Move on sale of energy drinks to children not necessary

7 September 2018

Any move to impose an age restriction on the sale of energy drinks to New Zealand children is not necessary, says the Food & Grocery Council.

“Age restrictions are not supported by consumption evidence and are unnecessary,” says Katherine Rich.

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Learnings for all as shoppers seek convenience

The face of grocery shopping is changing rapidly as people become busier and live in smaller spaces, and so look for convenience in choosing, buying and consuming food, according to a new report.

The ‘Quest for Convenience', by Nielsen, looks at changing consumer needs around the world, especially factors driving consumers’ needs for convenience, and provides insights, indicators and solutions for suppliers and retailers to tap into.

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China dairy market growth great for NZ

23 July 2018

Huge growth being experienced in the China consumer dairy market can only be great news for New Zealand exporters, says Katherine Rich.

Analysis by global market research company Innova Market Insights shows dairy product growth from 2016 to 2017 was 44%, while the growth in market value was 8%. 

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Country of Origin Labelling legislation – media response

17 July 2018

Stuff asked for reaction to an interim report by the Primary Production Select Committee on the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill.

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Rising food prices – media response

12 July 2018

The NZ Herald asked for comment on the reason behind recent rises in the price of basic groceries, such as eggs, milk and bread. Was it due to rising taxes on fuel prices and if so, how can a fuel tax influence prices of such foods?

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Health Minister hires sugar tax advocate – media response

11 July 2018

FGC was asked to comment on the hiring by Health Minister David Clark of leading sugar tax advocate Dr Rob Beaglehole as an advisor in his office.

Katherine Rich responded:

The appointment is surprising. Being a ministerial advisor is a highly influential role. Appointing the number one sugar tax campaigner is a surprise. It indicated the direction of travel with policy towards new food taxes.

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Graphic labels on treat foods a silly idea

5 June 2018

Putting graphic labels on so-called unhealthy or treat foods is a silly idea that’s based on no evidence, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

She is commenting on a University of Melbourne study that theorises a brief exposure to graphic food product health warnings, similar to those on cigarette packs, on food such as chips, chocolate bars, and biscuits, may enhance “dietary self-control.”

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Food industry Heath Star products pass 2000 mark

8 May 2018

The food industry is now producing 2003 products with Health Star Rating logos.

The milestone was reached during the first quarter of the year, and is a sharp jump from the 1891 products at 31 December last year, and 1744 at 30 September.

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Chalkboard theory on sugar tax fails real life test

5 April 2018

Criticism by Otago University campaigners of analysis by NZIER economists on the effectiveness of a sugar tax is weak, says FGC.

The campaigners called for New Zealand to follow the UK’s lead and introduce a tiered levy on sugar in drinks that sends a ‘price signal’ to consumers. The levy was introduced on April 1.

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Food and beverage reports good news for industry

15 March 2018

The NZ Food and Grocery Council welcomes the release of the latest growth and investment reports on the food and beverage industry.

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Industry will work with Govt, sugar tax off table

9 February 2018

The food industry is ready to work with the Government on further ways of tackling the obesity epidemic, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

She was commenting on a report quoting Health Minister David Clark that he had no plans for a sugar tax, but was instead focused on working with industry to develop new voluntary measures to reduce the sugar content of products.

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Sugar taxes don't work: review backs FGC's argument

7 February 2018

The findings of an independent review into the effectiveness of sugar taxes on health backs up what FGC has been saying for years – that they make little or no difference.

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Tax on bread difference between NZ, UK

23 January 2017

Vogels bread in New Zealand is dearer than Vogels in the UK mainly because bread here attracts tax while it doesn’t in the UK, says Katherine Rich. She was asked by the NZ Herald to explain the difference in the price of Vogels between the two countries.

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Health Stars driving product reformulation, innovation

1 December 2017

The Health Star Rating scheme is driving positive reformulation of current foods and the innovation of new ones, says FGC. And the industry is keen to work with the Government on issues such as labelling and setting sugar reduction targets.

