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McCain Expands Plant in Alberta

From: Food in Canada

With expansion plans underway at the Coaldale plant, McCain Foods says it has spent over $1B adding capacity to plants around the world. McCain Foods says the plant was built in 2000 and is a “key plant within the McCain North American supply network.” Today it has more than 200 employees and acquires its potato supply “from 28 potato growers in the Southern Alberta region.”

Click here to learn more about the McCain Foods expansion. 

Ice Cream Trends 

From: Food Processing

Craving some new frozen treats this summer? Innovation in frozen desserts is making frozen treats more popular. According to research director David Sprinkle, there is a lot happening in terms of new product innovation in the ice cream market: “It’s combining old-fashioned themes with on-trend ingredients, blending sweet flavors with savory, shifting from diet products to those with nutritional and functional benefits.

Click here to learn more about new and trending ice cream ingredients, flavors and packaging systems. 

Modern blueberry processing plant opens 1 year ahead of schedule

From the CBC

The grand opening of Acadian Wild Blueberry Co.’s processing plant was held in Saint-Isidore on Tuesday, July 19, a full year ahead of the expected opening date. The push to open sooner was to meet the demand for increased processing capacity from local blueberry growers, said John Bragg, president and co-CEO of the parent company, Oxford Frozen Foods.

The company currently employs 70 full-time workers and more than 200 seasonal workers. More jobs are expected to be created as more land comes into production over the next several years.

The plant is considered to be the most modern blueberry processing facility in the world. It will have two freezing tunnels that can process up to 1.5 million pounds of fresh blueberries per day during the harvest season. The cold storage can hold 45 million pounds of product.

More than 300 farm families are currently involved in New Brunswick’s wild blueberry industry. Blueberry production provides about 360 full-time jobs and about $11 million in labour income, according to the government.

Learn more about turn-key fruit processing solutions from Tri-Mach Group here.
Read the full article here.

The FDA is Making Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label

From the Wall Street Journal

The Food and Drug Administration said a new nutrition-facts panel on the back of packaged food and beverages will list how many grams of sugar have been added by manufacturers, and what percentage of the recommended daily maximum that represents.

The FDA’s decision to break out added sugar from the total sugar count already on packaging comes amid a yearslong campaign by the Obama administration to curb obesity, diabetes and other ailments. The new sugar rules have faced opposition from food and beverage companies, which say there is no difference between naturally present sugars and added sugars.

The FDA estimates that implementing the change will cost the food and beverage industry roughly $500 million a year, while providing approximately $2 billion annually in benefits such as reduced health costs, over 20 years. A study commissioned by several industry trade groups based on an earlier proposal found the label changes would result in a total net cost of at least $640 million. Economist John Dunham, who led the study, said the FDA accounted for far more benefits than are realistic.

Manufacturers have two years to comply with the new regulation, though they could still challenge the changes in court. Those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have three years.

The new label regulations don’t apply to certain meat, poultry and processed-egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the FDA.

Among other changes, manufacturers also will be required to declare the amounts of potassium and vitamin D because the FDA says Americans aren’t getting enough of them. Manufacturers will no longer be required to list vitamin A and vitamin C because most people do. The new panels also will require some companies to change the serving sizes they list on the back of the package. Ice cream labels, which can now show half a cup as one serving, will list two-thirds of a cup as a serving, increasing the calorie count that appears on the label by a third.

Read the full article here.

Amazon is going to sell its own line of food

From ReCode

Amazon is going to start selling its own brands of snacks, diapers and detergent — a move lots of traditional retailers have already made. But Amazon isn’t a traditional retailer, so this move could be very meaningful for Amazon and its competitors.

The e-commerce powerhouse will soon begin selling its own packaged goods exclusively to Amazon Prime members under brands like Happy Belly and Mama Bear, the Wall Street Journal reports. Recode reported in February that Amazon was testing out the Mama Bear brand name.

Amazon already sells things like electronic accessories, office supplies and even clothing under a variety of its own brand names. Now it’s going all in on groceries and household products.

While some people will point out that so-called “private labeling” is nothing new — grocery stores and big-box retailers have been increasingly pushing their in-house brands — this is a much bigger deal. That’s because the growth in retail is all going to be online, and Amazon owns online. It already accounts for half of all sales growth in U.S. e-commerce.

Read the full article here.

This groundbreaking technology will soon let us see exactly what’s in our food

From the Washington Post

Imagine a scanner the size of a grain of rice, built into your phone. You go to the grocery store and point it at something you want to buy. If it’s an apple, the scanner will tell you what variety it is, how much vitamin C it has and how long it has been in cold storage. If it’s a fish, you’ll learn whether it’s really orange roughy or just tilapia being passed off as something more expensive. If it’s a muffin, the device will tell you whether there’s gluten in it.

Although you won’t be able to do it tomorrow, this isn’t some kind of distant Jetsonian vision of the future. I’ve held the rice-size scanner in my hand; it was built for only a few dollars. I’ve seen bigger, more robust versions of the scanner do the things that your smartphone will be able to do, probably during the administration of the president we’re deciding on right now.

Every substance reflects (and absorbs) light in a different way, and the graph of that reflected light is a kind of optical fingerprint. Except it’s better. Although the whorls and lines in our fingertips don’t say anything inherent about their owner (See that swirl? Doesn’t mean you’re smart.), the peaks and valleys of the optical fingerprint do. That peak there is vitamin C. That other one is sugar. This pattern means gluten.

