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Three Kelloggers among Zanda McDonald Awards Finalists.

Adapted from an article on the Zanda McDonald Award website. 

Judges of the Zanda McDonald Award, will crown not one but two winners for 2022 – one from each side of the Tasman. 

Now in its eighth year, the prestigious award recognises young future leaders working in agriculture and provides an impressive prize package centred around a tailored trans-Tasman mentoring programme. The eight talented finalists – include four from New Zealand, three of whom are graduates of the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.  

All finalists have been selected for their passion for the industry, strong leadership skills, and the contributions they’re making in the primary sector. 

The four New Zealand finalists are 2019 Kellogg Scholar Katie Vickers, Head of Sustainability and Land Use for Farmlands;  

2017 Kellogg Scholar Olivia Weatherburn, National Extension Programme Manager for Beef + Lamb New Zealand;  

2017 Kellogg Scholar Rhys Roberts, CEO of market garden and farm operation Align Farms;  

and Adam Thompson, director of Restore Native Plant Nursery, beef farmer and mortgage broker. 

Richard Rains, award chairman says whilst Covid-19 travel restrictions drove the change to two awards, it has also created an exciting opportunity. With the increase to eight finalists and two winners, the award can have a positive impact on more future leaders in Australia and New Zealand.  

“We’re thrilled to be able to invest in the future of all eight finalists, and our two winners, and help with their future career and personal development. Our judges have again been overwhelmed with the level of talent and capabilities of this years’ candidates,” said Rains. 

The Australian and the New Zealand winner will each pick up an impressive personal development package, including a personalised mentoring trip in Australia and New Zealand (when travel allows), up to $10,000 worth of tailored education or training, media coaching, and other mentoring and industry opportunities. 

Winners will be announced in November 2021. 

 

A Rural Connection

By Royna Ngahuia Fifield-Hakaraia (Ngāti Rangatahi, Ngāti Whititama)  

You might have noticed a new magazine on the stands lately. Shepherdess is a publication that offers something no other magazine does: an unapologetic celebration of women in rural Aotearoa. Published by Kristy McGregor – a twenty-nine-year-old Australian based on a dairy and beef farm at Manakau, Horowhenua – the quarterly magazine unearths stories on all matters of social and cultural life in the regions. 

Humble beginnings. 

Kristy is the first person to admit that Shepherdess has come from humble beginnings. Initially, there were a series of conversations with Claire Dunne, the founder of Australian magazine Graziher, then an Instagram page and a blog, and finally the first edition was in stores in March, 2020 – a few weeks before New Zealand’s first Covid-19 lockdown.  

“I’d known Claire for a few years and in our conversations we both recognised that there was a real opportunity for a nationwide publication that spoke to rural life,” Kristy explains. “But when Claire said to me, “How about we start the magazine?” in early 2019, I had just had my first baby and was about to dive back into my resource management job in Wellington – it definitely wasn’t the best timing. Deep down, though, I knew there was never going to be a perfect time and I really believed in what the magazine could provide for rural women, so I decided to give it a go.” 

Beating the odds. 

The journey, of course, hasn’t been without its bumps. Less than 40 per cent of start-up businesses in New Zealand survive past the first two years and Kristy faced her first big hurdle early on. She found herself at the helm of Shepherdess with no experience in publishing or running a business.

“As we were preparing the first edition and pulling everything together for the March launch, Claire’s circumstances changed and she needed to focus her energy in Australia,” says Kristy. “Suddenly, I went from working with someone who has years of publishing experience to being on my own, but I just knew that I had to give it a try.  

“I had been living in New Zealand for nearly six years and I felt that I had a bit of an understanding about the experiences and perspectives of rural New Zealand, especially with living and working on my partner’s family farm in the Horowhenua.

“Really I stumbled into the role of publisher – what I really wanted to do was connect people and I could see that the magazine could be a tool to do that.” 

Growing up in suburban Sydney.

Kristy grew up on a quarter acre block in Camden, a small, suburban area on the outskirts of Sydney. But through her father’s work as an agricultural teacher as well as invitations by extended family to go and stay at their farms, Kristy’s childhood was filled with experiences of rural life. “As a kid, I would go and stay with family friends in Jamberoo, Parkes and Canowindra,” says Kristy.

