example, are becoming increasingly demanding on

EO

C buying packages that are FSC o s, an M s certified, and we are seeing si it being requested more and more. “Customers are also becoming more sensitive regarding the weight of waste, and more positive and receptive towards new packaging solutions that use less paper.” Waste elimination is a feature of the company’s €7 million investment programme scheduled to come online next year, that will see a 70% spend on new machinery and 30% on new manufacturing floor space. “Looking ahead this is set to double our turnover, with the same number of staff, and increase our market presence against multinational competition,” revealed Mr Manos. “And this will be achieved by what Manospack actually sells – flexibility and service. n Th an a

combining most of our advanced finishing techniques such as UV lacquer, hot foil printing or embossing.” Functionality, cost-effectiveness, compatibility of the packaging with the contemporary packaging methods and techniques, are all taken into account before Manospack provides a new packaging proposal, said Mr Manos. “Cartons must stand out on the shelf, but it is also very important for the product to be functional and stay as long as possible in a customer’s hands, so we continuously research and develop ways to develop cartons that have increased sustainability.”

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SEEDS & SPICES dutch spices

graines voltz


DUTCH SPICES

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PROFILE

dynamic e h t f o gy g and ener m s ia s u h : deliverin t n le e p , n im s io is ss mission ere food by the pa v ir d e e e s h t T n m . a o s h r f e enc suffering utch Spic ot to be D e n s t o a ompany’s lt h c u t m e ic o a f h t e if T t y d . ll t e n t s e cia It’s but espe to real ta managem , s e s d n t Buis, e e o t c ie y n c P r a e le , t v a s r t e e o v d o p r t n x a E se of taste ryone de f Manager e v it e n U e s freedom s u s r tance o e ca o in e p s b u , im B s e ie d h g an tt aller s about an abou e Mouw, g k w a e ls H n E g d O r E in a C xcit Rich vealed e e spoke to r d n a n n. aboratio its missio ll o c g in its upcom 86

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Asian inspired ginger lime chicken skewer Ingredients 1kg Chicken tenderloins • 80-100g DS Mike’s marinade ginger & lime • 1 Lime • 4 Spring Oinions • 10 Slices of Prosciutto • Rosemary Preparation Marinate the chicken tenderloins with the DS Mike’s marinade ginger & lime and let them marinate for about 3 hours with spring onions in pieces and lemon in slices. Thread the chicken tenderloins on a stick and poke a sprig of rosemary in with the skewer. Wrap a slice of Prosciutto ham around the skewer and the Asian inspired ginger lime chicken skewer is ready. Cooking Cook the Asian inspired ginger lime chicken

’s

m ar ina de

gin ger & lime

skewer on a BBQ for about 8-10 minutes.

ike M S D

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utch Spices, based in Nijkerk in the Netherlands, is a food solution production company with a clear vision: to offer a continuously evolving, delicious range of food products including spice mixes, seasonings, marinades and sauces, that are certified allergen-safe and can be enjoyed by everyone. In addition to Dutch Spices’ guarantee that its products are safe from the top 14 allergens that affect the majority of the 17 million food allergy sufferers in Europe alone, the company’s products are also vegan and vegetarian friendly, as well as being Halal certified.

Ten years of allergen-safe production Dutch Spices’ journey goes back ten years to its establishment in 2011. The company was born out of its decadesold parent company and came about in

response to growing consumer demands for gluten-free, allergen-safe products. Thanks to its high-tech custom-designed and built manufacturing facilities, Dutch Spices has been awarded and has retained various certifications. A recent accolade was its receipt of the SimplyOK certification in 2018, an accreditation that recognises the company’s allergen management programs. The company now boasts an ever-growing catalogue of great-tasting products including spices, stock and breadcrumb mixes, marinades, chutneys and sauces for various kinds of meat and meat alternatives, as well as potato, bread and pastry flavouring products. The range is sold via a large network of resellers and distributors, ensuring that the company’s products are well-stocked throughout Ireland, Belgium, France, Bulgaria and Ukraine and more recently, the United Kingdom. Of course, Europe is a large place and the company is actively seeking

relationships with additional partners in other countries to help get its products into the hands of consumers. Piet Buis, Business Unit Manager Export at Dutch Spices, detailed the company’s objectives: “We are inspired by our products’ ability to promote culinary inclusivity,” he said. “Our mission is to find retail and distribution partners who embrace our story so that together, we will help our partners achieve both of our goals. Together, we hope to make a huge contribution to the well-being and taste inclusion of millions of people around the world.”

