Grape and wine science is only valuable if it's communicated to those in the field, says Bragato Research Institute Chief Executive Jeffrey Clarke.
A successful funding application for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) via the Sustainable Food and Fibres Future fund secured an additional $390,000 to support the research.
The project aims to identify market opportunities for New Zealand red meat and wine products by developing an understanding of perceptions and expressions of regenerative agriculture in our key export markets, to develop initial positions for regeneratively produced food and beverage products from Aotearoa, and to explore global consumer perspectives of regenerative agriculture.
The research was undertaken by an independent market research company based in the United States of America, Alpha Food Labs, and focussed on three key export markets: the United Kingdom, USA and Germany. Stage one of the research consisted of two phases. The first was an initial market scan to understand the current state of regenerative agriculture from the perspective of food brands, retailers, scientists, producers, food service, other leaders, and constituents in market. This was followed by a consumer insights study, to understand the attitudes, awareness and behaviours of everyday food and beverage consumers when it comes to sustainable food and regenerative agriculture. This consumer study investigated the degree to which consumers make food choices and sustainability issues in mind, and how their awareness of those issues impacts decision making.
The reports highlight that regenerative agriculture is a farmer and grower-led movement, with brands and consumers lagging behind. While consumers may not be overly familiar with regenerative agriculture, they are ready to be a united narrative of what regenerative agriculture in Aotearoa is, the report says. Certification of practices will also be useful in communicating this to consumers, as will the need to clearly and simply communicate the outcomes of our practices on people and place. While consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for regeneratively produced products, realising this opportunity could be challenged by consumer preference to purchase locally produced products.
The project will conclude with a final stage of research focussed on New Zealand's agricultural stakeholders (farmers, growers, processors) and gaining an understanding of their impression of the implications of changing our growing systems to meet consumer expectations identified in phase one. The reports from study and a summary will be available on nzwine.com/members from 5 October. Julia Jones of NZX will host a webinar on the same day to discuss the findings of the reports with representatives from the red meat and wine sectors. Go to nzwine.com for more details.
Michelle Barry is a Research Programme Manager at Bragato Research Institute.