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Retailers allowed to sell past ‘best before’

5 December 2017

New Zealand supermarkets are legally allowed to sell products after their “best before” dates if that’s what they want to do, says FGC.

In response to a move by a UK supermarket chain, Katherine Rich said it was up to supermarkets if they did that “as long as the product is up to scratch” and was clearly marked as being past their “best before”.

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Bad Taste Food Awards disappointing and a sham

30 November 2017

Consumer NZ’s Bad Taste Food Awards are disappointing and a sham, says FGC. Katherine Rich says some of the ‘winners’ are the very products Consumer NZ encouraged people to vote for.

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Fonterra's Open Gate initiative applauded

29 November 2017

Fonterra is to be applauded for its latest excellent initiative in opening-up dairy farms to the public, says FGC.

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Call to label added sugars overlooks science

23 November 2017

Calls for extra sugar labelling to show the amount of ‘added sugars’ in a product rather than just total sugars overlooks the science of food and nutrition, says Katherine Rich.

The call was made by Consumer NZ and the Dental Association ahead of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation held in Australia.

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Bursting FIZZ’s bubbles

14 November 2017

Claims that a tax on sugary drinks is likely to have “a number of benefits” for the population have been shot down by an analysis of available evidence.

The claims of benefits of a tax included: increased cost of sugary drinks, cheaper bottled water and zero sugar drinks by comparison and increased availability, industry reformulating to avoid the tax, new products with less sugar, enhanced public awareness of why sugary drinks are detrimental to health.

But analysis by the Food and Grocery Council from before and after sugar taxes were introduced in Mexico in 2014, and on-the-ground experience of the New Zealand industry, tells a different story.

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Industry will work with Govt on healthier food choices

30 October 2017

The Food & Grocery Council welcomes the Government’s interest in food and beverage manufacturing, and looks forward to sharing the success of our members’ reformulation and innovation work, and working constructively to see what more can be done to help Kiwis make healthier choices, says Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

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FGC backs call for policy on housing’s threat to food

24 October 2017

The NZ Food & Grocery Council backs the call from Horticulture NZ for a national food security policy focused on the threat to food production from urban sprawl.

Chief Executive Katherine Rich says concerns raised by Horticulture NZ at the effect urban development is having on prized horticulture land, particularly land that used to grow local vegetables, are well founded.

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Barker’s, T&G Global win at NZ Food Awards

FGC congratulates members Barker’s of Geraldine and T&G Global for their success at the Massey University NZ Food Awards.

Barker’s won a category for the third year in a row, this year with their Squeezed Fruit Botanicals Syrup: Squeezed Lemons with Lime, Cucumber and Mint. T&G Global was awarded the MPI Primary Sector Products Award for their innovative Lotatoes – potatoes with 40 per cent less carbs.

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Manufacturers put huge effort into reformulation

12 October 2017

Manufacturers have put huge, ongoing effort into reformulating popular food and beverage products to remove sugar, fat or salt, Katherine Rich says.

​"Blaming the environment for obesity is an academic theory that only takes you so far. There are many people who live in the same environment and aren't obese, which indicates that food selection, genetics and activity levels are key factors as well."

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Calls for food regulation not backed by study

10 October 2017

Calls by researchers for more regulation on food and beverage are not backed by the findings of the study they use as evidence, says FGC.

Otago and Auckland university researchers say their study showed children were bombarded by junk food advertisements in schools, homes and on the streets, and the way to reduce exposure was to impose a sugary drinks tax and regulate ‘junk’ food marketing and what foods can be sold in schools.

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Ban on single-use plastic bags welcomed

11 October 2017

New World and Countdown stores will be single-use plastic bag-free by the end of next year – moves that are welcomed by FGC.

A survey by New World showed shoppers don't want bags, and so they will join Countdown in phasing them out.