Trends in taste According to company CEO Elske Mouw, Dutch Spices is riding a new wave of consumer enthusiasm for interesting new flavours. “The consumer’s interest in spices, in general, is big,” she confirmed. “I see more willingness from customers to try new things; they’re looking for new trends more than ever before.” Both Ms Mouw and Mr Buis are convinced that the massive popularity of televised cooking shows is playing a role in consumers’ demands for new seasonings and new flavours. “Worldwide, there are so many cooking shows on TV, it’s made cooking at home extremely trendy, particularly with lockdowns forcing the closure of restaurants,” noted Mr Buis. “We’re now seeing a lot of demand for Asian flavours, especially teriyaki, miso and wasabi, and for Middle Eastern spices like harissa and ras el hanout.” The company has a robust research and development department that is tasked with monitoring consumer demands and responding to them with new products. “Our R&D people are actively listening to our customers,” Ms Mouw confirmed. “They watch the TV shows, they see what’s happening in the Inside Food & Drink

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ili-w ch ’s e ik

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rinade illi ma

DS

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DUTCH SPICES

Chilli-Willi Pork Skewers Ingredients

Covid consumer cookery

1kg Shoulder Chop (boneless) • 70-80g DS Mike’s chili-willi marinade Preparation Slice the chops into slices of about 1.5 cm. Then cut these slices into thin strips, just like shawarma. Mix the finaly sliced meat strips with the DS Mike’s chili-willi marinade and thread onto skewers. Present the Chili-willi pork skewers on a beautiful bowl/saucer in your display case. Cooking Prepare the chili-willi pork skewers on the BBQ for 8 minutes.

supermarkets and there are various other avenues they use.” “We also have great Innovations Managers running a fantastic department,” acknowledged Mr Buis. “They’re smart and open-minded. One is Indonesian, with deep knowledge of the Asian taste profile and that works very well for us.” In response to those consumer demands for more Asian flavours, the company is 88

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rolling out a new product development program specifically to address those needs. “We recently started a new project to develop Asian-Indian products, and Thai products,” Mr Buis clarified. “The next step from there will be further development of vegetarian-specific flavour products, and after that, I think we’ll also start to see more fruity flavours come out of our R&D efforts.”

Staying with the impact of Covid on the business, Ms Mouw and Mr Buis highlighted some trends that the company has observed as a result of Covid forcing more consumers to cook at home. “We’ve noticed that consumers are buying higher quality products and in higher volumes,” Ms Mouw noted. “More restaurantquality food is being bought at supermarkets and butchers.” “There’s been a particularly strong demand for our marinades and sauces,” said Mr Buis. “Consumers are doing a lot more cooking at home and consequently they’re buying in a way that is totally different to pre-Covid trends. That’s a good thing for our resellers. But due to Covid, we’ve also experienced longer lead times on some of our packaging materials, especially cardboard, and we’re experiencing unexpected price increases in some areas.”

The rebranding project 2022 sees Dutch Spices launch its bold new branding, including a new website that is expected to go live in 2022. It’s a campaign that has been in the making for some time and according to Ms Mouw, this launch can’t come soon enough. “The new branding involves a new corporate identity and new brand positioning.


