Week in Review

Dairy dominates headlines in New Zealand again this week as prices hit new records, national production is up despite decreased cow numbers, and another study reinforces the nutritional value of dairy products.

Internationally, another food delivery app raise with a record breaking raise of $4.5b for ‘Grab’, US re-opens its borders to UK lamb, and a new wave of innovation in baby food products.

The Mana Kai Initiative

The focus on ensuring equitable access to healthy nutrition for each and every New Zealander is a key part of kōrero we have been having over the last month as part of the Mana Kai Initiative. We are inviting people involved in Aotearoa's food system (which is all of us) to complete a short survey and provide us with their thoughts on the food system, its values and purpose and where actions could be taken to contribute to a more sustainable, accessible, equitable, healthy and prosperous food system for every New Zealander.

You can find more details about the Mana Kai Initiative, register for updates and complete the survey by going to the Aotearoa Circle website here

Spotlight Stories

Alternative Proteins Spotlight:

Snail farming, cricket flour, algae and lab-grown fish; Welcome to the brave new world of alternative protein [05 December, Stuff]

Across the nation, companies are heavily investing in plant protein products. The Ministry for Primary Industries has invested in snail farming, spirulina farming from algae, and plant leaf protein to keep up with the rise in alternative proteins. In the dairy industry, Synlait Milk is developing a manufacturing facility in Auckland for a new multinational customer’s plant-based adult and pediatric products. Additionally, meat and dairy companies are searching for ways to meet the demand for plant-based diets by developing hybrid products or plant-based alternatives.

Tag: Alternative Proteins

Health and Nutrition Spotlight

Investors push food & drink companies, govts over 'nutrition crisis' [08 December, Reuters]

At the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit, 53 investors urged governments and companies to hasten the promotion of healthier food and drink to address what they described as a "global nutrition crisis". The investors asked policymakers to utilise regulatory measures to support healthy packaged food and do more to meet the nutrition targets laid out by the World Health Organisation. Food and drink companies were asked to commit to three steps, one step being to annually report on the percentage of their sales generated by healthy products and their share of the overall product mix.

Tag: International, Health & Nutrition

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

GM in NZ: Food industry backs regulator’s push to update regulations amid tech advances [07 December, Food Navigator]

New Zealand’s food industry trade body is backing plans put forward by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to update genetically modified food regulations, arguing the rules are not becoming less strict but instead take into account recent technological advances. FSANZ reportedly intends to update the definitions of “food produced using gene technology” and “gene technology” to make them clearer and better able to accommodate food produced by existing, emerging, and future genetic technologies.

Tag: Biotechnology, Policy and Regulation, Food Innovation

headline 2

AGMARDT seeks sector input [02 December, Farmers Weekly]

The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust, partnered with Colmar Brunton, is inviting both past and prospective funding applicants to participate in a 10-minute survey in hopes of better understanding the opportunities and challenges of the food and fibres sector in New Zealand. General manager Lee-Ann Marsh said, “we want to better understand what it’s like out there, what is the experience of those considering and seeking funding and what we can do as a funding organisation to enhance our support for innovators and leaders across the sector.”

Tag: Agribusiness, Food Innovation   


Fonterra lifts farmgate milk price to record level; sees $13.2b economic boost [03 December, Stuff]

Fonterra Co-operative Group has lifted its milk payments to farmers to record levels of between NZ$8.40-$9 per kilogram of milk solids compared to the forecast in late October of between $7.90 and $8.90 per kgMS. This lift was due to limited global milk production from poor weather and high feed costs combined with consistently strong demand, chief executive Miles Hurr says. The increase is expected to contribute more than NZ$13.2 billion to the economy.

Tag: Dairy, Farmers & Producers      

Top stories

Plant protein sector grappling with market disruptions [02 December, Farmers Weekly]

According to senior vice president of business analyst IRI Chris DuBois, market disruptions have impacted plant-protein companies like Beyond Meat, Greenleaf Foods of Canada, and Oatly, resulting in decreased profit margins. He attributed this decrease to three factors:  products failing to fulfil consumers' perceptions of what is deemed to be ‘clean’, lack of evidence that products are more sustainable than conventional meat products, and competition. DuBois, however, believes plant-based alternative meat sales will remain niche, peaking at 2% of retail meat sales, forcing companies to restructure.

Tag: Alternative Proteins, International          

New Zealand milk production up but cow numbers fall [02 December, NZ Herald]

New Zealand’s total milk production increased to a record of NZ$1.95 billion kgs of milksolids despite a decrease of 200,000 cows from the previous season, as the industry focused on milking more productive and efficient cows and farming more sustainably. DairyNZ chief executive Dr. Tim Mackle said favourable weather conditions improved pasture growth, and the robust milk prices meant many farmers extended their 2020-2021 milking season.

