Week in Review

[25 February 2021]

How much will people pay for premium foods?

A single New Zealand salmon sale at NZ$1700 set a new record this week purchased through online auction. However the rare white truffle takes premium a step further with peak pricing at NZ$80,000/kg and we hear about researchers recent breakthrough for increasing production.

In the booming premium market of health foods, exciting new research is released on antiviral agents contained in New Zealand milk which may be effective against flu species. From a marketing perspective, new international research unveils the power of a name in creating a healthy food brand.

What if we had a Food & Fibre Innovation Fund?

This week Jack Keeys explores the opportunity of launching a New Zealand Food and Fibre Innovation Fund, and how a central organisation could deliver greater clarity to the sector, and our consumers.

Read the full blog article here.

Spotlight Stories

Agri-technology spotlight


Using plasma technology to feed the world [18 February, Phys]

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology with partners in Africa, Germany and Portugal have developed a plasma-powered plant to produce nitrogen-based liquid fertilizer. "The plant is easy to set up, sustainable and very efficient," researcher Fausto Gallucci said. The device has been tested in Uganda, and the next step is to bring the mini-plant to the market for purchase by individuals or villages to support smallholder farmers.

Tag: Agritechnology, Food Innovation, Food security, International

Farm Systems spotlight

spotlight 2

Regenerative ag white paper sets out pressing research priorities [22 February, Rural News]

According to a new white paper, regenerative agriculture has ongoing drive internationally and has potential to drive the transformation of the agri-food system to move New Zealand closer to its goals. A total of 17 priority research topics and 11 principles for regenerative farming in New Zealand was introduced in the white paper entitled ‘Regenerative Agriculture in Aotearoa New Zealand - Research Pathways to Build Science-Based Evidence and National Narratives’. Lead author Dr Gwen Grelet, senior researcher at Manaaki Whenua, says that “although evidence is urgently required, regenerative agriculture potentially has an important role to play in New Zealand”.

Tag: Farming Systems, Farming & Producers, Research & Development

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Bay Area-based Air Protein makes “meat” from thin air using space-age science [21 February, Mercury News]

A Berkeley-based alternative protein technology start-up, Air Protein, has received $32 million of Series A funding from investors such as ADM Ventures, Barclays and GV. The focus of the start-up is on fermentation technology which transforms CO2 from the air into a complete edible protein. According to a report by Good Food Institute, during the first seven months of 2020, $1.5 billion was invested in companies making alternative meat and $435 million of that was for those using fermentation.

Tag: Food Innovation, Alternative Proteins, Environment & Emissions

headline 2

Russia reports world's first case of human infection with H5N8 bird flu [21 February, Reuters]

Russia has identified the world’s first case of human infection with the H5N8 strain of bird flu. Outbreaks of this strain amongst poultry have been reported in several countries such as Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and North Africa. From the World Health Organisation’s exchange of emails, it mentions that the preliminary information indicates that the reported cases were workers exposed to bird flocks. Siberia’s Vector Institute said on Saturday it would start developing human tests and a vaccine against H5N8, RIA news agency reported.

Tag: International, Food Security


Milk packs punch against flu [22 February, Farmers Weekly]

New research found a protein-based ingredient, Immune Defence Proteins (IDP), from milk can be an effective antiviral agent against Influenza A, a virus commonly implicated with flu occurrences. The study is commissioned by New Zealand company Quantec and completed by an independent US laboratory. Quantec founder Dr Rod Claycomb says the next step will be to test IDP on more viruses including Covid-19 and to begin clinical trials on humans in 2021.

Tag: Dairy, Research & Development, Food Marketing

Top stories

Meat markets evolve [19 February, Farmers Weekly]

Increased worldwide demand for meat in retail markets forces suppliers to have a “guarantee 365-day supply” according to the Alliance group global sales manager, Shane Kingston. He states that a challenge for exporters will be that “retail and in-home dining will be a larger proportion of sales than it was previously”. The US online grocery turnover grew from NZ$1.7 billion in 2019 to NZ$10 billion in 2020. Therefore, meat markets must change supply logistics and require more out of season livestock to adapt to its larger retail presence. 

Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Want to create a healthy food brand? It’s all in the name [18 February, Food Navigator]

Researchers from Miyagi University in Japan and Oxford University in the UK show that a brand’s name has a significant influence on the perception of it being healthy. Phonemic sounds with higher frequencies (e.g. f, s, i, e) are perceived to be healthier as opposed to lower frequencies (e.g. b, d, g, o, u) according to the study in Japan. This is important to consider as both consumers and food manufacturers are finding more interest in healthy food.

