Building resilience in supply chains


By Alasdair Baxter, The FoodBowl business development manager

Covid has impacted the food industry in many different ways.  Euromonitor reports that consumers are continuing a trend to home-based, healthy and sustainable foods, but the “internationalisation of food” and concerns about packaging are less important than they were pre-Covid. Prices are shooting up as materials become scarce – adding to cost of living woes for families already experiencing financial squeeze – and this is also starting significantly to affect purchasing decisions.

Across NZ, logistics continue to be a huge challenge as Covid and conflict in Ukraine disrupt supply chains. At the NZ Food Innovation Network we are seeing many of our customer bookings postponed or changed at the last minute as start ups and corporates scramble to get the materials needed for their production runs or trials. Whilst companies are still innovating, Food Technologists are being pulled in to prioritise finding substitutes to critical raw materials to keep factories ticking along.

Sectors exporting perishable goods from NZ are also in turmoil as they struggle with labour and delivery to markets. Unfortunately, it seems that the uncertainty will continue. The Government has recently released a consultation document on the issues facing New Zealand with regards to the freight and supply system, which states that the “Pre-Covid operating environment is unlikely to return”.

The role of the Government is to ensure the supply chain system functions well and serves the interests of the people, despite the system being largely run by private industry. The Government aims to address vulnerabilities made more visible by Covid and prepare our system for the future -taking into account climate change, population growth, digitalisation and geopolitics.

The strategy will focus on four outcomes: low emissions, resilience, productivity, innovation, equity and safety. We can all make a submission at

Dr Alasdair Baxter is business development manager at The FoodBowl. Prior to joining The FoodBowl, he worked in technical and sales roles for various multinational ingredients companies.

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.