Processors want more from packaging equipment.

Of food and beverage processors surveyed by PMMI, 50 percent of those expect to purchase packaging equipment in the next 12 months, but they have high expectations concerning ease of use, flexibility and energy-efficiency. Source: PMMI.

Packaging machine market healthy, but processors demand more

The increasing demand for fresh and quality packaged food is driving the market for advanced packaging technology for the food and beverage market. According to a report entitled, The Global & Smart Packaging Market Trends, Forecast & Applications in Food and Beverage Industry from MarketsandMarkets (M&M), the global market for advanced packaging technology in food and beverages is expected to grow to $23.474 million in 2015 at an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2 percent from 2010 to 2015.

Among all market segments, modified atmospheric packaging (MAP) commands the largest share in terms of value, while intelligent packaging leads in terms of growth, says the M&M report. Freshness indicators as well as time/temperature indicators are the major product segments in intelligent packaging due to increased application in packaged food, RTE meals and frozen food category. In terms of value, the active packaging technology contributes about 35 percent of the global advanced packaging technology sector.

About half of food manufacturers expect to make packaging machinery purchases in the coming 12 months, says a report from PMMI. The study, Trends and Advances in Food Packaging 2010, is based on interviews with 50 food manufacturers and 15 packaging experts who represent 20 of the top 75 food packaging companies. The combined revenues of those 20 processors equals more than half (53 percent) of the industry’s revenue, according to the PMMI study.

Half (50 percent) of the 50 food manufacturers surveyed say they expect to purchase new equipment and 34 percent said they do not intend to purchase new equipment during the next 12 months, says the PMMI study. Of the respondents that forecast new equipment purchases, 34 percent predict they will spend more, 40 percent predict they will spend the same amount as the previous 12 months, 14 percent forecast spending less on capital purchases, and 12 percent remain uncertain about their spending levels over the next 12 months.

For machine builders, the handwriting is on the wall. Processors want multi-functional equipment, and they want equipment that is more intelligent, more automated and easier to use, with a user-friendly interface, according to the PMMI study.

The PMMI study quotes one plant manager as wanting state-of-the-art equipment that’s energy-efficient and will reduce labor and increase capacity. He also considers machine flexibility for easy pouch changeover as a very important requirement as is machinery that does not cost a lot to repair and maintain. The study sums up processor demands:

  • Easy: Packaging equipment must be user-friendly to operate, uncomplicated to maintain and fast and easy to clean.
  • Energy-efficient: Packaging machinery must be more energy-efficient to comply with food packagers’ evolving sustainability initiatives by reducing their carbon footprint. Energy-efficient equipment is also more cost-effective to operate.
  • Adaptable: In another economy-driven trend, many food packagers are trying to stretch their operating budgets with solutions to extend the life of existing equipment or refurbish older equipment currently not in use. However, with new equipment, they are not willing to sacrifice throughput for the sake of flexibility.

According to one food manufacturer senior engineer interviewed for the PMMI study, “Flexible changeover, versatility to retrofit for changing up the line and multi-purpose equipment that meets several needs are what we envision in the next generation of packaging equipment.”

For more information on the M&M study, contact Ms. Sunita, 888-989-8004 or visit the M&M website.

For more information on the PMMI study, contact Paula Feldman, 703-243-8555 or visit the PMMI website.

Kashi Company decreases food packaging materials

Kashi Company has reduced several of its packages by as much as 12.4 percent in a sustainable effort to avoid excess waste. The company has been able to reduce packaging without reducing the volume of food contained within the package.

Among the changes made, all varieties of Kashi TLC crackers will feature 12.4 percent less packaging. Kashi TLC Fruit & Grain bars will have 4.6 percent less packaging while TLC Chewy Granola Bars will have 10.9 percent less packaging. Two cereal products will see 3.9 percent less packaging. All calculations were determined by weight vs. previous packaging design, and consumers will not lose out on food quantity or quality.

“We believe that a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about food, and we are excited about the long-term benefit that our new packaging changes will have on the environment,” says Jeff Johnson, Kashi senior nutritionist and natural lifestyle expert.

Federal court orders GE sugar beet destruction

Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law, reports the Center for Food Safety (CFS). The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and CFS. The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after the USDA revealed it had allowed the seedlings to be planted.

The court outlined the many ways in which GE sugar beets could harm the environment and consumers, noting that containment efforts were insufficient and past contamination incidents were “too numerous” to allow the illegal crop to remain in the ground.

Paul Achitof of Earthjustice, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said, “USDA thumbed its nose at the judicial system and the public by allowing this crop to be grown without any environmental review. Herbicide-resistant crops just like this have been shown to result in more toxic chemicals in our soil and water.”

In an earlier case, the court ruled that USDA had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by allowing a crop to be commercialized without first preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In August, the court made any future planting and sale unlawful until USDA complies with federal law, according to CFS. USDA has said it expects to complete an EIS in Spring 2012.

Courts have twice rescinded USDA’s approval of biotech crops, according to CFS. The first such crop, Roundup Ready alfalfa, is also illegal to plant, based on the vacating of its deregulation in 2007 pending preparation of an EIS. Although Monsanto appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court and the High Court set aside part of the relief granted, the full prohibition on its planting-based on the same remedy granted here, the vacatur-remains in place, according to CFS.

Food allergy guidelines help emergency personnel save lives

The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) endorsed a comprehensive set of food allergy guidelines released by an expert panel sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Immunology (NAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). FAI will underwrite the publication of the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NAID-sponsored Expert Panel, as a special supplement to the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The report is designed to help healthcare professionals from many disciplines provide the best care for food-allergic patients across America. The guidelines are based on an independent, systematic review of the scientific and clinical food allergy literature by the nation’s leading authorities on the subject. FAI was one of 34 professional organizations, federal agencies and patient advocacy groups represented on a coordinating committee, whose role was to oversee the development and distribution of the final document.

“Food allergy is a major national health concern, particularly among children,” says Mary Jane Marchisotto, FAI executive director. “Almost a quarter of all emergency room visits now involve children under age five, and in a national survey, elementary school nurses identified food allergy as a larger problem than diabetes. We hope these guidelines will become the standard of care for all medical professionals who treat food allergy, enabling us to save lives as well as much-needed costs in our healthcare system.”

You’re likely to visit this restaurant in the UK, but how likely would you visit an establishment with a “1” rating? Source: UK FSA.

How safe is the food at your favorite restaurant or grocery?

If you live in the UK, you’ll soon be better able to answer this question. The UK-based Food Standards Agency (FSA) is launching a national food hygiene rating scheme that will help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by providing information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, take-outs, hotels, supermarkets and other places where food is sold. The results-businesses and their ratings-will be published on a special website, As more local authorities roll out the scheme over the coming months, more ratings will be published on line.

Stickers will be posted in establishments showing a 0-5 rating with 5 being very good. FSA claims consumers will be able to make better choices and hopes to see a reduction in the number of food-borne illnesses, which average one million cases per year.

A quick survey conducted by FSA recently showed that more than eight in 10 consumers consider food safety standards to be extremely important when choosing a restaurant. In consumers’ minds, the importance of food safety far surpasses issues related to price and location. Nearly a fifth of those interviewed say they have sent food back for hygienic reasons when eating at a restaurant. These reasons include undercooked poultry, dirty plates and undercooked meat.

According to FSA, the hygiene rating given to a food business will give consumers a glimpse into the areas they don’t normally see, to get an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen or behind the scenes.

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