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SLIM Program Supports Saskatchewan’s AG Processing Sector

From: Food in Canada

Regina, Sask. – A local brewer and food and ingredients company are reaping the benefits of a government investment.

In a press release (“Support for Value-Added Sector in Saskatchewan,” on Sept. 29, 2017), the government of Saskatchewan announced $330,000 in funding for Rebellion Brewing. And $500,000 for AGT Food and Ingredients.

The funding is through the Saskatchewan Lean Improvements in Manufacturing (SLIM) program.

The brewery, says the release, will use the funding to expand its brewing capacity, and add exterior grain storage and a canning system.

Mark Heise, president of Rebellion Brewing, says in the release that the brewery is growing. “We live here, we spend dollars here and our profits stay here,” he says. “In less than three years, our small brewery has created 20 new jobs with more on the way. The value-added agriculture sector has tremendous growth potential and is key to creating a diversified and resilient Saskatchewan economy.”

AGT says it will use the funding to support production and equipment upgrades. That includes improving its polishing, bagging and conveyor system to increase productivity.

Murad Al-Katib, AGT’s President and CEO, says in the release that, “Investments in infrastructure, value-added advanced manufacturing and innovative new technologies, aided through programs like SLIM, are assisting Saskatchewan agriculture in building sustainable competitive advantages.  These investments position Saskatchewan and Canada to capture opportunities with the world’s growing populations and rising incomes in emerging markets.”

Mars Canada Celebrates Official Opening of Bolton Food Plant Expansion

From: Canadian Packaging 

Mars Food has invested CDN$77 million in the 50,000-square-foot expansion of its Bolton, Ont. food plant to increase production of its ready-to-heat rice and grain products. Mars Food celebrated its official opening on October 11, 2017.

This expansion represents the single-largest capital expenditure in the history of Mars Food, and will the much-needed capacity having been designed for future growth. Most importantly, the state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-certified facility will add 37 new highly-skilled jobs.

The Bolton food plant expansion comes on the heels of a similar expansion of its chocolate facility located in Newmarket, Ont. Together, the two expansion represents a total investment of $147 million in 2017, greatly increasing the company’s presence in Ontario.

About Mars Food
Mars Food is a fast-growing food business, making tastier, healthier, easier meals for all consumers to enjoy. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Mars Food is a leader in producing great tasting products such as: Uncle Ben’sDolmioSeeds of ChangeMasterFoodsSuzi WanEblyRoycoKan Tong, and Raris. Mars Food is a division of Mars, Incorporated.

About Mars Canada
Mars Canada is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, a private family-owned business with more than 1,300 associates across the country. In Canada, Mars was established in the late 1940s and is known for some of the Canada’s best-loved brands, including Uncle Ben’sSeeds of ChangeMaltesersM&M’sPedigreeSnickersRoyal CaninWhiskas, and Excel. Mars in Canada comprises four business segments: food, chocolate, Wrigley and petcare. Mars Canada is one of Canada’s top 100 employers. For more information, visit www.mars.com/canada/en.

Frozen Foods: Key Considerations To Optimize The Packaging Process

From: Food Manufacturing

Global interest in frozen foods has soared in recent years, resulting in numerous growth opportunities for manufacturers. Expected to reach close to $9 billion (USD) by 2019, the global frozen food packaging market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 5 percent during the period 2016-2020.

Worldwide economic growth and rising incomes, as well as consumers’ increasingly busy lifestyles, mean that more and more people are looking for convenient meal options that fit within their busy lives. Technological advancements have also played a central role, with new film types and improved packaging designs coming to the forefront. Vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) systems are widely used to package frozen produce due to their flexibility, high sealing performance, hygienic design and reliability in harsh environments. However, there are several considerations for manufacturers when specifying a frozen food packaging system. 

The frozen food industry has some of the highest safety standards, particularly concerning sanitation and cleaning procedures. Food packaging machinery in this industry needs to withstand some of the most demanding sanitation requirements and cleaning procedures. Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are commonly used across the food industry to measure the protection level of equipment against solid objects, liquids and mechanical parts. Frozen food packaging technology should typically be IP65 protected. Such machinery offers total protection from dust ingress and harsh washdown procedures, including low pressure water jets (from any direction).