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pepper marin ade black lt & sa e’s k i DS M

Oriental Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry Ingredients 500g Steak (in cubes) • 80-100g DS Mike’s salt & black peper marinade • 500g Oriental Wok Vegtables (bok choy, leek, yellow bel pepper, bean sprouts) Preparation Mix the steak with the oriental wok vegetables. Mix the DS Mike’s salt & black pepper marinade through the meat and vegetable mixture. Present the wok dish Oriental black pepper beef stir fry in a large bowl. Cooking Heat oil in a wok and fry the Oriental black pepper beef stir fry. Keep stirring it while baking.

It’s important because it appeals to a much larger consumer group,” she explained. “In the past, we focused on the message that our taste solutions are allergen safe. But now, the core message is that they’re for everyone. It’s about freedom of taste. Everyone can eat them, including vegans and those following Halal practices. “Approximately 17 million people in Europe have food allergies, and that’s a large audience, but now that we’ve expanded our target market, the group of people for whom our taste solutions are suitable is much bigger. It’s really about inclusion. Our product is for everyone, even those who want gluten safe.”

Dutch Spices uses various methods, including data systems such as Innova, to help it make strategic decisions about what products it should target at various markets, and also about developing new ones.

DB Foods The company has started a major distributor, DB Foods, in the United Kingdom. This collaboration will provide Dutch Spices with a significant market share in Great Britain. DB Foods continue to innovate and develop their range and always welcome the

challenge of sourcing new and exciting products to fulfil business needs and inspire customers with exciting taste adventures. DB Foods is proactively looking to market trends and new developments in ingredients ensuring they offer the best quality products, most cost effectively. Meanwhile, climate change is a hot topic for the Dutch Spices team, as Ms Mouw highlighted: “Obviously we work with a large variety of raw materials, which are a product of nature. When the weather is too dry or too wet, harvests can be much smaller than anticipated, which places pressure on our production lines.” With a successful export catalogue of proven products, Dutch Spices is confident that it has the products, the recipes and the brand equity to successfully win consumer hearts worldwide. n

Growth challenges The company’s biggest challenge right now is not a lack of enthusiastic consumers, but rather simply reaching more consumers to tell them that the products exist. “We have a unique brand proposition,” Mr Buis remarked. “People want to eat gluten safe or vegetarian. Those are fastgrowing trends and we have very good spices, herbs and marinades for them. But since we are still scaling up and not able to deliver to everyone all at once, we have to be selective about the markets we target and how we talk to them.” Business Unit Manager Export Piet Buis, and CEO Elske Mouw

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GRAINES VOLTZ

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Graines Voltz bears the family surname of its proud owner Serge Voltz, who established Graines Voltz in 1985. Thanks to his vision over 30 years ago, the company is today one of the largest independent European distributors of seeds and young flower and vegetable plants. Wolfgang Fischer, International Sales Manager for the Maraîchage division of Graines Voltz, spoke to Richard Hagan about the international vegetable seeds business and the future of farming.

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raines Voltz, based in France, is one of the largest independent distributors of seeds, young flower and vegetable plants in Europe. In order to best serve its client base, the company is divided into two main divisions: Voltz Maraîchage and Voltz Horticulture. Voltz Maraîchage selects, develops and distributes the best varieties of vegetables, aromatics, herbs and edible flowers throughout France, Europe and the rest of the world. These products, both organic and conventional, are intended for pro-

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fessionals in the food production business, such as farmers and other commercial entities. Voltz Horticulture offers, throughout the year, a wide range of flowers and vegetables for cities, gardens, and private balconies and terraces. These products are intended for professionals: horticulturists, nurserymen, landscapers, private and public communities. The two separate divisions exist due to the differences in the expertise required to sell into the company’s different markets, as


Wolfgang Fischer, International Sales Manager for the Maraîchage division, clarified. “If you meet with the Maraîchage team, they’ll ask you how many seeds you need to plant per hectare and about how long it takes to produce the plant in a particular location. At harvest time, all of the fruit will be harvested at once, given that it’s a commercial farm.