“I have memories of watching a newborn calf plop onto the ground, or visiting the local butcher where, like in many small towns, they run a tab under the family name. Some days I would sit on the enclosed veranda in the baking sun for hours, trying to avoid the flies. It was this sense of simplicity and familiarity that I really loved growing up, and as I got older these were the things I found myself gravitating towards.” 

Home in Horowhenua.

Kristy moved to New Zealand in 2014, after meeting Michael Keeling, a Kiwi who was working in western Queensland before taking over the family farm back home in Horowhenua. “My first year here was really hard,” Kristy explains.

“I was away from my friends and family and everything I had built over in Australia, and my introduction to dairy farming was a partner who worked fifteen-hour days, ate and slept and then did it all again the next day. There was very little social life, and there was a lot I had to learn. I brought home a pet lamb that first year and I quickly learnt that you don’t want to add anything to your plate during calving if you can help it!” 

Despite all the challenges, Kristy is still here and still based in the Horowhenua with Michael and their two children, Hartley, three, and Tully, one. And eighteen months after its debut Shepherdess is currently curating its eighth edition, is stocked in 400 stores nationwide and has built an online community of 15,000 and growing, with an estimated readership of 18,000 per edition.

Women from across the country write to Kristy, explaining how they had always hoped a magazine like Shepherdess would appear at their local bookstore and how much it means to them to see women like themselves reflected back in its pages and stories.  

Collaboration, connection and community.

“Collaboration is what has propelled the magazine. I remember in the few months before our first edition, sitting down with Claire Dunne and she had a whiteboard and a pen and was giving me a publishing 101 lesson because I really had no idea. I even roped in my mother-in-law to bake the cakes for the recipes in the first edition! But we were lucky to have organisations like Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Farmlands, who – bravely – endorsed us from the start. And a great team of talented women have come on board so that the magazine could become a reality.” 

Shepherdess fills a large gap in Aotearoa’s media landscape: telling stories that matter to women living in rural and regional areas and providing a space for underrepresented women’s stories to be shared; with a concerted focus on Te Reo and the experiences of wāhine Māori.  

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“For me, it’s just a gut feeling that I have that I couldn’t make a publication in 2021 and not honour Te Ao Maori.

Throughout this journey, I have learnt so much about our communities and businesses. Our first editions might not have been perfect, but we strive to be better and better every time, and as a team we are continually improving and refining.

Running a business is often like a jigsaw, fitting people’s strengths to their roles and figuring out how we best work together so that we can produce the best possible experience for our readers.” 

It was in talking to other rural women that Kristy realised there was a real need for a magazine that can hold space for women who might be isolated, either socially or geographically. That other women wanted a publication that spoke to their fears and struggles as well as their sense of pride and belonging for the many wonderful things happening in rural Aotearoa.  

Shepherdess connects its readers to rural and regional Aotearoa from the comfort of their couch, kitchen table or out in the paddock if need be.

“We showcase women from all parts of the country and all areas of industry who are facing the same things as everyone else and who are trying to figure out how best to do it all.

“I think reading these stories, that are all our stories, fills us up and creates a special feeling of community. I’m really frank about knowing what it’s like for most mums out there – my office is right here on the farm with my kids underfoot, the palettes of magazines on the back of a truck, roll in right after the tanker.

“I’m doing Zoom calls while breastfeeding or checking copy and looking at design mock-ups late at night after the kids are in bed. But its also extremely rewarding to be getting these amazing stories out there. It’s exciting to have found something that I really resonate with, that feels so closely connected to me.”  

To subscribe, purchase the latest edition of Shepherdess or read more stories that have featured in the magazine, head to the website www.shepherdess.co.nz or into any one of their many stockists across the country, a list of which can also be found on the website. Use the code RURALLEADERS on the website at check out for an extra edition free with any annual subscription purchased.

Good value in changing times.

If you look very hard for the Pandemic’s silver linings, you’ll find a few.  

There’s a growing appreciation for the rural sector. According to UMR data from last year, support for dairy and sheep and beef farmers has risen 9%. The reason cited was the heavy government spending on the Covid-19 relief package, leaving a public asking, “How’re we going to pay for all this?”  

