Week in Review

This week in New Zealand, confidence in the food and fibre sector’s outlook for 2022 is discussed alongside the country’s opportunities in ice cream export and a new factory investment for Sanford. Despite the optimism in prices, we see yet another week with multiple stories sharing disapproval of the slow-paced border re-opening, particularly from the Viticulture, Horticulture and Rural Contracting industries.

Internationally, a study is released by the World Health Organisation which received several international headlines after demonstrating the link between the power of food marketing exposure and unhealthy food-related attitude, beliefs and behaviours, particularly amongst children.  

UK also hits headlines twice this week after new data shows 1 million adults go an entire day without food as costs of living continue to increase while UK researchers and industry share their disappointment that novel food legislation is too costly and cumbersome to innovation and setting them behind international competitors.

Other stories include China holding strong on its Omicron rules, while Iceland signals an end to its legal whaling legislation

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Spotlight Stories

Food Marketing Spotlight:

Natural Abundance launches ‘world first’ packaging NFT [08 February, Food Ticker]

Plant-based snack maker Natural Abundance has launched what it calls the “world’s first non-fungible token-based physical packaging”. The company, bought by Milk 2.0 founder Kristina Ivanova, said people who bought one of the physical Extreme Blueberry Plant Cakes packets would get a free airdrop of digital NFT art. NFTs are another medium that allows brands to play with creativity, and this initiative was the company’s “first attempt to move retail to a new era of ownership and brand loyalty,” Ivanova added.

Tag: Food Marketing  

International Spotlight:

Best in faux: Conscious consumers turn to vegan pet food [04 February, Corporate Knights]

Many of the world’s largest pet food manufacturers are seeking to reduce their carbon “paw” prints by producing vegan pet food, marking a “step forward towards [their] sustainability journey to use science to help provide the best possible care for pets.” University of California Los Angeles professor Gregory Okin found that meat consumed by cats and dogs in the U.S. alone produces the equivalent of roughly 64 million tons of CO2 per year, an impact equal to 13 million cars being driven for a year.

Tag: International, Red Meat, Environment & Emissions, Alternative Proteins

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Global food firms among climate change progress ‘exaggerators’ – study [08 February, Food Ticker]

A report from the New Climate Institute found that some of the world’s biggest F&B companies are failing to meet their own targets on tackling climate change and have routinely exaggerated or misreported their progress. The study found that some were doing relatively well in reducing emissions but that all corporations could improve, with Nestlé and Unilever attracting a very low “integrity" rating. A number of the companies, including Nestlé, said they disagreed with some of the methods used in the report and were committed to taking action to curb climate change.

Tag: International, Environment & Emissions

headline 2

NZ agritech start-up successfully raises $1.5 million in an over-subscribed capital raise [02 February, Fresh Plaza]

Cropsy Technologies has completed its first capital raise, raising NZ$1.5 million in an oversubscribed round, putting the award-winning ag-tech firm in a strong position to commercialise its world-first AI-enabled crop vision system. Attached to a tractor, the system is said to see and understands every plant while a grower runs their daily crop operations, profiling every leaf, fruit, shoot, cane, and trunk in real-time as the tractor passes by. It reportedly enables growers to detect pests and diseases early, allowing for targeted spraying and reduced crop loss.

Tag: Agitechnology, Agribusiness, Horticulture         


New environmental labelling system unveiled [08 February, Food Navigator]

Belgium academics have unveiled a new environmental labelling system that enables easy recognition of the degree of environmental sustainability of food and beverages at the point of sale. The label called Enviroscore “is an algorithm that incorporates in one final score the environmental impacts generated throughout all the production and consumption stages of a kilogram of product,” researcher Saioa Romas said. Specifically, it combines 16 environmental impacts, including climate change potential, ozone layer depletion, water pollution, fossil resource, exhaustion, and toxicity.

Tag: International, Environment & Emissions, Food Marketing         

Top stories

Collar tech allows farmers to draft cows remotely [04 February, Stuff]

Agritech firm Halter’s collars technology has expanded to allow farmers to draft their cows remotely, as the collar takes “thousands of readings from a cow and identifying issues more quickly than what would be observed in the milk shed.” Waikato dairy farmer Fraser Hasnip​ said that now he had 1000 cows, the technology was huge for him. “Drafting calving cows out of the springer mob is no longer a game of bull rush with a break fence in a paddock. I no longer lug around reels and standards and need loads of people to help,” he said.