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Food factory flags fitting tribute to Sir Pat Goodman

11 September 2017

Flags flying at half-mast at Goodman Fielder factories and offices up and down the country is a most fitting tribute to food industry giant Sir Pat Goodman, says the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

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Exporters get access to Aussie Code training

8 September 2017

New Zealand companies exporting to Australia can now access an online course on the Australian Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, under a special arrangement between FGC and Australasian retail marketing and strategy company NextGen.

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FGC celebrates thriving artisan scene

6 September 2017

The art of the artisan is well and truly thriving on the New Zealand food scene, if the quality of finalists in the category in NZ Food Awards is anything to go by, says Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

“Some of the best products on supermarket shelves come from the innovation of our artisan suppliers, and this year’s awards show that trend is continuing.

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Sanitarium must be allowed to protect its brand

10 August 2017

Sanitarium, like any other trademark holder, has little choice but to protect its brand, says NZ Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

"They’re in a difficult position because the product Weetabix, imported by online retailer A Little Bit of Britain, is clearly similar to Weet-Bix – there’s a one-letter difference."

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No sugar in most baby foods, adhere to Food Code

18 July 2017

The majority of baby foods available in New Zealand stores do not contain added sugars, and fully adhere to the regulatory requirements of the Food Standards Code. That’s FGC’s response to claims that commercial baby food is full of sugar and empty ‘fillers’ and should be avoided.

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FGC welcomes important industry investor guides

30 June 2017

The Food and Grocery Council welcomes the release today of the latest investor guides to New Zealand’s food and beverage industry.

Launched by Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, the guides contain analysis of trends and opportunities in the industry which can be used to attract investment, assist with business strategy and guide government policy.

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Baby food claims based on poor understanding of nutrition

19 June 2017

A university’s research on baby food seems to stem from a poor understanding of nutrition, and it would be great if their own food science and nutrition experts volunteered to offer their colleagues some advice, says FGC’s Katherine Rich.

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CoOL bill could affect family food budget

1 June 2017

The Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill proposes major problems for popular and basic parts of the family food budget, NZ Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich told a parliamentary select committee hearing submissions on the bill.

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Whittaker's leads FGC brands in sweep of most trusted

26 May 2017

Whittaker’s has again topping the list of Kiwi’s most trusted brands – for an amazing sixth year in a row.

But not only was the chocolate company voted the Most Trusted Brand across all categories, it also won the confectionary category and was voted Most Iconic NZ Brand.

The NZ Reader's Digest survey was conducted by Roy Morgan and sought the opinions of 1400 Kiwis. Fonterra Brands’ Tip Top ice cream was fourth in the Most Trusted Brand category after winning the Ice Cream category, and Goodman Fielders’ Edmonds brand fifth, and also highly commended in the Most Iconic NZ Brand category.

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'Don't flush' video aimed at saving waterways

22 May 2017

A video that promotes a ‘don’t flush’ message about what can’t go down toilets has been launched by the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council (FGC) and Water New Zealand.

Entitled ‘Avoid a flood – think before you flush’, it’s being distributed as part of waterways brochures to schools and via social media.

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Goodman Fielder NZ boss is new FGC Chair

13 April 2017

Goodman Fielder NZ Managing Director Tim Deane is the new Chair of the NZ Food and Grocery Council.

He replaces Veronique Cremades, the Country Manager of Nestlé NZ, who has completed her term.

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Strong presence at World Expo 2020 in Dubai is vital

24 April 2017

Having a strong presence at World Expo 2020 in Dubai is a vital part of New Zealand’s strategy to diversify and to strengthen other growing markets for food products and services, says NZ Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

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An interview with John Clarke

15 April 2016

The untimely death of beloved satirist John Clarke has had many people reaching into record collections, scouring bookshelves, and searching YouTube to refresh memories of a fine talent lost. In his honour, FGC publishes a hitherto unshared video interview with him by one of NZ’s greatest broadcasters, Ian Fraser.

