Week in Review

[27th October 2022]

This week in Aotearoa we see a series of pan-sector stories.

In fisheries Sanford are launching new oxygenating technology for their Rakiura farm, in apiculture an advanced bee IVF service is seeking a new owner, and in poultry new welfare standards for housing will become law in December requiring greater housing space for chickens with an expectation of increased egg prices.

In horticulture, Rockit Global is set to start 150ha of apples growing in the South Island in its goal to more than double exports while Zespri take a conservative approach to their new licensed area again for 2023 planning a 350ha limit. In Dairy, milk price forecasts are ‘under pressure’ after the 4.6% drop in last weeks Global Dairy Trade auction, but prices have remained strong in Red Meat where exporter Alliance Group are reporting “the most profitable year in Alliance Group’s history”.

Internationally, its all about agri-food-tech innovation this week. The SIAL event in Paris showcased a series of food innovation including algae-based alternative seafood, pistachio milk, and patented plant-based bacon fat. The same week, Rabobank’s FoodBytes! announced its 45 start-ups selected to participate in the next cohort of its Ag innovation programme. To finish off the week, Beyond Meat has launched the US’s first large-scale product launch of a plant-based steak product in over 5000 stores. 

Spotlight Stories

Agritech Spotlight

Robotic burger chef creator RoboBurger opens $10m Seed 2 funding round [21 October, FoodBev Media]

RoboBurger, creators of “robotic burger chef,” have partnered with private equity firm Promethean Investments to launch a USD$10M Seed two funding round aimed at maintaining RoboBurger’s “incredible” demand. Robotic burger chef is an autonomous machine (similar to a vending machine) capable of preparing a fresh burger in about four minutes.

Tags: Agritech, Food Innovation

Biotechnology Spotlight

Is the stigma of ‘frankenfood’ lifting? Investigating attitudes to GMOs, genetic engineering and synbio in food [21 October, Food Navigator]

A new study shows that attitudes toward genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are becoming more favourable. The study examined the tone of over 100,000 published articles and 1.7M social media interactions between 2018 and 2020 regarding GMOs. On average, 73% of these conversations were either neutral or positive. Sustainability-focused individuals and younger adults showed the most open attitudes toward GMOs. The study's authors hope their findings will lead to fewer GMO restrictions.

Tags: Biotechnology, Research & Development

Headline Stories

Solar Foods protein ‘made from air’ gets novel food nod in Singapore [26 October, Food Navigator]

Finnish start-up “Solar Foods,” creators of new species of protein “Solein”, has received regulatory approval from the Singapore Food Agency to sell the protein in Singapore. Solein is in the form of a microbial powder and contains all the essential amino acids, is 65-70% protein, and is created using CO2, air, and electricity in a bioprocess similar to winemaking.  Solar Food’ anticipates a commercial launch in 2024 and has applied for food safety approval within the UK and EU, with the US planned next.

Tags: Alternative Proteins, Research & Development, Food Innovation 

Tauranga firm's robot cut above rest at US agri tech event [25 October, RNZ]

Tauranga-based “Robotics Plus” has unveiled its hybrid vehicle at the FIRA Agricultural Robotics Forum in California. The multi-purposed autonomous machine can spray, mulch, mow, weed, and perform crop analysis, with one person able to operate five vehicles at once. Robotics Plus’s chief executive Steve Saunders says the machine can ease the stress of orchards facing “chronic” labour shortages.

Tags: Agritech 

Christmas turkey flocks decimated as ‘worst ever’ bird flu outbreak looms [21 October, the Grocer]

Three-hundred-thousand turkeys are dead, with a possibility of doubling over the next few weeks, says the director of Kelly’s Turkeys, Paul Kelly, in what is described as the UK’s “worst ever” bird flu outbreak. In response, the UK government has implemented an Avian Influenza Protection Zone across the country. However, some producers are proposing a temporary softening on food safety restrictions to allow farmers to freeze stock now, defrost it later, and sell it as “fresh”.

Tags: Biosecurity, 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
Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871

Agri-Food - South Island
Paulette Elliott
+64 2788 61744

Field Notes Administrator
Demosson Metu
+64 9365 4073