Facilities ripe for success Voltz Maraîchage has firmly positioned itself as a major player within the vegetable production business thanks to comprehensive facilities strategically located across Europe. Two main facilities are located in France: one in Colmar in the east, and the other in Brain-sur-l’Authion near the west coast. The

Colmar facility is within the region in which the company was founded and today serves as its head office, housing its financial, administrative, IT and marketing teams. The Brain facility was built in 2004 and is strategically located in the midst of France’s vegetable-growing region. This is the company’s operational centre and home to its warehousing, seed processing and shipping operations. In addition to these two French locations, the activities of Voltz Maraîchage are supported by a significant seed breeding and research facility in Germany. Outside of these, the division deploys sales teams in strategically important European markets, specifically Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Voltz Maraîchage’s catalogue consists of 75 species and more than 2,500 diversified varieties in seeds and young plants.

VOLTZ Maraîchage International Sales Manager Wolfgang Fischer

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Of these, its most popular range is its aromatic herbs, with its bedding plants (chive, basil, parsley) and sweet potatoes a close second and third. The company’s aromatic herbs have been a global success, fuelled by a catalogue of seeds developed specifically to suit the climates and soil conditions of its main markets, and sold by an expert sales team. “Using our product knowledge and experience, we help our customers decide which seed varieties are best for their particular needs,” Mr Fischer noted.

Exclusive genetics In 2020, Graines Voltz gave its growth trajectory a shot in the arm with its acquisition of the business portfolio of the German vegetable and herb breeding specialist Hild Samen. This was a hugely strategic acquisition for the activities of the division Voltz Maraîchage as it effectively upgraded the division’s value proposition from being a distributor and dealer of seeds, to now also

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being able to cultivate and breed its own unique seed varieties. It has also opened the door to the division building its own portfolio of genetic material unencumbered by third-party relationships, limitations and other restrictions. The purchase of Hild has catapulted Voltz Maraîchage into becoming a truly international seed distributor, able to develop and offer seeds customised for any number of climates and customer requirements. “Our future investments will be aligned with our goal of establishing new genetics and our own varieties of seeds for markets in many parts of the world,” Mr Fischer confirmed. Operating its own breeding infrastructure also allows Voltz Maraîchage to proactively respond to changes in the market. A recent example of this was the widespread emergence of downy mildew – a type of fungus – in basil plants. With basil being one of its keystone products, the situation for Voltz Maraîchage was worrying and the need for a solution was urgent.


Thanks to its breeding capacity, Voltz Maraîchage was able to immediately get to work breeding a downy mildew resistant strain of basil, giving the division a key competitive advantage in the market versus other dealers who didn’t have access to the same material. “We didn’t have to wait for someone else to breed a resistant seed,” Mr Fischer commented. “Our breeding facility means that we’re able to react immediately. We’re steering the market, we’re no longer behind.”

Farming, but vertically Voltz Maraîchage’s latest expansion plans have taken it into the vertical farming sector, which the division has identified as a key long-term growth industry and a major direction it expects farming to go in, in future: The reason? “Vertical farming is close to the point of sale, you can produce throughout winter and it requires 90% less water than traditional farming,” Mr Fischer explained. With the benefit of previous vertical farming experience within Hild, Voltz Maraîchage is actively collaborating with the vertical farming industry to develop seed varieties specifically suited for the industry’s needs. But it’s not as simple as you might think. “It’s a completely different world for the plants because the lighting and temperature are consistent,” said Mr Fischer. “That means the seeds only need to be bred for a single usage scenario – you don’t need to adjust them for different seasons, weather or sunlight conditions. For example, they don’t have to be resistant to stormy weather, or varying sunlight.” To ensure a complete strategic focus on its vertical farming initiatives, Voltz Maraîchage has developed a vertical farming subdivision. This tight-knit group has developed close partnerships within the vertical farming community, with whom they openly share experience, knowledge and general learning. Mr Fischer pointed to a recent example of a collaboration with farmers, in troubleshooting problems with vertically-farmed basil.