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Chinese chasing NZ food with natural ingredients

30 March 2017

New Zealand food and beverage companies are set for further success in the Chinese market as consumers favour more products with natural ingredients, according to a report by global market intelligence agency Mintel.

Research Director Laurel Gu says latest research shows that with a reputation for a strong focus on natural ingredients, New Zealand “could see great success by tapping into Chinese consumers’ healthy lifestyle, particularly within snacking occasions.” This applies also to Australian companies.

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FGC welcomes Trade Agenda 2030 strategy

27 March 2017

FGC welcomes the Trade Agenda 2030 strategy launched by the Government. Katherine Rich says New Zealand needs to bring its ‘A’ game to ensure we continue to keep pace with competitors and find new opportunities, and the strategy lays a very good foundation for the coming years.

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Caged vs free-range eggs

16 March 2017

While making it clear that FGC does not wish to prejudge any aspect of what has taken place with regard to sales of eggs recently in the news, Katherine Rich says the purchase and sale of cage-produced eggs as free-range eggs are most unlikely to be a fault of any current laws, codes, or rules.

In response to media inquiries about recent allegations, she says rules about the production of eggs and their sale are clear and well-known by producers, while misleading claims or deceptive marketing issues are fully covered by the Fair Trading Act.

“With recent allegations under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and potentially the subject of a Commerce Commission investigation or further inquiries, it is important that these investigations are allowed to take their course.”

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Microbeads mostly gone already from products

FGC welcomes the Government’s discussion document that proposes a ban on microbeads that are used mostly in personal care items such as facial scrubs, cleansers, and toothpaste.

Chief Executive Katherine Rich says most FGC member companies have already reformulated their products to replace microbeads or they’re well down the track to be microbead-free in the next few months.

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Food giants sign Healthy Kids Pledge

13 December 2016

Fonterra and Nestle are the first FMCG companies to sign up to the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Kids Pledge, which was published this week.

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Advertising food: marketers have children, too

15 October 2016

By Katherine Rich

In the debate about advertising and children there is a cavernous gap between what university academics imagine our FMCG marketers do all day and what actually happens.

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Retail NZ, supermarkets obesity pledge applauded

17 October 2016

Retail NZ, Foodstuffs, Progressive Enterprises, Moore Wilson, and Bin Inn are to be congratulated for pledging to work on initiatives under the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, says the NZ Food and Grocery Council.

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FIZZ campaigners change logo after FGC alert

13 October 2016

FIZZ campaigners are doing the right thing by withdrawing their “No Sugary Drinks” logo after FGC drew attention to it being almost identical in shape and colour to Coke’s iconic curved bottle, says Katherine Rich.

“The logo, which was launched at their recent campaign meeting, was almost identical to iconic curved Coke bottle silhouette pictures that can be found on the internet. It wasn’t fair that they were singling out one drink in their campaign.”

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Obesity conversation needs to centre on food literacy

11 October 2016

The discussion around obesity needs to move from one of blaming individual foods and drinks to one centred on food literacy and moderation, says Katherine Rich.

“The present conversation is not getting us anywhere because it’s particularly centred on attacking consumption of sugary beverages when the facts show there are many factors contributing to energy imbalance.

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FGC videos help make healthier eating easier

13 September 2016

The NZ Food and Grocery Council wants to help grow Kiwis’ food literacy through four short videos that aim to make healthier eating easier. 

The videos, written and presented by trained dietitian and Registered Nutritionist Nikki Hart, tackle subjects people are often confused about: what to eat for breakfast, fad diets, processed foods, and how to use the new Health Star Rating system.

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Attack on obesity plan flawed, inconsistent

23 August 2016

A report that attacks the Government’s obesity plan and renews calls for a tax on sugary drinks is flawed on many fronts, says Katherine Rich. It dismisses education about good nutrition and physical activity, its claims about the Health Star Rating are wrong, and there are other inconsistencies.