Tag: Dairy, Farming Systems, Farmers & Producers

NZ agriculture is starting to see value in celebrating its provenance [05 December, Stuff]

Agricultural companies, such as Fonterra Co-operative Group, Synlait and Beef and Lamb NZ, have recently discovered value in developing their own New Zealand brand as part of a strategy to sell higher-priced goods overseas. They found that creating a brand which connects with consumers and draws on the origin and purity of food reduces the chances of their products being substituted. “Customers want to know where their food comes from, the makeup of that food and the story that goes with it and we have a wonderful story to tell here,” says Fonterra Co-operative chief executive Miles Hurrell.

Tag: Food Marketing, Food Innovation, Trade & Exports

Kiwifruit workers now get more than $27 an hour: Survey [06 December, Stuff]

According to NZ Kiwifruit Grower Industry, employers paid 18% more per hour for staff this kiwifruit season than last year, however the First Union is continuing to push for better job security and guaranteed minimum hours. Strategic project co-ordinator Anita Rosentreter​ says workers are stuck between work and receiving the benefit, so she wants collective agreements and the living wage given to all seasonal kiwifruit workers.

Tag: Horticulture, Rural Communities            

NZX dairy futures move offshore [03 December, Farmers Weekly]

NZX dairy derivatives trading has moved to the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to improve market distribution and liquidity, benefiting New Zealand dairy farmers and processors. As a result, the number of trading and clearing firms has increased from four to more than 70 and the number of contract buyers and sellers is likely to rise significantly. NZX head of derivatives Nick Morris says the partnership with SGX is focused on growing liquidity via a larger network and platform to produce better pricing and execution for farmers and other traders.

Tag: Trade & Exports, Dairy   

Study reinforces dairy value in diet [02 December, Farmers Weekly]

A two-year research project, which included input from Fonterra Co-operative Group and other international research organisations, looked at the impact of increased dairy products in rest home residents’ diets on bone density and hip fracture prevention. It found that, on average, 62% of all control group residents fell over during the study period, while the supplemented group experienced 11% fewer falls but the same life expectancy. The dairy products were added into diets in the form of cheese snacks, fortified milk and white sauces at dinner times instead of gravy.

Tag: Health & Nutrition, Dairy, Food Marketing

MBW launches campaign to challenge gender stereotypes [06 December, Rural News Group]

A global campaign called “She Looks Like Me” has been launched in New Zealand to challenge perceptions of careers in the meat industry, highlight female role models and encourage more women to join the sector. The campaign follows New Zealand’s commitment to getting more women into the meat sector following the “Gender Representative in the Meat Sector 2020” report, which revealed that women make up 36% of the global workforce in the meat industry.

Tag: Red Meat, Rural Communities   

High milk prices bite Fonterra's profit [03 December, Rural News Group]

Fonterra Co-operative Group has delivered earnings before income and taxes (EBIT) of NZ$190 million for the three months ending October 31 but has been drawn back by $60m due to whole milk powder prices increasing by 30% compared to first-quarter results last year. Chief executive Miles Hurrell says by “looking at the whole picture,” he’s proud of what’s been achieved. With the high EBIT and a strong farmgate milk price, he says they are starting to deliver consistently solid commercial outcomes.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports  

Research into how beneficial insects could boost farm yields [06 December, NZ Herald]

Plant and Food Research is leading a new project involving 45 Canterbury farms that will look at how specially designed native plantings can be used to attract beneficial insects, like pollinators and natural enemies of insect pests, therefore, increasing farm yields. Plant & Food Research lead researcher Dr. Melanie Davidson said, "this new research programme will help us measure the services provided by these insects and understand how to optimise the benefits from native plantings across different types of farming."

Tag: Research & Development, Environment & Emissions, Farming Systems

New organisation Wools of New Zealand LP commences trading [06 December, NZ Herald]

Primary Wool Co-operative and Wools of New Zealand Ltd (WNZ) have merged their operations and are now trading as Wools of New Zealand LP. It trades nearly a third of New Zealand's wool clip, exports WNZ-branded wool, and sells branded carpets both domestically and internationally. This merge has also led to more than 80 people working for the new company, nine wool stores, a carpet manufacturing partner, a carpet distribution warehouse in New Zealand, more than 120 carpet retail store partners in New Zealand, a UK office, and approximately 4000 grower suppliers.

Tag: Wool

Brief: Food delivery app Grab raises $4.5bn following record-breaking SPAC deal [03 December, Agfunder News]

Singapore-based Grab provides meal and grocery delivery, cloud kitchen, ride-hailing, and digital financial services throughout Southeast Asia and has now raised US$4.5 billion, making it the world’s largest special purpose acquisition company transaction to date. Its shares started at $13 each and increased by almost 19% in early trading before losing 21% to close on $8.75. Overall, it has yet to make a profit, but claims that its meal delivery company is approaching EBITDA breakeven.