“The farmers complained that while the basil grew very successfully, the taste was not there, and so we had to figure out why,” he said, chuckling. “There was a huge learning process the whole way through. That conversation between us as the breeder and them as the grower is so important.” Today, Voltz Maraîchage has developed 26 varieties of aromatic herbs specifically for vertical farming. Some varieties are additionally selected for greenhouse production or for hydroponics. With growing experience in vertical farming, successful breeding programs and a growing list of successes in markets around the world, Voltz Maraîchage is firmly on track to reach its goal of becoming a major competitor beyond European borders. “Our strategy is clear: we want to be more global,” said Mr Fischer, concluding. “We want to raise our profile overseas in countries like the US and Australia: but we will never forget the local producers. We love both big and small customers and being close to them, so while we pursue international growth, we’ll continue to ensure that we always have sufficient sales representatives to keep all of those relationships strong.” n

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MEAT & FISH bayle

echebastar


BAYLE

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POULTRY PROCESSING MEETS FRENCH QUALITY 98

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90 years ago, Bayle’s founder Jean-Pierre Bayle started a small family business selling chicken plucking equipment to the food industry. Since then, the company’s relentless focus on growth, innovation and product development has kept it at the leading edge of the market and today, it is busier than ever. Dominique Arnaud, Asia Export Manager for Bayle SA, spoke to Richard Hagan about the company’s latest products and how they’re changing the marketplace.

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ack in 1932, Jean-Pierre Bayle visited the UK where he saw and purchased a machine that would change the course of his family’s lives. The machine was the Bingham – a small, dry plucking machine known for its sturdiness and reliability. Upon returning to France, Mr Bayle requested permission to manufacture the machine there. The permission was granted, and suddenly he was in business-building and selling fowl plucking machines for the French food industry before selling it across the continent. And as with any good business story, he started off small and grew organically.

Growth and a revolutionary product The plucking machine was extremely popular across Europe, but whilst its manufacturing arm was kept busy, the company wasn’t sitting on its haunches. It poured resources into new product development and out of that came its first innovations. Also in 1932, the business launched the first conveyor line for Foie Gras duck production and then, significantly in 1960, Bayle launched a water plucking system. This new system proved to be a success across Europe and in between a flurry of manufacturing and exports, the Bayle team spent their time attending trade shows to demonstrate it to new clients.

In the 1980s, the company designed and produced a machine that would come to significantly define its future. ‘Le Compact’, or ‘The Compact’ line, was the first ready-to-use slaughterhouse. It proved to be an immediate and ongoing success and to this day, it is one of the company’s most popular products. Bayle now boasts clients around the world and regularly exports to 75 countries globally, many of which it has official agents in, to provide thorough support to clients.

High-tech facilities Dominique Arnault, Asia Export Manager at Bayle, explained that the company is perfectly sized for its mission. “Bayle is what we call a ‘human size’ company,” he said. “We employ about 50 people in France. Our size is one of our trademarks; it means that every customer is a person, not an order number. It’s someone who we know by name because we’ve actually made the effort to go and meet them. That relationship is crucial for us”. The company’s headquarters, in La Fouillouse, a short drive west of Lyon, is home to a 5,000 sqm factory. Out of the company’s various departments, the highlight is the research and development work carried out by its automation engineering department. That team is responsible for working on new developments such as

robotics, which is a particularly important field given that, according to Mr Arnault, fewer and fewer people are willing to work in abattoir environments. Bayle relies on its highly trained, skilled personnel such as automation specialists, electricians, welders, and hydraulics and pneumatics engineers, to ensure that all of its work can be executed internally without relying on third parties. “It’s important to us to integrate all of those jobs internally,” Mr Arnault clarified. “Whilst outsourcing them might be more practical and possibly cheaper during good times, in times like today with Covid, with transport problems and supply shortages around the world, being able to do everything ourselves is key.” The company also has a semi-industrial facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where spare parts and some engineering personnel are based. Clients in the region are additionally able to trade in old Bayle machines at this facility, which its teams there recondition and re-sell to other countries. A full design department at the Kuala Lumpur office is also always on hand to assist the company’s sales team with designing new systems into client spaces. Finally, the company has a sales office in Mexico City which ensures that clients and new enquiries in North and South America are adequately cared for.

