Week in Review
In Aotearoa online grocery business Supie was placed into voluntary administration after a key investor exited out of further funding, leaving the business with around $3 million of debt. Launched 2.5 years ago to bring more competition into the market, the independent virtual supermarket struggled to achieve the scale needed to be profitable and competitive. A symposium will be held for Green kiwifruit growers in early November to share results of a grower survey which was initiated due to the challenges experienced in the sector. Many Green kiwifruit growers are expected to be unprofitable this season, and in some instances may fail to break even after two challenging seasons in a row. New Zealand’s wider forestry industry has faced major challenges this year, with analysts suggesting 2023 could be the worst year the sector has faced in a very long time. Profits from logs and timber have fallen due to economic conditions domestically and abroad. Pressure on construction and housing sectors, with high mortgage interest rates and a fall in new home consents; as well as economic trouble in China are limiting demand for New Zealand logs. A plan to link New Plymouth to Nelson with a shipping freight service has been scrapped by the company behind the investment, Move Logistics. A $10 million co-investment deal was announced in June 2022 for a drive-on, drive-off truck service between Move and Waka Kotahi. A freighter had been commissioned and was due for delivery this year, however the order has been cancelled after issues in tidal differences could not be addressed, making the project unviable.
In international news, the world’s largest food and beverage company, Nestlé has announced it will close an infant formula factory in Ireland partly due to China’s declining birth rate. The report released by Nestlé cited that the number of newborns has declined from 18 million per year in 2016 to less than 9 million projected in 2023. The United Kingdom has reached a new market access agreement with Japan for easier trade of cooked poultry meat, estimated to be worth over £10 million (NZ $20.8 million) in the next five years. Their agreement also ensures any future avian influenza outbreaks will only lead to temporary export restrictions from affected areas, rather than country-wide bans. For the first time ever, a New Zealand producer will be exhibiting at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Ao Cacao is a Māori luxury chocolate brand sourcing 99% of its ingredients from the Pacific, or from indigenous suppliers and producers. The brand’s attendance also marks the first time that an indigenous chocolate maker has attended the prestigious chocolate exhibition. The Alltech Sustainability Insights Survey has been released, providing perspectives from over 2,500 members of the global agri-food industry. Eighty-five percent of respondents believe the industry can rise to the challenge of creating a more sustainable food system. Most survey respondents agreed that food systems are vulnerable, with climate change and global food security likely to create more significant issues in the future.
- Online grocer Supie placed in voluntary administration
- Spotlight to go on Green kiwifruit as growers gather
- Forestry set to log worst year in a while
- Multi million-dollar blue water shipping route between New Plymouth and Nelson canned
- Nestlé to Close Baby Formula Factory Due to China Falling Birth Rate
- Japan opens doors to UK cooked poultry meat in deal worth £10m
- Māori chocolatier debuts at prestigious chocolate event in Paris
- Agri-food leaders optimistic about a sustainable food system
Emissions & Environment Spotlight
New tech to boost emissions reduction efforts [26 October, AgResearch]
AgResearch has developed ground-breaking technology that will enable the measurement of emissions from cattle on farm. The crown research institute has developed Portable Accumulation Chambers which are designed to be transported to farms to measure how much methane cattle naturally emit. While portable accumulation chambers are already in use for sheep, this is a first for cattle. The device is relatively simple, capturing all gas emitted from an animal over an hour. Welfare of the animals is monitored carefully, and they are removed from the chambers if they become stressed. The information gathered will assist farmers to understand the climate impact of their herds, individual animals, and support breeding for lower-emitting animals.
Tags: Greenhouse gas emissions; Research & Development; cattle; methane
Sustainable Food Packaging Spotlight
Sustainable packaging startup Mi Terro signs JDA with Lipton to develop dissolvable tea pods [26 October, AgFunder]
The tea company, Lipton, has entered a joint development partnership with sustainable packaging startup Mi Terro to develop dissolvable tea pods. Under the agreement, Mi Terro will develop edible dissolvable packaging materials and Lipton will provide tea powders, facilities, and equipment for testing. Edible, dissolvable films will allow Lipton to experiment with pre-portioned pods that can be dropped into hot or room-temperature water on the go, or can be used to provide pre-portioned loose-leaf tea for drinkers who prefer that format. The films are made from a mix of polysaccharides and other bio-based ingredients. Mi Terro has previously created films for laundry and detergent pods using potato peelings and cellulose byproducts of paper production.
Tags: Sustainable packaging; bevergaes
Reserve Bank gets banks to model emissions costs for farms [27 October, Farmers Weekly]
New Zealand’s Reserve Bank asked banks to undertake a financial assessment to estimate the impact of farm emissions pricing on their clients. The modelling was conducted at four different prices ranging from $15/t to $150/t of CO2 equivalent. The results of this work found that 82% of sheep and beef, and 44% of dairy farms would be unprofitable at $150/t. At $15/t, banks estimated that 8% of dairy and 22% of sheep and beef farms would be unprofitable, slightly higher than the 6% and 15% who will not be profitable without any level of emissions pricing. The Reserve Bank acknowledged that while this particular exercise was limited in scope, it is useful for providing banks with preliminary estimates of the extent of climate-related risks they can expect in the future.
Tags: Greenhouse gas emissions; farm emissions pricing; producers
Shanghai, LA mull building world's 1st green shipping corridor spanning Pacific [17 October, China.org]
A meeting between Shanghai and Los Angeles has furthered the progress on building the world’s first trans-Pacific green shipping corridor. The Port of Shanghai is the busiest container port in the world and the Port of Los Angeles is the biggest on in the United States. In 2022 the container output between the two ports exceeded 1.3 million TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent units). The ‘Port of Shanghai-Port of Los Angeles Green Shipping Corridor’ initiative aims to achieve port-to-port cargo transportation between the two ports in the cleanest and lowest carbon manner, aiming to be a global example for green, low-carbon, sustainable development for the shipping industry. According to the implementation plan, by 2025 reduced or zero lifecycle carbon emission capable ships will begin deploying in the corridor.
Tags: Green shipping; low carbon
China adopts GM technology for corn, soybeans in major food security manoeuvre [19 October, South China Morning Post]
After years of trials, China has approved commercial use of genetically modified (GM) varieties of corn and soybean. A total of 37 GM corn and 14 soybean varieties bred for stronger herbicide or insect resistance and to produce higher yields have been approved for commercial planting. This move comes after China has made food security a top priority, and is expected to improve the nation’s self-sufficiency while moderating a large food trade deficit of over 143 million tonnes. China imported over 146 million tonnes of food in 2022, with more than 60% of this in soybeans. Experts believe that initial adoption of GM crops is unlikely to result in immediate large-scale planting, as public acceptance of GM food is still uncertain, but the move to approve GM varieties for commercial use is seen as a fail-safe should trade relations sour.
Tags: Genetically modified crops; regulations; food security
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