Tag: Food Marketing, International

One New Zealand Salmon Sells for $1700 [22 February, Restaurant and Café]

A New Zealand harvested 15.3 kilogram salmon was sold to an American man for NZD$1,700 – making it one of the most expensive single salmon ever sold outside of charity fundraisers. It is a tyee salmon used in the company’s Ōra King Line and according to New Zealand King Salmon boss, Grant Rosewarne, it was the first time a tyee was sold to someone that was not a commercial chef. The Salmon was purchased on Goldbelly (e-commerce site) where premium products are sold.   

Tag: Fisheries, Trade & Exports, Food Marketing, Aquaculture

Up to 130,000 Indian farmers protest farm laws [23 February, Stuff]

The largest protest of up to 130,000 farmers and farm workers protested against the new farm laws in India’s Punjab state on Sunday. The laws were introduced last September by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and he has refused to abandon them but has confirmed deferment– he argues that the newly introduced legislation will help farmers get better prices. Protestors claim that it hurts “farmers at the benefit of large corporations” and “people should be able to afford food”.

Tag: International, Food Security, Policy and Regulation, Farming Systems

Honey exports hit $425m export sweet spot [22 February, Stuff]

Mānuka honey producers have been able to take full advantage of the rising global demand and have increased export volumes significantly. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ latest Apiculture Monitoring Report, honey export revenue reached NZ$425 million with a 20% increase from January 2020 to June 2020. Mānuka honey is growing into new markets (e.g. Middle East) and is already in more than 40 markets; the growing demand puts the industry in for another successful season.

Tag: Agriculture, Trade & Exports

Food Techs Raised US$18.1 Billion In 2020 As Pandemic ‘Fundamentally’ Shifts Consumer Trends, New Data Shows [19 February, Green Queen]

According to new statistics from Morningstar subsidiary capital market firm, Pitchbook, food tech firms managed to raise a record of US$18.1 billion in 2020 due to the changed consumption patterns of Covid-19. New data shows that more capital is being driven into the food tech industry by cultivated meat companies as cell-based agriculture start-ups raised a record total of US$1.6 billion, US$383.2 million of which were from cultivated meat firms.

Tag: Food Innovation, Agritech

Helping Nelson's food factories roll out the goods [21 February, Stuff]

A programme called CO.STARTERS is to help 10 entrepreneurs to accelerate their business ideas in the food and beverage industry. Nelson-based business and innovation hub Mahitahi Colab has collaborated with Food Factory to help those businesses without the technology and resources to grow globally and to enhance the quality of their products. Nelson Tasman region has more than 150 businesses generating $507 million in GDP in 2019 and providing 8500 jobs but has been limited selling to local consumers.

Tag: Food Innovation 

World Food Innovation Awards 2021: finalists announced [23 February, FoodBev Media]

The 2021 World Food Innovation Awards has announced the shortlist of finalists (both big and small companies) in 26 different categories such as best allergy friendly product, best brand or business, best convenience food innovation, best drink concept, best natural food or organic product and more. FoodBev Media awards marketing executive, Kieran Kennedy, mentions that “the competition is even closer as companies explore more daring flavour combinations, push the boundaries of packaging design and create innovate new functional products.”

Tag: International, Food Innovation

How do animal welfare standards impact the taste of meat? [23 February, Food Navigator]

A four-year project (mEATquality project) by the European Commission is to determine if higher animal welfare standards make the quality of the meat better. According to WUR’s Hans Spoodler, “how much an animal moves its muscles could impact how the final meat product tastes”. The project will investigate many different things such as genetics, feed, and availability of space to ensure an accurate conclusion is made.

Tag: International, Red Meat, Poultry, Research & Development

'It's not a joke': HelloFresh customer receives bottle of urine in food delivery box [23 February, Newshub]

Highlighting food safety concerns with modern retail channels - investigations are being carried out to find out who left a bottle of urine in an international food box delivery service, HelloFresh. Oliver McManus questioned HelloFresh’s social media accounts with the unusual bottle in his box and HelloFresh were quick to apologise and are urgently the investigating the cause of it – whether it was left in the opened box by a warehouse worker or a delivery driver.

Tag: International, Food Safety

‘We expect white truffle orchards in Europe’: French farmers celebrate ‘white diamond’ breakthrough [18 February, Food Navigator]

There has been a breakthrough for white truffle production in Europe according to Researchers from the French National Institute for Research into Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE). Selling up to $82,000/kg at their peak, truffles are ‘hunted’ using dogs and pigs to detect them. With the decline in production of truffle, the INRAE team and the truffle grower, Pepinieres Robin, spent nine years cultivating white truffles in outside orchards in French regions with differing climates. Pepinieres Robin now hopes to raise its production and expects the number of white truffle orchards to increase across Europe.