Also cutting through the gloom are the countless innovations taking place as the effort to adjust continues. And like many organisations cornered by the pandemic’s refusal to negotiate, the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust has had to adapt on the move. One example was when Nuffield Scholars were affected by the close of international travel. An innovation in the form of a New Zealand based experience emerged.  

The Global Tour of New Zealand.

The ‘Global Tour of New Zealand’, as it was quickly named by last years’ Nuffield Scholars, gave a unique view of the country’s food and fibre sector value chains. This year, the programme has been made richer still. The Value Chain Innovation Programme will begin in January 2022 and  
is now open to a larger number of people in the primary sector. 

One of the programme’s two facilitators, Sir Graeme Harrison Professorial Chair of Global Value Chains and Trade Hamish Gow says, “The Value Chain Innovation Programme provides the opportunity to lift the lid on some of New Zealand’s leading value chains, exploring their working components and analysing how they create value.”  

Building the value.

Much work has gone into building a cache of exciting and varied case studies across dairy, arable and horticulture value chains to name a few. Participants learn straight from the source. They gain unique insights into food and fibre innovation, in both domestic and international markets.

Businesses don’t always get the opportunity to explore innovation across other industries. The new programme gives a wide view of established and novel value chains. Participants compare and transpose thinking at a time when the primary industries are going through the biggest period of transformational change since the 1980’s.  

If you’re in food and fibre, now is the time to be gaining a pan-sector view of as many successful business models as possible,” says Prof. Gow. “Increasingly the most successful value chains are those with business models that are closely aligned to their customers, use protected IP, and provide innovative shared value structures.” 

The programme runs over five weeks, two of these are spent on the road. The remaining time is spent on an individual research report. “It will be a busy few weeks, with the time commitment being 100 hours on field trips, guest lectures and networking, online lectures and discussions, tutorials, and another 50 hours self-directed learning,” said Prof. Gow. 

The programme delivery team.

New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust CEO Chris Parsons remarked, “As a global leader and thinker in value chain design, innovation and entrepreneurship, Professor Gow is uniquely qualified to impart deeper strategic learning and insight into 2022’s programme.”  

The depth on the team is bolstered further with Leadership and Strategic Development Consultant, Phil Morrison, ONZM. “We are also fortunate to have Phil onboard. He brings a different leadership perspective, drawing on a career in military command, and in the delivery of innovation, strategic and leadership training as a consultant. We couldn’t hope for a stronger team.”  

Once completed, the programme will give participants the competencies, confidence, and networks to influence change and lead transformation at an enterprise level and throughout regional New Zealand.  

Chris Parsons says, “We hope this programme will lead to positive larger scale change as our graduates continue to grow and contribute to a fast-changing food and fibre sector.”

Rural Leaders are taking applications until 28 November 2021, with a scheduled start date of 16 January 2022.  

Applications can be made at ruralleaders.co.nz/value-chain/.

A Royal Connection: The Commonwealth Study Conference Global Leaders Series.

The Commonwealth Study Conference Global Leaders Series (CSC) took place online recently. This was the first occasion Rural Leaders had been invited to attend. CSC Leader and Patron, HRH The Princess Royal also attended the event for the formal launch of this quarterly programme.

The series is designed to take on the big subjects, overlaying leadership, and hearing from key leaders around the Commonwealth.

Hosted by Coutts & Co. CEO, and Deputy Chair CSC UK, Peter Flavel, and Sir Alan Parker, Chair CSC UK, 28 countries were represented, over 200 people were online. Many insightful questions were asked, including: mental health, COVID-19, loss, EV’s, sustainability and that it’s ‘OK not to be OK’.

A range of topics were covered by speakers including Bernard Looney CEO, BP, who was very open about the challenges and opportunities for BP and the environment. As CEO, he has set BP on an extremely ambitious course of transformation as an energy company.

The meeting was held in tandem with other like-minded organisations such as RASC, NZ Rural Leaders, Nuffield Scholars, and the CSC UK delivery partners ‘The Association of Commonwealth Universities.’

HRH The Princess Royal made several helpful observations on societal expectations and then on blue and green hydrogen.

The event put Nuffield and NZ Rural Leaders in the minds of some significantly senior international leaders.