Individual components of the packaging system are also required to meet regulatory requirements. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s NEMA 4x rating, for instance, stipulates that control systems must be protected against the ingress of solid foreign objects such as windblown dust, as well as harmful effects on the equipment caused by water or ice. Typically more corrosive-resistant than standard NEMA 4 units, NEMA 4x enclosures are regularly used in food processing facilities to offer protection for controls systems, where total washdowns with disinfectants occur frequently.

A hygienically designed packaging system is one of the best ways to optimize food safety and quality. VFFS systems are a popular choice as they are designed to leverage the benefits of gravity to transport products, and their sloping surfaces make it is easier to prevent food residues from accumulating on the equipment. Easier access to machine parts further simplifies cleaning procedures. Ideally, cleaning should be possible without removing components; but if components need to be removed, it should have a tool-less design with no loose parts. In addition, crevices, corners and other areas where food can build up are open invitations to cross-contamination. The packaging system design should therefore be free of features that create recesses, gaps and areas that are typically hard to clean.

Product application and the type of cleaning procedure often determine the best construction materials for the packaging system. When using harsh cleaning agents or frequent high-pressure washdowns, stainless steel is a must. It offers a smooth, defect-free surface to prevent product residue build-up, as well as easier cleaning. Alternatively, if dry cleaning is applied, food producers can consider other alternatives, such as aluminum.

The Digitalization of Food Palletizing

From: Food Manufacturing

The technological and social revolutions of the past few decades have completely reshaped industry. The food packaging and palletizing industry is no exception. In fact, the last ten years alone has seen the adoption of advanced technologies at an unprecedented rate. Alan Spreckley, robotics food and beverage segment manager, and palletizing robotics expert at ABB, explains how digitalization is repackaging the future of food palletizing.

Spreckly explains that this growing trend places a higher demand for single-portion servings of pre-prepared and pre-packaged food on the food industry, which makes the packaging and palletizing processes less linear than they have previously been. Similarly, the unstable economy of recent years has nurtured a generation of savvy customers, eager for the special offers and deals that retailers regularly provide, further complicating the palletizing process. This leads to scenarios where manufacturers will be required to change palletizing patterns quickly and cost-efficiently.

Robotics is taking over the palletizing industry. In the past decade, robot pricing has come down making this a cost-effective choice for palletizing applications. Robots are more flexible and require less maintenance and floor space. Our sister company (Advance Millwrights Inc.), provides equipment for bag filling/handling, bag sealing and robotic palletizing.

Go to www.advancemillwrights.com for more information on robotic palletizing.

Are you a budding cheese-maker? Ontario needs you!

From: Food in Canada

Guelph, Ont. – Ontario needs more cheese-makers to help serve the sector in the coming decade, says a survey of Ontario cheese manufacturers. In a statement, the Agricultural Adaptation Council says it funded the survey, which found that “based on growth, turnover and retirement, Ontario dairy processors estimate that more than 200 new cheese-makers will be needed.”

Local cheese is a segment of the market that is growing, says the statement, and a new wave of Ontario cheese-makers will help to “feed consumers’ endless appetite for local.” According to the Ontario Dairy Council (ODC), its members process 97 per cent of the milk produced in Ontario to manufacture a wide range of dairy products, including cheese. The sector generates more than $6 billion in annual sales, says the statement.

Stacee Sokoloff, manager of Member Services and Communications with ODC, says in the statement that “identifying the needs for Ontario cheese-makers has attracted interest across Canada, and drawn attention to the greater need for skills development and training.” Sokoloff also adds that with CETA, more than 17,000 tonnes of additional imported European cheeses will be coming into the Canadian market. That makes it “increasingly urgent for cheese manufacturers to stay innovative and competitive to maintain and grow their markets,” she says.

Ontario’s Food and Agriculture Sector is Thriving

From: Food in Canada

Guelph, Ont. – A new study has found that Ontario’s agriculture and food industry is thriving but there just aren’t enough qualified people to fill the jobs. The University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) commissioned the employment study, which is called Planning for Tomorrow 2.0.

In a statement (“Jobs Aplenty for Agri-Food Grads, Report Finds,” from Sept. 14, 2017), the university says the report found “an increase from three to four jobs available for every graduate, but it also found employers predicting even more jobs over the next five years.”

“It’s great news for students entering and coming out of the programs because of the tremendous demand for their skills and the many opportunities for them,” says Rene Van Acker, OAC’s dean.

“On the other side, it remains a challenge for us at the university to help the sector find the people they need to grow.” The study is based on a survey of 123 Ontario employers in the sector. The statement adds that the new survey “updates a report from five years earlier that found there were three jobs for every graduate of an OAC undergraduate program.”