Tag: Agritech, Farmers & Producers, Farming Systems

Expect market volatility for next decade [03 February, Farmers Weekly]

According to Virginia Tech Emeritus professor David Kohl, covid-related issues, such as global supply chain disruptions, will continue to influence economic dynamics for another couple of years as Covid-19 is said to have had a double-barreled impact. Fearing that they were on the verge of a financial crisis, many central banks have reportedly written massive cheques, accounting for 14% of the world's $85 trillion economy. This combined with the supply chain issues seen in covid has led to an artificial super cycle, Kohl said.

Tag: Trade & Exports

Sanford Bluff factory investment gives confidence to high-end US customers [03 February, Stuff]

Sanford's recent investment in a NZ$1.2 million X-ray machine and a $300,000 packaging machine is reportedly expected to create 10 new jobs in Bluff and boost the company's targeting of high-end US restaurants and stores. The X-ray will be used to find bones and then cut around the bones using water jets as well as cut fillets to an exact size. International sales general manager Blair Robinson said salmon sales to the US were a continued focus for Sanford as "the US is the biggest market in the world for salmon consumption.”

Tag: Fisheries, Food Innovation

Chinese Omicron rules remain steadfast [03 February, Farmers Weekly]

According to expatriate Kiwi and consultant David Mahon, it is unlikely China will loosen its standards around covid management and food imports before the Chinese congress meets in March. It has been said that supermarkets have been shut down after traces of covid was detected in fruit imports from Vietnam. Mahon said NZ has maintained a good reputation with the standard of food products being imported during the pandemic, with only one incidence involving seafood. 

Tag: Covid-19, International   

Government funds hemp research - Ministry for Primary Industries [04 February, Voxy]

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reportedly investing NZ$1.34 million into hemp research and development through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund. MPI noted that the investment aligns well with Fit for a Better World, and the Government’s food and fibre sector roadmap guiding New Zealand’s export-led recovery from Covid-19. The funding recipient NZ Natural Fibres is investing $2 million as well and will reportedly use the funds to ramp up innovation and enhance the company's growing, processing and marketing capability to propel it towards an industry global leadership position.

Tag: Research & Development, Agribusiness

Red meat exports reach record $10 billion in 2021 [04 February, Stuff]

Exports for New Zealand’s red meat sector have reached NZ$10 billion last year, a 9% increase compared to 2020, despite “performing in the most difficult conditions.” MIA chief executive Karapeeva​ says “this illustrates very clearly how critical it is for the industry to have access to sufficient labour including overseas migrants to capture the greatest market value and support the jobs of thousands of hard-working Kiwis.”  Karapeeva says she expects supply chain challenges will significantly disrupt exports for some time to come.

Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

2022 outlook points to a profitable year [04 February, Farmers Weekly]

Rabbobank believes New Zealand agricultural producers are positioned for another profitable year in 2022 despite ongoing global instability, which would represent the sixth consecutive year of general profitability for the country’s agricultural sector. The bank said NZ remains well-positioned on global agricultural markets for the coming year as adverse weather continues to impact South America, the west coast of the US, and parts of Europe, limiting their capacity to ramp up production in the face of high prices.

Tag: Agribusiness       

Kiwifruit grower wins Gisborne council court battle over CV rating hike [04 February, NZ Herald]

Kiwifruit growers have won their court case to prevent the Gisborne District Council from including valuable kiwifruit licences in rating assessments. The case challenged the council’s 2020 three-yearly rates revision decision, in which the council departed from long-standing and accepted practice by including the value of G3 Gold Kiwifruit licences in all rateable values for gold kiwifruit licences going forward. The decision is expected to prevent other councils from seeking to use a similar rating approach in the future as it is a “judicial decision on the illegality of the inclusion of G3 licences for rating valuation purposes.”

