SA, Qld team up to reform food labelling laws

SOUTH Australia and Queensland are joining forces to push for new food labelling laws which give consumers accurate and up-front information about products¡¯ country of origin.

Minister for Business Services and Consumers John Rau said the current system often left consumers with the wrong impression about the true origins of the food they were buying.

He said a recent meeting of consumer affairs ministers had agreed that Queensland and South Australia would work together to develop a new national approach to the issue.

¡°The new national consumer laws have not fixed the problem,¡± Mr Rau said. ¡°In fact, they have

increased confusion.

¡°South Australian consumers want to buy local to support Australian producers. Accurate country-of-

origin food labelling is essential to enable consumers to make informed decisions.¡±

Under current laws, the label ¡®Made in Australia¡¯ can be used where even fully imported goods have been ¡°substantially transformed¡± in Australia and 50 per cent of costs of production occur in Australia.

¡®Made in Australia from imported ingredients¡¯ or ¡®Packaged in Australia from local and imported

ingredients¡¯ are qualified claims that can be used where there is uncertainty about whether there was

substantial transformation or questions about the percentage of costs of production that occurred

here.

¡°In practice, this means that manufacturers can get the word ¡®Australia¡¯ on their goods, even if the ingredients are entirely from overseas and more than 50 per cent of production costs occur in other countries,¡± Mr Rau said.

¡°I doubt whether many consumers would be aware that a product labelled ¡®Made in Australia¡¯ could be manufactured from 100 per cent imported ingredients.¡±

Mr Rau said the Australian consumer law also did not include a positive obligation to provide country of origin information on labels.

¡°A uniform approach to country-of-origin labelling is clearly required in the national consumer legislation and we will be working to produce a new proposal to clear up this confusing area,¡± he said.

¡°This new approach should make it perfectly clear where raw ingredients come from, regardless of how and where they are transformed.¡±

 

 

 

Queensland, South Australia to push for new food labelling laws

Queensland and South Australia will join forces to develop new national food labelling laws to give consumers more accurate and easy-to-understand information about the products¡¯ country of origin.

South Australia minister for business services and consumers John Rau said that the current system often leaves consumers with the wrong impression about the true origins of the food they are buying.

Based on a recent meeting of consumer affairs ministers, Queensland and South Australia have agreed to work together to develop a new national approach to the labelling issue.

¡°South Australian consumers want to buy local to support Australian producers. Accurate country-of-origin food labelling is essential to enable consumers to make informed decisions,¡± Rau said.

Under the existing laws, the ¡®Made in Australia¡¯ label can be used where even fully imported goods have been substantially transformed in Australia and 50% of costs of production occur in the country.

The qualified claims of ¡®Made in Australia from imported ingredients¡¯ or ¡®Packaged in Australia from local and imported ingredients¡¯ can be used where there is uncertainty about the goods.

When put in practice, the guidelines will allow manufacturers to get the word ¡®Australia¡¯ on their goods, even if the ingredients are entirely from overseas and more than half of production costs occur in other countries.

¡°A uniform approach to country-of-origin labelling is clearly required in the national consumer legislation and we will be working to produce a new proposal to clear up this confusing area,¡± said Rau.

The new approach is expected to make it clear from where the raw ingredients come, irrespective of how and where they are transformed.

 

 

Benchmark Packaging installs Sunpaq line

UK-based Benchmark Packaging has added a Sunpaq line to its Hillington headquarters as part of the company¡¯s expansion in the contract packing sector.

Benchmark managing director Russell Cohen said the solution met all the requirements in terms of display impact and recyclability, with it also having potential across a number of other sectors.

¡°When we decided to go down the full contract packing route, we wanted to offer the best possible service to our customers and that meant Sunpaq was a packaging option we simply had to have,¡± he said.

According to Benchmark, Sunpaq has a structural technology, which allows products to be displayed with total visibility, both front and back.

The line can also be used to be hung on pegboards or as stand alone products, and is available in five different styles.

The company stated that with every style, shaped cards can also be used, while the potential exists for left-hand/right-hand complementing product placements that increase shelf density.

Sunpaq is a fully-recyclable blister pack alternative, which combines the blister, skin and shrink packaging solutions for maximum shelf appeal.

