Certified food manufacturing specialist celebrates 60 years

Janbak (Aust) PTY LTD

Wednesday, 19 June, 2024

Certified food manufacturing specialist celebrates 60 years

Certified food manufacturing specialist Janbak is celebrating 60 years in operation after recently achieving independence from its parent company Earlee Product. We talk to the current Managing Director, Michael Hamilton, about how the specialised custom blending and down-packing services business has evolved from humble beginnings and its plans for the future.

Founded in 1964 by Baden Cheu, Janbak started out in its infancy producing blended premixes through its own research and development for use in the smallgoods, butchery and bakery sectors. With a team of around 10–15 people, the business has evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of the food industry; however, its focus on quality, support and flexibility remains unchanged.

Janbak went through many hands after it was sold by Cheu until it was acquired by Earlee Products in 2012. Hamilton said the business at that time was set up to provide specialised support focused around high-value/low-volume food products in order to take advantage of a growing gap in the food manufacturer sector. The scope of the business then grew to include down-packing support for pack sizes below 20 kg that involved a variety of packaging formats, from jars to stand-up pouches (Doypacks) and sachets. “I grew up around high-level manufacturing systems and it wasn’t long before we realised that we were not only a player in this specialised space but we were a high performer,” Hamilton said.

The company then set its sights on achieving accreditation, with food safety and quality SQF Certification along with organic certification Australian Certified Organic (ACO) followed by Kosher and Halal. “Janbak has always delivered highly during audit processes, right from the beginning, because we ran systems akin to these before applying for accreditation,” Hamilton said.

The main capabilities of the business now include:

  • a range of batch and pack sizes
  • R&D support
  • paper sack/SUP/jar packing
  • sachet packing
  • liquid blending and decanting
  • its own bakery, health and wellness products.

“By providing R&D support we have found that Janbak can encourage and enable our customers to take their product from concept to commercialisation. With our flexible approach and small run sizes, the opportunities are endless,” Hamilton said.

“But the support doesn’t stop there,” he said. “Our customers continue to receive technical updates on new methods and technologies through our network of suppliers and business partners, cultivated over the last 60 years. The R&D process never stops and as good food scientists we must continue to monitor what products and processes are being phased out and what trends are sustainable. By providing these insights to our customers they can stay one step ahead of the rest of their market.”

The discovery process

Janbak aligns its services to meet its customers’ requirements and then goes further by unlocking the vision that the food manufacturer has for its products and business by providing flexibility.Janbak’s long history in the food industry and its vast know-how of experience can be used for the advantage of medium- to large-sized food manufacturers, with services including short-term and bespoke projects. By using Janbak’s facility and SQF program, food manufacturers can trial seasonal product development without the risk of corrupting their supply and production chains.

A Janbak spokesperson pointed out: “... if you aren’t trying new products you are standing still [and] that’s a great way to fall behind your competitors”.

Hamilton said the company works with a wide variety of businesses, with varying size, applications and requirements. “Whether it’s a start-up business or a mature national company, there always seems to be a need for support that can be flexible and reliable and maintain quality standards. By having blending equipment that provides efficient 100 to 1000 kg batch sizes, anyone can come and play and hopefully find a new home with our experienced team of operators.

“One of our biggest customers from 2012 was a family-owned national business that in the last few years became part of a world-renowned market leader in frozen desserts. Their products use expensive and sensitive ingredients to produce high quality foods. By continuing the relationship with Janbak they have a reliable production base for hundreds of tons of powdered premixes per year as well as having the flexibility to provide products for specific seasons, promotional periods and large manufacturing trials.”

Janbak also provides sachet packing as well as liquid blending and decanting services, all designed to support small- to medium-sized businesses.

“By offering short runs our customers are able to create and test concepts they otherwise can’t create themselves, even with a sachet packing specialist. This opens the door for a range of possibilities for businesses that want to try new things.”

Back to the future

With a long history of supplying food manufacturers and foodservice businesses, Janbak has seen a trend emerge in the past few years — ‘boutique’ operators who require very niche services. While the products being created may not take over the world, they do have a place Hamilton said.

“Products like bone broth powders, various collagen powders and nutraceuticals have taken to the market and are enjoying the shift in customer desires, even under the weight of inflation. These are not high-volume products but they are high-value, so they need a manufacturer that ticks all the certification boxes and keeps wastage to a minimum; but most importantly, they need a one-stop shop to get each package ready for sale on the shelf.

“Minimising the cost incurred by transport was always a worthwhile exercise, but with huge increases in transport cost it’s become a part of survival. By providing our customers with raw material and packaging purchasing power, custom blending and packing — and most importantly in the circumstances — shelf-ready products, we minimise cost.”

60 years ago you could get any pack size you wanted as long as it was 25 kg, jokes Hamilton, but now “our customers can get exactly what they want, when they need it”.

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