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Lassonde Acquires U.S. Manufacturer

From: Food in Canada

Rougemont, Que. – Lassonde Industries Inc. has acquired a U.S.-based beverage processor for US$146 million.

Lassonde says in a statement that the company it acquired is Old Orchard Brands LLC, a family owned juice and beverage company based in Sparta, Mich.

Pierre-Paul Lassonde, chairman of the board and CEO of Lassonde, says in the statement that the acquisition will “strengthen our presence in the U.S. national brands sector,” and it fits well in the company’s “growth strategy and improves [Lassonde’s] position in the U.S.”

The acquisition also means an improved footprint for Lassonde in the midwestern U.S., and access to a production line for frozen concentrated products.

Old Orchard Brands was founded in 1985 by fourth-generation growers, Mark and Lisa Saur, and is still today a family owned operation. The company manufactures more than 100 bottled and frozen juice products available across the U.S. and around the world. It employs 100 people.

The statement says Old Orchard Brands had sales of US$103.3 million in 2017.

Lassonde manufactures ready-to-drink fruit and vegetable juices and drinks marketed under brands such as Apple & Eve, Everfresh, Fairlee, Fruité, Graves, Oasis, and Rougemont. The company has 14 plants across Canada and the U.S. and employs 2,100 people.

Highly Sweetened Alcoholic Beverages Need Restrictions: Health Canada

From: Food in Canada

Ottawa – The federal government is taking action to protect the health of Canadian youth from the risks of consuming single-serve, highly sweetened alcoholic beverages.

In a statement, Health Canada says the beverages, which can have alcohol content of between 7% and 12%, “are sold in large-volume, non-resealable containers, have colourful packaging, are inexpensive and are aggressively marketed in a manner that appeals to youth.”

In some cases, says Health Canada, these products can contain as much alcohol as four glasses of wine. Also, because they are so strongly flavoured and high in sugar or sweeteners, people often don’t realize how much alcohol they’re consuming.

Action steps

Health Canada plans to first take steps to amend the Food and Drug Regulations to restrict the alcohol content of these beverages.

Health Canada says its proposal for consultation, which is explained in a Notice of Intent (NOI), “aims to restrict the amount of alcohol in single-serve, highly sweetened alcoholic beverages by limiting the maximum size of the container or the alcohol content of the product.”

The proposal will affect all high-alcohol beverages sold in non-resealable containers that exceed a certain sweetness threshold, including ones that use artificial sweeteners, says the statement.

Health Canada adds that all parties that have a stake in the change can provide feedback on the NOI by May 3, 2018.

In the coming weeks, Health Canada says it also plans to hold a meeting of provincial and territorial governments, and industry stakeholders “to discuss collective measures, including on advertising, marketing and labelling, to reduce the risks of these products.”

The statement adds that the proposal does not include liqueurs, dessert wines and other sweet alcoholic beverages sold in resealable containers.

To read the Notice of Intent, click here.

Conestoga College Job Fair 2018

March 22, 2018

On March 21st, Conestoga College held their annual Job Fair in the Cambridge Campus Atrium. This event gives students the opportunity to network with a variety of different employers who are actively recruiting for full-time, co-op and summer positions for trades and apprenticeships. As one of the employers invited, Tri-Mach Group of Companies met with many enthusiastic students who brought forward insightful questions about our group of companies and millwrighting as a career.

On behalf of the Tri-Mach Group of Companies, we would like to take this opportunity to thank @ConestogaCollege for inviting us to attend as well as all of the students that participated in this highly successful event. Thank you to those who stopped by our booth – Tri-Mach Group of Companies would like to wish the best of luck to all of the future millwrights, welders and fabricators who apply for positions.

Visit www.conestogac.on.ca for more information about their programs and courses. 

We’re hiring!

Tri-Mach Group and Advance Millwrights are currently seeking passionate individuals for full-time licensed millwright positions. Individuals that are interested are invited to apply to resumes@tri-mach.com

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.

Manitoba Entrepreneurs Gathered for a Special Food Fight

From: Food in Canada

Winnipeg – Several food entrepreneurs gathered at a specialty shop gearing up for a fight. A food fight, that is. But not just any food fight. De Luca’s specialty grocery store was home to the Great Manitoba Food Fight in late September. In a press release, the Manitoba government explains that the competition is “open to companies that have developed but not fully commercialized a new food or beverage product.” The Food Fight  is presented by De Luca’s and Food & Beverage Manitoba. This year, four companies received awards to help them get their products out in the marketplace.

The winners were:

• Tall Grass Dill Pickle Vodka, from Capital K Distillery in Winnipeg, won the inaugural craft beer and spirit competition. Owner Jason Kang received a prize packaged valued at approximately $5,000.

• Little Bones, from Little Bones Wings in Winnipeg, won Gold in the food category. Owner Alex Goertzen received a prize package valued at approximately $13,000.

• Hemp Macaroons, from Piccola Cucina in Winnipeg, won Silver in the food category. Owner Pina Romolo received a prize package valued at approximately $7,000.

• Bilton and Stokkies, from Mr. Biltong Beef Jerky Company in Winnipeg, won bronze. Owner Jeremy Silcox received a prize package valued at approximately $4,000.

The release says the prize packages “will be tailored to each entrepreneurs’ needs and the expertise and resources needed to help move the product toward commercialization.” Some of the services could include recipe refinement, package design, marketing, workshops, trade shows, business management, food processing, or safety and handling.

The Great Manitoba Food Fight is sponsored by the Manitoba government and Food & Beverage Manitoba in partnership with De Luca’s.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated Acquires Distribution Territories And Manufacturing Facilities

From: Food Manufacturing 

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (the “Company”) announced Monday that it entered into and completed transactions with The Coca-Cola Company to exchange distribution territory previously served by the Company in parts of southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia, southeastern Mississippi, northwestern Florida and in and around Somerset, Kentucky, and a manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama previously owned by the Company for distribution territory previously served by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. (“CCR”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, in parts of Arkansas and two manufacturing facilities previously owned by CCR in Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas, and to acquire additional distribution territory previously served by CCR in and around Memphis, Tennessee, including in portions of northwestern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas.

As part of the transactions, the Company acquired exclusive distribution rights in territory that includes the following major markets: Little Rock, West Memphis and southern Arkansas; and Memphis, Tennessee. The Company relinquished distribution rights in territory that includes Mobile, Leroy and Robertsdale, Alabama; Columbus, Sylvester and Bainbridge, Georgia; Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Panama City, Florida; and Somerset, Kentucky. The definitive agreements with CCR include the exchange and acquisition of distribution territory and manufacturing facilities described in the previously-announced letters of intent dated June 14, 2016 and April 11, 2017 between the Company and The Coca-Cola Company.

The Company also announced today that it entered into and completed a transaction with Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. (“United”) to exchange distribution territory previously served by the Company in Florence, Alabama, south-central Tennessee and Laurel, Mississippi for distribution territory previously served by United in Spartanburg and portions of Bluffton, South Carolina. Piedmont Coca-Cola Bottling Partnership (“Piedmont”), a majority owned subsidiary of the Company, also entered into and completed a transaction with United to exchange distribution territory previously served by Piedmont in northeastern Georgia for the remainder of the distribution territory in Bluffton, South Carolina previously served by United. The definitive agreement with United includes the exchange of distribution territory described in the previously-announced letter of intent dated June 14, 2016 between the Company and United.

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.

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.”