Of the event, Peter Flavel said that this was a “Significant point in CSC history – delighted to be partnering with CSC Global Alumni.”

A special thanks to those who were able to attend. And for those who missed it, we will endeavour to share the recording once the Palace approves it.

Kate Scott elected Board Chair for the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust.

Kate Scott has been elected as the new Board Chair for the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust, at the fourth Regular Meeting for 2021, held on the 8th of September. Outgoing Chair, Andrew Watters, has brought a wealth of experience, and passion to his time as Chair, and through a critical period in the Trust’s growth. Andrew will remain as trustee until an election takes place for his replacement in autumn, 2022.

In vacating the Chair, Andrew has expressed, “Thanks go to my fellow Trustees and the NZRLT team, led very ably by Chris Parsons, who have made the Chair’s role a joy to occupy. It’s a pleasure to hand over the reins to Kate Scott, 2018 Nuffield Scholar. NZRLT is a leadership organisation, and succession planning is a key outcome of successful leadership. In Kate we can see the next generation of Governors leading the organisation as we seek to attract and transform talent through our world class Kellogg, Value Chain Innovation and Nuffield programmes.”

On being elected Kate said, “I am honoured by the opportunity to step into the role of Chair, and am looking forward to continuing to work alongside the other trustees, the chief executive and the team to continue to deliver on our aspiration of growing world-class leaders for our country.”

 “It is a real privilege to be able to continue the exceptional work of previous chairs, including Andrew, who has led the organisation through some significant growth over the past few years.”

 “Stepping into this role at a time when New Zealand’s food and fibre sector is at the crossroads of significant change and opportunity, is both exciting and important. Leadership by farmers and growers will be fundamental to how we navigate what lies ahead. I am excited by the opportunity to strengthen our collective position through collaboration and teamwork, so that we can continue to deliver people who are capable of leading the food and fibre sector in the future.”

 “It is also a pleasure to be able to give back to the organisation that supported my own Nuffield journey and in doing so I strive to make those that have gone before proud of what we do for those that will come after us.”

Craige Mackenzie: Right place, right time.

Rural Leaders talked to 2008 Nuffield Scholar Craige Mackenzie about change, technology and precision farming. His business, Vantage NZ, helps remove the complexity around technology-enabled change, while
the family farm demonstrates precision in practice.

But as Craige explains, what really matters is mindset.

The foundations of a mindset.

Growing up, we knew the value of a dollar. They were hard to come by. We did the best we could with what we had. I was keen to get out and earn, so I finished school and went farming with my family. I learned early on that I enjoy pushing myself.

At 18 I travelled to the United States, instead of going to university. I saw the world for the first time, and it felt like we were all only limited by our imaginations. Coming home was a jolt back to reality. It was the 80’s and a tough period for farmers. If you have a hard time at any point in your career, the start is the place to have it. You learn how to survive early.

We took over the farm in 1984, buying it from my parents. We put in irrigation, expanded, and eventually removed all the stock from the system. We went into intensive seed production.

In 2006 we ventured into the dairy industry too, building up to 1240 cows at the peak. Then along came M. bovis. But it’s interesting, from adversity came opportunity. By having to cut the stocking rate down, we found our milk production per cow went up. We were on the efficiency journey, simply by doing the best we could in a tough situation.

Production is vanity. Profit is sanity.

In 2008 I did a Nuffield Scholarship, something I felt fortunate to receive. It meant travelling around the world for six months. My study topic was very broad, ‘Understanding the Carbon Footprint in Farming Systems.’ At the heart of it, I thought, if we cut inputs by 30% and still maintain outputs, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by 30%, which in turn increased profitability.

While travelling I saw some intensive operations in Europe, broad acre framing at scale in the USA and Canada, through to small holder farms in China. It’s interesting to see what drives different decision-making and farming practises. Often these are influenced by subsidies and support mechanisms rather than efficiency, although I also saw some good examples of Precision Ag too.

Sometime after, I recall talking with Raj Khosla, the head of the International Precision Agriculture Association. He asked me to present at a conference, and I said “Ah Raj, we don’t really do precision.” He said, “…well you know exactly how many kilograms of fertiliser it takes to grow a tonne of wheat don’t you? You know what your inputs are. My friend, you are doing precision agriculture.”

