Thursday, August 18, 2022

Taste Pure Nature programme could target local market

Neal Wallace
Research is under way into the merits of launching the Taste Pure Nature red meat branding programme on the domestic New Zealand market.

Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor said local consumers have similar concerns to those in offshore markets.

Research is under way into the merits of launching the Taste Pure Nature red meat branding programme on the domestic New Zealand market.

Speaking at the recent Beef + Lamb NZ virtual annual meeting, chief executive Sam McIvor said local consumers have similar concerns to those in offshore markets with climate change, water quality and animal welfare, which the brand can help dispel.

A survey showed awareness of US and Chinese conscious foodies of the Taste Pure Nature brand in 2021 was between 60% and 78%.

It also revealed they were prepared to pay premium prices for NZ beef or lamb.

He said brand recognition has helped position NZ red meat with a segment of US and Chinese consumers who have incomes that will not be adversely affected by global inflation.

The brand’s relevance to the domestic market is still to be tested before a decision is made whether to launch it.

If it is, he said it will be done with meat companies and NZ beef and lamb.

In support of Taste Pure Nature and B+LNZ’s policy work, chair Andrew Morrison said the organisation will soon launch the results of a detailed life cycle analysis of the carbon footprint and sheepmeat and beef.

He previewed the findings as “a world-class result”.

Morrison also spoke in favour of a remit put to the meeting by Tom Mandeno who sought B+LNZ support for established trees to be included as vegetation sequestration offsets in greenhouse gas emissions calculations when compiling farm plans.

Mandeno said a greenhouse gas inventory of his coastal Waikato farm revealed he emitted 2479 tonnes, but under current rules could only offset 17 tonnes.

He likened the impact of decisions he faced to balance his emissions to the economic reforms of the 1980s.

Morrison said he agrees a greater variety of vegetation should be acknowledged as sequestering carbon, but research shows that pasture may have a limited role.

While carbon is sequestered during growth, it is released when eaten by stock.

He acknowledged many farmers feel they are being deluged by what he called “complex and often poorly conceived environmental policy”.

B+LNZ lobbying had success with two key issues in 2021: limits to carbon farming and getting the Government agreement to split greenhouse gas.

In the last couple of months, the Government has changed the Overseas Investment Office rules and the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), although B+LNZ is seeking limits to the amount fossil fuel emitters can offset through the ETS.

Morrison also praised the work by staff and the government department in negotiating the free trade agreement with the UK, which he describes as significant.

McIvor said it is likely the Government will approve He Waka Eke Noa, but the alternative of the Government including agriculture in the ETS is unpalatable.

By the end of this year, every farmer must know how much greenhouse gas their farm is emitting and he said they are on track to meet that goal.

To reach its target, B+LNZ is working with accountants, bankers, Overseer, meat processors, Farmer Councils and catchment groups.

B+LNZ reported a pre-tax surplus for the year of $1.1m, up from $384,000 a year earlier, on a total income of $42 million ($40.7m).

It is budgeting for two years of deficits due to the timing of funding of several major projects which will come to a conclusion.

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