Week in Review

This week we hear several agritech announcements in New Zealand including an artificial intelligence deal to benefit Fonterra Co-operative Group farmers, a harvest-time optimisation tool for kiwifruit growers, and a new ‘methane busting’ effluent system at LUDF.

The struggles of some industries are also shared this week. Asparagus growers are leaving crops unharvested, Australia are seeking to turn-away New Zealand avocado exports, a cheese company unable to compete with subsidised European imports is forced to drop its range after 25 years, and further decreases in export log price.

We do however see that NZX milk futures have broken $9/kgMS and several awards are won by New Zealand companies at the World Steak Awards. 

Opportunity of the Week

It’s the final chance to sign-up to the IFAMA Oceania Food & Fibre Business start-up Competition. With multiple sponsors, broad entry criteria and several prize packs, the 48 hour virtual competition has been established to both develop entrepreneurial skills, and test innovative ideas.

Entries close Monday 22nd November, registration and full details here

Spotlight Stories

Horticulture Spotlight:

T&G, Zespri, Plant & Food partner to develop regenerative hort [16 November, Food Ticker]

T&G Global and Zespri are partnering with Plant & Food Research to develop a new regenerative horticultural framework for the kiwifruit, apple and berry industries. Together with other industry partners they will research, define, develop and promote new sustainable and regenerative practices. Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund has contributed NZ$100,000 for the project's discovery phase with the industry contributing another $100,000.

Tag: Horticulture, Farming Systems, Research & Development

Food Marketing Spotlight

Nutrient dense foods will have a ‘growing influence’ on innovation [12 November, Food Navigator]

According to food and nutrition consultancy New Nutrition Business (NNB), nutrient density will exert a ‘growing influence’ on food marketing and product development over the next five years. Director Julian Mellentin says the ambiguity with nutrient density broadens the opportunity and so a trend driven by social media can gravitate consumers towards the understanding that suits them best. NBB noted that companies are already educating consumers and using nutrient density in connection with sustainability, bioavailability, and human health.

Tag: International, Food Marketing                

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Immune milk tech to fight covid [11 November, Farmers Weekly]

A Waikato research and technology company is developing a product using the medicinal properties of colostrum to provide greater immunity protection of people against the effects of covid-19 infection. These are produced using a natural dairy cow vaccination process, similar to several other maternal treatments for induction of antibodies for protection of the calf after birth. RuaTech chief executive Dr Steve Hodgkinson says the technology is not new, having been used over the years to create immune support from bacteria and diseases, including E.coli and rotavirus in calf rearing.

Tag: Research & Development, Dairy, Agritech

headline 2

New milk category blends dairy and plant-based for the mainstream: ‘It’s a source of calcium and protein, with less sugar than cow’s milk’ [16 November, Food Navigator]

French company Triballat Noyal recently launched a new dairy category in the market – a blend of 50% cow’s milk and 50% plant-based ingredients. The company noted that it tastes more like a cow’s milk product than a plant-based product and there is less sugar than cow’s milk due to lower lactose levels. Today’s consumer wants new variety, great taste, and healthy nutrition, Triballat claims. “This is why the team at Triballat Noyal came up with the idea of mixing dairy and plant-based ingredients for the first time.”

Tag: International, Dairy, Alternative Proteins


NZ wins big at World Steak Challenge [12 November, Farmers Weekly]

At the World Steak Challenge in Dublin, three New Zealand red meat manufacturers earned gold medals. In the ribeye category, ANZCO and First Light Foods each received a gold award, while Alliance Group's Pure South Handpicked 55-Day Aged Beef took home three gold medals. At the prestigious event, hundreds of beef suppliers from around the world had their best products judged by an independent panel of chefs and specialists.

