Week in Review
[14th April 2022]
This week sees several themes coming through strongly in the headlines.
Firstly, an International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) report explains that cultured-meats and plant-based food substitutes may have a role in the future food system, but there are numerous risks of this category and evidence of environmental claims have been limited and speculative.
In farm system innovations, UK-based ‘Better Origin’ has developed a decentralised, circular, AI-powered insect mini-farm model which converts food waste from supermarkets into sustainable animal feed. Here in New Zealand, Leaft Foods achieves a $22m Series A funding round for its plant-protein business.
In medical cannabis and CBD, UK becomes the first country in the world to regulate CBD products as food, significantly de-risking the category for investors. In New Zealand, the government has invested $13m into a $32.2m organic medical cannabis project with Marlborough-based Puro Ltd.
Finally, biotechnology and genetic engineering has leapt back to the front of mind, and into headlines after the Productivity Commission recommends that New Zealand update its regulation of GM to reflect technological advances, and the Government responded by stating we consider it timely to start informed conversations around New Zealand’s use of GM technologies. This coming as a source of excitement and relief for researchers, producers and others in the sector who are awaiting the opportunity to unlock the potential in reduced environmental footprint, improved production efficiency and value-add pathways that the technology enables.
Week in Review Stories
- Is ‘fake meat’ a food system fix? IPES-Food warns on the false dawn of the protein transition
- Leaft Foods flies flag with $22m fundraise
- Better Origin’s AI-powered insect mini-farms are localising the food chain for protein sustainability and security
- Govt backs medicinal cannabis project
- Call for review of genetically modified tech regulation in NZ
- UK becomes first country to regulate CBD products as food, ‘de-risks category for investors’
- Overdue GM discussion offers GHG solution - Federated Farmers
Foresight Focus Series
Lincoln Roper investigates some of the key trends and signals currently being observed in the energy space. In a world of growing conflict, increased geopolitical instability and climate disruption, the future of energy has become a global focus, but also a source of ongoing uncertainty. The food and fibre sector has a opportunity to play in improving energy security, aiding in energy poverty, and building robust and resilient systems of generation.
Food Marketing Spotlight
Specific claims like 'cruelty-free' are more effective than USDA organic label: survey [6 April, Food Dive]
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) survey examining consumer purchasing behaviour finds shoppers are more likely to buy products with more straightforward marketing claims (e.g., raised without antibiotics or cruelty-free) over the “USDA Organic” label. Despite many of these straightforward claims falling under the USDA organic standard (the criteria food must meet to receive the organic label). The finding indicates that many consumers do not fully understand what the organic label represents.
Tags: International, Food Marketing
Research and Development Spotlight
Proud to be backing mātauranga Māori scientific research [12 April, Beehive]
Research, Science, and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Minister of Māori Development Willie Jackson announced the recipients of the annual NZD$4 million Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund earlier this week. The fund, established in 2010, selects projects based on their ability to strengthen connections between science systems and Māori organisations and contribute to a better New Zealand.
Tags: Research & Development, Food Innovation
AgFunder-backed GROW Impact Accelerator reveals its latest cohort of cutting-edge startups [11 April, AgFunder]
Venture capital firm AgFunder in collaboration with agrifood tech ecosystem builder GROW, announced earlier this week the start-up recipients of their GROW Impact Accelerator programme. In its third year, the program takes ten start-ups from across the globe and assists in their expansion and development. Start-ups selected for the programme are judged by their potential social and environmental impact on the global food system. The full list and brief description of each business can be found on the full news article link.
Tags: International, Food Innovation
Most of NZ’s fish stocks performing well – Fisheries NZ [12 April, Food Ticker]
Fisheries New Zealand’s annual report on the status of fish stocks in NZ reports good figures for the year ending 2021. 84.9% was above the “soft limit” stock below this level is considered overfished and typically must undergo a rebuilding plan. Additionally, 95.2% were above the “hard limit”; stock below this level is deemed collapsed, with fisheries closures typically recommended.
Tags: Fisheries, Environment & Emissions
PM Jacinda Ardern to lead trade delegation to Singapore and Japan as NZ border reopens [11 April, Stuff NZ]
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor along with 13 business leaders will meet with key figures in Singapore and Japan next week. The “trade mission” is part of an ongoing plan to assist New Zealand in its economic recovery post-COVID-19. Japan is NZ’s fourth-largest trading partner, with Singapore being the fifth.
Tags: Trade & Exports
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