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The compact line The company’s Le Compact range of poultry processing systems has been a significant commercial success for the company. Following its launch in the 1980s, the system has found customers in more than 85 countries. Le Compact’s claim to fame is that it is the first ready-to-use slaughterhouse to have hit the market and, crucially, it is so compact that it is transportable via shipping container. The main strengths of the system, which can process up to 1,500 poultry per hour, centre around its compact and ‘plug and play’ nature. It’s simple and economical, as Mr Arnault clarified: “The beauty of Le Compact is the fact that you can just take it out of the container, push it into place, connect water and electricity and it’s ready to use. Smaller operators are the specific target market for Le Compact, Mr Arnault confirmed. “The system is a transitional product,” he noted. “It’s a stepping stone from very traditional hand processing, to a modern processing line with high capacity. Its users are able to learn about modern processing without the need for big financial investments.”

Recent project highlights Mr Arnault emphasised two recent projects the company is especially proud of. “The first was in Thailand where we supplied a complete line of duck processing for the Bangkok Ranch Group. It’s the biggest duck plant in Southeast Asia

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and probably one of the most modern in the world. We’ve put fully automatic systems into the plant as well as our new management and control system. The whole factory is run by a tablet computer. It’s the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and one of the first in the world.” The second installation was noteworthy not because of the equipment that was supplied, or for the process involved, but for the commissioning and installation which, for the company’s first time, all had to be done completely remotely due to Covid travel restrictions. “We developed a system to remotely guide local staff – who’d never done this before or seen the machine before – to assemble and commission the equipment,” said Mr Arnault. “It was a huge challenge but it was a success. It proved that we could do business overseas remotely, in completely new ways. It’s something we never would’ve imagined being able to do before Covid.”

The Bayle philosophy As a French company, owned and run by French people, Mr Arnault and his colleagues are proud and passionate about the heritage linked to the business. “The DNA of our company is based on French know-how and quality, and also knowledge of our customers’ needs and requirements,” he said. “The French are very particular about food quality. It has to be of a high standard – sometimes too high, in my opinion. But it means that we


place a huge emphasis on the quality of our equipment, of our process, and of the product that comes out of the machines that we deliver. That’s very important.” Mr Arnault concluded our chat with some revealing comments about Bayle’s manufacturing ethos especially with regards to the high quality, robust machinery it supplies. “Our comprehensive quality control system in our factory ensures that all equipment coming out is perfect for the customer’s environment,” he stated. “In fact, people ask us why our equipment is so strong and robust since some of our equipment has lasted 30 years and is still working. People ask us why we don’t involve ourselves in planned obsolescence for repeat sales. The answer is: it’s not in our DNA. Yes, we could sell more. But it’s not who we are. Quality and durability are what we do.” n

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ECHEBASTAR

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Spain’s Echebastar is a fishing company that takes sustainability seriously. It is a shining beacon in the tuna industry, often beset by ethical issues and the drive for profit. As the only one in its sector to hold the internationally-recognised MSC benchmark, Echebastar is keen to see others follow in its path – and ensure the long-term viability of the species. Report by Andy Probert.

BY

its very nature, the Basque Country Iriartery’s Echebastar likes to ride its own wave. Doing the right thing has made it a touchpoint in the tuna industry in setting standards for responsible fishing. While industry critics fret over its ethical, human and fish exploitation records, Echebastar stands alone in an increasingly crowded marketplace that puts its actions firmly where its mouth is. For 55 years, the company has been catching tuna in the Western Indian Ocean. Its six vessel-strong fleet catches around 50,000 tonnes a year, as permitted by quotas set by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to protect fish stocks. Of this catch, 93% is frozen in brine and goes to canneries located in Indian Ocean countries, such as Seychelles and Mauritius, to help support local economies and the environment rather than shipping it frozen halfway around the world. 102

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The remaining catch is deep frozen to -60°C onboard, which preserves the fish in a pristine state, and this is then processed and sold predominantly to supermarkets for tuna steaks and sushi. This fish makes a higher price, but the production capacity is limited in the current fleet. But this business model is not what makes Echebastar unique: the company’s commitment to environmental and sustainability practices gives consumers confidence that what they buy aligns with sustainable fishing practices.

