ASB Perspective 2025-Food for Who?

New Zealand AgriFood Week ASB Perspective 2025

ASB Perspective 2025 was held as part of New Zealand AgriFood Week, and featured some of New Zealand’s leading agrifood women discussing the challenges and opportunities facing agrifood sector in NZ as we look towards 2025.

Nine women were on the panel, ranging from FoodHQ chief executive Abby Thompson to the prime minister's chief science advisor Juliet Gerrard, with rural broadcaster Sarah Perriam chairing the discussion.

The session was designed to resemble a boardroom discussion and there was plenty of productive thoughts and insights around how the country can better align research and science with commercial businesses and food producers, and the steps that are needed for greater collaboration and more open lines of communication among the primary industry eco-system. Consumers are becoming more and more diverse. Gone are the days of being able to appeal to everyone (if they ever truly existed). Instead, changing attitudes towards sustainability, genetically engineered food, health and wellbeing, and alternative proteins means New Zealand food producers have an ever growing number of potential audiences to target.

It was unrealistic to expect all of these topics to be resolved in an hour and a half boardroom session but Abby Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of FoodHQ summed it up well by saying “No one knows what the future of food is going to look like, so it’s impossible for anyone to be 100 percent sure of what path we need to plot to navigate that, but I don’t think we need to be 100 percent sure to make some informed decisions. I think most people are willing to accept that the status quo is unlikely to work for us in the future. There are some trends that I think we can accept are likely to be here for some time to come; sustainability, health and wellness, the experiential nature of food. We need to trust ourselves to work it out as we go along.”

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Bronwyn Rickard