By The FoodBowl chief executive Alexandra Allan





The Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) aims to help lift the productivity, sustainability, and inclusivity of the food and beverage sector. Last week the NZFIN teams from across New Zealand came together with MPI to workshop some of the challenges, opportunities, and restraints our industry faces.

The big question – are we being left behind internationally due to a lack of clear direction on where we are going as an industry? We see so much incredible innovation and potential happening in all parts of the sector, but so much of it is happening in isolation, leading to duplication. How do we come together as a sector and work collaboratively in a way that strengthens the NZ Inc proposition?

One of the biggest opportunities is focusing more on value-added, premium products, rather than straight commodity exports. We are disproportionately good at growing things, but as increased pressures are placed on the primary industries, how do NZ food manufacturers ensure we are staying on top of sustainability, ethical food production, animal welfare, and strengthen our social license to operate?

The world over, we have a strong reputation for supplying high-quality raw ingredients – think meat and milk. There is an obvious opportunity in the premium product market.

How do we get all exports to the market in an efficient and financially (and environmentally) sustainable way?

Can we also put our focus on finding out what export consumers value and produce products aligned more closely to what the market is telling us? To truly transform the industry, activators must firstly, be supported to innovate, then encouraged to succeed or fail fast.  Products live or die in the market, so let’s enable them to get there much faster.

Ultimately the success of the ITP will be in its ability to provide a clear pathway that enables the industry, leads to growth, helps innovators make premium, in-demand products in ways that are more time and capital efficient. It’s a big task and our workshop posed many questions. As an industry, let’s come together to all help inform what the future opportunity looks like… for all of us.

Read the full article here: https://foodinnovationnetwork.co.nz/blog/how-do-we-grow

Alexandra Allan is the chief executive for The FoodBowl – an open-access facility operated by NZ Food Innovation Auckland and part of the NZ Food Innovation Network. She has experience in managing client projects as well as oversight on plant operations previously as the client solutions manager for The FoodBowl. Prior to that, Allan has held senior positions at Danone and Horley’s in product development.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology or the parent company, Hayley Media.