Technology is a decision support tool, not a decision tool.

From then on, I understood what we were doing. We started thinking, how do we go faster? How do we do better? All of a sudden, it became easy to decide to invest in more technology to enable these things. So, we looked at crop sensors, moisture probes, electromagnetic mapping of soils, all sorts of new technology. But again,

the biggest change wasn’t the technology, it was our mindset.

One of the most important things about investment in technology, is profitability. The more you can reduce inputs while maintaining outputs, the more you are free to invest in technology.

You circle back around to re-invest your profit into the technology that reduces inputs. Like machinery that places a bottlecap of fertiliser on every plant. Exactly the right amount at exactly the right time. That leads to better environmental outcomes as well.

After our daughter finished her degree at Lincoln, we asked her what she wanted to do. We saw there was an opportunity to help farmers work smarter, to make more informed decisions. That’s when Agri Optics NZ was born. We’re exclusive Trimble dealers for New Zealand now too, offering a range of products under the Vantage NZ brand.

At the heart of it all is GPS technology: GPS, flow control, steering, automation, and land levelling software. GPS is the enabler though. Without GPS you can’t really do any of the other clever things that result in precision outcomes.

Is it better to go rabbit shooting with a .22 or a shotgun?

I gave a presentation in Bonn at a climate change meeting. Somebody asked me, what’s the silver bullet that fixes things? And I said, it’s not a silver bullet, it’s a silver shotgun.

We need multiple tools in a biological food production system. We need lots of levers to pull. Yes, you’ve only got short range with your shotgun, but you’ve got a whole lot of cover.

There’s no one thing that does it all though. So you need to carefully integrate all your tools into the farming system, rather than the farmer into the tool system.

Is the regulatory environment moving more arable farmers into precision?

The higher the regulatory pressure, the more people will work to get ahead of the challenges those regulations create. We need to continue to have as many tools on the shelf as possible to meet them. As tough as it’s getting, we need to be out in front of it.

I’d rather be having conversations with government and regulators, trying to constructively slow things down to help make the best decision, and create the best outcome for everyone, including the environment. To build the time needed to think about a more considered approach. There’s no advantage in putting regulations in place that are unachievable. None.

We’ve had lots of regulators here over the years. It’s hard for them to push regulation when you’re already past where they think they want to go.

If we can show we’re not leaching anything through the profile in the growing season, like water from irrigation, then it’s very hard for them to say we’re putting nitrates into the groundwater. Especially when there’s nothing getting past the roots. Having the data to show this is powerful.

Unlike GMO, is CRISPR a tool you’ll get to use?

The first thing is, CRISPR is GMO. Rob Horsch was at the forefront of GMO technology. He worked for Monsanto for 20 years on Roundup Ready, which is where it all started.

I had an interesting conversation with Rob a couple of years ago at a crab restaurant somewhere on the East Coast of the US. He said what you’ve got to remember is CRISPR is only going to make small changes in GMO technology. For example, GMO changes a normal wheat plant into a glyphosate Roundup Ready plant. Or equally, it changes a plant to being insect resistant. These are large jumps. Whereas CRISPR only makes small tweaks.

CRISPR is a bit like a pair of molecular scissors. You make small edits by cutting strands of DNA. It has huge applications for treating and preventing disease, correcting genetic defects, and improving crops.

There are changes with CRISPR that will be useful to New Zealand agriculture. Like ryegrass that reduces methane emissions. CRISPR could be a way for GMO to come in to New Zealand, as incremental, more palatable changes for consumers.

Has precision has been a way to stay competitive without GMO?

There’s two things that drive that. One, we don’t live in a country complicated by subsidies. A lot of farming around the world is. We run a business. We’ve had to make sure we are profitable. Precision practices help make that happen.

Two, when you travel like I did with Nuffield, you see the challenges that face the farming system when you’re not careful. Herbicide-resistant weeds are one of the challenges countries with GMO have steaming down the track at them.

Precision agriculture still fits even if you do have GMO’s. Because it’s really about the right product, delivered the right way, at the right time. It doesn’t matter which area of the food production system you’re in either: horticultural, arable, sheep and beef, it can fit every sector.

Will the future of farming look like the start of Interstellar, with autonomous everything?

