Week in Review

[11 February 2021]

This week we hear of successes across the sector in New Zealand including increases in milk prices, positive results in red meat and seed exports, a peanut trial performing well in Northland, and the unique Kiwano fruit getting a demand boost through social media.

Internationally we see food security continue to be a trend in countries such as Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom with investments in improved self-sufficiency increasing.

Opportunity with AWDT

Agri-Women’s Development Trust Launches ‘Next Level’


Next Level is a six-month leadership and governance development programme empowering aspiring women leaders from across the sector to make positive impact in New Zealand's primary sector and rural communities. Registrations close for Palmerston North on 23rd February and for Hamilton on 2nd March.

You can read more about the opportunity or share with others here.

Spotlight Stories

Food Innovation spotlight


An Eight-Story Fish Farm Will Bring Locally Produced Food to Singapore [09 February, Smithsonian mag]

Apollo Aquaculture Group is building one of the world’s largest vertical fish farms in Singapore. Once completed, the high-tech farm will scale eight stories and produce up to 3,000 tonnes of hybridized grouper, coral trout, and shrimp each year - which will be six times more efficient than established aquaculture operations, according to the spokesperson Crono Lee. The company hopes to become a major contributor to Singapore’s national plan of boosting food security.

Tag: International, Fisheries, Aquaculture

Food Marketing spotlight

spotlight 2

Social media could be boosting sales of exotic kiwano fruit from Te Puke [09 February, Stuff]

Enzed Exotics' kiwano crop has experienced a surge in demand, potentially driven by the influence of social media and its bizarre look. The large egg-like mottled golden fruit is a type of African cucumber, covered in sharp spikes. The exotic fruit has appeared in magazines, Instagram, Tiktok and received high interests from consumers especially in the US. Enzed Exotics normally produce about 135 tonnes of kiwano and most fruit are exported.

Tag: Horticulture, Food Marketing

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Food trends of the future where innovation opportunities are rife [04 February, Food Navigator]

UK artisan chocolate brand Montezuma’s commissioned food anthropologist Caroline Hobkinson to predict food industry trends with a focus on chocolate over the next two decades. Hobkinson’s report shows there are opportunities for delivering products that evoke memories and childhood nostalgia, elevate moods and happiness, relieve stress and improve productivity; while ethics and origin are important as customers increasingly seek healthy and eco-friendly products.

Tag: Food Innovation, Food Marketing          

headline 2

DGCA allows agri dept to fly drones over 100 districts for quickly settling insurance claims  [04 February, Hindustan Times]

"To ensure timely settlements of claims under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved the proposal of Department of Agriculture for flying the drone over 100 districts growing rice and wheat," said Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Agriculture Minister of India. Other technologies such as high Spatial Resolution Satellite data, Biophysical Models, Smart Sampling, CropSnap, IoT, etc. are also being used in this large-scale pilot study.

Tag: Farming Systems, Farmers & Producers, International


HelloFresh NZ grows revenue 143% [05 February, Rural News]

Meal kit company HelloFresh’s revenue has grown by 143% year-on-year, reaching over $51.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Launched in late 2018, HelloFresh NZ delivers fresh ingredients and recipe cards to its customers weekly. Its growing market share in New Zealand is also benefiting local growers and food suppliers, with more than 150 tonnes of fresh produce shipped each week to the company’s Auckland distribution centre.

Tag: Food Marketing

Top stories

Sustainably produced beef patties aim to become 'new normal' [04 February, NZ Herald]

The Ministry for Primary Industries is working with the red meat industry to develop a model for producing beef sustainably across the entire supply chain, and a year-long trial has proven the model’s viability and potential to be scaled up. Sponsored by MPI's Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund, the project brings together key players in the red meat industry with the aim to meet the growing demand for ethically sourced and sustainable products.

Tag: Red Meat, Environment & Emissions, Food Marketing

New Zealand red meat exports reached historic high levels during 2020 [04 February, Voxy]

New Zealand’s red meat exports during 2020 reached a historic high of $9.2 billion, up 1% on the previous year, according to the Meat Industry Association (MIA). Our diverse market portfolio and strong market relationships have helped the industry weather volitionally, and strong global demand for safe and natural high-quality red meat is NZ’s competitive advantage, says MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva.

Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Why open farm days matter [04 February, Farmers Weekly]

Open Farms is a nationwide open farm day providing urban Kiwis with ‘hands in the dirt’ experience, with the aim to tell the story of New Zealand farming and to genuinely connect with people. There is a variety of hosting farms, such as Untamed Earth Farm, River Terrace Dairy, Earthbound Honey Farm and more. Open Farms 2021 has been open for 3 days and received 1100 sign-ups.

Tag: Rural Communities, Farmers & Producers

UK eyes seat at CPTPP table [04 February, Farmers Weekly]

The UK has signalled its intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive TransPacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement, which includes NZ and 10 other Pacific Rim countries. The Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) chair Malcolm Bailey says it signalled Britain’s interest in advancing global trade liberalisation, but this should not detract from future market access offers in its talks with NZ.

Tag: Trade & Exports, Internationalns

Seed exports looking good [04 February, Farmers Weekly]

New Zealand seed exports increased by 4.6% last year to a record $250 million, according to Statistics NZ’s latest data. Pasture seed and vegetable seed were the key categories among more than 30 different seed types exported internationally NZ Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) general manager Thomas Chin says.

Tag: Arable, Trade & Exports

Fonterra hikes forecast milk price [03 February, Farmers Weekly]

After a 1.8% rise in the latest GDT price index, Fonterra Co-operative Group has raised its forecast milk price to $6.90-$7.50/kgMS, up from $6.70-$7.30/kgMS. With the $7.20/kgMS midpoint, Fonterra will pay its suppliers $10.98 billion if its forecast production of 1.53 million kgMS holds. The upgraded prices are driven by strong demand from China and South-East Asia, chief executive Miles Hurrell said.

Tag: Dairy, Farmers & Producers, Trade & Exports

Kiwi research on infant milk powder colour goes global [03 February, Rural News]

Wintec science student Rehana Ponnal’s research on infant milk powder colour was published in the International Dairy Journal late last year. The research was done during her work placement at Fonterra Co-operative Group, which tested the effectiveness of using a colorimeter, as compared to more subjective tools like colour charts, to measure the colour of baby milk powder and address consistency issues.

Tag: Research & Development, Dairy

New crops show promise in the north [04 February, Farmers Weekly]

Pic’s Peanut Butter has sponsored trials of growing peanuts on New Zealand farms, along with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Food & Fibres Fund and management from Plant & Food Research. The company plans to replace some or all of its imported nuts with locally grown supplies if the trial proves viable, says the founder Pic Picot.

Tag: Arable, Research & Development

Open Country records another lift in profits [04 February, Farmers Weekly]

NZ’s second-largest dairy processor Open Country Dairy has recorded another lift in profit for the year ended September with $1.6 billion revenue, up from $1.4b the previous year; and $67.6 million net profit after tax, up from $31.4 million previously. Open Country says the increase in profit helped weather uncertainties of Covid-19 but it remains cautious about the future.

Tag: Dairy  

40% of firms’ environmental claims could be misleading [05 February, Food Navigator]

An investigation by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) shows 40% of the promoting websites observed appeared to be using ‘greenwashing’ tactics such as vague claims, unaccredited eco logos and omitting certain information. The European Commission also found a growing trend of greenwashing as consumers increasingly seek to buy environmentally friendly products.

Tag: Food Marketing, International     

Pandemic fails to slow agribusiness’s thirst for Cerrado’s [05 February, News Mongbay]

The Brazilian state of Bahia government authorized agribusinesses to collect nearly 2 billion litres of water a day between April and November 2020, despite conflicting views on water management in the country. Tensions over water management had sparked a popular movement “Water Uprising” by small farmers in 2017 aimed at protecting the Cerrado’s water resources as large-scale irrigations pose a major threat to traditional communities.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, International, Water               

Arsenic, toxic metals found in baby food including Walmart, Gerber, Beech-Nut brands, according to new report [04 February, USA Today]

A congressional investigation has found levels of toxic metals that can harm brain development in many popular baby foods, including Walmart, Gerber, Beech-Nut and other four brands. The report found instances where manufacturers set internal standards but still sold foods that exceeded them; also instances where manufacturers tested ingredients but not final products, although toxic metal levels might be higher in finished products.

