Friday, June 5, 2015

Composting Food For Thought On World Environment Day #WED15

The relationship between dairy packaging and composting is not that obvious because much dairy packaging involves plastics, which currently are not compostable.

In honor of World Environment Day, and to clarify some of the issues around the composting of dairy packaging, and also composting terminology, I wrote an article, "On World Environment Day, think about this: Composting for dairy packaging may becoming sooner than you think" as a guest blog piece for Dairy Foods.

Compostable packaging will figure strongly both with exhibitors as well as with speakers at the IFTAnnual Meeting and the Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit that are coming to Chicago in July, 2015

According to Daphna Nissenbaum the CEO of TIPA, who is a speaker at the Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit, "As more municipalities develop a food waste collection infrastructure for composting, or as cities like New York encourage consumers to take food waste for composting to drop off sites as a part of the NYC Recycles program, the possibility of including compostable flexible packaging with food waste will have a major impact in diverting this type of packaging from landfill."

For brand owners and companies interested in composting the US Composting Council (follow on Twitter @USCompostingCou), offers useful fact sheets and free reports as does the Michigan State Extension (@MSUExtension) and GreenBlue (@GreenBlueorg), an environmental nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society.

The City of New York (@NYCgov), through the NYC Department of Sanitation (@NYCRecycles), oversees NYC’s waste prevention, recycling and composting programs, and offers drop-off sites throughout the five city boroughs as well as a Master ComposterCourse.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Three "Do Not Miss" Conferences For Innovation In Processing, Packaging & Sustainability

From Istanbul, Turkey, through New Orleans, LA and Chicago, IL, if your interest lies in innovation from a processing, packaging or sustainability perspective, these are three conferences that are a "Do Not Miss" this summer.

Global Dairy Congress, 17-18 June, Istanbul, Turkey

The Global Dairy Congress, now in its 8th year, is a two day event incorporating market briefings, conference sessions and FoodBev Media’s annual World Dairy Innovation Awards to be presented at the gala dinner. The Congress will cover a range of key themes for the global dairy industry and provide excellent networking opportunities for industry leaders, suppliers, customers and analysts.

The theme for 2014 is Breaking new ground. The dairy industry has always been convinced of milk’s inherent goodness, but now consumers want even more in products, from pleasure and convenience, to excitement and innovation, alongside value, health and sustainability. The conference aims to open up discussion on meeting the challenge today of breaking new ground for tomorrow.
The event will cover the full range of market developments including global and regional trends, consumer concerns over health and the environment, as well as key areas of innovation.
I will be speaking on the afternoon of the first day on How dairy can deliver against consumers' sustainability expectations. My presentation will cover research that identifies what consumers sustainability expectations are for dairy, and how brand owners can deliver on these - through innovation throughout the value chain, from processing through to packaging and distribution.
When it comes to sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint for liquid dairy products, extended shelf life (ESL) features high on the list of ways to reduce energy consumption as this request from a processor in India on the Linkedin Global Dairy Innovation Networking Group illustrates: 
"We are a dairy start-up in India with a keen focus on providing fresh (un-pasteurized) milk to consumers through a temperature controlled supply chain. In the process the biggest challenge we face is preserving the freshness and taste of milk throughout the supply chain. The options that we have to chill the milk are quite energy intensive and at times inefficient. We would appreciate your suggestions for us to add efficiency and effectiveness to the entire process."
IFT Annual Meeting, 21-24 June, New Orleans, LA

More than 18,000 of the world’s top food science and technology professionals, representing the most prominent organizations in the global food sector, will be in New Orleans to learn about the most recent product, ingredient, and technology developments, and their potential business impact, as well as to identify trends that will shape the industry.
The IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo brings together professionals involved in both the science and the business of food — experts in R&D, product development, and QA/QC, as well as executive management, marketing, procurement, sales, and more — from industry, academia, and government.
I will be the moderator as well as a speaker for a session on Ultraviolet light for food plant safety and ESL applications on June 24.
The session description reads as follows: 
Tom Gallagher, CEO of DMI
"According to Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc., in the coming years, there will be hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in plant infrastructure renewal, often focused on new extended shelf-life (ESL) and aseptic plant capabilities that will bring the right products to consumers. In order for this to happen there needs to be an understanding traditional as well as novel and emerging technologies, e.g. ultraviolet (UV), and also the interrelationships between product processing and sanitary and environmental factors. This session will feature presentations from a research and manufacturing perspective focusing on the role that UV technology can play, with the end result being a comprehensive overview on how to leverage UV applications for quality, food safety as well as shelf life across product categories."

Global Food &Beverage Packaging Summit, 16-17 July, Chicago, IL

This year's event offers an enhanced program with two tracks to bring attendees strategies for marketing and brand differentiation plus technical intelligence to enhance production and engineering. Speakers from top brand owners and packaging companies include Kraft, Pepsico, Target and Tetra Pak.

