Week in Review

[15th September 2022]

This week we see stories across food retail, innovation and education across Aotearoa New Zealand, and Overseas.

The Grocery Supplier Cost Index shows that cost of groceries from supermarket supplier has increased at an annual pace of 8.7% for Foodstuffs. This week also saw brain food technology company Ārepa has attracted funding from NBA star Steven Adams and Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson in its latest NZD$3m fundraising round.

Over in Australia, a 5000 student study demonstrated that 60% of high schoolers believe commercial dairy farms milk cows by hand. We also see a series of alternative proteins stories this week, with one Israel-based start-up growing egg protein in potatoes and US alternative-dairy start-up Perfect Day partners with Nestlé to take a milk-like beverage to market. However, according to a recently launched report, plant-based brands have caused a ‘category failure’ with a study of 100 plant-based meat brands showing zero making a profit regardless of maturity, and a slowdown in growth and sales. 

Report of the Week

NZ currently has no specific strategy, targets, or goals related to the role of alternative proteins within its agrifood sector, and possess a low level of government investment as a percentage of agriculture-related GDP (0.23%) compared to other countries. 

FoodHQ hopes that their report: ‘Government investment in the opportunities of alternative proteins: what are other countries doing and how does Aotearoa New Zealand compare?’ will help our government accelerate its decision-making on how it chooses to engage in this rapidly moving new agrifood sector.

The full report can be found here 

Spotlight Stories

Technology Spotlight

Robot looking at mobile

$10 billion Chinese gaming giant appoints world’s first AI robot CEO [13 September, Arabian Business]

Chinese game development company NetDragon Websoft has appointed artificial intelligence-powered robot “Ms. Tang Yu” as the company’s new CEO, a world first. NetDragon’s chairman Dejian Lui commented, “We believe AI is the future of corporate management,” and cited that Ms. Tang Yu will help streamline the company’s processes and efficiency.

Tags: Technology 

Environment Spotlight

From lettuce to insects to fish: Research investigates how nanoplastics can move up the food chain [13 September, Food Navigator]

Research from the University of Eastern Finland discovered that nano-plastic (less than 1 micrometre in size) can move up the food chain. While more research is needed, potential health risks may exist. The researchers discovered this by measuring the presence of nano-plastics in an experimental food chain. Micro-plastics were discovered in every stage, beginning with lettuce grown in contaminated plastic soil, then fly larvae that consumed the lettuce, and fish that consumed the fly larvae.

Tags: Environment 

Headline Stories

Electric shocks could give pesky weeds the zap [12 September, Farmers Weekly]

PhD Researcher Dan Bloomer from Massey University is developing weed killer technology utilising electric shocks similar to those of an electric fence to combat rising levels of herbicide resistance in plants. Recent surveys have found a 50% increase over the last four years in the number of weeds showing resistance, and for Waikato maize crops resistance is as high as 45%.

Tags: Agritechnology, Farmers & Producers 

Brief: Regenerative agriculture conference faces protests in Amsterdam [8 September, AgFunder]

Last week, protesters at the Regenerative Agriculture and Food Systems Summit in the Netherlands blocked entrance into the venue, accusing the event as a greenwashing effort by the companies “at the root of our… climate, environmental and health crisis”. Protestors cited sponsors of the event, such as Nestle, Yara, and Syngenta, as using the occasion to greenwash their polluting practices.

Tags: International

Study linking deaths to red meat ‘appears implausible’ and ‘lacks transparency’ [9 September, Food Navigator]

Two years on from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), which linked red meat consumption to death, some scientists are arguing that the publication fails to recognise red meat’s nutritional benefits and the detrimental effects of a red-meat-free diet on children’s health. In 2017, the GBD stated 22.5 grams per day of red meat as the max amount consumable to prevent an increased risk of disease, however, in 2019 this figure was changed to 0 grams. The disagreeing scientist argue stronger evidence is needed to justify this change, and further clarification is needed to show how no red meat is better than some.

Tags: Red Meat, International 

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
Private Enterprise – South Island
Grant Polson
+64 3307 0760

Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871

Field Notes Administrator
Demosson Metu
+64 9365 4073