September's top stories: PureCircle to build stevia production plant, Cargill's JV with Japfa unit

PureCircle has revealed plans to construct a new processing plant to increase production capacity of stevia leaf extract, and Cargill entered into joint venture with Japfa subsidiary So Good Food to produce cooked poultry products in Indonesia. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up key headlines from September 2016.


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PureCircle to build new processing plant to double production

Malaysian natural sweetener company PureCircle revealed plans to construct a new processing plant to increase the production capacity of stevia leaf extract.

The new plant will also have a line specifically for the Zeta Family of ingredients.

The Zeta ingredients contain steviol glycosides, such as Reb M, which has a sugar-like taste, allowing for calorie reductions.

PureCircle chief commercial officer Jason Hecker said: "The demand for PureCircle's Zeta ingredients has grown exponentially.

This plant will allow us to support the stevia industry in a way that is unmatched by other suppliers.

Arla develops new suite of protein and calcium-rich snack solutions for kids

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Danish whey ingredient producer Arla Foods Ingredients developed a new suite of protein and calcium-rich snacking solutions to enable manufacturers to create snacks for children.

The company claims that its new products offer a healthier alternative to chocolate bars and other popular children’s snacks.

Arla Foods Ingredients customer marketing manager Kasia Lindegaard said: “When they are given the choice, most kids will choose snacks that are fatty and sugary because they prefer the taste.

“The challenge for parents, therefore, is to buy and offer them healthier products they will still enjoy but which are better for them.

Cargill partners with Japfa for poultry products in Indonesia

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US-based Cargill entered a 60:40 joint venture (JV) with agri-business Japfa subsidiary So Good Food to produce and supply cooked poultry products in Indonesia.

The strategic partnership will leverage Cargill’s broad industry expertise to boost So Good Food’s capabilities in consumer food processing technologies, product innovation and quality assurance. Both companies plan to develop and produce a new range of consumer food products.

Japfa chief executive officer Tan Yong Nang said: “To be selected as Cargill’s JV partner is testament of Japfa’s high-quality, food safety and welfare standards.

"We look forward to strengthening our capabilities and know-how with Cargill’s broad industry expertise, and deliver even better quality chicken products.”

In addition to toll manufacturing for So Good Food, the Cahaya Gunung Foods (CGF) JV will be supplying products to quick-service restaurants, hotels, restaurants and the food service sector, as well as convenience stores and petrol kiosks in Indonesia.

Ireland’s Ornua opens Kerrygold Park butter production and packing facility

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Irish agri-food co-operative Ornua officially opened Kerrygold Park, a €38m butter production and packing facility in Mitchelstown, County Cork.

The new production facility will annually produce nearly 50,000t of butter. The company initially plans to employ 65 people.

Ornua CEO Kevin Lane said: “The opening of Kerrygold Park marks a special day for Ireland’s dairy industry.

"The quality of Irish milk is exceptional.

"From the fields to the processors, the success of Kerrygold is based on the outstanding quality of the milk and cream that goes into it.

VersaCold gets approval to export meat to China

Canadian supply chain solutions company VersaCold secured approval to export meat products to China.

In the past two years, the company obtained approval for three of its refrigerated warehousing facilities and now has a total of ten approved facilities in Canada.

VersaCold president and CEO Douglas Harrison said: “We have spent several years focused on enhancing many of our services, offerings and expertise in order to best support our customer's and the industry's evolving and complex needs in both the local and global marketplace.

Progresso to use antibiotic and hormone-free chicken breasts in all chicken soup varieties

Progresso, a US-based food company that produces canned soups and other food products, will use 100% antibiotic and hormone free chicken breasts in all of its 36 chicken soup varieties.

The American canned soup producer is claimed to have become the first soup brand in the US to use antibiotic and hormone free chicken breasts in its soups.

Progresso marketing director Ray Joncas said: “Our purpose and passion is to make great soup just like you’d make it at home. In an effort to continually raise our quality standards, we listen to our consumers.

Investors urge food companies to shift from meat to plant-based sources of protein

A coalition of 40 investors managing $1.25tn in assets initiated a campaign to encourage 16 food companies worldwide to seek new ways to source protein for their products in order to reduce environmental and health risks.

Highlighting the material risks posed by industrial animal production, the group has urged food companies to identify their plans to respond to these risks and set strategies to diversify into plant-based sources of protein.

Among the 40 institutional investors include Swedish state pension funds AP2, AP3 and AP4; Aviva Investors; Boston Common; Coller Capital; Folksam; Nordea and Robeco.

Capilano launches Australia’s first prebiotic honey

Australia-based honey manufacturer Capilano launched Beeotic, the world’s first clinically tested prebiotic honey.

Launched by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Beeotic will be retailed across Australian supermarkets and pharmacies.

Capilano is also planning to introduce its product in the Chinese market.

Palaszczuk said: “Capilano’s timing in targeting the Asian market is perfect, this economy is growing at a phenomenal rate and by the year 2030, it’s predicted Asia will account for two-thirds of the world’s middle-class.

Nature’s Path acquires 51% stake in Gorilly Goods

North American organic breakfast company Nature’s Path acquired a 51% stake in Wisconsin-based snack manufacturer Gorilly Goods.

The acquisition represents the former's growth plan to go beyond new product development.

In 2012, Nature’s Path acquired Que Pasa organic and non-GMO tortilla chips and salsa, and took over Country Choice Organics last year.

Nature’s Path co-CEO and co-founder Arran Stephens said: “The first taste I had of Gorilly Goods I wanted more of it. It was simply delicious and there is nothing else like it.

China lifts ban on pork imports from Italy

The Government of China lifted the 17-year-old ban on imports of Italian fresh pork.

Italian pork was banned in China in 1999, over concerns of swine vesicular disease. Italy’s food and agriculture ministry has welcomed the latest move by China.

The European country added that the regions supplying pork, including Liguria, Piedmont and Lombardy are completely free of swine vesicular disease. These regions contribute to 80% of pork production in Itay.