Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How Virtual Reality May Revolutionize The Food & Beverage Industry


Google Cardboard branded VR headsets
As the expression goes, virtual reality, or VR, has been around the block a couple of times in the last twenty years or so, making a comeback early this decade thanks largely to the gaming industry.

While VR has been defined by gaming in the past, that may change in the future. According to Prateek Jose writing in SnapMunk late last year, “Despite being perceived mostly as an accessory to gaming consoles, virtual reality is an extremely versatile piece of technology. Some early adopters in different industries have shown that it can be used for more than just a novel gaming experience. These implementations may just be what it takes to carry VR into the next stage of its development.”

Early adopters in the food and beverage space are indicative of the kinds of consumer driven VR applications one may see in the future.

Brooke Linville, CEO of IonVR
Accoding to Brooke Linville, CEO of VR headset startup IonVR interviewed at her company's exhibit at CES 2016, “A lot of people talk about games, entertainment, you know the mass part of most cases, but virtual reality is far beyond those experiences. What we are talking about is in the enterprise space and even in the consumer space. How this can apply to retail, how it’s going to apply to food manufacturers, beverage makers, all kinds of interesting applications…We had one guy talk to us about a jerky company who used a virtual reality experience to help sell most of his jerky…he went to a trade show and because virtual reality is such a cool exciting space, he landed a huge food contract because of the experience he offered at the trade show booth.”

Gail Barnes, Brooke Linville, Ben Mann at CES
Read the rest of this article in SnapMunk.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Got milk? Smart fridge and app mean you’ll never run out again!


The Internet Of Things and smart appliances are big at this year’s CES Consumer Electronics Show, which has just ended in Las Vegas. There are internet connected coffee makers, toasters, and ovens all designed to make consumers’ lives easier by letting them manage everything from their mobile phones.

Upping the ante on smart connected appliances, MasterCard and Samsung announced a partnership which will let people buy groceries directly from their fridges! 

Samsung’s new Family Hub refrigerator comes with an Internet enabled screen that people can use to order their groceries through a MasterCard app.

Read the full article on FoodBev here.


‘Virtual reality gets real for food and beverage'







The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which ended last week in Las Vegas, could be described as the show at which virtual reality (VR) got real.

While motion sickness remains a non-trivial issue for some VR technology suppliers to address, technology like Intel and IonVR’s MotionSync provides a high-quality mobile VR experience using hardware that will work with any VR-compatible mobile device – important from a consumer experience perspective as well as by providing a price point that more businesses and consumers can afford.

Below are some predictions regarding the application of virtual reality (VR) in the food and beverage space, and some examples of pioneering VR work already being done:

1. In what could be described as the most basic application of VR, beyond the conference or video call, food and beverage manufacturers can use VR for enhanced communication between facilities in geographically diverse locations, from day-to-day interaction to special projects and of course, training.

2. When building new facilities or commissioning new equipment, VR could be used for a smoother design-build process, for example when integrating new packaging and processing equipment into a facility or when building and commissioning a new facility.

3. Through VR, the learning opportunities offered by reference plant and site visits become a possibility for many more suppliers’ customers as the constraints of time to travel and cost of travel are removed.

4. VR could assist in food safety and environmental monitoring and quality control, through enhanced training of staff and also in helping personnel in preparing for audits.

Find out my other predictions by clicking here and reading on.

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. 


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