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Mandatory labelling of palm oil will mislead consumers

15 August 2016

Mandatory labelling of palm oil is likely to mislead consumers by implying the world’s most sustainable vegetable oil crop is a toxic ingredient that is best avoided, says Katherine Rich. She was responding to a report that New Zealand's four largest zoos have joined a lobbying effort to force food companies to reveal whether they use palm oil.

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Media response: removing sugary drinks from vending machines

27 July 2016

FGC was asked to comment after Auckland Council announced it is to stop selling drinks that are sweetened by sugar from vending machines at its leisure centres. 

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Media response: removing sugary products from checkouts

15 July 2016

FGC was asked for comment on moves by a Fresh Choice supermarket in Richmond, Nelson, to remove sugary products – chocolate bars, sweets, biscuits, and soft drinks – from its checkouts and replace them with fresh fruit, salads, water, batteries and phone cards.

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Answers to Fairfax Media on sugar and obesity

15 April 2016

Katherine Rich this week answered questions from Fairfax Media on obesity, applying sugar taxes on sodas, and a response to criticism from an academic in the US on FGC's comments on the effectiveness of Mexico's soda tax. The resulting article contained few of those answers so we publish the full Q&A. A link to the article is at the end.

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Latest sales data shows Mexico sugar tax a failure

17 March 2016

Latest sales data shows Mexico’s 10 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has been a whopping failure, says FGC CEO Katherine Rich. FGC has released new data which shows that two years after the tax was introduced, sales of sugar-sweetened beverages has dropped by 0.5 per cent – amounting to “not even one sip per person”.

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Sales drop less than a sip per person after sugar tax

5 September 2016

Mexico's much-quoted sugar tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has reduced consumption by not even one sip per person in the two years since it was introduced, according to independent sales figures. FGC is republishing the figures after renewed calls for a sugar tax to be placed on sweetened beverages. The figures were obtained from global research company Nielsen and were first published in March this year. 

The data shows that sales of sugar-sweetened beverages have dropped by 0.5 per cent – amounting to “not even one sip per person”.

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Mexico sugar tax fails to improve public health

The 10 per cent excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Mexico raised lots of money but failed to improve public health, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

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Companies reformulated 84,000 products in 2015

28 January 2016

Food and beverage companies around the world are reformulating more products to make them healthier and working with more schools to deliver healthy eating and physical activity than ever before.

Consumer Goods Forum’s update shows that in 2015, companies reformulated a massive 84,000 products to make them healthier, compared with 22,500 the year before. Companies also reported partnering with 484,000 schools to provide information that supports developing habits of sensible, balanced diets, good hygiene, and regular physical activity – compared with just 47,000 in 2014.

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Companies continue to reformulate foods

1 December 2015

Food companies are continuing to make big strides in the reformulation of popular foods to make them healthier, in line with consumer demand, says Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council. 

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FGC welcomes investor guide to food and beverage industry

24 November 2015

The NZ Food & Grocery Council welcomes the release of the 2015 edition of the ‘Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Food and Beverage Industry’ by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich says it’s a fantastic resource and a must-read for anyone wanting to get a detailed understanding of New Zealand’s major food producers. 

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Bill on supermarket adjudicator, code of conduct – FGC media response

12 November 2015

NewstalkZB asked FGC for comment on a bill that had been drawn from Parliament’s members’ bill ballot. It was the Commerce (Supermarket Adjudicator and Code of Conduct) Amendment Bill, which is designed to establish an independent supermarket adjudicator to develop a code of conduct for relationships between supermarkets and suppliers. It was in the name of Green MP Mojo Mathers.

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Government’s obesity package pragmatic

19 October 2015

The Food and Grocery Council welcomes the Government’s package of initiatives to tackle obesity in children.

Chief Executive Katherine Rich says it’s a pragmatic approach to a concerning problem.

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TPP will be NZ’s most lucrative trade deal

6 October 2015

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement  will be the biggest and most lucrative trade deal in New Zealand’s history despite dairy not getting exactly what we all wanted it to get, says Katherine Rich.