Identifying a food and its characteristics based on the scan is a twofold job: First, you simply match the optical reading to a library of known objects; second, you read the topography of the graph to zero in on specific characteristics. The two together can tell you an awful lot about what you’re scanning.

Read the full article here.

The Hunger for Vegan, Vegetarian Foods

From FoodProcessing.com

Though we eat more meat than any other population in the world, Americans’ appetite for vegan and vegetarian foods is voracious. Mintel reports about 36 percent of consumers say they’re buying meat alternatives and plant-based foods, and The Huffington Post reports some 16-plus million people consider themselves vegan or vegetarian.

In 2012, Americans ate 12.2 percent less meat than five years earlier, and 12 percent of the global food and drink products launched in 2013 carried a vegetarian claim, up from 6 percent in 2009, according to Huffington Post. In 2014, the Huffington Post predicted that by 2050, America may be a “vegan country” – or at least a significant percentage of Americans will be vegans.

Our emergent love of plant-based foods and the healthy, organic, clean-label food movements are prompting mainstream food producers to slip in more veggies. In 2015, more than 100 plant-based meat substitutes were introduced in grocery stores, according to Supermarketnews.com.

Read the full article here.

Food processors get a kick start with Food Starter

From Food In Canada

With nearly 20,000 new food products introduced to the market each year, consumers have a lot of choice. Each new product represents countless hours of hard work perfecting the product, conducting market research, meeting regulatory requirements and making critical business decisions.

Food Starter is a new venture that provides a launch pad for the discovery, creation and success of new food products and companies in Toronto.

Launched in 2015, Food Starter is a hands-on incubator program for entrepreneurs who want make a breakthrough in the food market. The 20,000 square foot facility provides access to shared production and packaging facilities, business advisory services and a structured training program to help entrepreneurs build and grow their food processing business.

“Food Starter focuses on helping early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products so they can become successful in the marketplace and create sustainable jobs,” says Dana McCauley, Food Starter Executive Director. “Our programs bring together all the necessary pieces and people to develop a successful, saleable food.”

McCauley and her team provide clients with customized services including essential business skills, access to commercial and industrial equipment and assistance fielding the regulatory landscape.

Read the full article here.

Ex-CEO of Lululemon makes her new pitch: high-end frozen food

From the Globe and Mail

Vancouver’s Yaletown Urban Fare is the sort of up-to-the-minute supermarket where, directly inside the doors, you’re greeted by a produce section — a big one, with an emphasis on freshness and organics. On the right, a deli section dominates, with dozens, if not hundreds, of salads and entrées made fresh daily. And on the very back wall, a full 90 paces from the front door, is what might be the quietest place in all of Yaletown—the freezer section.

And here, on a lower shelf, behind the big glass doors, reside eight spots reserved for the entrées produced by a Vancouver-based start-up called Luvo that dares to think frozen food can be healthy and delicious. Only six of the spots are stocked today, which could be regarded as good or bad, much like the prospects of the company itself.

Luvo is a company with a rock-star CEO and a corporate creation myth for the ages, but it is also a very deliberate construct, and Yaletown and its Urban Fare are exactly the kinds of places that it was concocted for. The company says it’s doubling its revenues annually (as a private company, however, it won’t say what those revenues are). Meanwhile, its entrées—offerings such as red wine braised beef with polenta, and orange mango chicken with whole grains, kale and broccoli—are increasingly available in Canadian supermarkets.

The challenge faced by CEO Christine Day — well, one of the challenges — is that grocery shoppers like these make up precisely the demographic that is turning most rapidly away from frozen foods, a category where American unit sales have been dropping by up to 3% annually in recent years. Meanwhile, the company has taken the seemingly counterintuitive approach of targeting its products, not at one of Urban Fare’s ever-fragmenting food tribes, but at a broader public that is beginning to read ingredients lists but is otherwise open to anything that’s tasty and nutritious.

Learn more about sanitary processing solutions for the frozen food / RTE industry here.
Read the full article here.

Report Card on Ontario Food and Beverage Processing Industry Innovation Tells the Story

From Newswire.ca

Food and Beverage Ontario has released two reports on innovation in the Ontario food and beverage processing industry. Reports have indicated that there are several value-creating physical and on-line innovation resources available in Ontario to processor businesses across the province but coordination and communication continue to be key to uptake.

Complementary on-line innovation resources are also available and are largely concerned with information on government programs and funding and advisory services for businesses. Report highlights:

  • Processors cite product innovation as their top innovation priority, however they rank innovation technology and methods as the overall industry priority.
  • The greatest challenge limiting a company’s ability to innovate was identified by over 50 per cent of the respondents as financial resources and time.
  • Companies that seek out external support equally prefer both in-person contact and websites.
  • Processors are asking for innovation resources to be better coordinated, easy to navigate and to access.

“We have been working hard for the last year mapping resources and building a provincial innovation network with key stakeholders,” said Norm Beal, CEO, Food and Beverage Ontario. “Now it’s time for FBO to implement a coordinated plan that will make it easy for Ontario’s 3,000 plus processor businesses to locate exactly the innovation support they need to be more competitive.”

Read the full article here.