Week in Review

In Aotearoa, data released from Stats NZ shows the total value of New Zealand seed exports for 2023 was $281 million, a 27% increase on the previous year. Export revenue is forecasted to increase by 7% for the year to 30 June 2024 due to increases in the prices for vegetable seed and increased volumes of clover seed. Māori Kiwifruit Growers will receive $975,000 in government funding, from the Ministry of Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund, to help increase the value of their export earnings. The three-year project will build on a pilot collaboration with Zespri Group Limited which sent three containers of Zespri-branded green and gold kiwifruit to Hawaii last year. Ocean and Fisheries Minister, Shane Jones has announced plans to increase the daily recreational catch limit of kina from 50 to 150 kina per gather, in the Northland region next summer. The proposal has been welcomed by iwi, communities and recreational fishers who have raised concerns about kina infestations and its threat to Northland biosecurity. The latest Global Trade Auction saw dairy prices rise 4.2% overall, the third positive auction result this year.

In international news, farmer protests across the European Union have proven semi-successful after the head of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen announced plans to review a proposal to reduce the use of pesticide. Ms. Von der Leyen said the issue of pesticide use will not go away however further consultation is required before a new proposal can be put forward. Meanwhile, the European Commission has recommended an ambitious target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040.  Following weeks of farmer protests, recommendations for agriculture emissions to cut non-CO2 emissions by 30% by 2040 from 2015 levels have been removed from the final draft. In product news, German supermarket chain Kaufland is working with Bioland, an organic food association and Scharffenberger, a conservation non-profit to produce a new apple juice and preserve meadow orchards. The new “K-Bio Bioland apple juice” uses 30% apples from a meadow orchard to address growing consumer concerns about biodiversity and the preservation of regional heritage. In Australia, around 14,000 sheep and 2,000 cattle are stranded on a live export ship off Australia’s west coast. The ship was originally enroute to Israel but was ordered to return due to security concerns. The exporter had applied to re-export the animals via the Cape of Good Hope, however the federal Department of Agriculture refused the application due to animal welfare concerns -  the change meant the animals would have been at sea for more than two months

Spotlight Stories

Food Packaging Spotlight

different coloured waste wheelie bins under a blue sky

Coca‑Cola strips labels from Sprite on-the-go bottles in Company’s first UK trial of “label-less” packaging [29 January, Coca-Cola Great Britain]

Coca-Cola Great Britain will temporarily remove the labels from their Sprite and Sprite Zero 500ml bottles as part of a limited trial intended to simplify the recycling process and decrease the use of packaging materials. Although existing labels are recyclable, removing them simplifies the recycling process even further. The labels will be replaced with an embossed logo on the front of the bottle while the product information will be laser-engraved on the back. The new limited design will be sold in eight Tesco Express stores around the United Kingdom between January and March 2024. This is the latest design change from Coca-Cola to reduce packaging waste, including switching from green bottles to clear ones which are easier to recycle, introducing bottles designed with attached caps to reduce littering. 

Tags: Food packaging; waste reduction; innovation

Blue Economy Spotlight

looking underwater a school of fish between viewer and the surface

Ngāi Tahu initiative to advance south’s blue economy [7 February, Stuff]

Two Ngāi Tahu-led entities have formalised a partnership to develop more sustainable use of coastal waters. Murihiku Regeneration and Whiore Enterprises signed a relationship agreement on Waitangi Day. They will drive initiatives for new ways of farming shellfish and seaweed, as well as sustainable harvest of seaweeds and marine fauna. The partnership’s initial focus will include harvesting and processing undaria seaweed for its health benefits. Longer term, the partnership will look at innovative opportunities including a hatchery for culturing Bluff oysters and kina, establishing a high-tech bio-refinery, and installing a ‘closed-loop system’ with Tiwai aluminium smelter using carbon dioxide and excess heat from the smelting process to drive algal production.

Tags: Blue economy; seaweed; marine innovation

Headline Stories

bunch of grape hanging on a vine

Wine’s wasted grapes become a value add [2 February, Farmers Weekly]

New research from Massey University aims to help winemakers reduce the amount of grapes going to waste. Vineyards thin between 10-20% of their grapes during summer for quality purposes but since these grapes are not matured, once they hit the ground, they are left to rot. The new research has highlighted a low-risk opportunity where the thinned grapes can instead be collected and processed with existing winemaking facilities before the main harvest to create verjuice, a product that has a variety of uses including as an ingredient for alcoholic drinks, marinades and dressings. Although verjuice is an established product in Europe, New Zealand consumers are not fully accustomed to verjuice. The research sought to understand New Zealand consumer responses to verjuice and compare this to producers’ understanding and marketing decisions. 

Tags: Wine; viticulture; waste reduction; product innovation

a pastoral electric fence post running diagonally through the shot

Research identifies weeds as a billion-dollar potential threat [1 February, Rural News]

Chilean needle grass, a weed plant already established in Hawkes Bay, Canterbury & Marlborough, has been the topic of newly released research conducted by AgResearch. Their research shows that it could spread throughout New Zealand and cost over a billion dollars. The weed has sharp piercing seeds that causes blindness in livestock, pelt and carcass damage, and minimised pasture quality and grazing access. The research has provided models and tools to help predict how and where it will spread, as well as estimating the environmental and economic loss that Chilean needle grass could cause. Some of the findings suggest that if nothing is done to curb the spread, the pastoral sector could lose between $192 million and $1.16 billion which would justify the annual expenses of between $5.3 million and $34 million to prevent its spread. 

Tags: Biosecurity; pastoral sector; weeds

raw steak on a conveyor belt in packaging

Arizona could join states in stand against cultivated meat [11 January, Food Dive]

The state of Arizona has proposed legislation that would make it illegal to ‘misrepresent’ products as ‘meat’. The bill aims to ban labelling products as 'meat' that have not been derived from poultry or livestock, and instead cultivated in a lab from cultured animal cells. This legislation is driven by concerns from the traditional meat sector and consumers over food safety of these products. Consumer acceptance remains one of the most challenging hurdles for the lab-grown meat sector. Arizona joins Florida, Texas and other US states in exploring or imposing additional requirements that would hinder the sale of cultivated meat.

Tags: Cultivated meat; regulation; food labelling

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