Tag: Farming systems, Food Innovation, International

Better butter set to boom [18 February, Rural News]

Southern Pasture’s new senior vice president Tom Bailey shared insights on why boutique butter is set to boom. Global demand for butter has increased at around 7% per annum since 2014, showing sustained growth. Science has discovered multiple health benefits of butter, and Covid-19 lockdowns have accelerated the growing demand. As consumers are increasingly aware of the carbon footprint of their food, New Zealand is well-positioned with our efficient farm emissions among major milk-producing countries.

Tag: Food Marketing, Health & Wellbeing, Dairy

EU imports tax: threat or opportunity? [18 February, Farmers Weekly]

While New Zealand dairy farming has been ranked the world most carbon-efficient, reporter Nigel Stirling discusses the threats and opportunities of a planned European tax on the carbon emissions of imports. Concerned with carbon leakage, the EU plans to force their trading partners to buy carbon credits, with details to be released by June 2021 and likely to start in 2023.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Trade & Exports, International        

Oz stockfeed trader expands into NZ [18 February, Rural News]

SunRice subsidiary CopRice is expanding into New Zealand with an $11.5 million deal, transferring the ownership of dairy and calf feed products under the Top Cow and Top Calf brands to CopRice. The direct-to-farm and packaged business should be finalised by the end of next month. SunRice Group chairman Laurie Arthur says the expansion is a strategic acquisition and part of its 2022 growth strategy.

Tag: Agribusiness       

UAE Considers Cap on Food Prices as Global Crop Costs Soar [18 February, Bloomberg]

With the soaring global food prices, the United Arab Emirates is considering price controls to improve food security, which shows even wealthy nations are not immune to inflation. A United Nations index shows the global food prices is at a six-year high. The Persian Gulf nation could place price caps on chicken and milk, said the country’s minister of state for food and water security Mariam Almheiri.

Tag: International, Policy and regulation, Food security       

Scallop recovery in top of the south still clouded by uncertainty [20 February, Stuff]

Commercial scallop fishing in the top of the south has been shut down for nearly 5 years, but the ban has made little progress in restoring sealife. Tasman Bay commercial scallop fishing started in the late 1950s, which saw the scallop population decline dramatically especially during the mid-2000s, with the fishery in the Marlborough Sounds and Golden Bay following suit over the next decade. The road to recovery is deemed long and slow.

Tag: Fisheries, Environment & Emissions, Policy and regulation

Lack of seasonal workers puts squeeze on Wairarapa grape harvest [18 February, Stuff]

The labour shortage this year is putting pressure on Wairarapa grape harvest, which is due to start in early March and run for just over a month. Rowan Hoskins from Escarpment Vineyard in Martinborough said wineries and contractors were aware of the issue and had been trying to get more staff via advertising and through Work and Income.

Tag: Viticulture, Rural Communities   

Rural internet competition heats up [23 February, Farmers Weekly]

New internet providers including Kacific, Connected Farms and Elon Musk’s Starlink network are building their rural customer base within New Zealand. The Starlink system has launched thousands of Low Earth Orbit satellites that communicate with ground station antennas to provide internet service to customers with the appropriate hardware, with the aim to have NZ coverage by mid-to-late this year with limited availability.

Tag: Rural Communities         

PGG Wrightson first half profit leaps 41%, raises dividend [23 February, The Country]

Rural services group PGG Wrightson's net profit increased by 41% in the first half to $18 million, with a fully imputed 12c dividend, up from 9c in the previous interim result. Operating EBITDA rose 15% to $35.8 million and revenue rose 8% to $413.4 million. The good results were driven by strong performances from the group’s retail, livestock and real estate businesses.

Tag: Agribusiness       

Securing a future for NZ pastures [24 February, Rural News]

The Resilient Pastures Symposium will have farmers, scientists and rural industry leaders meet in Waikato on 11-12 May to collaborate and develop a future direction for New Zealand pastures. Organised by the NZ Grassland Association, the two-day programme will feature peer-reviewed research papers and a range of keynote presentations, followed by Q&A sessions and a future-focused workshop to scope required industry action.

Tag: Agribusiness, Dairy, Farming Systems

Get in touch

Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
04 816 4845
Agri-Food – Auckland
Jack Keeys

09 363 3502
Private Enterprise – Hamilton
Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

09 367 5969
Consultant – South Island
Genevieve Steven

03 307 0761

Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871

Field Notes administrator
Nina Guan
+64 9363 3624