With the overarching theme of 'Reinventing for a sustainable value', this year’s conference challenged conventions and sought solutions to the issues facing the industry.
Greg Smith, CEO of Bremworth, set the tone of the conference and talked about his experience working with Icebreaker and Michael Hill, both companies that have faced enormous challenges in recent decades and reinvented themselves to add significant value to their respective brands.
Applying the same strategy to Bremworth, he said the company had to make a decision to disrupt or be disrupted.
“We couldn’t compete at the cheap end of the market so we made the decision to drop our revenue to grow again. That takes courage.”
Mr Smith talked about the trajectory Bremworth was on, operating at the premium end of the market and promoting wool as sustainable, warm and natural.
His presentation was followed by a panel discussion ‘Innovation for the future.’
Speakers on this panel included Stuart Shaw (Programme Manager for advanced manufacturing at the Australian Meat Processor Corporation), Daniel Xu (Chief Executive of Spark 64, an artificial intelligence engineering consultancy) and Sarah Adams (Global Strategy and New Ventures Manager for Gallagher Animal Management). The discussion was moderated by Max Kennedy, Managing Director of Biolighthouse Limited.
All spoke about the role technology, robotics and artificial intelligence could play in addressing the challenges facing the sector such as labour shortages, profitability and climate change.
The second panel discussion, ‘Challenges and opportunities,’ drew on the experience and expertise of Kirk Hope (Chief Executive BusinessNZ), Todd Dawson (Chief Executive Napier Port and Todd Charteris, Chief Executive Rabobank) to discuss solutions to the short to medium-term issues facing the red meat industry. This session was moderated by Catherine Beard, Director-Advocacy for BusinessNZ.
Technology for Climate Response was the subject of the third panel discussion featuring Dr Sinead Leahy, Principal Science Advisor at the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and Tim Edmonds, Head of Advisory for Simply Energy.
Dr Leahy provided an overview of the NZ’s greenhouse gas profile and mitigation options while Mr Edmonds spoke about transitioning to clean energy alternatives.
Mike Pretty, Chair of the NZ Food and Grocery Council was the second of the three key note speakers at the conference. Mr Pretty spoke about consumer drivers and trends in the retail sector.
He particularly focused on changes in consumer behaviour since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic saying the convergence of demand and supply factors have not been seen since the 1920s.
“Cost of doing business has soared and the supply chain has moved from just-in-time to just-in-case.”
While health and wellness was a growing consumer trend, the top 10 growth categories on the supermarket shelves included carbonated drinks, frozen meals and confectionary.
The third key note speaker, Dr Frank Mitloehner (see more detailed article here) talked about the nature of methane and the use of GWP* as a more accurate way of measuring the impact of methane.
The final panel discussion was titled ‘Is the sector doing enough to respond to climate change’? Kellogg graduate Tryphena Carter was joined by Nuffield Scholar David Eade and Silver Fern Farms Sustainability Manager Ryan MacArthur to talk about connecting with the public, listening to other people’s perspective and turning regulations into opportunities. This panel was moderated by Jack Keeys, Agri-Food Research and Insights Analyst for KPMG.
The videos will be posted as they become available. Go to https://www.youtube.com/user/beeflambnz/featured