Agility and innovation essential for meat exporters

May 24, 2020

The days of bemoaning our meat exporters’ lack of flexibility when everything was exported as frozen carcases are now a distant memory. Even the days of growing the profitable chilled lamb business without upsetting the EU authorities are receding into the distant past, as meat marketers cope with the complexities of marketing to previously time poor, technologically sophisticated consumers around the world now living in lockdown without ready access to restaurants.

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Differing responses to wage subsidy scheme

May 6, 2020

The country’s meat processors have followed two distinctly different paths in response to the government’s wage subsidy scheme which is available to all businesses for 12 weeks, providing they can substantiate a 30% drop in revenue during the period. Silver Fern Farms, Alliance, ANZCO, Taylor Preston and Blue Sky Meats have all claimed the subsidy to varying extents, whereas AFFCO, Greenlea and Wilson Hellaby have decided it is not justified or necessary, at least partly on ethical grounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Overseas markets holding up

April 30, 2020

In a recent conversation, Alliance CEO David Surveyor described world red meat markets by comparing them to traffic lights. Contrary to the evidence earlier in the year, when buyers stopped buying because of Chinese New Year closely followed by the Covid-19 shutdown, China has emerged as the brightest light with the traffic lights firmly set on green. The composition of Chinese orders has changed since the virus outbreak with retail and online sales growing considerably, while there are signs of hot pot outlets starting to reopen. Read the rest of this entry »

Ritchie instrumental in driving positive change for red meat sector

April 28, 2020

Tim Ritchie came into the Meat Industry Association as CEO at the end of 2007, initially intended to be for an 18 month period, and retired earlier this month over 12 years later. His first task was the planned merger of the processor representative organisation with Meat & Wool, the forerunner of Beef + Lamb NZ, which was strongly promoted by Keith Cooper, then CEO of Silver Fern Farms, and Meat & Wool chairman, Mike Petersen. Read the rest of this entry »

Meat industry performing well under Level 4

April 9, 2020

Processing is under severe constraints during the lockdown, although, as an essential service, meat companies are working hard to feed New Zealanders and service key export markets. In a newsletter to staff and suppliers, AFFCO states that processing restrictions on maintaining a minimum distance between employees means sheepmeat capacity is running at 50% of normal and beef capacity is close to 65%. This of course comes at the peak of the season, exacerbated by drought in several regions, particularly the top half of the North Island. Read the rest of this entry »

Time takes on whole new perspective

April 8, 2020

My last few columns have dealt with the potential impact of Covid-19 on world trade, exports to China and meat processors, but suddenly in the last two weeks the virus has become the main factor in our lives. What was previously just a growing concern has, with alarming speed, destabilised the whole global economy with no certainty about how or when, even whether, it will revert to normal. Read the rest of this entry »

Meat industry in better shape today to cope with downturn

March 29, 2020

When I started to trawl through possible topics to write about this week, I had the bright idea it might be worth asking meat processors what contingency plans they have in place in case an employee, more particularly one on the processing floor, tests positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. So far my research suggests it’s not yet an issue that has received a great deal of consideration by many companies, although it’s certainly on their radar. Read the rest of this entry »

Latest coronavirus not the end of the world as we know it

March 15, 2020

Newspaper headlines driving panic buying in Auckland supermarkets suggest either we are facing an existential threat or, more likely, a small percentage of the population is behaving like idiots, presumably stocking up large in case one Covid-19 case so far means they will have to self-isolate. Read the rest of this entry »

Covid-19 a major test for government

March 15, 2020

Newspaper headlines driving panic buying in Auckland supermarkets suggest either we are all facing an existential threat or, more likely, a small percentage of the population is reacting like idiots, presumably stocking up large in case one Covid-19 case so far means they will have to self-isolate. Read the rest of this entry »

Drop in China beef prices not expected to last

January 20, 2020

It is difficult to see any real reason for panic over the sudden pre-Christmas reduction in demand for sheepmeat and beef from Chinese importers which has led to prices coming off their peak. Livestock suppliers will already have noticed a drop in schedules from the elevated levels processors had been paying over the first couple of months of the season. It’s tempting to fear the worst given past experience with high prices paid by meat processors which have inevitably been followed by a sudden crash and a long slow recovery. Read the rest of this entry »