James Russell Element editor
The Food Matters Conference in Wellington wrapped up last week, with the (perhaps inevitable) conclusion that NZ inc could produce higher quality products and earn better coin for it, while lessening the environmental impact of doing so. More on that next month.
Global sales of organics have increased by 3500% over the past quarter century, making it the fastest growing consumer food and lifestyle trend in modern history.
In New Zealand, sales of organic produce has followed, increasing by 25% in just the past three years.
We’re selling plenty offshore too: in December Bay of Plenty based Seeka Kiwifruit Industries announced organic returns were up more than 400 per cent on 2013, whereas conventionally grown fruit was up 60 per cent.
The recent Colmar Brunton Better Business, Better World report found that 78% of Kiwis believed it was ‘important for New Zealand to grow and market organic and GE-free food.” That was up four per cent from 2012.
Meanwhile a Select Committee has called for the Government to review neonicotinoid pesticides – used here but partially banned overseas due to evidence showing they may be responsible for bee deaths.
The safety of the use of pesticides and herbicides and the health benefits of organics are endlessly debatable depending on which research you choose to read, but it’s hard to argue with the business case and the free, global marketing strategy provided by this country’s scenic beauty. The bees may just thank you for it too.