Tag: Food safety, Food security, International

UK government to issue new code of conduct for dairy supply chain [04 February, Food Navigator]

The UK Government and Devolved Administrations have published their response to last year’s consultation seeking views from dairy farmers and processors on the improvement of contracts and relationships to ensure fair treatment across the UK’s dairy sector. Responses demonstrated the need to introduce new regulations requiring certain standards for contracts between the producers and processors, as imbalances of power were believed to be causing instability for dairy farmers.

Tag: Dairy, International         

Ensuring Singapore's food security despite the odds [05 February, Today Online]

The small city-state Singapore has over 90% of its food imported, which faces increased risk of disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To secure a supply of safe food, the country has been planning for long-term food security through the Singapore Food Agency’s (SFA) strategy of “three food baskets” - diversifying food sources, growing locally and growing overseas.

Tag: Food security, International        

New alternative protein developed from edible mushrooms growing on legumes and grains [04 February, Food Navigator]

Israeli start-up Kinoko-Tech is developing new alternative protein products from fungi-based fermentation. Kinoko-Tech CEO Jasmin Ravid says mycelium improves the nutritional value of the legume mixture while the fermentation process alters the product’s amino acids composition to provide all nine essential amino acids required for the construction of muscle tissues in our bodies. The start-up will follow a B2B model selling its ingredients to food manufacturers and into foodservice.

Tag: Alternative Proteins, Food Innovation, International

U.S. farmers eye range of good planting options after biggest grains rally in years [10 February, Reuters]

US farmers are expecting 2021 to be a profitable season as grains have rallied to their highest in years. Corn futures are at the highest since June 2013 and soybean futures are at its highest since June 2014. Global food inflation is driven up by the tightening food supplies worldwide, with rising demand from China as well as governments looking to build food stocks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tag: International, Arable, Trade & Exports

Council to bill farmers for $155-an-hour environment officer to keep tabs on them [09 February, Stuff]

The government looks to improve water quality under the National Environmental Standard for freshwater in part by increasing farm monitoring. A report presented to the Marlborough District Council's environment committee says the costs of supervising the new freshwater standards have to be paid by either farmers or all ratepayers; and proposed billing farmers $155 per hour for an environmental protection officer or $103 per hour for a “student” officer.

Tag: Policy and regulation, Environment & Emissions, Farmers & Producers

Local methane inhibitor trial underway [10 February, Rural News]

Fonterra Co-operative Group is backing the trail of a new methane inhibitor to see its effectiveness in New Zealand’s grass-feed farming system. Developed by DSM, Bovaer is a feed additive for cows that has reduced dairy methane emissions by over 30% in non-pasture-based systems oversea. Fonterra sees Bovaer as an opportunity to further accelerate NZ’s global leadership in low-carbon dairy products.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Dairy

Food hardship in NZ children's early years revealed in study [10 February, RNZ]

A study of 6000 children reveals nearly half of all families struggled to afford healthy food during the first year of having their babies. The study established a link between food hardship and poorer nutrition, with children in families using foodbanks 45% more likely to have tried unhealthy food and drink in infancy. "The health implications of that are quite worrying because children at this age are setting their food preferences for life," lead researcher Dr Sarah Gerritsen said.

Tag: Food security     

Australians curious about potential of synthetic biology [09 February, NZ Herald]

A survey by CSIRO found Australians are broadly positive regarding the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology includes genetic engineering and gene editing to modify and redesign biological systems and living organisms. The technology can help researchers develop novel tools to address some national challenges, such as managing invasive pest species to improve biodiversity, reducing pollution in waterways, and reducing mosquito-borne diseases.

Tag: Research & Development, Policy and regulation

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