Industry leaders Since 2018, Echebastar has held the MSC Certification to fish skipjack tuna in the Indian Ocean. MSC is the leading independent organisation that certifies sustainable and well-managed fisheries worldwide and guarantees to the consumer that the


tuna catch and production accord with the highest principles of responsible fishing. While still the only commercial tuna fishing company, catching tuna in all purse seine fishing methods, to hold this international benchmark, Echebastar is assessed in several critical areas annually. As of late-2021, the company has completed two and is ahead of target on five other conditions. “The certification of our fishery against the MSC standard is recognition of the success we have achieved in our efforts to promote sustainable fishing for tuna,” commented José Jauregui, the company’s Environmental and Resource Responsibilities Director. “But we continue working towards sustainability and a well-managed fishery for Echebastar. We are committed to further improvements.” He added that Echebastar was keen to see other fishing companies follow in their footsteps and achieve the MSC certification. “We serve as an excellent example to others that we can all fish sustainably while guaranteeing the health of tuna stocks for future generations.” The company has also developed an innovative catch management system to return by-catch species back to the sea alive. It has independent observers aboard each vessel to ensure that regulations and best practice methods are followed. It pays all its staff at high European rates with regular, lengthy on-shore periods. Between 2003 and 2015, Echebastar voluntarily reduced its vessels, capacity by 25%. It has also reduced the use of FADS, typically buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete Inside Food & Drink

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blocks that attract fish, and uses new FAD models which prevent shark and turtle entanglements. It has recently signed up to the Sustuntech project, which helps fleets identify where the fish are, which saves fuel and reduces emissions, and is also heavily involved in the SARETU initiative, which collects discarded nets and other abandoned fishing equipment (known as ghost gear) and then reconditions it for recycling. In 2020, Echebastar, in collaboration with AZTI, implemented the Silky Shark Tagging Project. The main objective was to measure the post-release survival of silky sharks taken as incidental catch in their purse seine tuna fishery and evaluate the impact of their Good Fishing Practices in reducing species mortality. It would also identify the potential for additional mitigation measures to further reduce that impact. This information will allow detailed analysis of the horizontal and vertical migrations of silky sharks and provide additional data for habitat models, emphasised Mr Jauregui. “This new project again confirms our commitment to safeguarding the habitats and ecosystem of the Indian Ocean,” he added. “All these policies and developments ensure that we remain at the forefront of sustainable and responsible fishing practices. But we need to be relentless in our pursuit of a better industry.”

Correct engagement As much as the company is seeking to redefine future industry through its own actions, it is down to the end consumer to be engaged and educated. He reflected that while labelling on a can of tuna does offer data, more needs to be done in helping consumers identify what

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best practice is and then seek supermarkets only stocking fish from suitable suppliers. “Only then will the rest of the industry be forced to adopt best practice methods,” added Mr Jauregui. “Transparency and truth will out in the end.” He was also quick to emphasise the company’s responsibility in the working environment for its crews, which can be multinational and multi-lingual. “With upwards of 300 people working on the fleet, we are very sensitive to the crews’ working conditions. We want to demonstrate to stakeholders and consumers that we take our seafarers’ welfare very seriously and seek to obtain certification on this matter.” Reflecting on the pandemic impact, he commented: “Our seafarers have been immense during this challenging period, and the company is deeply grateful to their commitment.” Mr Jauregui concluded: “As the seas have supported Echebastar for more than half a century, so it is down to us collectively to protect and nurture it in any way we can. We believe that the industry has a good future, but one that is wholly supported by sustainable and responsible practices.” n

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