NZ Wagyu Inc. : Where to from here.

Executive Summary

Throughout its short history, the New Zealand Wagyu Industry (NZWI) which was established in the early 1990’s with the introduction of cattle from Australia and the United States (US) via original parents in Japan has been struggling to grow.

This is partly due but is not limited to the long time frames required to breed up stock, lack of knowledge of animals, perceived lack of appropriate farming systems (feed lot) through to an unwillingness for capital investment in the industry due to some early adopters being burned by a small few fly-by-nighters who vanished owing large sums of money.

Although it has come a long way in a small country at the bottom of the South Pacific the industry still has some way to go; the need for scale, the ever-changing consumer landscape and so on, importantly what is no longer solely important is food safety and price.

We have seen food miles and carbon foot prints come and to a certain extent go or are rebranded, the global consumer drive for clean, green “sustainable” production is still being echoed loud and clear in all industries in particular that of agriculture which according to the United States is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases globally (IPCC, 2014).

The aim of this study was to ascertain what the shape of the industry is currently, where it is headed in terms of opportunities and threats and what it may take to be successful in the future. To answer these questions I split the research into two parts;

  1. Industry contact – Made contact with a number of industry participants, arranging interviews and sent out a survey to those involved in the wider industry
  2. Research based – Review of relevant literature, performed an industry analysis with Porters Five Forces and a SWOT analysis

As a result of the research there are four recommendations in order to answer the question where to from here for the NZWI:

  1. Collaboration – The industry needs to pull together and form a strong breed association which can be used as a base for planning future change from.
  2. Disruption – Create a story and brand behind the product and look to develop new products and markets to challenge the status quo of the wider industry, in particular this should be focused on the strengths of the NZ industry (low cost, grass based, sustainable farming).
  3. Genetics – The industry should partner with the Australian Wagyu Breeders Association (AWA), as they are similarly doing with the American Wagyu Breeders Association (AWBA) and utilise more of the already strong gene pool and prior research.
  4. Market place – The establishment of an online trading platform in order for producers to buy and sell cattle and bring some cohesion to the industry.

NZ Wagyu Inc. – Where to from here – Michael McGehan

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