We are now definitely in the thick of the election campaign where many policy announcements will be of interest to the food and grocery sector.

At NZFGC we’re keeping a keen eye on these. With the polls continuing to be neck and neck it’s critical we are across all policies so we can make sense of what is likely to be on the negotiating table in the much-expected and awaited coalition talks.

There’s another important event for NZFGC members in 2023 – our annual conference. This is our biggest member event of the year, when the supplier industry comes together to share ideas, learn new things, listen to inspiring sector and non-sector experts, and to network.

Held in Sydney over three days in November, the theme is Shared Horizons, and nothing has better exemplified the value of working together for the future than the events of past two years, as the Commerce Commission began its Grocery Market Study and the Government returned with its response.

And that’s why this conference is particularly significant. The Grocery Industry Competition Act, the Government’s response to the Commerce Commission’s extensive and exhaustive study, will change the way business between suppliers and retailers has been conducted for many decades.

In fact, it’s change that is already happening, with the Grocery Commissioner – with a range of new powers and tools at his disposal – the dispute resolution process, and the Supply Code of Conduct together expected to result in a better and fairer grocery sector that will benefit both consumers and suppliers.

So, this at this year’s conference there will be an emphasis on those huge legislative changes, what lies ahead, and how to deal with them, as well as what’s happening across sustainability, diversity, supply chain, health and regulatory, and other daily issues members are confronted with. The conference will give members the opportunity to discuss and learn about the latest developments in all these areas.

We are expecting around 250 representatives from member companies to attend, including owners and senior managers from the cream of the New Zealand grocery sector.

With the line-up of speakers we have confirmed we’re confident we will offer a comprehensive update on not just the legislative environment but also the New Zealand trading environment. Having the Grocery Commissioner, Pierre van Heerden, present to an NZFGC audience within six months of being appointed is a milestone in itself, but so is the presence of the main grocery retailers.

I’m sure most will agree we have a very impressive lineup:

  • Spencer Sonn, Manager Director, Countdown (Woolworths NZ)
  • Chris Quin, CEO, Foodstuffs North Island
  • Mary Devine, CEO, Foodstuffs South Island
  • Matthew Lane, General Manager, Night ‘n’ Day
  • Sarah Balle, Founder, Supie
  • Patrick Noone, Country Manager, Costco Australia

Also speaking will be Australian Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Tanya Barden, Debbie Simpson-Pudney of Circana (formerly IRI), and Megan Treston of NielsenIQ Pacific. Countdown will also have their Commercial Director, Fresh and Foodco, Pieter De Wet, and their Commercial Director, Packaged Foods, Drinks, Everyday Needs and Replenishment, Steve Mills, there.

We are also delighted to welcome back the amazing Petra Bagust, who did a spectacular job as our MC last year and is excited to be joining us again to keep us energised throughout the conference.

The conference will also feature the launch NZFGC’s Shared Horizons, an online content series that will address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry by highlighting information on consumer insights, market trends, industry innovations, and inspirational success stories from industry leaders.

Themes will include food security and waste, packaging and the circular economy, skills and education, and reformulation and innovation.

NZFGC is excited to be able to share this in industry forums and with the public so we can show how we’re meeting those challenges to deliver better outcomes for consumers and the environment.

(originally published in FMCG Business magazine)