Week in Review

In Aotearoa, blue economy cluster Moananui has opened its headquarters in Nelson. The organisation, launched earlier this year, aims to accelerate growth in New Zealand’s blue economy. In addition to its HQ opening, Moananui announced that eleven new partners in electronics, engineering, biotechnology, health and safety and IT industries have signed up to join the cluster. Organics Aotearoa NZ have presented the findings of research into the impact of the EU Green Deal on New Zealand’s primary export sector. The report, funded by the Our Land Our Water National Science Challenge, has found there are several areas of the Green Deal which are expected to pose significant challenges. In particular there is potential for the EU's practices and regulations to become de facto global standards adopted by New Zealand’s other major trading partners. Scentian Bio, the start-up making biosensors that utilise insect olfactory receptors, has raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round. The capital raise will be used to grow their team, further develop the technology and commercialise the first industry-specific offerings which are expected to launch at the end of 2024. Biotechnology nutrition company NewFish, has been selected to receive investment from Oslo-based Katapult Ocean Fund, this announcement has come just days after the company announced a world-first Marine Whey Protein suitable for sports and active nutrition. The product has over 80% protein concentration and performs nutritionally similar to whey protein from dairy.

In international news, England’s sheep flock has fallen to its lowest level since 2011. The latest figures from the annual livestock survey shows the English sheep flock now totals 14.5 million head. Input cost fluctuations, consumer purchasing and changes to agricultural policy and support schemes are among the reasons for the declining stock numbers which have been trending downwards since 2017. In Canada, the federal and Quebec governments have announced a new CAD $157.5 million (NZ $192.5 million) program for Quebec’s bio-food sector. The Innovation bioalimentaire 2023–2028 program is designed to stimulate research and innovation. Dutch company Vivici has announced it is set to launch its first product, a ‘nature-equivalent’ whey protein beta-lactoglobulin in market in early 2024, having completed the scaling-up of its beta-lactoglobulin process. The B2B company, founded by DSM and Fonterra Co-operative Group, will be supplying leading food and beverage brands with sustainable whey offerings and improved animal-free consumer products. In China, leading fresh goods and grocery brand Freshippo has opened its first high-end Premier Black Label store in Shanghai, aimed at the highest level of premium supermarkets and product selection. Unlike traditional premium supermarkets, Freshippo not only have a large selection of imported goods, but have also developed products tailored for Chinese consumers, through their own R&D. Freshippo is famous in China for their ‘mountain moving price’ which targets Sam’s Club’s prices (Walmart’s global membership warehouse club) and has made many of its premium products extremely popular.

Spotlight Stories

Agri-technology Spotlight

drone spraying crops from above

Hands-off orchard operation with robotic launch [11 October, Farmers Weekly]

Tauranga-based company Robotics Plus, have launched the ‘Prospr’ machine, a multifunctional, autonomous hybrid machine for orchard use.  Prospr provides solutions to several challenges orchardists face, such as continued skilled labour shortages, the need for precise spray applications, pressure to lower their carbon footprints, and the need to reduce operating costs. The machine’s unique modular design means orchardist can use different tools for various crops year-round, and the hybrid electric system means fuel consumption is approximately 70% less than conventional diesel tractors. Robotics Plus hope to have 20 machines in commercial use by early 2024 across New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Future applications of the machine will likely include tasks such as leaf plucking in vineyards, weeding, and defoliation in apple orchards. Its data gathering ability means it also has potential to help predict parameters such as crop volumes, budding, or quality status of the fruit within orchards.

Tags: Agri-technology; Horticulture; Autonomous vehicles

Regenerative Agriculture Spotlight

three hands around a small sprouting plant in the soil

Global food producers commit to regenerative agriculture framework [10 October, Farmers Weekly]

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, a non-profit network of over 170 members, launched a global framework for regenerative agriculture this week. The “Regenerating Together” framework aims to unite the food and beverage industry to bring about large scale, long term systemic change to the global food system. Developed in collaboration with farmers, academia, NGO’s, and platform partners, the framework is designed for practical use at farm level to drive farmer transition to regenerative practices, and is based on science with ways to measure direct impacts. There are four key areas of impact in the framework - water, soil, biodiversity and climate – and four clear steps to enact it: risk screening assessment, outcome selection, the adoption of principles and practices, and the monitoring and assessment of progress.

Tags: Regenerative Agriculture

Headline Stories

coffee bag in hessian sack with a cup of coffee in the bottom corner of image mostly cut off

Superfood-based ‘beanless coffee’ could slash emissions and water use by 94% [4 October, Euro News]

A Seattle-based startup, Atomo Coffee, have launched the world’s first beanless coffee with hopes to significantly reduce the environmental impact of the popular drink. The new brew uses superfoods and plant-based waste ingredients to mimic the molecular structure of coffee beans. Atomo’s new hot beanless coffee uses date pips soaked in grape extract, chicory and other flavours and boosted with tea-sourced caffeine. The firm’s initial ‘proof of concept’ cold brew beanless coffee had 93% per cent less carbon emissions and uses 94% less water than regular coffee, therefore having a significantly reduced impact on the environment in comparison. Atomo Coffee has attracted significant investment with its innovations, to date receiving a total of US$51.6 million (NZ $85.6 million) of investment

Tags: Coffee; Food innovation; Waste reduction

a small piglet in centre, it's mother beside it

NZ ‘monitoring global spread of African Swine Fever’ [10 October, Farmers Weekly]

NZ Pork have made calls for the Ministry of Primary Industries to ban pig meat imports as Africa Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread throughout Europe. ASF is fatal to pigs, and is a highly resistant virus which can survive in in fresh and frozen pork products as well as on clothes, boots, and other materials. It can spread by air to infect vulnerable pigs. ASF is spreading rapidly through the Balkan states, and the first case has now been found in a Nordic country with the Swedish Veterinary Institute finding ASF in wild boars. Approximately 6% of New Zealand total imported pork comes from Sweden.  Whilst the New Zealand government increased biosecurity measures to contain the disease after an ASF outbreak in Papua New Guinea in 2020, NZ Pork believes the risk to the local pig industry has increased. Other pork-producing countries, such as Australia, the United States, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Ukraine have now banned pork imports from Sweden.

Tags: Pork; Biosecurity; Food safety

five carrots laid out on wooden planks on right hand side of image

A new kind of 3D-printed carrot, in the words of its Qatar-based inventors [3 October, Al Jazeera]

University students in Qatar have created a 3D printer that can mass-print vegetables. The students have printed the prototype of an edible carrot using artificially grown vegetable cells and UV light, something not yet done with vegetables.  Current technology can use 3D printers to make fruit and vegetable purees, but these methods are not suitable for mass production. Previously only used on resin, the use of ultraviolet light in 3D printing with edible material is a world first. The 3D-printed carrot has the same nutritional value, and can be produced for two thirds of the cost of conventionally grown carrots in Qatar. It is hoped that the technology may provide an alternative solution for Qatar’s food security challenges, as the country relies heavily on imports with only 2.5% of its area suitable for arable production. 

Tags: Food innovation; Food security

Get in touch


Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

09 367 5969
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
04 816 4845
Private Enterprise – Hamilton
Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871
Agri-Food - South Island
Paulette Elliott
+64 2788 61744