Besides Sunpaq, Benchmark¡¯s contract packing service includes automated case assembly, specialist carton and tube packing, automated bottle labelling, shrink sleeving, as well as glass inspection and assembly.

 

Luthra Water to open third bottling plant in India

India-based Luthra Water Systems has announced plans to set up a Rs350m ($7m) bottling plant at the Ahirwadi Village in the state of Maharashtra.

The proposed facility is specified for the European market and will be the company¡¯s third to bottle Mulshi Springs, a natural spring water brand.

Construction of the plant is expected to start at the end of January and is scheduled to be complete by the end of March.

Luthra said the two plants currently in operation are able to pack about 200,000 bottles a day, with the new plant will adding a further 150,000 daily bottles to the total output. The firm expects to increase the combined bottling capacity from the three plants to 400,000 bottles a day .

Commercial production of Mulshi Springs in PET bottles will start at the beginning of April; in the next few months it will export to the EU and Australia on a test basis.

The company plans to start commercial exports of the high-end glass bottle version soon, and will also launch a PET version.

Luthra hopes the business potential in the European will bring in Rs500m ($10m) during first year.

Two years from now, the company aims to achieve a turnover of Rs750m ($15m), which is more than twice the amount it will spend to set up the new plant.

Mulshi Springs is bottled specially for the Oberoi Group of Hotels and branded under the La¡¯ Quila brand in four versions, with the 200ml, 500ml, 1l and 1.5l.

Australia hopping mad over kangaroo images used by tobacco company

The Australian Government has slammed British American Tobacco for using images of kangaroos to sell its Winfield brand cigarettes in Europe.

Australia attorney general Nicola Roxon claimed that many of her compatriots would be outraged by a big tobacco company using the country¡¯s healthy lifestyle to market their products.

¡°Whilst it¡¯s probably unlikely that we can do anything to stop these packs being sold in Europe, we certainly can call on British American Tobacco, as the Australian public can, to say ¡®get your hands off our icons¡¯,¡± Roxon said. ¡°Don¡¯t use them to sell your product which actually has nothing to do with Australia.

British American Tobacco, challenging Australia¡¯s move towards plain packaging, is selling its brand overseas with a picture of a kangaroo on the front and a map of Australia on the back using the slogan: ¡®An Australian favourite¡¯.

¡°They are trying to imply to the European market that this is something that Australia promotes, that this is something that Australians prefer, that this somehow is connected with our healthy lifestyle,¡± Roxon added.

In response, British American Tobacco Australia stated that it did not manufacture the European product with the kangaroo image, with another part of the company doing so. It also said it would be inappropriate to comment further as the Winfield tobacco branding is currently the subject of High Court action.

The dispute comes amid Australia being the first country to make plain tobacco products packaging mandatory in a bid to cut down smoking rates, under a law passed in November 2011.

According to the legislation, from 1 December this year, all tobacco sold in Australia must be in olive-brown packets with large, graphic health warnings showing diseased body parts and sick babies.

The law also bans brand imagery, sparking a response from the major tobacco companies, which have launched a legal challenge to the High Court, claiming that it infringes their intellectual property rights.

According to industry analysts, tobacco companies are worried that plain packaging could spread and threaten growth to important emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Russia.

Borealis launches new PP grade for cosmetics and baby bottles

Austria-based provider of chemical and plastics solutions Borealis has launched a new polypropylene (PP) grade for cosmetics product packaging and baby bottles.

The company claims that the fully recyclable Borclear RC737MO allows for bottles up to two litres in size, with improved surface scratch resistance and reduction in haze compared to alternative materials.

Borclear RC737MO can be processed by applying the usual processing settings for random PP grades with barrel temperatures in the range of 190¡ãC-220¡ãC and its melt strength enables converters to regulate wall thickness consistently and enhanced processing combined with good reproducibility, as well as design flexibility.

In addition, the lower weight variations will reduce the chances of breakage during transportation and use.

According to Borealis, the newly introduced grade eliminates Bisphenol A (BPA) and can also contribute to lower resource consumption and CO2 emissions from the processing cycle through weight reduction.

