By Greg Robertson, Food Technology Publisher
When I started my plans for covering the ever-impressive Anuga FoodTec trade show in Germany, I envisaged reporting on some of the very latest trends within the European food processing market.
That will happen, later.
But after racking more than 40,000km in the air via Hong Kong and Singapore, in excess of 50,000 steps per day on the FitBit, and having my eyes blown wide open by the 1700 exhibitors that spanned some 500,000 cubic feet in space, all the numbers boiled down to ‘2’. That was the number – in total – of Kiwi companies exhibiting at the show.Yes, Milmeq and Cuddon Freeze Dry did the Kiwi flag proud and they took their companies’ offerings to the world and European stages (Nb: Cuddon Freeze Dry is a division of Cuddon Limited that also includes 80-year-old-this-year Cuddon Engineering).You may wonder, ‘why?’, perhaps thinking about your own business operation and how the addition of an international show of this magnitude could impact on your agenda – all simply too much effort? But, as Milmeq’s Mike Lee and Cuddon’s John Cuddon explain, opportunity is plenty… and that’s why.
Milmeq specialises in automatic carton chilling and freezing systems for meat, poultry and dairy processors around the world.
“Forty years ago Milmeq pioneered the introduction of automatic chilling and freezing tunnels to the meat and dairy industries, and today our tunnels are recognised worldwide for their performance and reliability. In the 1980s we introduced large scale plate freezers to the meat industry. With the ability to halve freezing times, our plate freezers have revolutionised freezing operations for processors in Australasia and we are now seeing interest in them around the world,” Lee says.
From a Milmeq perspective, in Australia, New Zealand and other regions the company has seen automation happening particularly in the chilling and freezing space.
“We operate in both the meat and dairy sector. In dairy, we have clearly seen automation progressively occur over the past 20 years, backed by some major investment, and we see meat progressively moving through an automation process too.”
Lee says the move to automation is being driven by significant labour shortages that are restricting abilities to grow and run business, as well as the obvious return on capital when you have streamlined a business.
“So, I guess if you look at Europe, that’s what is happening there, just like the dairy industry in New Zealand. And these early adopters are now picking up from this transition and entering the next phase (from a very manual operation that involved labour challenges, product damage, multiple handling and product consistency challenges).
“We have nine installations in Europe now in the two sectors – these companies are finding changes in their operations as they are putting in automatic chilling and freezing systems – the next evolution will be going into automated storage and retrieval.”
Milmeq was at Anuga because the company recognises opportunity.
Cuddon has been a trade show “junkie” for the past 20 years, and in that time has gained significant business internationally by attending more than 40 shows.
Cuddon says that the company has been on the trade show circuit for one reason. “They create sales. If you can continue to go to the same trade shows, the opportunity and business create improves exponentially.
“We are an international company and sell all around the world,” Cuddon says. “Trade shows have played a major part in that.”
Dryers are exported world-wide as turnkey projects and supported by a solid networks and online control system support.
“We have been developing and manufacturing freeze drying equipment since 1963. With more than 50 years’ experience and expert consideration of all the factors necessary for optimum freeze drying results, our products are highly respected around the world.”
With more than 300 freeze dryers installed worldwide and more than 40 years’ experience, Cuddon’s freeze drying equipment is used in a wide range of industries including food and dairy, with the latest trip to Europe opening up business within the strawberry market. “If you don’t attend shows or travel, you are missing out on so much opportunity. It’s definitely been a staple of what we do at Cuddon,” he says.
Cuddon and Milmeq are great examples of Kiwi companies getting among it and experiencing growth beyond our shores. What’s your excuse?