“There have been big gains for some sectors and small gains for others, but the main thing is that the agreement will be a big net gain for New Zealand.

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DHBs remove fizzy sugary drinks - FGC media response

30 September 2015

The Bay of Plenty Times, Tauranga, asked FGC to comment on moves by the Department of Health to remove fizzy and sugary drinks from DHBs.

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Protecting children against unhealthy food marketing

28 September 2015

FGC has responded to a Viewpoint article in the NZ Medical Journal by Stefanie Vandevijvere and Boyd Swinburn entitled ‘Getting serious about protecting New Zealand children against unhealthy food marketing’.

The authors claimed that the marketing of unhealthy food products to children is “powerful, pervasive, and predatory”, and said previous studies found that food marketing targeted at children through various media is “predominantly for unhealthy food products”. This claim was substantiated by citing academic work published 5-15 years ago – well before the introduction of stringent industry rules regarding advertising food.  The whole opinion piece creates a misleading impression of the current New Zealand marketing environment.

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Obesity report to target emphasis on food education

8 September 2015

An impending report on childhood obesity will point to the need for a stronger emphasis on food education in schools, according Sir Peter Gluckman. The WHO report is due out in the next few weeks and could coincide with a Health Ministry report to Cabinet on an integrated plan to tackle obesity.

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Dairy opportunities abound in SE Asia, report finds

Growing consumer demand in South East Asia offers plenty of opportunity for the New Zealand dairy industry to increase its exports of consumer-ready products into the region, a new report shows.

The Government has released the report that assesses possible “build”, “buy” and “niche” strategies across seven dairy consumer product categories (drinking milk products, yoghurt, condensed/evaporated milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, and infant milk formula) in six countries (Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines).

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20% sugar tax: Medical Journal paper flawed

18 August 2015

A much-quoted paper published in the NZ Medical Journal by public health academics from the Universities of Auckland and Otago is riddled with flaws, an independent review has found.

The FGC-commissioned review, by economist Dr Brent Wheeler, was entitled ‘Sweet and Sour: Advocacy for Sugar Taxes Rests on Fallacious Reasoning and Ignores Experience’.

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Academics’ criticism of breakfast cereals irresponsible

3 August 2015

A claim by university academics that breakfast cereal is associated with obesity and among “the unhealthiest food available” in New Zealand supermarkets is incorrect and irresponsible, says the NZ Food & Grocery Council.

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More food activist research from Auckland University

30 July 2015

The latest research from Auckland University on packaged foods in New Zealand supermarkets is another disappointing example of food politicking dressed up as academic research, says NZ Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

“But what’s even more disappointing is that the paper is flawed due to its misuse of a specific food scoring system (the Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion – NPSC) that was developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand solely for the regulation of health and nutrient claims about foods.”

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Additives and food processing aids – FGC media response

20 July 2015

The NZ Listener asked FGC for comment on the use of additives and food processing aids and on their inclusion in food labelling.

Some, but not all, of FGC’s comments were featured in their July 25 issue in a cover article weirdly entitled “The Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets – Would you like wood pulp, animal enzymes and oxidised fat with that?” It draws on a recent book by writer Joanna Blythman ‘Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets’. 

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Production, packaging and sale of foods for children - FGC media response

20 July 2015

Fairfax Media asked FGC for comment regarding the production, packaging and sale of foods for children.

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Poll on food advertising to children flawed

20 July 2015

A poll that found 73 per cent of adult participants favoured stronger restrictions to reduce the amount of unhealthy food and drink advertising and promotion to children used questions that created the false impression there is a lot of advertising directed at children, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich. 

The Horizon Research poll of 1620 New Zealanders’ attitudes to junk food marketing restrictions was commissioned by the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health.

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More calls for taxes on food – FGC media response

7 July 2015

The NZ Herald asked for comment on the research paper out of Auckland University which recommended both a combined food tax and subsidy option and also a greenhouse gas tax option.

