Many voices, one story.
Is it possible to harness the same energy and passion that ignites the winning spirit for NZ rugby towards being the world’s best producer of food? While that’s an ambitious statement to make, it’s the kind of ambition NZ needs to have in its ability to produce food the world is hungry for. While understanding what we need to produce is important, it’s our unique story that is sold to the world.
Sarah Meikle representing Wellington Culinary Trust mentioned, “We’ve got our story right in terms of our beautiful scenery, in terms of our lovely people, but do we have it right in terms of our food?” To market our products to the world and set them apart, we need to create a coherent and singular story that has buy-in across the board. While chefs around the country and internationally love to tell their version of the story, there’s a need to set the story straight.
Making connections and selling an experience.
As well as producing what we know the global market has a taste for, there’s a need to form deeper connections from the farm all the way to the plate. Creating and telling the story of our food is about developing a two-way relationship between producers and consumers where farmers can tell their story, and consumers can ask questions. Chefs want to deliver authentic experiences and serve food with integrity – something that people are looking for.
Cultural connections are worthy of celebrating, and help to define the uniqueness of NZ food globally. Cultural ties to food are an emerging global trend and it’s been shown that culture resonates strongly in terms of target market and consumers. Identifying what culture looks like for consumers and what our culture in particular looks like is part of defining our food story.
Adding value isn’t an objective, it’s a strategy.
NZ agri-food businesses have the opportunity to become the price makers as farmers move up the value chain and connect with consumers changing wants. While NZ does well at primary production, adding value is the way forward to increase exports and grow the industry. It’s not the objective but a core strategy to grow the wealth of the sector, which in turn will allow it to become more sustainable.
Innovation and investment can both drive success for the sector as it grows. While science is important, as panellist Judy Sise mentions “it’s only support for people doing stuff.” It’s the people watching and deciding to do something that will truly grow the industry and the science and technology is there to support that. Greater investment in creating high value products that the world will want to buy will help NZ reach higher into the chain.
While there’s also a need to continue with business as usual, there needs to be aspiration to adjust and deliver the best possible products for the world. This aspiration was at the core of the Perspective 2025 discussion, and ASB is proud to be supporting these conversations around growing the agrifood sector and New Zealand.
Let us know your opinions, and join the conversation in the comments below.
ASB Perspective 2025 Panellists
- Lucy Griffiths (Chair)
- Traci Houpapa
- Sarah Meikle
- Julia Jones
- Dr Claire Massey
- Jude Sise
- Jo Finer
- Suze Redmayne