Putting global trends to growers
Rabobank for the first time has a New Zealand-based horticultural analyst.
New senior horticulture analyst for Rabobank, Hayden Higgins, is calling on growers to come forward with worthy projects for him to research.
He’s based in Hastings and will be responsible for research into the horticulture and viticulture sectors for the bank across Australasia.
“My goal is to provide insightful research for clients and product groups,” he said.
He forms part of a team of five Rabobank horticultural analysts around the world whose research is intended to inform both clients and the industry and provide the bank with data to assist with their lending criteria.
Hayden has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness from Massey University and completed his Master’s Degree through Lincoln University with his dissertation project focusing on the governance of large farm businesses in New Zealand. Originally from the Horowhenua region in the North Island, an area known for horticulture and pastoral farming, he developed a keen interest in the agricultural sector from a young age.
He joins the bank’s food and agribusiness research team after eight years as a major agribusiness manager with Rabobank New Zealand. He has also served as chair of Rabobank’s NZ horticulture strategy team since 2014.
Rapid growth of crops such as cherries or avocados could lead to an interesting analysis of global consumption trends.
“We want to gather information to outline future opportunities and challenges for growers,” he said.
Other areas of potential interest may be for organic production, or changing buyer patterns such as on-line retail. Consumer attitude to sustainability, and their willingness to pay for that at retail would also be an interesting area to analyse. Shoppers also have a greater desire to know where their food comes from.
Other global focuses include a move away from single use plastics, however consumers are often conflicted because they want convenience products which often means plastic
packaging is included to guarantee food safety. Examples of packaging changes away from entirely plastic are the new Rockit-style cylinders. Food wastage is another area of global
The picture for horticulture in the last six to seven years has been positive, with a reduction in trade barriers allowing better export access, particularly in emerging Asian economies. Consumption trends and competition for consumers’ fruit bowls could also bring important lessons back to producers in NZ.
“Consumers are looking for food safety and quality, and new and different food productions, strong marketing brands such as Zespri have pushed into Asian markets,” he said.
Also, new varieties of apples have found a greater appeal in Asian markets.
“This lays a strong platform for confidence and growth.”
Consumer trends toward greater convenience and snacking foods bode well for fruit such as apples and blueberries. Millennials have a different approach toward shopping than previous generations, which may include greater convenience, or a willingness to shop every day.
“My role is to understand the trends that are occurring globally in the food and horticulture space,” he said.
One of his current projects is analysis for the Australian and United States’ almond industries. In conjunction with colleagues in California, they are looking at global supply and demand, the effect on pricing and what this means for Australian and US growers.
“I can then bring this learning back to customers, the upside and the downside.”
Rabobank NZ holds around 16 percent of rural lending in this country and is a major provider of corporate and business banking services to the food and agribusiness sector. The NZ and Australian research team is part of a global network of more than 80 analysts across the bank.
“Millennials have a different approach toward shopping than previous generations, which may include greater convenience, or a willingness to shop every day.”
Hayden Higgins – analysis of global trends can show growers new opportunities.