Greenies challenge NZ food producers with push towards lab-produced tucker but Fonterra strikes back with Nutiani

New Zealand’s  food  exporters, on whom  this  country  depends  for  the  bulk of  its  export earnings, may  have  to  contend  with  fresh  opposition  from a  new  quarter. This  is  the  school  of  “greenies” who  preach  the  need  for  a revolution  in  creating  food through  precision  fermentation: growing  food   in  labs  from  microbes  and  water.

Leading  this  school  in the  United Kingdom is a  formidable  authority,  George  Monbiot,  who argues  that  before  long

 “… most  of  our  food will come neither from animals nor plants but  from unicellular  life”.   

Monbiot  and  others  like   him  argue  it  is  “indisputable”   that  the  farming revolution of  the  the  1950’s ,  with  its  widespread use  of  herbicides, pesticides  and  fungicides has  waged  war  on  nature.

He  has a  column  in the  Guardian and recently  wrote that  organic, pasture -fed  beef and  lamb  are  the  “world’s  most  damaging  farm  products”.

Intensive  monocultural ways  of  producing  food are  not  only contaminating land  and  waterways, but  are  heating  up the  planet and contributing to  a  crisis in human health.

While  Monbiot  may  have  the  most extreme  views,  others   who  speak  of  the  need  to  reduce  CO2 emissions and  switch  to  greener  energy   preach  the  virtues  of  “regenerative”  farming.

Which, of  course,  can  be   uneconomic.

For  NZ  the  lessons  are  clear:  we  have  to  reinforce   our techniques  of  scientific  farming  and production.

So  it  was  welcome  news   last  week  that  the giant  co-op Fonterra,  whose strategy is to be a serious player in the multi-billion dollar global nutrition science and innovation market, has moved another step with the launch of a new wellbeing nutrition brand.

Named Nutiani and launched  last week, the brand will offer Fonterra’s business customers product solutions through a combination of products, concepts and services that tap the big co-operative’s intellectual property and science research banks, and its reputation for high-quality, high-value ingredients, like lactoferrin, probiotics and lipids.

Fonterra chief innovation and brand officer, Komal Mistry-Mehta, said the market opportunity for the new brand was significant, with the global markets for physical, mental and inner wellbeing nutrition worth US$66bn (S108bn) and growing at 6% a year, while the medical nutrition market was valued at US$50bn ($82bn) and growing by 5% annually.

The new business-to-business brand, backed by market-ready concepts and services such as market and technical support, consumer insights from Fonterra’s market research and testing, and formulation expertise, will offer customers targeted solutions for their wellbeing and medical nutrition products, said Mistry-Mehta.

Its launch would also open opportunities for Fonterra for strategic partnerships to access new markets and consumers. Fonterra is NZ’s biggest business and the world’s sixth-largest dairy company by revenue.

Products developed under the new brand targeted health and wellbeing areas such as mobility, mental wellbeing, immunity, stress management and muscle health.

“Our health and wellbeing customers are facing growing pressure to accelerate their innovation pipeline to respond to… dynamic consumer demands, yet they face common challenges during new product development and are looking for partners to fill their capability gaps,” said Mistry-Mehta.

“Nutiani answers this need by providing a suite of solutions which help customers tackle the pain points associated with each step of the innovation journey – from identifying the opportunity to validating the final product.”

Target markets will be North America, North Asia, South East Asia and China.

As  Point of Order sees  it, Fonterra’s  announcement is probably  one  of  the   most  significant it has made in the  Hurrell era.  Providing  it  can follow  through by expanding  sales  with the  Nutiani brand,  it  could  underpin  the  future  of  the dairy industry  as  a  whole.

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