Tag: Horticulture, Policy and Regulation        

1m UK adults ‘go entire day without food’ in cost of living crisis [07 February, The Guardian]

It is reported that nearly one in 10 UK households (1 million UK adults) experienced some degree of food insecurity over the past month (either skipping meals, going hungry or not eating for a whole day) because they were unable to afford food. The Food Foundation thinktank said, soaring energy and grocery prices, along with the removal in October of the £20 Covid top-up to universal credit, are having a devastating impact on the food consumption of millions of people.

Tag: International, Food Security, Energy

Iceland whaling: Fisheries minister signals end from 2024 [06 February, BBC]

According to Iceland’s fisheries minister Svandis Svavarsdottir, whaling is no longer profitable as the demand for the mammal’s meat has decreased significantly since Japan resumed commercial whaling in 2019. Svavarsdottir said the practice had little economic benefit for the country which was a key factor in the decision over whether to extend whaling beyond 2023. Additionally, social distancing rules made Icelandic whale meat processing plants less efficient, and the extension of a no-fishing coastal zone pushed up the cost of whale hunting.

Tag: International, Fisheries, Policy and Regulation  

Food marketing exposure and power and their associations with food-related attitudes, beliefs and behaviours: a narrative review [07 February, World Health Organization]

A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) outlines the outcomes of a narrative review on the extent, nature and effects of food marketing. The report findings confirm that marketing of foods contributing to unhealthy diets remains pervasive and provides evidence that strengthens the argument for action to restrict the food marketing to which children are exposed. The report includes 143 content analysis studies and 36 consumer research studies published between 2009 and 2020.

Tag: International, Health & Nutrition, Food security, Research & Development     

Ultra-processing foods for health and sustainability: ‘Whether you like it or not, processed food is here to stay’ [08 February, Food Navigator]

According to Ciarán Forde of Wageningen University, foods that have been processed or ultra-processed have a negative reputation, but if done correctly, food processing can offer sustainable nutrition to the masses. Ford told delegates, “Sure, there is no question that some foods are indefensible in terms of their nutrient content.” However, other “healthy” products such as food fortified with omega 3 or specialised ingredients used in sports nutrition would also be classified as ultra-processed foods according to NOVA’s classification.

Tag: International, Food Marketing    

Arla invests in solar power [09 February, Rural News Group]

European dairy giant Arla Foods has signed an agreement with renewable energy company Better Energy to build four additional solar parks in Denmark, reportedly enough to cover about one-third of Arla Foods’ electricity consumption in Denmark within two years. Arla said it is increasing its target for reducing emissions in operations and logistics from 30% to 63%, and the solar park deal is one of several initiatives to help Arla meet its new 2030 emissions reduction target for its internal value chains.

Tag: Internatinal, Dairy, Energy, Farmers & Producers

Next big export sweet success? [09 February, Rural News Group]

Last month, Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash released a report suggesting there is scope to expand ice cream exports to Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom, potentially following the global success of premium wine and honey exports. “I believe demand is increasing for NZ food products abroad because we have the ability to innovate and bring new consumer trends to market quickly; New Zealand food businesses are generally very nimble so can rapidly adapt to new food trends,” Nash says.

Tag: Dairy, Food Marketing    

Data a support, not replacement [09 February, Farmers Weekly]

According to FarmIQ chief executive Will Nobel, technology will inform, not replace, traditional approaches to farming as being a good instinctive farmer who understands their animals and plants is still necessary. “A lot of people talk up the technical nature of sharing data but the tech side of things isn’t the challenge, it’s the relationships between the organisations that need to be willing to share the data,” Noble said. “Data is becoming more and more important, but it should be augmented with farmers’ existing skills and instinct."

Tag: Agritech, Farming Systems

The UK’s Novel Foods legislation: A dinosaur stifling innovation or making the best of bad hand? [02 February, Food Navigator]

Richard Horwell owner of Brand Relations, a specialist food and drink marketing and branding company, believes the UK Food Safety Authority (FSA)’s Novel Foods process is not fit for purpose and is stifling innovation and growth in the UK’s food and beverage industry. Horwell said that the process is expensive and lengthy as you must gather and submit extensive evidence to the FSA. He adds that only 210 applications in the UK in March 2021 from several thousand products were considered viable for further consideration.

Tag: International, Policy & Regulation

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