We used to be sheep, beef and cropping, now we’re 100% cropping. Some of the crops we grow today: spinach, pak-choy, carrots, radish, have mostly evolved in the last few years because food production systems have changed.

We’ve got dairy cows on the Canterbury Plains, driven by the fact that the Waikato was too expensive. With irrigation, Canterbury was seen to be the right place. We know that some of that will go back the other way. And yes, there’ll be more automation, because labour is likely to remain an issue for agriculture.

We’ve been developing bigger machines to maximise production. As autonomous technology advances, the machinery will get smaller, smarter, and run for longer. It will be about maximising profitability. A profitability mindset will be the only one worth having.

We’re all looking further ahead into the future now too. It’s like driving a car, you’ve got a large window to look out the front and a small rear vision mirror. Yes, we should know where we’ve been, but really, we’re more interested in seeing where we’re going and what challenges are coming at us.

Challenges like synthetic fertiliser and pesticide use. Like shifts in consumer food preferences. We’ve got climate change and some water challenges too. All those things are going to shape what we do. They will have a big impact on how we operate and what a farm of the future looks like.

That’s where technology and an understanding of how you use water for example, becomes increasingly important. Soil moisture probes helped cut our water use by over 35%. We wouldn’t have thought our current water footprint per kilogram produced was even possible ten years ago.

Learn from your successes and imagine the next ones.

In 2016 we were fortunate to receive the ‘International Precision Farmer of the Year’ award.

We worked hard for it, but some of our success came from the fact that we live in an environment where you can grow pretty much anything: high yield wheat, ryegrass, many crops.

We’ve got water. We’ve got access to fertiliser and technology. So compared to many places globally, we have a wealthy environment.

We have challenges, but we have many opportunities to be successful here too. I do believe we’re only limited by our imagination as to what we can do, and what we can achieve.

Follow the link to read Craige’s Nuffield report Understanding the carbon footprint in farming systems, released in 2008.

Connect with Craige on LinkedIn.

The Mackenzie Study – a view of leadership

The Otago Business School and the Department of Economics recently conducted research on behalf of The Mackenzie Charitable Foundation and The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust.

‘The Mackenzie Study’ revealed remarkable results on the personal gains in entrepreneurial skills attributable to participation in the Kellogg and Nuffield Programmes. It is Nuffield Scholars’ broad and consistent level of achievement over time, that resonates most.

Preliminary findings are a compelling case for anyone considering applying for a 2022 Nuffield Scholarship, or looking to develop their leadership ability through the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.

A comprehensive survey of Nuffield Scholarship Alumni was conducted in June this year, with invitations sent to all 135 living alumni.

The study had an unusually high participation rate of over 50%, especially given the flooding in Canterbury.

We’ll be presenting more results in due course, including comparisons between alumni and current cohorts. For now, here are just some of the findings demonstrating the professional accomplishments of Nuffield Scholarship Alumni.

Each result is a strong call to potential applicants for the 2022 Nuffield Scholarships, to apply before midnight this Sunday, August 15.

The new Value Chain Innovation Programme

Innovating for our fast-changing
value chains.

A recent addition to The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust’s cache of programmes is the VIP. The Value Chain Innovation Programme delivers a truly immersive experience, created to meet a growing need for strategically capable leaders in our food and fibre systems.

It is for those who are passionate about developing their leadership style, growing their networks, and contributing to their business and community.

Driving innovation in food and fibre.

The Value Chain Innovation Programme delivers two weeks of immersive learning, focused on strategic value chain analysis and design. The programme is a facilitated journey along ten or more established, disruptive, and novel value chains, delivering a sector and pan-sector view.

It connects participants to New Zealand’s key value chain influencers and accelerates their ability to adapt to a fast-changing environment.

  • It expands their entrepreneurial capability.

  • It builds advanced competencies.

  • And it develops a new mindset on food and fibre innovation in domestic and international markets.

Applications are open until 28 November 2021.

The programme spans two weeks for the industries immersion. Participants then return home and have three weeks to produce a value chain innovation report.
The course structure is as follows:

Phase 1: Virtual masterclass.

