Terry O'Brien, CEO of Simplot

Around 320 FGC delegates have recently gathered in Surfers Paradise, Australia, for the annual Food & Grocery Council Conference. Focused on ‘The New Reality for Grocery Suppliers in New Zealand and Australia’, the event offered an impressive line-up of speakers, networking opportunities and breakout workshops.

Among the key speakers was Terry O’Brien, CEO of Simplot, who warned New Zealand about the arrival of ‘discounters’ such as Aldi into our market. “You seem to be really good at staying clean and green and keeping all sorts of agriculture threats off your shores, but I don’t think you’ll keep the discounters off your shores, so get ready and be prepared for when they get there,” he said. “In New Zealand, if you aren’t yet suffering enough from discounting, you will one day, so start looking at your cost structure.”

In her opening speech, FGC chair Veronique Cremades emphasised the diversity and richness of our food and grocery industry.

“A more-than-$30 billion trade business in New Zealand and as much in exports; an industry that employs more than half a million people; an industry that creates value and prosperity way beyond trading, and contributes to New Zealand’s global reputation for quality, creativity and safety,” Cremades said.