Manufacturing News

FE TechFlash Vol. 2 No. 8

August 5, 2006
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Push for National Uniformity for Food Act

The Food Products Association is supporting the Senate hearing on the National Uniformity for Food Act. The act will help ensure that all consumers, regardless of where they reside, will be provided with the same, accurate, science-based food safety information.

"If national uniformity is adopted, a consumer will be able to pick a product off the grocery shelf in any state and will be able to read-in addition to nutrition information such as the calories and nutrients found in the product-consistent science-based warnings that have been reviewed and accepted by government health authorities," said Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the Food Products Association.

Relying on the best science available to state and federal governments, Dooley says, the Uniformity bill reviews and harmonizes state food laws with Federal standards.

"National uniformity is not a new concept," Dooley says. "Congress established uniform requirements for prescription drugs, allergen labeling, meat and poultry standards, medical devices and pesticide tolerances. The National Uniformity for Food Act is a logical extension of this approach to food safety standards and warning requirements."

Convenience Meal Prep Goes a Step Further

FreshDirect, an online fresh food manufacturing and delivery service, introduced One-Click Recipes, allowing customers to choose recipes online, buy the ingredients online and have the items delivered to their homes. Customers search recipes using criteria such as main ingredient, level of difficulty, theme, number served, type of cuisine, cooking method and more. When a recipe has been selected, the ingredient list becomes a virtual shopping list.

According to Steve Michaelson, president of FreshDirect, "Our goal is to provide customers with the easiest ways to get a meal on the table."

The company currently has more than 250,000 customers and has fulfilled nearly 5 million orders since September 2002.

Innovative Products Honored at IFT

Close to 600 food industry experts voted on the world's most innovative food and beverage products at IFT Food Expo held in June. During the Expo, Mintel held a series of presentations featuring more than 240 products from around the world.

In the flavor category, hybrid beverage Coke Blak took top honors. Rounding out the top honorees were Haagen Dazs' Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream, Mediterranean Trade's Duo Dressing and Safeway Select Creamy Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Dressing.

The health & wellness category's greatest impact honor went to Yagua Water Salad, a water drink infused with vegetables. Circle K Sunkus' Brain Buns-healthy brain bread, Nabisco Snackwell's Sugar Free Oreos and New Tree's Pur Plaisir Chocolate Spread all tied for second place.

For the consumer group category, the top first-place tie winners were: Tab Energy Drink, Kellogg's Yogos Yogurty-Covered Fruity Dots and Nestle Nesquik Magic Straws. Chunzhongchun's Slimming Drink, Heinz Silly Squirts and Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles were also cited for innovation.

Customized Food Products Growing in Popularity

You may have heard of customized M&M's with a special message such as "Will You Marry Me?" or "Happy Birthday," but now you can create your own labels on Heinz Ketchup bottles.

At the touch of a keyboard, consumers can make any occasion a special one by creating a customized bottle. Heinz is offering three sizes: 14-oz. glass, 20-oz. Top-Down and special 2.25-oz. Ketchup bottles.

Later this fall, Heinz plans to extend its offering to include a selection of fun, specially designed seasonal and themed labels, which can also be customized.

Asian Food Manufacturers Invest in US Production

With the US Asian population booming, ethnic food manufacturers increasingly are investing in new facilities to better serve that market. Full story.

Data Automation & Food Safety

Identifying your risk is the first step in the decision to invest in an automated record-keeping system. Full story.

Waves of the Future

Fully cooked bacon has been one of the few applications for microwave technology in the food industry. That's changing, and fast. Full story.

Timely Nutrition

Bulk solids metering equipment saves time and increases efficiencies for nutritional manufacturer. Full story.

People, Plant and Industry News

Jeff Berry has been promoted to vice president and treasurer at Del Monte Foods Company. He is replacing Tom Gibbons, who is retiring after 37 years with the company. Berry was previously responsible for strategic and business planning. Also, Larry Bodner, currently president of financial planning and analysis, will become vice president, finance and investor relations.

Diamond Foods appointed Andrew Burke vice president of marketing. He was previously vice president of marketing at Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery.

Pliant Corp. is expanding the converting assets that serve its food packaging film business. The firm will add high-speed spooling equipment that is capable of providing customers with roll footages from 50 linear ft. up to 5,000 linear ft. and will expand capacity for blown food wrap film in its Schaumburg, IL, facility.

Charles Ross & Son promoted Ken Langhorn to technical director. He has been with the company since 1988 and is now responsible for the operation of the company's Test & Development Center, as well as the ongoing development of new products and technology.

Starbucks Coffee Co. and PepsiCo, through their joint venture partnership, the North American Coffee Partnership, signed a distribution agreement to significantly increase distribution of Ethos water to retail stores in the US and Canada. The North American Coffee Partnership will assume responsibility for the co-packaging, distribution and marketing, while PepsiCo will use its resources to expand the reach of the brand outside of Starbucks' retail stores. Plans are in place to expand distribution of Ethos water by late 2007 with additional bottle sizes and case-packs, as well.

Rovema Packaging Machines hired Paul Bibens as a supervisor for spare parts and conversions. He worked for Rovema from 1988 until 1995.

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