As a build-up to the journey, participants attend a virtual masterclass via zoom, of 1 -2 hours. This covers the current landscape within New Zealand’s value chains and what is likely to emerge in the future.

Participants then submit a short PowerPoint overview on their own value chain, or one they wish to explore.

Phase 2: Value chain immersion 16-28 January 2022.

Participants assemble in Auckland on the 16th. They then undertake two weeks of facilitated field trips through the North and South Islands.

The tour culminates in Christchurch on the 28th.

Phase 3: Extramural value chain innovation report.

Work on an individual value chain innovation report. This may be submitted as a PowerPoint.

Ready to take the next step?

For any queries contact Lisa Rogers +64 21 139 6881 or email lisarogers@ruralleaders.co.nz

Nuffield five for five.

Image:Nuffield Scholars in study [supplied]

With five days to go until applications for the 2022 Nuffield Scholarship close, we thought we’d give five reasons as to why receiving a scholarship now, may represent a quantum gain in benefits over previous years. So calling all potential Nuffield Scholars, here’s some more food for thought.

  1. There have never been so many of New Zealand’s best business leaders and innovators in the country at the same time.
    There are a few silver linings to the global pandemic. One might be the number of influential people affiliated to innovation and the food and fibre sector, who have returned home. While their move may not be permanent, now is the time to meet and connect with them. Nuffield can help with that.

  2. With a programme that has adapted to the global pandemic, scholars currently have more flexibility, closer to home.
    We face many challenges right now. So, being away from family, farm and work could be tough on some. As a result of the global pandemic restrictions, the programme has adapted successfully by adding a deeper local layer, along with virtual and global input.

  3. No matter what happens with regard to global travel, Scholarship recipients still receive $40,000 to conduct research.
    Whether the borders open up or not in the short to medium term, the Scholarship funds are not adjusted. In a situation where the borders do open, your global travel component will continue, safely.

  4. Nuffield Scholars’ experiences and enhanced skillsets are increasingly in demand.
    As the rate of change in food and fibre and beyond increases exponentially, Nuffield Scholars’ exposure to research, innovation and leadership development, means their knowledge is always needed in governance and industry.

  5. Scholars will be part of the new Value Chain Innovation Programme (VIP).
    Two weeks’ immersion into more than ten of New Zealand’s established, novel and disruptive value chains.

    The Value Chain Innovation Programme introduces Scholars to value chains beyond their own. It represents an opportunity to meet, draw ideas from and connect with people across many industries.

    Thinking of launching a product, or adding another to a range? This is just one way the VIP can help.

Want to be part of this? Apply now.

Back to the August 2021 issue of The Rural Leader.

What is the future of grocery? Millennials, branding and big data.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

This paper presents some significant empirical findings about generational cohorts, their grocery shopping behaviors and the implications of this for retailers. Marketing has long relied on the use of market segmentation. While birth age has been a useful way to create groups, it does not help to understand cohort motivations. Environmental events experienced during one’s coming of age create values that remain relatively unchanged throughout the life of the citizen.

This study investigates what the future of grocery is for Generation Z (Gen Z) and Generation Y (Gen Y / Millennials). We will also explore what impact Branding and Big Data have on the way Gen Y and Gen Z citizens consume.

Every generation needs to eat – the act of buying food will never go away – but how we buy food will certainly evolve with future generations. The future of shopping will focus more on experience and creative more seamless experiences. The future of grocery is all about citizen-choice – giving citizens the options they want at every stage of their lives. The future of grocery will be impacted by innovation in technology, and other ways to make shopping more of an experience, whether that’s in-person or digital.

The aim of this paper is to explore how supermarkets will evolve and consume in a post-Covid environment. We will look at Shopping Malls to understand how the environment has been transformed and what the population expects from these spaces. We will study how millennials consume and what attributes they are looking for in products.

This is important and these questions need to be answered as the economic environment for grocery stores is tough. Retailers are navigating the shift in citizen behaviour and there is a fundamental shift in the environment they operate in. The year ahead is characterised by unusually high uncertainty for the grocery industry. The development and trajectory of the industry will heavily depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and how consumers will behave in response. Which consumer behaviors observed during the pandemic will stick? 

