Monthly Archives: May 2009

Connoisseurs Help Themselves

Burglars have stolen $250,000 worth of fine wine and spirits from an Auckland retailer’s warehouse.


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(click image for full story online)


Amongst other products they chose a 3-litre magnum bottle of 1995 Dom Perignon with white gold plating and valued at $14,500, several bottles of cognac valued at $4000 each and bottles of champagne valued at more than $8000.


Jatropha’s Failure as a Biodiesel Feedstock Opens Opportunities in Rural Electrification

Only a few years ago Jatropha was considered to be the wonder biodiesel feedstock suitable for production by small scale farmers in poor soils and arid countries. It has not lived up to the hype and it will be years before it can compete agronomically with soya and it is not scalable to the refining industry’s needs under small scale farming. Small scale rural farmers are more easily integrated into Jatropha based electrification in underdeveloped rural areas.


The Jatropha Spin

Jatropha curcas, also known as the Physic nut, is a perennial poisonous shrub. It is an uncultivated non-food wild-species that grows easily in hedges and scattered around homesteads. It was spread from Central America to Africa by Portuguese traders who introduced it as a hedge material and a source of oil for light. Continue reading

Fruit Export Supply Chain / Rent a Bakkie vs Logistics

I think we all know that we can’t just look at our own little bit of the world and hope to be able to be competitive. Out of this comes the Supply Chain concept which I often find is used as a catch word in discussions / articles but isn’t often comprehensive or well defined.

This article of a South Africa / Netherlands fruit value chain project is maybe more informative than most.


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from: Wageningen UR Frontis Series
(click image for full story online)


A bit more on the way we use catch words and jargon. Well known in South Africa was a company called Rent a Bakkie, whose name defined its activity totally which was the renting of light delivery vehicles. While looking for someone to transport a frozen food I got the number for Value Logistics. Suitably impressed I phoned them and got the telephonist who answered “Rent a Bakkie, can we help”.

There are a number of articles focussing on new processes at, that make interesting reading.

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While these articles are interesting its also worth your while to bookmark this site, subscribe to its feeds and even join up for their monthly electronic journal – all for free!

The Future of Food Processing: Mixing at the Speed of Sound

The Future of Food Processing: A New Way of Dehydrating

The Future of Food Processing: High Pressure Beats the Heat
Food processes promise greener processing, cleaner labels and higher-quality food

Turning up the heat in thermal processing

Controlling Cost of Production

In the current economic conditions, controlling the cost of production becomes important. This simple image just serves to remind us that its not always the most obvious costs that are important.


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from: Food Processing e-reader
(click image for full story online)


This is a simple PI graph of the total cost of ownership of an electric motor in the USA. Energy accounts for 97% of this cost while the original purchase cost represented only 2%.

So in this particular instance, it might be better to switch to more efficient motor if available, which tends to not be what we are thinking of when times are tight! If you were in South Africa it is even more worth considering, because Eskom subsidises the upgrading of motors as part of our electricity savings.

Food Product Based Business Ideas.

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries in the Indian Government runs a webpage titles Project Profiles that links directly or indirectly to product specific business ideas.



from: Ministry of Food Processing Industries
(click image for full story online)


This links to hundreds of mini business plans which cover details of the process, equipment, manpower, utilities, costs etc. Some of the indirect links from the page give more detailed information on projects eg Enterepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad, so its worth surfing around a bit.

These profiles are not directly applicable because they are developed for India, include Indian costs and tend not to be dated. However, they do give good ideas and show clearly the type of information that has to be collected just to think about a product Idea.

Remember India is very successful in the small business sector!