Manufacturing News

Tech Flash Vol. 3 No. 8

Kroger to curtail rBST in milk

Kroger will complete the transition of milk it processes and sells in its stores to a certified rBST-free supply by February 2008. The company said its decision was based on customer feedback in the markets it serves.

Earlier this year the company changed the milk it sells in the western half of the US to a certified rBST-free supply. The change affects the milk it processes and sells in its City Market, Dillons, Fry’s, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, QFC, Ralph’s and Smith’s divisions and Kroger stores in Louisiana and Texas.

Recombinant bovine somatotrophin (rBST) is given to cows to increase milk production. FDA has concluded there is no difference between milk derived from cows treated with rBST and those that have not been treated.

According to William Boehm, Kroger’s senior vice president and president of manufacturing, “Our customers’ increasing interest in their health and wellness is the basis for our decision. We appreciate the willingness of dairy cooperatives across the country to work with us to make this transition in the next six months.”

PLCs still going strong

According to a study entitled Programmable Logic Controller Worldwide Outlook from ARC Advisory Group, the worldwide PLC market is expected to grow at an annual (CAGR) of 7.3% over the next five years. The PLC market was more than $8.3 billion in 2006 and is forecasted to grow to nearly $12 billion in 2011. The study attributes this strong growth to manufacturing companies creating new capacities based on automation, which will optimize their operations and maximize their profitability. Demand side conditions in the automation marketplace remained strong with investments in China, India, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. With PLCs being capable of process and hybrid controls as well as discrete, they now find roles in batch, motion and continuous control applications, expanding their range of applications.

Rising commoodity prices hike European prices

According to Reuters, European consumers will see food prices increase in grocery stores as soaring commodity prices cause food processors to hike prices. Wheat prices have increased by 50% since April when rain-soaked crops threatened smaller yields. The increased price for wheat has also affected the costs of milk, butter and other dairy products.

France’s Danone is increasing dairy product prices by 2.5%, and competitors are expected to follow. Unilever has seen its commodity costs rise by 300 million euros ($410 million) in the first half and expected the trend to continue due to sharply increasing edible oils and dairy prices. Cadbury blamed a 20% increase in dairy for squeezing margins. (In. the US, raw milk prices have nearly doubled since last year, from $11.17 to $21.40 per hundred pounds.)

Most food groups estimate that European consumers will probably pay between 1.5 and 2.5% more for food from now on. Economists believe that long-term commodity price increases could lead to inflation.

Food Safety across the pond

Food safety is a hot button in the US and Europe as ingredients are imported from around the world.


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People, Plant and Industry News

Basic American Foods, supplier of convenience food products, has acquired Harry’s Fresh Foods, a Portland, OR supplier of fresh and prepared foods. Harry’s founder, Rod Harris, will continue as president and CEO.


ConAgra Foods, Inc. has acquired New York-based Alexia Foods Inc., a privately held natural food company. Alexia Foods produces natural frozen potatoes and markets all natural and organic appetizers and artisan breads.


Barry Callebaut, manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, and The Hershey Company, have entered into agreements for a strategic supply and innovation partnership. Barry Callebaut will start liquid chocolate and finished product deliveries to Hershey within the next few months.


National Starch Food Innovation (Bridgewater, NJ) and the AVEBE Group (Foxhol, Netherlands) have announced an alliance that will see National Starch as sole distributor of AVEBE’s specialty potato starch portfolio of food ingredients in North America, South America and Asia.


According to Dow Jones Newswire, ConAgra Foods Inc.’s Sylvester, GA facility will reopen this month after completion of a $15 million renovation including roof repairs, new equipment and an improved design to separate raw materials from finished product. The plant was closed earlier in the year after salmonella was discovered in two peanut butter brands.


Flowserve Corp., a global provider of fluid motion control and services, has opened the Flow Control Engineering Center, a new R&D facility in Bangalore, India.


ERP software provider, Deacom Inc., has been recognized by the 2007 Supply & Demand Chain Executive100 as a result of its dedication to new technology development centered around the Microsoft .NET environment.


Aeroglide Corp. has hired Jim Porach of Cleveland, OH to take on a position in technical sales. Porach has 15 years experience, the nine in direct sales of thermal processing equipment.


Tetra Pak has chosen Steris Corp. as a strategic global supplier for the provision of sterilization systems on a Tetra Pak beverage filling platform, which is currently in the final stage of development.


FKI Logistex has opened its 31,000 sq.-ft. Technology & Education Ceter (TEC) in Cincinnati, OH.


Following its change of ownership from The Linde Group, BOC Edwards has changed its name to Edwards.


The Facility Location Group of the Austin Company, an international consulting and A&E firm, has changed its name to Austin Consulting. The change was made to reflect its suite of comprehensive consulting services in addition to its strength in locating sites.


Multivac has named Jason Bohn as its newest regional sales manager for the states of North and South Dakots, Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado. He reports to Bob Koch, director of sales for the food division.


The National Food Laboratory has launched the Innovation Group, a 30-member, in-house organization that assists processors in creating, developing and commercializing new food and beverage products.

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