FUTURE FOODS CONFERENCE TALKS DISRUPTION

Pepper Curry, a graphic facilitator, 'mind maps' discussions at the Future Food Conference. Photo / Duncan Brown
Pepper Curry, a graphic facilitator, 'mind maps' discussions at the Future Food Conference. Photo / Duncan Brown

On Wednesday the Future Foods conference revealed the future of food both globally and locally: hemp and goats. Over 170 delegates from the New Zealand food industry turned up, alongside professional futurists, so discuss where the local food market is headed, how best to change it, and how we will fit in with changing global markets.

Two special interest groups were set up to investigate opportunities. The first is focussed on goats for their meat, fibre, and milk. The second will explore the potentialities of hemp across the fibre, medicine, and food industries.

Business Hawke’s Bay’s chief executive Carolyn Neville said the conference was design to build awareness, opportunities, and connections. “Some of the consumer-driven trends we’re seeing such as grass-fed, organic, ethical, traceable and sustainable, New Zealand is already doing, but we’re not fully realising its value,” said Neville.

Futurist Melissa Clark-Reynolds was also present to speak on the notion of disruption, sating it’s business models that are truly disruptive; not products or technologies. “New Zealand producers need to understand that the business models under which people buy and consume food today will not be the same business models that they’ll use in the future,” said Clark-Reynolds.

She warned that the commodity business model we’re currently using won’t last much longer. New Zealand needs to move away from volume and into value, but Clark-Reynolds is confident the industry is willing to change. “The conference has shown that there is real interest in developing value-added opportunities and Business Hawke’s Bay will be working hard to build on the momentum of the conference and develop capabilities and support networks to help us to do that,” she said.