Week in Review

[02 September 2021]

In New Zealand, Scales, Delegat and Pāmu all post profits for the last financial year while both dairy and beef markets are stated to be steady and strong. The carbon price has also exceeded $50 which has raised further questions regarding the fit for purpose of current carbon farming regulation.

Internationally we share stories of Nestlé's R+D accelerator, a new minimum animal welfare standards for poultry in Netherlands and a list from Food Navigator of the new dairy and dairy alternative products launched for the month of August 

Recorded in Auckland’s lockdown this week Jack Keeys interviews Agribusiness Agenda author Heather Hu, featuring contributors from around the world. This week’s 7 minute vodcast explores the Chinese consumer market and insights for New Zealand businesses from experts including a Managing Director at Alibaba group and the Head of consumer and retail for KPMG in each of China and ASPAC. 

Spotlight Stories

Marketing Spotlight

Craggy Range named 'world's most Instagramable vineyard' [26 August, NZ Herald]

Craggy Rangehas achieved the "most Instagramable vineyard in the world", beating American vineyards Robert Mondavi Winery and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars to the title. Craggy Range Vineyards took out the picturesque category, which analysed the top 50 vineyards in the world according to the popularity of their trending Instagram hashtag. Craggy Range came in first with 13,319 hashtag mentions, Robert Mondavi came in second with 12,189 hashtags and Stag's Leap took third place with 11,852.

Tag: Food Marketing, Viticulture

Alternative Proteins Spotlight

AgFunder closes oversubscribed USD21m alternative protein fund [27 August, Private Equity Wire]

AgFunder, a foodtech and agtech venture capitalist firm, has held the final close of New Carnivore, its alternative protein fund, at USD21 million, surpassing its hard cap. New Carnivore has made seven investments in several plant-based companies across the United States, Japan, and Australia. AgFunder’s thesis for New Carnivore rests on the fact that humans have consistently replaced animals with technology throughout history: cars replaced horses, petroleum replaced whales, tractors replaced oxen, and so on. “Food is next,” says AgFunder founding partner Rob Leclerc.

Tag: International, Alternative Proteins, Food Innovation, Research & Development

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

New start-up aims to disrupt food industry (and bowels) with weird little food cubes [27 August, AV Club]

SquarEat is a meal delivery service that claims to have revolutionised eating as they aim to serve food in the form of ‘jiggly pucks’. Chief marketing officer Maria Laura Vacaflores said to imagine the possibilities of the company’s ability to “transform regular food ... into squares” as they offer “gourmet” squares of food that provide “all the nutrients without any additives.” It is explained that customers can select the flavour (“from ‘Fisherman’ to ‘Sweet Break’ or ‘Treat’) and meal size before having the appropriate number of boxes delivered to their home.

Tag: International, Food Innovation

headline 2

NZ wine exports fall for first time in 26 years [31 August, Food Ticker]

According to New Zealand Winegrowers’ annual report, the value of New Zealand wine exports has decreased for the first time in 26 years, falling by 3% to $1.87 billion in 2021, with further falls expected. The national wine industry body said the decrease was due to the widely reported smaller vintage in 2021, which resulted from the hospitality sector shutting down, the collapse of the international tourism trade, and rising shipping costs. However, the body explained that the shortage would generate strong competition for grapes and wine going into the next vintage.

Tag: Viticulture, Trade & Exports


A2 goat milk launched [31 August, Rural News Group]

After selective breeding trials and tasting sessions over six years, A2 goat’s milk ‘Before Cow’ has finally been launched by New Zealand’s largest goat farm, Oete Goat Farm in South Auckland. Oete Goat owner Matt Bolton was “blown away” by consumer demand for the milk and said “people are getting more educated about the benefits of goat milk, and the product is gaining traction.” Bolton said goat milk is high in vitamin A, naturally homogenised, suitable for those intolerant to cow milk, and better for the environment.

Tag: Food Marketing, Dairy

Top stories

Scales lifts full-year profit forecast after 'exceptional' first-half performance [25 August, Stuff]

Agribusiness Scales Corp lifted its full-year profit forecast by 15% after chairman Tim Goodacre described an “exceptional performance” in the first half. The company’s horticulture and food ingredients division increased its underlying profit by 2.9% and 46%, respectively, while the logistics division suffered a decrease in profit of 25%. Managing director Andy Borland said this was of significant strategic value to ensure all its horticulture customers could ship their 2021 harvests during a period of global supply chain issues and a domestic shortage of refrigerated containers.

Tag: Agribusiness

Record log exports help Port Taranaki reach $9.2m net profit for 2020/21 [25 August, Stuff]

Port Taranaki has reported a net profit after tax of NZ$9.2 million as Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) increased by 41.7%, surpassing the port’s history of log exports from 334,000 JAS to 1.1m JAS in a single year. The increase helped to offset a drop in the port’s predominant trade, bulk liquids, which was down 19.9% from 3.7m tonnes to 2.9m tonnes. Port Taranaki chairman Richard Krogh said Port Taranaki could “confidently look forward” with forecasted trade volumes remaining around five million tonnes.