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Fizzy tax won't solve NZ's obesity problem

Sugar tax supporters believe a 10% tax on fizzy drinks like in Mexico will be a magic solution to New Zealand’s obesity problem. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Local activists such as Boyd Swinburn were overjoyed following the release of a study by Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health. It claimed the tax reduced purchases in Mexican households by an average 12% at the end of the first year, and that “taxes imposed on sugar-sweetened beverages can help change behaviours in benefit of public health”.

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Mexican tax on sugar 'a complete flop'

Mexico’s much-quoted tax on high calorie foods and beverages containing sugar is proving to be a complete flop, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

Mrs Rich was in Mexico City recently and took the opportunity to gather some background on how effective the tax has been just over a year after it was implemented.

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Academics should do homework before demanding tax on salt

5 May 2015

Academics should their homework on food production and the work the food industry is doing before making the same old calls for taxes on things such as salt, says FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

She also said taxing salt would put up the price of many foods, and that would hit the poorest particularly hard.

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Country of origin labelling - FGC media response

20 March 2015

Supermarket News asked FGC for its stance on country of origin labelling in light of what it perceives as growing demand for this from consumers, particularly those in Australia after the recent recall of Nanna’s berries following a hepatitis outbreak.

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Banning sugary drinks in council buildings – FGC media response

11 March 2015

The Otago Daily Times asked FGC for reaction to a proposed trial by Dunedin City Council to ban sugary drinks in council buildings, including Moana Pool and Forsyth Barr Stadium. This followed a presentation to the council by public health professionals.

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Food prices up, bread stays same - FGC media response

17 February 2015

The NZ Herald asked FGC to comment on a Statistics NZ report on food price inflation. It showed that while prices of lamb, beer, milk, fish & chips, and apples all increased between 2009 and 2014, the price of bread remained the same at $1.80 per loaf. 

The Herald asked: From the council’s perspective, are these price increases fair?

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FGC submits on MPI cost recovery proposals

FGC has made a submission on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ proposals concerning cost recovery. It will be available in the Submissions section of this website shortly.

MPI says the purpose of the proposals is to update fee rates and improve policy settings. MPI has been holding stakeholder meetings around the country to explain its proposals. More than 250 biosecurity and food safety fees, charges, and levies are involved.

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Report reaffirms NZ has one of best food safety systems

The second report into the Fonterra whey protein concentrate incident reaffirms that New Zealand has one of the best and safest food production and regulatory systems in the world, says NZ Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

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FGC members feature on Most Loved Brands list

FGC members have featured strongly on the list of Most Loved Kiwi Brands for 2014, as determined by Colmar Brunton’s recent survey.

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Response to Commerce Commission report

Press Release 20 November 2014

The Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework, says Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

We stand by our statements, based on information received from members earlier this year, that Countdown did ask some suppliers for payments related to trading in previous periods. 

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Unanimous vote of confidence for Board, Chief Executive

The Board and Chief Executive of the NZ Food & Grocery Council have received a unanimous vote of confidence from a record number of delegates at their annual conference in Queenstown.

The conference was probably the council’s most successful of recent times, with 360 delegates from FGC’s 230-strong company membership attending.

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Industry plays active role in helping improve Kiwis' health

The food industry plays a vital and active role in helping to improve the health and nutrition of New Zealanders through helping shape legislation, in reformulating food, enhancing education, and by delivering community programmes aimed at better health, FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich told a Nutrition Foundation symposium on health and food on October 30.

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Healthy-Food labelling – FGC media response

26 August 2014

Consumer magazine asked for the food industry’s perspective on the front-of-pack health star labelling system to go with an article on snack bars. Does the Food and Grocery Council have a position statement on this issue? Do members intend to take up this voluntary system? What timeframes are in place for companies that will proceed? Will companies will display the health star rating on their whole product range or a small selection of products?