Tag: International, Food Delivery       

Cell-cultured meat start-up Gelatex raises €1.2m in seed funding round [02 December, FoodBev]

Estonian cell-cultured meat start-up Gelatex has raised EU€1.2 million in a seed funding round.The company has found a method for producing cell-cultured meat with more structure by using multi-purpose, low-cost, and simple-to-use nanofibrous 3D scaffolding. CEO Märt-Erik Martens says that “if we stay true to our ambitions and keep scaling our technology, it will cost only €40 in less than five years,” compared to today’s €1000 per kg.

Tag: International, Alternative Proteins, Food Innovation

Website showcasing livestock exports goes live [07 December, Rural News Group]

The Animal Genetics Trade Association has launched a website to raise awareness and understanding of the exportation of livestock from New Zealand in its fight to keep the trade going. The website demonstrates the importance of livestock exports, the extent of the supply chain involved, and how it helps address animal welfare concerns. Technical advisor Dr. Jim Edwards says that if the ban were to happen, it may affect trading relationships as customers could form relationships with other countries to obtain cattle and buy products from those countries instead of NZ.

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Animal Welfare, Trade & Exports

LeaderBrand reveals that 'kale trend is over' [07 December, Voxy]

The country’s largest producer of salad leaves, LeaderBrand, reports that the nation’s “obsession with kale is over” and that New Zealanders are now looking for more palatable alternatives.. As a result, LeaderBrand has released a new bagged salad of baby cos and baby lettuce leaf consisting of a soft but crunchy texture and a sweet taste from the baby leaf. Head of Farming Gordon McPhail says that plenty of salad leaves and green produce, like spinach and broccoli, provide health benefits comparable with kale while also tasting good.

Tag: Food Marketing, Food Retail

Dairy prices hit 7-year high on Global Dairy Trade auction as tight milk supply underpins demand [08 December, Stuff]

The Global Dairy Trade price index jumped 1.4% at the most recent auction, setting new highs, as low milk supplies support demand for New Zealand's largest export commodity. Poor weather and higher feed costs overseas, combined with weaker milk production in New Zealand, have reportedly boosted global dairy prices this season. NZX dairy insights manager Stuart Davison says, “demand remains very global, and the market is no longer heavily reliant on North Asian buyers to do all the heavy lifting.”

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports, Farmers & Producers

Mixed performance in listed primary sector companies [07 December, Farmers Weekly]

The primary sector index climbed 327% between 2011 and 2018 but has dropped 13.7% in the last year, compared to a fall of 1.66% from all equities on the share market over the past year. According to market analysts, a2 Milk Company (ATM) is to blame for both the extended increase and the rapid decline as its shares soared to NZ$21 a share in 2020 and has since fallen to $6. Despite its low $6 share price, ATM dominates the index by market capitalisation with 743 million shares outstanding.

Tag: Agribusiness       

US market to open doors to UK lamb from 2022 [06 December, Food Manufacture]

The US Department of Agriculture has amended the rule currently preventing UK lamb imports from entering the US, ending more than two decades of restrictions. The market is estimated to be worth EU£37 million in the first five years of trade, giving UK lamb access to more than 300m US consumers. Also, it was revealed that the end of the ban on British lamb could mean a £20m boost every year for Welsh food and farming.

Tag: International, Trade & Exports, Policy and Regulation

Cellular agriculture & emerging markets: Just because we can, does it mean we should? [06 December, Agfunder News]

Cellular agriculture companies such as C16 Biosciences, QOA, Compound Foods, and GALY have goals to move crops such as coffee, cocoa, palm oil, honey, and cotton from the field to the lab. This would help ease sustainability challenges in low-income countries but affect local job creation, human development, and food security, says agrifoodtech entrepreneur Saron Berhane. Berhane said that problems such as labor exploitation, child labor, household poverty, and deforestation don’t just go away; they might get worse.

Tag: International, Alternative Proteins          

Ingredients, personal care, healthy ageing – Pāmu milks deer idea for future growth [07 December, Food Ticker]

The state-owned Pāmu is awaiting results from its clinical trial aimed to prove that deer milk supports a healthy lifestyle and improves general nutrition in audits over the age of 65. It hopes to create long-term commercial success with its “world-first” product in the healthy ageing category. In the meantime, Pāmu is continuing to pursue other opportunities for deer milk, which it first started exploring commercially around five years ago as it looked to increase farmgate returns by adding value along the food chain.

Tag: Deer, Dairy, Food Innovation

Innovative Baby Food Products Draw Interest from Investors [07 December, Food Institute]

According to Research and Markets, the market for baby food products is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% and reach US$53.9 billion in revenue by 2030, opening opportunities for unconventional trends in baby food. These rising trends include baby meal delivery, breast milk alternatives and “nutrient-dense” plant-based baby food.

Tag: International, Food Innovation

Get in touch

Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
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Jack Keeys

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Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

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Genevieve Steven

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Brent Love

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Angelo Marundan
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