With the support of the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, Leftfield Innovation Ltd. (‘LFI’) has concluded an initial study into potential new durable vegetable market opportunities in the wider Canterbury region.
The study included researching current vegetable markets, processing and waste streams, to identify new opportunities for current or new crops, or new processing options. Logistics considerations such as shipping time and supply chain risks were also taken into consideration.
LFI engaged a number of major players in the local vegetable sector to understand current product offerings and work being undertaken in value-add solutions, including the creation of healthy snack options, products targeting the gluten and allergen sensitive consumer, and heritage produce varieties. Many of the market players were well advanced in their own plans for value-add, consumer-friendly solutions, while others were servicing commodity markets.
Through engagement with NZTE, LFI extended the research into a more in-depth understanding of international export market opportunities, and incorporated the initial findings of this work into its feedback, while continuing this work beyond the initial programme period.
At the conclusion of the work, LFI has recommended a number of specific programmes of work that would enhance the local vegetable industry:
Collaborative export market research - industry players in conjunction with NZTE
Provenance and branding - develop a programme to leverage the credentials of local producers
Processing - the potential for a riced vegetable line and other small-medium processing resources
Innovation programme for seconds - support innovative ideas for using seconds or excess product
Biodiversity - a collaboration to develop a native seedling programme
Regional connectivity - connecting related initiatives with the vegetable industry and partners
LFI also recommended specific vegetable opportunities which met market, agronomy and processing criteria to the project stakeholders for further consideration.