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Air in Packets - FGC media response


The Sunday Star-Times asked FGC about air in bags of chips, bagel crisps, cereals and other products: How much air is in the packets? Is there more air than food? Is there a ratio of air-to-food that packaging companies aim for? What is the reason behind the air in the packet? Is it misleading to consumers when they get a big packet/bag but most of it is air? why/why not?

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Food in school canteens - FGC media response

3 September 2014

sl1The Christchurch Press posed questions to FGC (3/9/2014) on the issue of food in school canteens. It did not publish these comments or a story about food in school canteens.

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Caffeine drinks for children - FGC media response


The NZ Herald asked FGC for comment after a man took photos he claimed showed Monster energy drink company handing out 550ml cans containing 176mg of caffeine to kids aged between 8 and 11 in a central Auckland skate.

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Health Star Rating system a positive move

10 September 2014

hs3The Government’s decision to pick up Australia’s voluntary front-of-pack Health Star Rating system was a positive move and was heralded as such from both inside and outside the industry. Certainly, Kiwi shoppers liked the idea of more at-a-glance information about what’s in the food they’re buying, and this was evidenced by a NZ Herald poll which found that 80% surveyed supported the scheme.

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Recalibration of supplier-retailer relationship needed, says CE


For any type of business negotiation to be successful there has to be a degree of trust and respect – trust that the person on other side of the table is playing with a straight bat, and respect for the position they represent.

It’s also about playing fair.

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Front-of-pack labelling system a positive move

Press Release 27 June 2014

The Government’s decision to join Australia’s voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labelling system is a positive move, says NZ Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Katherine Rich.

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Katherine Rich: Measured discussion sign of positive change in obesity debate?

20 March 2014

Did I recently detect a change in the obesity debate? A change from the hysteria that usually surrounds the issue to something more rational? If I’m right, it will mark a change that won’t be before time.

The source of my optimism was an article circulated by Fairfax NZ under the heading “Link found between obesity and religion”, which reported on a study which found that Pacific Islanders have a greater risk of being obese if they attend church!

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Over-indulgence of calories from all foods key to obesity

24 March 2014

Sugar is not the problem when it comes to obesity, it's over-indulgence of calories from all foods that's the problem. Balancing energy in with energy out are the keys to healthy diet, writes Katherine Rich.

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FGC cooperating with Commerce Commission investigation

Press Release 20/2/2014

The Food & Grocery Council is cooperating with the Commerce Commission investigation into allegations of anti-competitive behaviour towards suppliers by Countdown, CEO Katherine Rich said today. 

"We will support our member companies if they decide to participate.

"We welcome that the identity of submitters will be kept confidential."

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FGC companies do not sell energy drinks to schools


Food & Grocery Council member companies do not sell energy drinks to schools, CEO Katherine Rich said today in response to calls for energy drinks to be banned from schools. 

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FGC on WPC inquiry report

Press Release 11/12/13

The report of the independent inquiry into the whey protein concentrate incident released today reaffirms to the world that New Zealand has one of the best and safest food production and regulatory systems, says Food & Grocery Council CEO Katherine Rich.

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Katherine Rich: Fonterra did right thing - never a risk to babies

15 October 2013

All New Zealand food manufacturers breathed a sigh of relief when the tests came back showing there was never any botulism risk from Fonterra’s batches of whey protein. After several weeks of uncertainty and worry for mum and dad shoppers, the company, the food industry, and the country as a whole, the news was greatly welcomed. The negative result meant there was never a risk to babies anywhere in the world.

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Katherine Rich: Plunging the depths of the obesity argument

31 October 2013

When Christchurch supermarket owner Phillip Blackburn was likened to a drug dealer for wanting to sell beer and wine in his newly built New World, it plunged new depths in a debate about what can and can’t be sold in supermarkets.

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Katherine Rich: Sustainable palm oil

October 2009

Reading headlines such as “Deadly Palm Oil In Your Trolley”, one could easily get the false impression that any New Zealand firm using palm oil is personally responsible for the demise of the orangutan and the world’s rainforests.

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