What new trends might emerge post-pandemic? Will online grocery sales continue to accelerate? How can retailers make it profitable? Will food nationalism continue, or will focus shift to trading down and price? Will safety and health be important factors? How about the broader topics of sustainability and climate change? This report aims to address these questions.

The methodology used for this report involved a literature review and thematic analysis which looks into the recurring themes of Big Data, Retailers and Citizens.

The literature review was the major component of the research including resources from domestic and international publications, opinion pieces and industry reports into the topic of groceries/supermarkets, the current environment and the future. 

Themes related to consumption patterns were discussed. Key findings were that Generational cohorts are not the same as generations 1 (Markert, 2004).

Each generation is defined by its years of birth; while a generation typically is 20–25 years in length, or roughly the time it takes a person to grow up and have children, a cohort can be as long or short as the external events which define it. Generational cohorts are set apart by cataclysmic events that produce a change in the values, attitudes, and predispositions in a society. These events create a discontinuous historical timeline; such secular change events can be characterised as a ‘sense of rupture with the past’2 Millennials and Gen Zs have grown up with technology and they are using this in their quest to purchase the perfect product in the perfect way.

We have compared Gen Z and Gen Y with Baby Boomers and Gen X who value the retail experience and in-store service. For Baby Boomers, the purchase process starts with a retailer the consumer trusts, who gives advice for choosing the right product, while for GenZ and Y, the purchase process starts with choosing a product. This study investigates retail strategies that will appeal to younger generational cohorts and considers how retailers should be building citizen relationships. The key insight for brands is that Gen Y & Z all about authenticity. They want to present themselves as they truly are. They expect a brand to take a position. To be respected for its values and demands, a brand must demonstrate them in a concrete manner, and shift from words to actions.

Other key findings:

a) Getting online will continue to be an imperative for New Zealand producers. It is hard to imagine or even remember, but as little as 18 months ago, some of the biggest food and beverage makers still had no direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce channels.

b) This pandemic is driving citizens to focus on “preventative eating” or “proactive eating.” New and innovative superfoods marketed to boost immunity will be one of the top food and beverage industry trends in 2021, whether it comes in the form of mushroom coffee, algae capsules, no- or low-alcohol beverages, or bone broth.

c) The climate crisis is driving demand for plant-based products. Demand for the latest generation of plant-based products isn’t just due to health goals

d) Citizens will be more cost-conscious. Even before the recession, customers were looking for ways to cut everyday costs, with more than half looking for ways to reduce their grocery bills.

e) Citizens will continue to look for greater transparency and connection to brands. Citizens may have tighter budgets, but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to cut corners when it comes to their health or personal values systems. Instead, they’re carefully reading the labels to find out not just what goes into their food, but where and how it’s made.

f) New recipes for engagement and sales may prove more popular than familiar favorites. Citizens anticipate they’ll continue to recreate big nights out in the comfort of their homes—even post-pandemic.

g) Citizens don’t think in terms of channels—they expect an outstanding shopping experience from clicks to bricks. To meet growing customer expectations, retail store owners within malls need to focus on an omnichannel approach with a unified online-offline experience.

h) Would we be better off moving to deliveries of food from local producers and suppliers directly to the citizens? It’s not that straightforward. Many farmers choose to sell their produce to supermarkets, despite retaining under a third of the retail price on average, as it is more efficient and reliable.

My recommendations are:

Supermarkets get closer to the customer – A real opportunity exists for retailers to secure new customer data. Gleaning insights successfully can increase the lifetime value of each customer.

Retailers ‘woo’ citizens with Experiences and Speed – Coupling experience with speedy fulfillment will go a long way toward meeting this generation’s expectations.

Don’t abandon stores – Reimagine them to create a digitally connected, interactive and hyper-personalized physical shopping experience.

Introduce concepts and focus on “cool” social media – Many products are the same and have become commodities. Citizens differentiate between products by their experience with them.

Overload on feedback – Gen Zs value feedback from their family and friends, suggesting that retailers no longer own the review process. Brands should also look at collecting shopper product testimonial videos – an authentic approach that adds tremendous credibility.

Focus on Ethical and Environmentally Friendly Products – There is accumulating evidence that consumers are impacted by the perceived sustainability of [a] brand, and that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand.

Read the full report:

What is the future of grocery? Millennials, branding and big data.