In operation for about 18 months, the Foodbowl is a superb facility, supporting New Zealand’s food and beverage product innovators, offering them access to food processing equipment to help them develop food products for local and export markets.
At yesterday’s Foodbowl Open Day it was impressive to see the food processing equipment on display, from extrusion machines to pressure and temperature treatments, freeze-drying, and automated packaging lines.
High-tech case-packing ‘hawk’ robots from RML Engineering of Hamilton were operating in demonstration mode. I understand these are the robotos used by Fonterra to pack thousands of cartons of yoghurt trays and other dairy products.
Perhaps more immediately useful to food & beverage businesses exploring export opportunities are Foodbowl’s packaging capabilities.
Beverage products and food oils are often bottled in glass for retail sale. But for export, glass containers add complexity and cost to the distribution chain. In some cases the use of glass bottles can be a major barrier to export success, particularly when attempting to exploit the e-commerce opportunities opened up by World Wide Access. Non-glass packaging is needed.
The challenge can be how to identify alternative non-glass packaging suitable for export, and to produce test-marketing quantities without having to make major capital commitments to equipment or large production runs. The Foodbowl could be just the place to help overcome this challenge. They offer expertise in the options available and access to packaging equipment for short-run production.
LinkPlas were showing their range of P.E.T. bottles and containers, which could be good options for food & beverage products being packaged for export. These are the bottles used for in-flight wine service and for oils and sauces.
Flow wrap might be an alternative for some products, and the Foodbowl has available flow wrap machines including one from Italdibipack being demonstrated packaging pastries by its supplier Accolade Packaging.
Accolade were also demonstrating a Linapack pouch packaging machine. Pouch packages for foods, sauces and soups are becoming more and more common in our supermarkets, and are another good option suitable for export distribution.
Adhesif were showing a selection of products branded with their labels, which looked a good combination with the various packaging options on show.
The Foodbowl, 28 Verissimo Drive, Mangere, close to Auckland International Airport.