Among the companies the university surveyed were food processors and growers, input suppliers, financial institutions and government agencies. The OAC dean’s office, the OAC Alumni Foundation, Farm Credit Canada and RBC Royal Bank funded the survey.

“It’s a sector that has to grow no matter what, because people have to eat,” says Van Acker. “But it’s also a sector that has a chronic challenge in attracting people.”

Amazon is Gaining Ground, Thanks to Whole Foods Purchase

From: Food Processing

After listing thousands of Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value items on its website, Amazon sold out of 93 percent of the 100 most popular items and logged nearly $500,000 in sales within a one-week period, said Spencer Millerberg, CEO of market insights analyst One Click Retail.

Amazon.com Inc.’s $13.7-billion purchase of Whole Foods is paying off in other ways, Bloomberg reports. The e-commerce giant is seeing a surge in online grocery shopping for basic food staples like canned beans and tomato paste. They were among Amazon’s best-selling products from Whole Foods’ private-label line, which also included water, turkey breast lunch meat, coconut water and frozen berries, Millerberg said.

“It’s easy to implement and bring everything online with Amazon’s endless shelf,” Millerberg continued. He then said the question is whether Amazon can sustain the inventory and use the stores to decrease delivery costs.

The findings show the news on Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods has extended beyond its stores to its website. Customer traffic in Whole Foods brick-and-mortar locations gained 25 percent during the first two days after Amazon’s takeover, according to Foursquare Labs Inc., which compared shoppers’ mobile location information before and after the acquisition.

This suggests there’s no cannibalization between the two retailers, with one taking sales from the other. The combined company may sell even more with the two brands working together than they would have collectively as separate companies.

Amazon appeared unprepared for the rapid pace of sales. Of the top 100 selling Whole Foods items online, only 7 percent remain in stock on Amazon’s website, noted One Click Retail.

Georgian College Rolls Out New Baking Program  

From: Bakers Journal

Barrie, ON — Barrie’s Georgian College is now home to a Baking and Pastry Arts program. The new program started this September with 48 students, a full first intake. The one-year certificate is designed to turn into a two-year diploma program, says Anthony Borgo, a culinary professor at the school. The curriculum has been designed around the set educational standards for baking and pastry arts, but what makes it different from the others will be its style of teaching and programming delivery, he says. Borgo notes Georgian’s approach seeks to address the entrepreneurial spirit he is seeing in so many of today’s culinary students.”We’re adding the entrepreneurial side — how to open and run a business.” The curriculum will also feature a strong focus on local ingredients and connecting with local suppliers.

For more information about Georgian College, visit www.georgiancollege.ca

NSF International Debuts Website for Canada

From: Bakers Journal

Guelph, ON — NSF International launched www.nsfcanada.ca to give Canada’s growing and complex food and beverage industry easy access to the global public health organization’s expertise and services in Canada. The website combines information on the depth, experience and capabilities of the NSF International Canadian office with access to NSF International’s global services dedicated to food safety and quality. Evolving regulations across countries and increasing complexities associated with a globalized food supply network present challenges for NSF International clients in Canada and around the world. The new Canadian website offers expertise and services to help companies navigate these challenges, including certification and auditing, consulting, technical services, training and education, food and label compliance, packaging, and product and process development.

NSF International’s Canadian website provides information on the following services:

  • Certification & Auditing 
  • Consulting 
  • Technical Services 
  • Training & Education

Additionally, the website includes information about management system registrations for the food, automotive, environmental, information security, medical devices, aerospace and chemical industries, as well as for Ontario drinking water programs.

Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show 2017

From: Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show 

Now in its 24th year, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show features 750 exhibitors showcasing the latest in agricultural science, technology and innovation through interactive displays, demonstrations and exhibits.  As a business-to-business show dedicated solely to agricultural products, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show delivers agricultural advancements that will help Canadian farmers continue to produce high-quality and safe food competitively. 

The Outdoor Farm Show is running from September 12-14 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at Canada’s Outdoor Park in Woodstock, Ontario. 

Make sure you come visit Tri-Mach Group of Companies at the Outdoor Farm Show this year. We are located at the ACMPR Exhibit in booth C4. Found out what’s new in custom machining, robotic automation and sanitary equipment design from Tri-Mach Group Inc. and Advance Millwrights Inc. 

For more information on the Farm Show or to view the exhibitor map, go to: www.outdoorfarmshow.com