Food Engineering

FE TechFlash Vol. 2 No. 10

October 5, 2006
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New WTO Talks Urged

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is strongly urging a revival of the Doha round of WTO talks. The negotiations abruptly ended in August after insurmountable disagreements over rich and developing countries, primarily involving agricultural issues. US negotiators had pressed for greater access to developing markets for both raw and manufactured US food products.

If the talks are revived, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says a successful agreement would result in sweeping changes to many longstanding US agricultural support programs. In a speech to the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, Johanns said under the administration's own trade proposal, the US would be forced to reduce its "trade distorting" support of agriculture by 53 percent.

Unilever Launches Nutritional Logos

This fall Unilever United States will debut a front-of-pack nutritional logo program called Choices. The new logo provides a quick, simple way for consumers to identify food and drinks based on four major nutrients of concern-trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Over one-third of Unilever's food portfolio in the US will qualify for the logo under brands such as Ragu, Slim-Fast, Lipton, Skippy, Promise, Hellmann's and Bertolli.

In order to qualify for the logo, Unilever products must meet strict nutrition criteria on all four nutrients set by Unilever's global Nutrition Enhancement Program, a product benchmark program based on 20 different sets of dietary guidelines from worldwide health organizations, including the dietary guidelines in the United States.

The Choices logo consists of a blue circle featuring a big blue "tick" and a golden sun rising over it. The words "Eat Smart" or "Drink Smart" in bold letters on the top, and the words "Based on US Dietary Guidelines" on the bottom, accompany the symbol.

Kettle Foods Embraces Wind Power

Kettle Foods, maker of natural potato chips, is blowing off conventional energy sources with renewable wind energy. The company announced that it is purchasing wind energy credits to offset 100 percent of its electricity use in the US.

By purchasing 8,750,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits (REC) annually, Kettle Foods will prevent more than 12 million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution from entering the atmosphere.

In partnership with Renewable Choice Energy, a provider of clean and renewable sources of energy, Kettle Foods joins the ranks of natural food leader Whole Foods Market in its commitment to offsetting the environmental impact of its electricity use with wind power. Kettle Foods also generates 130,000 kilowatt hours of solar power annually at its Salem, OR, headquarters, home to one of the largest photovoltaic solar arrays in the state.

In addition to offsetting all energy used at the Kettle Foods headquarters, the company will extend its wind power commitment to its new plant in Beloit, WI, which is slated to begin production early next year.

Despite Challenges, Food Industry Remains Strong

The American food and beverage manufacturing industry continues to be an economic powerhouse, accounting for $500 billion in US gross output. Full story.

Processors Invest in Smart Packaging Technologies

Food and beverage companies continue to invest in robotics, RFID and other technologies to improve performance. Full story.

Navigating the Data Sea

Processors are striving to collect more and better data. But is your data gathering system doing its job? Full story.

Designer Pump Parts

Continuous processes and CIP cycles are placing greater stress on pump components. Full story.

Home-Grown Tech Solutions

When fish processors demanded high level automation, an Icelandic firm assembled an in-house team to engineer an X-ray inspection system. Full story.

People, Plant and Industry News

ConAgra Foods announced plans to close five manufacturing plants. The cuts will eliminate about 400 jobs and save the company $50 million in fixed costs annually. The shuttered plants include facilities in Laval, Quebec; Rossford, OH; Folcroft, PA; Archbold, OH; and Fort Worth, TX.


AmeriCold Realty Trust is purchasing four refrigerated warehouses and leasing a fifth, with an option to purchase, from ConAgra Foods Inc. The five warehouses contain a total of 1.7 million sq. ft.


John Buller was appointed president and CEO of Tully's Coffee following the resignation of John Dresel. Buller served on Tully's board since March 2005.


Quadro announced a partnership with Guelph, Ontario-based Guelph Food Technology Centre to put three new pieces of pilot-scale equipment in the Centre. The equipment, which focuses on mixing and size reduction, includes the Quadro Comil, Quadro Ytron jet mixer and the Quadro Ytron ZC0 pilot-scale, in-line powder disperser.


Idahoan Foods sold two plants to Idaho Potato Processing. The plants, located in Glenn's Ferry and Rupert, Idaho, produce potato ingredient products for major manufacturers domestically and internationally and will continue operating as normal under the new ownership.


Rockwell Automation received the National Society of Professional Engineers New Product Award for its Allen-Bradley E3 solid-state overload relay, which is intended to allow manufacturers to manage and monitor industrial motor performance and prevent and minimize downtime.