Borealis vice president business unit moulding Rainer H?fling said: ¡°Borclear RC737MO is the clear advance in transparency that the safety-conscious, aesthetically-driven cosmetics and baby sectors have been looking for when selecting PP for their product or packaging.

¡°Borealis¡¯ next generation PP provides converters and brand owners with a novel and cost-efficient approach to the differentiation and competitive edge they seek.¡±

The firm reported sales of €6.3bn in 2010; it is 64% owned by International Petroleum Investment (IPIC) of Abu Dhabi and 36% by OMV.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas sales aided by food

Like-for-like sales for the final 13 weeks of 2011 were up 0.5% a year earlier.

Food sales were up 3%. M&S said that its customers were ¡°keen to protect their spending on festive food, despite the pressure on their disposable incomes¡±.

Although food sales increased, M&S said that, general merchandise sales fell by 1.8%.

International sales were up 8.1%, reflecting growth in the priority markets of India and Shanghai, according to the firm.

¡®Trading strategy worked well¡¯

Chief executive Marc Bolland said: ¡°Our food business performed very strongly as customers enjoyed our new and traditional Christmas products.

¡°In clothing, our focus was on offering our customers real value at a time when they¡¯re managing their budgets carefully. Our trading strategy worked well, delivering a record performance in many categories including menswear and sleepwear.¡±

Elsewhere, home sales were down 13.3%, while clothing sales were up 1.1%.

 ¡®Challenging trading environment¡¯

The company said it expected trading conditions to remain challenging and was ¡°cautious¡± about the year ahead. It also said that it expected to hit its profit targets for the year.

Separately, the British Retail Consortium said that December retail sales in the UK rose by 2.2% after a ¡°dazzling¡± final week before Christmas.

 

Visican invents new ¡®ground-breaking¡¯ ring pull tube

Sales executive Matt Gough said: ¡°There are companies out there that produce plastic ring pull tubes, but they require complex machinery to package the products and seal the tube.

¡°With our specific design it is the only one in the market, as far as we know, that you can package yourself. No special machinery is required.

¡°With our ring-pull tube, the customer is provided with a tube [cardboard or plastic] with a ring pull lid already seamed on. All they need to do is insert the contents and put the base plug in.

¡°As the base plug is well-fitted clip-in plug, it is very difficult to take once inserted.¡±

¡®Wider market¡¯

Gough also said that the new product was self-assembly, which made it open to a ¡°much wider market¡±.

US private equity group buys Dupont bag-in-box arm Liqui-Box

Liqui-Box is headquartered in Worthington, Ohio and supplies bag-in-box packs to the global dairy, drink and bulk food markets.

In particular, it supplies the foodservice industry. The company also produces pouches and rigid plastic water bottles.

Liqui-Box chief executive Roszann Graham said in a statement: ¡°The entire Liqui-Box team is energized to partner with Sterling, who has a proven track record of successfully transitioning unique, speciality businesses like ours to more nimble, stand-alone companies and equipping them for future growth.¡±

Sterling partner Greg Elliott added: ¡°Over the past several years, Liqui-Box has streamlined its operations to focus on its core products. Our focus now is to expand our global footprint, invest in technology and expand our offering.¡±

No financial details of the transaction were made public.

Benchmark Packaging installs Sunpaq line

UK-based Benchmark Packaging has added a Sunpaq line to its Hillington headquarters as part of the company’s expansion in the contract packing sector.

Benchmark managing director Russell Cohen said the solution met all the requirements in terms of display impact and recyclability, with it also having potential across a number of other sectors.

“When we decided to go down the full contract packing route, we wanted to offer the best possible service to our customers and that meant Sunpaq was a packaging option we simply had to have,” he said.

According to Benchmark, Sunpaq has a structural technology, which allows products to be displayed with total visibility, both front and back.

The line can also be used to be hung on pegboards or as stand alone products, and is available in five different styles.

The company stated that with every style, shaped cards can also be used, while the potential exists for left-hand/right-hand complementing product placements that increase shelf density.

Sunpaq is a fully-recyclable blister pack alternative, which combines the blister, skin and shrink packaging solutions for maximum shelf appeal.

Besides Sunpaq, Benchmark’s contract packing service includes automated case assembly, specialist carton and tube packing, automated bottle labelling, shrink sleeving, as well as glass inspection and assembly.