Tag: Red Meat, Honours & Awards

Top stories

LUDF unveils methane-busting effluent system [11 November, Farmers Weekly]

The Lincoln University Dairy Farm's methane-busting farm dairy effluent treatment technology was recently launched and is scientifically proven to reduce dairy effluent pond methane emissions by 99.9%. “This is answering farmers’ needs, a game-changer allowing the dairy industry to take a giant leap forward and give farmers the confidence to farm and meet obligations into the future” Ravensdown general manager innovation and strategy Mike Manning said. It was said to also reduce carbon dioxide by up to 50%, dissolved reactive phosphate by 99% and E.coli by up to 99%.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Research & Development, Agritech

Asparagus farmers face 'terrible, devastating' times with low local demand, no exports [12 November, NZ Herald]

Asparagus growers have reportedly had their worst growing season in decades, with more than 100 hectares of asparagus left unpicked this season due to low demand both locally and globally. Local demand has decreased as restaurants in Auckland and Waikato have closed/scaled back, and supermarket sales have been sluggish. Additionally, exports were non-existent as they are currently unprofitable. Grower Alec Boyd said they were not picking everything they could to ensure local prices cover at least the production costs.

Tag: Horticulture         

Independent review finds NZ on track to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis [11 November, NZ Herald]

An independent review of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme has found it on track to rid New Zealand of the cattle disease due to the many improvements to prevention methods of the spread. These improvements have reportedly prevented long-term financial and animal welfare costs of endemic M. bovis in herds. The M. bovis programme, according to MPI Director-General Ray Smith, has generated vital insights for future disease responses which are already being applied to areas of work, such as the Foot and Mouth Disease Readiness Programme.

Tag: Biosecurity, Farmers & Producers         

Groundswell NZ's 'Mother of All Protests' gets city backers [11 November, NZ Herald]

Groundswell NZ’s co-founder Laurie Paterson says more city centres have come on board for the subsequent Groundswell NZ protest, which will take place on November 21. Napier and Tauranga are on board, and Auckland is expecting a large turnout, including many tradies. Paterson said momentum had continued to build as thousands of farmers, and a fair few dogs, descended on towns and cities throughout the country for "Howl of a Protest," to oppose what they called unworkable regulations.

Tag: Rural Communities, Policy and Regulation       

Forestry: Is it time to park up the harvest gear for Christmas? [11 November, NZ Herald]

The export log price has continued to fall with November prices sitting in the mid-NZ$90s for A grade in most ports, except Gisborne which is at the mid-$70s level. While prices in the $90 range are above breakeven in many regions, it's reportedly only forests that are very close to a port that will stack up to carry on if prices hold at these levels for an extended period. It is reported that several of the influencing factors haven't been seen before in the Chinese economy, so it is difficult to predict how these may affect the demand for logs.

Tag: Forestry  

Cool cows produce more milk [15 November, Farmers Weekly]

Tropical Dairy Group has been successful in breeding a cow which can handle the heat and help New Zealand lower its agriculture emissions. The so-called “slick cows” have body temperatures up to 1 degree C cooler than non-slick cows and they drink less, putting less stress on limited water supplies. “Our cattle are a great replacement option for farmers because of the milk volumes they produce and also the increasingly warm weather", chair Tim Heeley says.

Tag: Dairy, Research & Development, Farmers & Producers

‘Cheese squeeze’ hits Waimata [16 November, Food Ticker]

Waimata, New Zealand's largest independent cheese manufacturer has discontinued producing cow milk feta because it believes it can't compete with foreign competitors' low supermarket shelf prices, especially as costs rise. “We do find we get a lot of pressure from the imported cheeses – these cheeses get subsidised to be made in Europe then they come into New Zealand and they are not tariffed,” deputy general manager Kelly Thorpe said. Waimata still aims to manufacture sheep milk feta as part of its specialist sheep milk range.

Tag: Agribusiness, Trade & Exports, Policy and Regulation, Dairy

NZX milk price futures break through $9/kg [15 November, NZ Herald]

For the first time since the contract's inception in 2016, NZX milk price futures prices have gone beyond NZ$9.00 per kg. The September 2022 milk price futures contract last traded at $9.07, after strengthening over the last few weeks. The price compares with Fonterra's current season forecast of $7.90 - $8.90 per kg, with an $8.40/kg mid-point. Whole milk prices are also expected to rise further, with the February contract trading at US$4200 per tonne on the futures market.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports  

Aussie growers want to smash NZ avocado imports [16 November, Rural News Group]

According to Australian media, farmers are dumping avocados as the low prices make it unprofitable to pack and ship them to markets, prompting growers to advise their customers to seek out locally grown avocados in supermarkets. However, NZ Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular says NZ has been exporting avocados to Australia for over 40 years and has created long-standing relationships. Avocados Australia says the increasing plantings of avocado trees has caused production to likely climb from 78,000 tonnes in 2020-21 to 170,000 tonnes by 2026.

Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports    

Maui Milk signs with new distributor after China trade expo [16 November, NZ Herald]

New Zealand sheep milk producer Maui Milk, with 13 Waikato-based suppliers, has signed with a new Chinese distributor following an international trade expo in China. Chief executive Leah Davey said it will be one of many signings as the Chinese typically understand the value of sheep milk better than the rest of the world as they always gave importance to small ruminant milk. Maui Milk has not put a value on the trade, but the company has "high ambitions" as the shareholders have talked about becoming a NZ$100 million business within five years.

Tag: Dairy, International, Trade & Exports    

A2 Milk’s new growth strategy: People & planet top of 5 strategic priorities [17 November, Food Ticker]

The A2 Milk Company has unveiled its new strategy to return to the high-growth business it was pre-Covid. It's five priorities to achieve that aim (in order) are: investing in people and the planet, achieving full potential in china infant milk formula, ramping up product innovation, transforming the supply chain and achieving profitability across all its business units. “Without a strong team, we can’t deliver on our priorities, and without being conscious of the impact we’re having on the planet, we can’t ensure sustainability of our business in the long-term,” said CEO David Bortolussi

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports  

Festival of carbon-zero NZ food to run with inaugural Auckland agrifood summit [17 November, Food Ticker]

A carbon-zero New Zealand food festival will be featured in Auckland’s new 2035 Oceania Summit next year. It is “designed to connect key stakeholders across the Oceania region and beyond, to finally address the impact of climate change on the agrifood industry,” Peter Wren-Hilton, founder of New Zealand-based global agri-food-tech consultancy Wharf42 says. The event will feature plenary and breakout sessions, an exhibition, a start-up hub, an investment pitch event, and a line-up of major local and international speakers.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Food Marketing       

Pressure on takeaway chains as Domino’s ditches 'fast chickens' [17 November, RNZ]

Animals Aotearoa has published disturbing footage of fast-growing chickens and is challenging all New Zealand's food companies to follow Domino's lead and switch to slower-growing breeds, which can take around two weeks longer to reach full size. KFC refused to specify whether it would adhere to the same standards as Domino's Pizza, but stated its suppliers followed industry welfare codes. Other fast-food restaurants speculated that the chicken commitment might have some incorrect details and they were convinced that switching to slow-growing breeds would not ensure a welfare improvement.

Tag: Poultry, Animal Welfare  

Innovator carving out a place for plant-based ‘meat’ products [13 November, Otago Daily Times]

After 20 years in China, entrepreneur Jade Gray seized the opportunity to address climate change in New Zealand and launched Off-Piste Provisions, a food technology business providing plant-based meat options. Gray said the key was looking at greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture as there were multiple ways to attack it and one way was through plant-based food. Gray’s first product, which went on sale this month, is a jerky made using protein sourced from fava and peas.

Tag: Alternative Proteins, Food Innovation    

Australian wine exports take a hit since China tariffs [10 November, The Real Review]

Since China’s imposition of prohibitive tariffs on wine, Australia's wine exports have suffered significantly. For the fiscal year ended September 30, wine exports dropped in both volume and value by 17% and 24%, respectively. Worldwide shipping delays, linked to COVID-19 restrictions, are also said to have impacted exports within the period.

Tag: International, Trade & Exports, Viticulture         

SaladStop aims to be ‘Asia’s leading personalized nutrition company’ after $8.9m raise [15 November, AgFunder News]

SaladStop, a Singapore-based food and beverage company, has raised S$12 million (US$8.88 million) in venture capital with a view to “fostering more tech-enabled growth.” The ‘grab n’ go’ salad chain was founded in 2009 with the aim of creating a ‘healthy’ fast food option for busy urban consumers in Singapore. It has since evolved into a hybrid offline-online retailer. SaladStop is “fuelled by innovative and proprietary technologies, a network of cloud kitchens, and a new generation of transparent, tech-enabled, and scalable health food brands,” CEO Adrien Desbaillets said.

Tag: International, Agritech, Food Retail

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