Today I am at the Board meeting for AgriTech New Zealand. It is interesting times for the primary sector as they face unprecedented change.
The recent announcement by Air New Zealand that they are offering meat free burgers on flights has been a case study in missing the point. With politicians and meat industry bodies lobbying Air New Zealand to remove the burgers, it reminds me of other eras when incumbents thought they could halt change. This is best captured in the seminal book Innovators Dilemma by Harvard’s Clayton Christensen. The point they are missing is that Air New Zealand are responding to customers.
Meat substitutes might not conquer the world, but there is no denying that the technology is improving and demand is increasing. While meat substitutes are making headlines, the big opportunity for New Zealand is environmental. As food demand increases so does farming intensification, which is taking an enormous toll on our planet. By comparison, plant based meat alternatives use far less land, water and create less greenhouse emissions. As our agritech sector comes together I am optimistic that we can re-think the way we develop, seed, cultivate, and harvest food in New Zealand.
From Wednesday, I will be in Wellington at ITx, a collaboration of 12 tech-focused conferences, focused on innovation, technology and education. I hope to see you there.
One last reminder, if you have ever considered an intern, or even if you haven’t, please complete the Digital Skills Forum survey, so we can help improve the flow of talent into tech roles. The average time to complete the survey has been three minutes.
PS: Don’t forget to register to attend our AGM on 26 July in Auckland.