I will be the Chairperson for the event and will also moderate a panel discussion on July 16 on, "Designing when the package is your only medium." Panelists will include Janet Eaton, Vice President of Strategy & Insight at Kaleidoscope Brand Strategy, Sneha Shah, Global Technical Director for Avery Dennison and Terry Schwartz, Director of Global Design for the Campbell Soup Company.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Processors look for sustainable packages for dairy foods, beverages

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers who expect the products they buy to be produced and packaged in an environmentally responsible way.

Speaking at the 2013 International Dairy Show in Chicago in November last year, EcoFocus Worldwide CEO Linda Gilbert said, “We know that dairy shoppers are rethinking their shopping decisions and making changes and choices that reflect a lifestyle commitment to being environmentally friendly.”

Cary Frye, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association, said that sustainability is playing a big role in the evolution of the dairy sector. “We’re seeing that in packaging, with lighter packaging and more efficient packaging."

The Infini bottle from the UK’s Nampak Plastics exemplifies the kind of lighter and more efficient packaging to
which Frye was referring. The company was awarded the Waste Minimization Award in 2013 and received the
accolade of “Green Product of the Year” at last year’s British Engineering Excellence Awards. In making this award, the judges stated, “The reduction in material used in the Infini bottle is very impressive and will have a significant environmental impact.”

When it comes to making a slimmer milk package, there are generally three ways that this can be done. Read more in the February issue of Dairy Foods, or download a copy here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Making Milk Matter: Reinventing Fluid Milk for Today's Consumer

I was very excited to attend the National Milk Producers Federation and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) Joint Annual Meeting (#JAM13 / #DairyChat / #AgChat) which took place at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ from Nov. 11 - 13.

As I have spent most of my dairy career working on various extended shelf life processing technologies and packaging systems for fluid milk, I was particularly interested to see this statement by Tom Gallagher, the CEO of  DMI in a letter sent to all Annual Meeting attendees, describing the dairy industry's long-term strategy for rejuvenating the category, "As we've sat at the table with dozens of industry leaders, they too have looked at the longer-term issues and have committed to addressing the fundamental inhibitors to and opportunities for growing fluid milk. In the coming years, there will be hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in plant infrastructure renewal, often focused on new extended shelf-life (ESL) and aseptic plant capabilities that will bring the right products to consumers.

Indeed, ESL processed and packaged milk has already begun to play an important role in the dynamics of many dairy markets including the U.S., along with the rapid development of new processing and packaging concepts. However, while thermal processes such as pasteurization, UHT, and sterilization have a long history of use and are well defined by regulators, there is no similar definition of ESL milk products, and the methods that can be used in ESL milk processing operations. 

The lack of clarity in the definition of ESL processing alternatives is what prompted Dr Tatiana Koutchma and I to write an article focusing on various treatments for ESL, and the way in which new non-thermal UV (ultraviolet) treatment can improve the microbiological quality of both raw and pasteurized milk. This article entitled Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products appears in the October issue of the IFT's Food Technology journal. 
The article covers the various types of thermal processing that are available for treatment of milk products to extend storage life of raw and pasteurized milk, as well as  innovative processing technologies such as bactofugation, microfiltration, and turbulent flow UV processing as adjunct treatments before and after pasteurization. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products

Demands for longer shelf life and wider distribution of chilled milk products have resulted in the concept of extended shelf life or ESL milk. ESL milk has begun to play an important role in the dynamics of dairy markets along with the rapid development of new processing and packaging concepts.
The role of UV processing in extending the shelf life of milk.

While thermal processes such as pasteurization, UHT, and sterilization have a long history of use and are well defined by regulators, there is no similar definition of ESL milk products, and the methods that can be used in ESL milk processing operations. This article focuses on various treatments for chilled distribution and the way in which new nonthermal UV (ultraviolet) treatment can improve the microbiological quality of both raw and pasteurized milk.

Ultraviolet or UV photosterilization via turbulent UV technology is one of the promising novel nonthermal adjunct processes that could provide milk processors with a safe, energy-efficient, and cost-effective process to gain an added measure of quality and extended shelf life as compared to pasteurization. Studies from commercially available turbulent UV photosterilization systems such as SurePure have found that UV processing of raw milk can reliably achieve a 3–4 log 10 reduction of initial microbial load measured as standard plate, psychrotrophic, coliform, and thermoduric counts, and extend shelf life up to 14 days.

Shelf Life Enhancement Of Milk Products was co-authored by Tatiana Koutchma, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada and Gail Barnes, Ph.D., a member of IFT and  a Partner at Personify LLC.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Of Sustainability As International Industry Conferences Convene In Chicago

This July could be called the summer of sustainability in Chicago as two major international industry conferences shine the spotlight on sustainability, from ingredients and processing through to packaging.

Sustainability has become an important part of the business for both food manufacturers and ingredients’ suppliers. With an increasing population, reduced land for cultivation and consumers looking for cleaner labels, the challenges faced by the sector are huge. Businesses with sustainability credentials are favored due to this increased awareness with their customers, and consumers.

