Week in Review
[29 April 2021]
This week, export data shows China’s increasing dominance as a destination for New Zealand products with 124% year-on-year growth for February 2021 in the country’s red meat export and Chinese buyers also leading bidding in the latest Global Dairy Trade auction.
Internationally, Singapore sees strong food infrastructure investment with the launch of a new hub developed to assess the safety of novel foods, and the opening of a Protein Innovation Centre by Swiss businesses Givaudan and Bühler.
Showcasing Sector Careers
‘Landed’ is open for both the 6th & 7th of May, and 12th & 13th May. An initiative developed by ASB Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS) Farm alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries and supported by KPMG.
The 2-day immersion workshop explores the innovative businesses across the food and fibre sector, and the career opportunities available. We invite you to be involved in sharing this opportunity with both rural and urban-based connections.
To read previous editions of Field Notes please click here.
Agri Tech Spotlight
New Zealand start-up company, Halter, has secured NZ$32 million in funding to further its GPS-enabled collars for cows that could transform farming methods in New Zealand. The collar is designed to train cows to respond to noise and vibration signals to ultimately move the cows around the farm. It is also able to monitor the wellbeing of the cows by observing movement patterns - whether they are lying down too much and/or walking a bit slower. This allows farmers to intervene early on any issues.
Tag: Agritechnology, Dairy, Farming Systems
Food Safety Spotlight
New hub at NTU will study safety of novel foods [27 April, The Straits Times]
The new Future Ready Food Safety Hub aims to support local and overseas agri-food companies by studying new ways to assess food safety risks in novel foods, whilst keeping abreast of newer, emerging forms of food. The scientists at the hub are working to develop protocols for novel foods, ingredients and new food-processing techniques. Professor William Chen, director of Nanyang Technological University’s Food Science and Technology programme claims "No food safety, no food security.”
Tag: Food Safety, International, Alternative Proteins
This Week's Headlines
New Zealand's most trusted brand hasn't changed in a decade, survey says [27 April, Stuff]
Whittaker's Chocolate has been ranked New Zealand’s most trusted brand for the tenth year in a row by Reader’s Digest, followed by Toyota, Samsung, Tip Top, St Johns NZ and Mainland. Whittaker’s co-chief operating officer, Holly Whittaker, said the company was committed to making world-class chocolate, and that meant not compromising on quality, taste, or size. More than 1800 New Zealanders were surveyed to select three of their most trusted brands and rate those brands on a 1-10 scale according to trust.
Tag: Food Marketing
Dairy prices steady at GDT, Westpac lifts forecast to $8/kg [21 April, NZ Herald]
Global Dairy prices are steady as whole milk powder prices increased by 0.4%, skim milk powder prices remain unchanged and anhydrous milk fat prices eased by 3.3%. However, following the Global Diary Trade auction, Westpac has lifted its forecast for next season's farmgate milk price from NZ$7.25/kg to NZ$8/kg. Westpac’s senior agri-economist, Nathan Penny, said "we expect high grain prices, environmental constraints and competition for land and water from other industries to rein in the usual global dairy supply response to very strong global demand."
Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports
‘World’s first’ certification mark launched for upcycled foods [22 April, Food Navigator]
Upcycled Food Association (UFA) developed and published the world’s first ever certification standard for upcycled foods last year. The upcycled food industry is valued at US$46 billion and has a growth rate of 5%, and the UFA is hoping to “quickly double” the industry’s growth rate through its newly developed seal. It aims to provide guidance to consumers about the presence of upcycled food whilst helping to solve the food waste problem and saving businesses’ money.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Food Marketing
A new Canterbury irrigation consent was granted with a strict set of requirements, including a 15% reduction in nitrogen losses by 2025. Farmers in the scheme are legally bound to achieve these reductions as part of their water supply agreement. The consent allowed farmers to keep farming, but locals including Aotearoa Water Action have voiced their concerns about potential effects on the environment.
Tag: Water, Policy and Regulation, Farming Systems, Environment & Emissions
Investigation finds Dutch company dumping frozen fries in NZ [22 April, Stuff]
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment launched an investigation after Potatoes NZ filed a complaint of “dumping” and applied for tariffs to be imposed on imports of potato products. The New Zealand Government discovered fries from the Netherlands and Belgium being dumped in New Zealand as a result of a spike in imports from both countries in June and July last year. The Government claims that current volumes aren’t a threat to the local potato industry.
Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports, Covid-19
Overseas investors fined $1.38m for using NZ relatives to buy land [20 April, Stuff]
Overseas investors have been fined NZ$1.38 million after they were found using New Zealand relatives to buy several forestry blocks on their behalf, breaching the Overseas Investment Act. The family bought 3,600 hectares across five blocks in Awakino, Ngāruawāhia, Awaroa, Paranui and Manganui for a total of NZ$12.8 million. Land Information New Zealand said the investors were aware permission was required to buy the forestry blocks but did not seek Overseas Investment Office approval.
Tag: Policy and Regulation, Forestry
SFF claims fourth year of profit is proof of strategy working [21 April, Rural News Group]
Silver Fern Farms Co-operative (SFF) reported a net profit after tax of NZ$32.4 million for the 2020 financial year while its parent company, Silver Fern Farms Limited, reported NZ$65.4 million for the same period. SFF’s chief executive, Simon Limmer, said "this is the level of financial performance required to provide an appropriate return on investment to our shareholders and enables us to continue investing in infrastructure, systems and the capability necessary to execute our market focused strategy."
Tag: Red Meat, Agribusiness
Updated Fonterra Application Centre opened in Guangzhou [23 April, NZ Herald]
Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Application Centre in Guangzhou has completed its revamp to support its growing foodservice business in Southern China. CEO for Fonterra Co-operative’s Greater China, Teh-han Chow, said, "this will be a really great enabler for our Greater China business, by helping us to bring our products to market faster and better." He also mentions that collaborating with Fonterra Co-operative’s Research and Development Centre in New Zealand enables them to better understand their customers’ needs and respond quickly to new food trends.
Tag: Dairy, Food Innovation
Houses v vegetables: Productive farmland 'lost to lifestyle blocks' [27 April, Stuff]
A new report has highlighted the loss of productive farmland due to urban sprawl, which decreased by 2% from 2017 to 2019, and by 54% since 2002. It is claimed that New Zealand’s best soils are being transformed into housing because croppers can’t afford to keep up with land prices. Only 14.4% of land was considered highly productive (requiring less fertiliser and cultivation) and most was found in areas surrounding urban settlements.
Tag: Policy and Regulation, Farming Systems
A New Zealand company called WombatNet, run by a 16-year-old, has brought high-speed internet access to hundreds of households in the Hutt Valley. These households have been “forgotten" by the big telecoms so WombatNet is expanding its services to parts of the country where residents in isolated areas cannot get internet connection. A year after starting up, the company now has hundreds of customers in Upper Hutt and has network plans from NZ$39 a month.
Tag: Rural Communities
Comvita says daigou honey trade, hurt by Covid-19, will rebound [23 April, Stuff]
According to Comvita chief executive, David Banfield, the daigou honey trade in New Zealand and Australia was affected by Covid-19, causing sales to decrease by 21% between June and December 2020. However, Banfield is confident the market will recover and said, “the daigou sector is very entrepreneurial in the way they approach things, they are innovative, so whilst they have had challenges over this period, they will find new ways for their business model to evolve so they can reach their user base in China.”
Tag: Trade & Exports, Apiculture, Covid-19
Meat plant delays [23 April, Farmers Weekly]
Some meat plants are forced to reduce operating hours due to container shortages and shipping issues. However, despite these issues, record volumes of beef are being sold. Silver Fern Farms supply chain manager, Dan Boulton, says most New Zealand cold stores are at capacity and if containers are not moving, meat plants are significantly impacted. Fonterra Co-operative’s global supply chain manager, Gordon Carlyle, said the co-operative is nearing the end of its peak export period and despite experiencing some disruption, it has been able to keep product moving.
Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports
Biden administration to launch largest summer food program in U.S. history [27 April, NBC News]
According to the United States Agriculture Department, the Biden administration will launch a summer food program to feed more than 30 million low-income children. It is the latest push by the White House to address widespread hunger and food insecurity in the U.S. and they believe it is the largest summer food program in the country’s history. The plan will provide up to 34 million children about US$375 each to buy food for the roughly 10 weeks they are out of school during summer.
Tag: International, Food Security
Givaudan and Bühler open Protein Innovation Centre in Singapore [26 April, Dairy Reporter]
A new Protein Innovation Centre in Singapore has been opened by two large global companies, Givaudan and Bühler, to enable global plant-based product development. Bühler Chief technology officer, Ian Roberts, said “it is a step towards achieving our vision of a collaborative and sustainable future of food.” The Centre combines the pilot technology of Bühler’s extrusion and processing equipment with Givaudan’s culinary facilities and their flavour, taste, ingredient and product development.