Tag: Trade & Exports

Pāmu turns a profit, pays dividend [26 August, Farmers Weekly]

Pāmu made a net profit of NZ$29 million from its revenue of NZ$250m in the financial year ended 30 June 2021, resulting in a dividend payment of NZ$5m to the Government and a repayment of debt obligations with the surplus cash flow. The state-owned farming company gained half of their revenue from milk. Additionally, it increased production from its livestock and dairy farms to offset land reductions from Treaty settlements, expiry of leases and conversion of lower-earning land to forestry.

Tag: Agribusiness

Carbon auction primed by post-$50 surge [26 August, Farmers Weekly]

Carbon traders are expecting New Zealand’s carbon unit prices to continue push upwards in next week’s auction, having already cut through the NZ$50 mark. Latest carbon trading data has the price at NZ$50.45, with forward contract prices into April set at NZ$51.40, and over NZ$56 by 2025. Carbon Match director Lizzie Chambers says with the trades now in the NZ$50 territory, interest is strong in the next carbon unit auction with the Government moving early on a previously signalled decision to lift the upper carbon price from NZ$50 to NZ$70, effective next year.

Tag: Environment & Emissions

New harvest model boosts Comvita’s performance [26 August, Farmers Weekly]

Mānuka honey exporter Comvita has returned to profit of NZ$9.5 million in the financial year ended 30 June 2021, after 18 months on a transformation strategy. Comvita chair Brett Hewlett says the much-improved performance was driven by a focus on growth markets and channels and categories, underpinned by NZ$12m of benefits from their transformation programme. “We have proven that our new harvest model works, further increasing organisational resilience and reducing risk associated with variability of the weather,” Chief executive David Banfield said.

Tag: Agribusiness, Apiculture, Trade & Exports

US foodies drive TPN’s popularity up [24 August, Farmers Weekly]

A global platform designed to enhance the position of NZ grass-fed beef and lamb, Taste Pure Nature, is growing in the United States as conscious ‘foodies’ strive to understand where their meat comes from. “Diets are expected to shift to include more environmentally-friendly, sustainable food practice as people focus on foods that have the lowest climate impact,” B+LNZ global manager brand and red meat story Michael Wan says. Additionally, awareness of NZ grass-fed beef and lamb and what makes it unique and special has increased by 17% as more consumers understand the story behind the brand.

Tag: Food Marketing, Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Native fungi project opens gourmet market [25 August, Farmers Weekly]

According to former Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research scientist Christopher Smith, a native NZ mushroom has opened a gourmet market as it provides a protein source that, while not as high as meat, helps fill the dietary gap. Smith worked with iwi from the start of the project and grew 20kg a month for the demand in high-end restaurants as chefs were keen to try native produce in dishes. “We have never had any new species from overseas added to our options. So, the obvious solution to grow the market is to commercialise the ones we already have,” Smith said.

Tag: Research & Development, Food Innovation

Silver Fern Farms achieved Enviromark diamond certification [26 August, Rural News Group]

Silver Fern Farms has achieved the Toitū enviromark diamond certification, which is internationally recognised as equivalent to the ISO 14001 accreditation and is the highest New Zealand-based certification. Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer says achieving enviromark diamond is a massive endorsement for the company’s systems and the ways they manage environmental impacts and risks. Limmer adds, there is more work to do looking forward, “including work to reduce waste to landfill, improve wastewater management and phase-out the use of coal by 2030”.

Tag: Red Meat, Environment & Emissions

China's ban on two Sealord plants having 'significant impact' [26 August, NZ Herald]

According to Sealord chief executive Doug Paulin, Sealord suffered a cost earlier this year of NZ$3 million due to the suspension of Chinese exports from two seafood processing plants because of Covid-19 hygiene food safety fears. Paulin said, "it's a complicated process, once you get delisted as a processing plant for China to get yourself relisted, you've got to follow a relatively bureaucratic process in regards to that relisting.” He adds that China is busy dealing with its own Covid-19 response, so it was a low priority to relist international packhouses.

Tag: Trade & Exports, Fisheries

A2 Milk's net profit drops by 79 per cent, decides against buyback [26 August, NZ Herald]

A2 Milk's net profit dropped by 79.1% to NZ$80.7 million in June 2021, driven by Covid-19 disruption and a rapidly changing infant nutrition market, particularly in China. The board carefully considered capital management initiatives and has decided not to return capital to shareholders but to preserve balance sheet strength due to current market volatility and potential opportunities to reinvest. A2 Milk said its board and management are confident in the underlying fundamentals of the business and that the growth opportunity in core markets remain strong.

Tag: Dairy, Agribusiness

Demand for NZ beef set to remain strong amid global disruption [30 August, Stuff]

According to RaboResearch analyst Genevieve Steven, farm gate prices for New Zealand beef remained elevated over the last three months despite restrictions on beef exports from Argentina and ongoing disruptions from Covid-19. Rabobank’s quarterly report on the global beef trade showed it was due to higher demand from China, up 26% from last year, and lower export volumes from Australia. Steven says, “pricing across both islands is tracking well ahead of last year and currently sits 10% above the five-year average.”

Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Carbon farming, legislation will align [30 August, Farmers Weekly]

Dan Williams, a lawyer with Anderson Lloyd, says carbon farming is an emerging market where demand and interest are exceeding legislative control. Some reportedly fear recent forestry expansion is gutting rural communities of people and services, and the growth of carbon farming, where trees are kept to sequester carbon and never managed or harvested, has added to that anxiety. Williams says some carbon farmers have not managed their blocks as communities would like, but says legislation will catch up.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Farming Systems, Rural Communities

Milk price in a sweet spot [30 August, Farmers Weekly]

Two separate reports have shown how profitable the past two seasons were for the nation’s farmers, and this season’s peak milk period could hold the key to a third profitable season. DairyNZ’s annual economic survey showed that operating profit jumped 28% in the 2019-20 season, compared to the prior season, to NZ$2750 a hectare, while milk solids per cow and hectare were at their highest level to date. Additionally, AgFirst’s 2021 financial survey showed an increase in farm profit after tax of 31% in 2020-21 due to a buoyant dairy pay out.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports

Food parcel demand tripled from previous lockdowns [31 August, One News]

According to multiple organisations distributing thousands of food parcels, the need for food parcels this Covid-19 lockdown has tripled as they distributed over 4,000 food parcels in a week. “In a day we have responded to nearly 300 messages, around 200 calls and 200 emails, and the demand is increasing day by day,” says Sarabjit Kaur from the Supreme Sikh Society. Each food pack contains milk bottles, bread, an assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables, sweet treats like ice blocks, masks and a bottle of hand sanitiser.

Tag: Food security, Covid-19

Swapping out table salt for a reduced sodium added potassium alternative would ‘save millions of lives’, finds research [31 August, Food Navigator]

A new study involving 20,995 people from 600 villages in rural China indicates that the added potassium alternative for salt ‘significantly reduces’ risk of stroke, major cardiovascular events, and deaths. Lead investigator Professor Bruce Neal of The George Institute for Global Health says that “this is quite simply the single most worthwhile piece of research I’ve ever been involved with. Switching to table salt to salt substitute is a highly feasible and low-cost opportunity to have a massive global health benefit.”

Tag: International, Research & Development, Food security

Fonterra retains its global rank [31 August, Farmers Weekly]

Fonterra has retained its sixth place in Rabobank’s annual Global Dairy Top 20 report for 2021, behind Yili, Danone, Dairy Farmers of America, Nestlé, and Lactalis (who took the top spot for the first time in 2021). The combined turnover of the top 20 companies fell by just 0.1% last year, as the global dairy sector navigated the disruptions caused by covid-19. The pandemic also heightened consumers’ awareness of environmental challenges. Rabobank dairy analyst Richard Scheper says many companies included in the top 20 have made sustainability commitments for 2030 and carbon-neutrality commitments for 2050.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports

Chicken sold in Dutch supermarkets to lead a ‘better life’ by 2023: ‘This is a big step towards better animal welfare’ [31 August, Food Navigator]

By the end of 2023, all fresh chicken sold in Dutch supermarket chains will carry the ‘Beter Leven’ (Better Life) label bearing at least one star, meaning all fresh chicken in retail stores will be produced with animal welfare in mind. Chicken products that receive one Better Life star mean that the animals have more room than conventional intensive farming, two stars means they also have access to the outdoors, and three stars means they have the most space both indoors and outdoors.

Tag: International, Animal Welfare, Poultry

New dairy and dairy alternative product launches in August [31 August, Food Navigator]

Twenty-two dairy alternative products have been launched in August in countries across the globe, including the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Israel, France, India, and New Zealand. The alternative dairy products include butter, yogurt, Indian dessert, sour cream, milk, cheese, and more.

Tag: International, Dairy, Alternative Proteins, Food Marketing

Fulham solicitor accused of injecting blood into stores' food [28 August, BBC News]

A solicitor from Fulham has appeared in court accused of injecting blood into food items at three west London stores. The court heard the defendant being accused of entering the Waitrose store, "throwing around" syringes of blood and injecting them into food items. He is also accused of doing the same along with throwing eggs in a nearby Sainsbury's store and going on to inject more items in Tesco Express before he was arrested. He is in custody and will appear at Isleworth Crown Court on 24 September.

Tag: International, Food Security

Nestlé opens largest R+D Accelerator yet for rapid cross-category innovation [31 August, Food Ingredients First]

Nestlé has introduced its largest R+D Accelerator in Lausanne Switzerland to accelerate “the translation of fundamental science into cross-category innovations” and quickly bring these highly differentiated innovations to the market. The new facility covers 4,000 square metres giving it the ability to host up to 10 teams simultaneously with a variety of co-working stations, prototyping kitchens, and mini-production facilities.

Tag: International, Food Innovation

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
Angelo Marundan
+64 9363 3624