The IFT International Food Nanoscience Conference takes place from July 12 – 13 at the Hilton Chicago. An 8:30am session on Saturday July 13 entitled, “Emerging Applications for Food System Sustainability” includes my presentation entitled, “UVC Shows Potential for Improving the Quality and Safety of Liquid Dairy Products,” along with presentations by Rajender Varma of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Annette McCarthy and Timothy Duncan of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Susann Bellmann of the TNO and Lacy Simon of the Louisiana State University.

A panel discussion as a part of the scientific sessions at the IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo which takes place at McCormick Place in Chicago from July 13 – 16, is focused on identifying what steps to sustainability are being taken by industry at the present, and what is being done to lead discussions for future sustainable methods to help advance our lives from the farm to the brands we like.

Entitled “On-going efforts by the industry on sustainable practices, and effect on our lives from farm to table,” the panel discussion takes place on Sunday July 14 at 10:30am, and includes presentations by Sudarshan Nadathur and Scott Harris of Givaudan, Cristian Barcan of BASF as well as myself.

I will be focusing on discussing opportunities for energy reduction in milk processing and packaging, and how smart on-line tools are encouraging identification and adoption of energy management best practices in milk processing plants. This presentation has been highlighted by the U.S. Dairy Export Council as one of six dairy related presentations at IFT13.

Produced by Packaging Digest, in association with Plastics Today, The Global Food and Beverage Packaging Summit takes place from July 17 – 18 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, with notable presenters including Denise Lefebvre and Bill Eaton of Pepsico, Mike Okoroafor of H.J. Heinz, Ken Kernes of Procurian, Patrick Finlay of Pepsico / Lipton Partnerships, Jane Chase of the Schwan Food Company, Dennis Young of the MSU School of Packaging and Brendon Gember of the Centre for Sustainability Excellence.

I will be moderating a panel on the first day of the Summit entitled, “Is sustainability in packaging delivering on the goals?” Panelists will include Jim Hanna of the Starbucks Coffee Company, Megan Daum of the Can Manufacturers Institute and Colin Taylor of Uniloy Milacron.

Following the panel, I will also be making a presentation entitled, “Designing for sustainability – Dairy industry case study shows how to get the most product to the consumer with the lowest carbon footprint,” which will include examples from around the world of dairy processors using new materials that lower the carbon footprint of milk packaging.

A video of me speaking with Lisa McTigue Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest, at the 2013 Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit, about some surprising results from a dairy industry life-cycle analysis study, which I covered in my presentation on Day 1 at the conference.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods Lets You Bring Home The British Bacon!!!

Reliving a memory can be fun, but actually eating a memory...ah, that's an order of magnitude of difference on the remembrance scale! I recently had a chance to both take a stroll down memory lane, as well as eat a memory, when I joined Nick Spencer for afternoon tea at Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods in Lake View, IL.

Nick Spencer, owner of Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods.
Growing up and going to university in Natal, South Africa (aka "The last outpost of the British Empire"), we didn't have a Downton Abbey or a Highclere Castle, but we did have a university students' club called the Empire Loyalists, on a campus that we renamed King George Land, with a Governor, and the cherry on the top of the parfait of pomp and pageantry, a venerable lady know as the Dowager Duchess of College.

As the lady-in-waiting to the Dowager Duchess, I spent many a sunny summer's afternoon in full garden party attire (floaty pale dress, hat, lacy white gloves) sipping tea and eating teeny cucumber sandwiches in one of the local parks or botanical gardens. So, as I stepped into Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods, it was like stepping into my past, into a store fashioned after a British country kitchen, where the memories were not just in my mind, but on the shelves all around me.

All the foods that those who long for the classic flavors and tastes of Britain when they move abroad are here: British and Irish cheeses, Granary loaves, Ballymaloe Relish, Yorkshire Chutney, Colman’s mustard, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, McVities, Walkers Shortbread, and joy of joys, Thorntons! 

The Easter Eggs have arrived!
Also in stock, Spencer's famous banger sausages, pork chipolatas, back-bacon, and black and white puddings. The back-bacon has achieved particular acclaim and, has been featured in Zingerman's list of Top Foods of 2010, and in Huffington Post.

Spencer's sells to mainstream and specialty retailers, restaurants, and distributors across the country, and they also take part in Farmers’ Markets in and around Chicago. 

The in-store cafe where Nick and I had afternoon tea goes live to the public on March 20, and the gentlefolk in the Lakeview and Chicagoland area will be able to enjoy a variety of famous British teas along with scones, jams and of course, clotted cream. 

On St Patrick's Day, Sunday 17 March, Nick and Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods will be featured on 190th North at 11.00pm Central on ABC (Channel 7 in the Chicagoland area).

Having experienced how sweet the taste of memories past can be, I have already scheduled my next visit to Spencer’s Jolly Posh Shop. It is situated at 1405 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60613. Their phone number is (312) 415 6919 and hours are, Wed – Fri: 11 am – 7 pm, Sat – Sun: 10 am – 5 pm.

My relationship with Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods is that of lover of afternoon teas, particularly when accompanied by scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. 

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