Tag: International, Alternative Proteins, Food Innovation
New Technology Partnership To Empower Primary Sector Progress [23 April, Scoop]
A new partnership between the Agri Women’s Development Trust and Kiwi tech company, MEA, plan to apply technology and data to accelerate progress in New Zealand’s primary sector as well as boost the personal and professional development of New Zealand women in the sector. MEA Group Director, Katherine Parrott, said, “we’re actively looking for ways to involve more women in technology and we’re passionate about setting the minds of our talented team to addressing the opportunities and challenges the primary sector faces.”
Tag: Rural Communities, Agribusiness, Agritech
Can fish offcuts be upcycled for food? ‘Unappealing’ flavours removed from fillet waste [26 April, Food Navigator]
According to Nofima researcher, Silje Steinsholm, a “magnetic tongue” technology could help reduce food waste as it identifies compounds affecting the flavours that make fish offcuts unsuitable for human consumption. The technology understands the relationships that exist between taste and chemistry which helps to remove the “off” flavours. Steinsholm believes this will reduce fish wastage which is favourable as fish offcuts have the same health benefits as the fish they are derived from.
Tag: Fisheries, Food Innovation, International
PepsiCo has launched an “impact-driven” Positive Agriculture ambition, anchored by a 2030 goal to spread regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres. The company estimates the effort will eliminate at least 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade. PepsiCo Senior Director of European Agriculture, David Wilkinson, said, “We cannot continue to farm in the same way as in the past. Our soil is degrading and agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change.”
Tag: International, Environment & Emissions, Farming Systems
Papaya waste upcycled into fruit bars enriched with whey protein [15 April, Food Navigator]
Denmark-based startup, Arla Foods Ingredients, are the product innovation partner for the four-year project to repurpose leftover papaya (in Ethiopia) into affordable and nutritious fruit bars enriched with whey protein, vitamins and minerals. Not only will the repurposing of leftover papaya secure an improved income for farmers, but the project aims to develop a “toolkit” for training food processing works and facilitate the creation of new jobs in Ethiopia’s food industry.
Tag: Food Innovation, Food Security, Environment & Emissions
Fruit-picking subsidy fails to draw Kiwis [27 April, Farmers Weekly]
The Government’s Seasonal Work Scheme aimed to fill the labour shortage in the horticulture industry through financial aid and relocation support but only 195 workers have entered the industry through the scheme. Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said, “it’s important to acknowledge there are significant barriers which deter take-up of seasonal roles. These barriers include relocating to other regions for temporary work, working conditions, limited affordable accommodation options and family commitments.”
Tag: Horticulture, Policy & Regulation
Happy Valley Nutrition’s new NZ$280 million milk processing plant is set for construction in the Waikato region later this year. It expects to produce high-value specialty diary ingredient powders for overseas markets. Chief executive, Greg Wood, says, "it is very satisfying to witness this project finally emerging from what was until recently a paddock, and these earthworks are confirmation that Happy Valley is well into the physical development of what will be one of the most advanced nutritional grade processing facilities in the world."
Tag: Dairy, Agribusiness
ASF will never be eliminated in China, says swine consultant [4 April, Agriculture]
According to Aspire Agritech Consulting’s swine consultant, Michael Ellermann, the African swine fever (ASF) is still a huge problem in China and will never be eliminated as the country suffer from high percentages of infected pigs. Ellermann said “China still has a long way to go before it has recovered from ASF, but never underestimate the Chinese swine industry.” Most current ASF cases are caused by a vaccine strain virus with more than 20 strains of ASF found by December 2020.
Tag: Pork, Biosecurity, International
With fish-food making up two thirds of the expense in farming salmon, Cawthron Institute Scientists in Nelson are researching the efficiency of individual fish in converting feed eaten to weight gain. One of the key research goals is to create a more efficient fish population, with the intake of an individual salmon ranging from 20 to 300 feed pellets in a single meal. The research also expects to support salmon farming expansion in more extreme elements such as farms located further off-shore.
Tag Fisheries, Research & Development
Another tool to measure emissions [27 April, Rural News Group]
Alltech subsidiary, Alltech E-CO2, have developed the “Dairy EA” model to assist dairy farmers measure and lower their carbon footprint. The company says these accredited assessments capture in-depth data on animal production, health, feed, fertiliser, water, energy, and resource use. Alltech New Zealand Innovation sales manager, Nigel Meads, said “it quantifies the gains in environmental performance that come along with these improvements and is focused on the animal, the environment and profitability.”
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Dairy
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