The Business of High Margin Food


About the conference

High Margin Food is predicted to be the key to New Zealand's sustained economic development. As a country, our global reputation of "clean and green" food is unmatched but very few Food & Beverage companies know how to make use of this reputation for their benfit.  

This is a two day conference tailored for Food and Beverage companies looking for strategies to stay competitive and raise their game in the leading export markets. If you are an NPD specialist, Business Devlopment Manager, Innovation Manager, who are constantly striving to harness the "Brand NZ" factor, using enhanced health benefits and nutritional benefits as a tool, you will need the most accurate information regarding the export markets. This event will cover all that and more to help you take your foood innovation to the global arena. Themes to be covered are:

  • Innovation and support for commercialisation 
  • Export Intelligence and Market Intelligence
  • Support systems within the food networks 
  • The need for cross-sector collaboration and information sharing

We are delighted to welcome Mr David Irving, Chairman of Board of Directors, Prolife Foods, to this program as our Keynote Speaker. Mr Irving has been a long term adviser for SMEs and is also the co-founder of Ice House, an incubation and growth programme for small and medium businesses.

We are also glad to have Mr Don Everitt, Deputy Chairman of the Omega-3 Centre in this program. Don has also previously worked as the Global Strategist for the NZ King Salmon Company and his expertise is in the area of international marketing and developing winning global strategies.

Also featuring at this event will be presentations from:

  • Auckland UniServices, Food and Beverage Sector
  • Riddet Institute
  • FoodBowl
  • ATEED Food and Beverage Sector
  • James & Wells
  • Massey University
  • NZTE

The case studies in the program will be presented by:

  • Zespri
  • Foodbowl
  • EasiYo
  • Villa Maria Estate
  • Kohu Road
  • Hoola Food Products
  • EveredgeIP


Keynote Speakers


David Irving 

David Irving’s first career was 23 years with Watties during which time he rose to the position of CEO of the Heinz Wattie Australasian businesses.  Subsequently he is best known for his founding and establishing roles over the last 10 years of The ICEHOUSE.  David has retained a close interest with his food interests and has come to understand the needs and requirements of owner managers in New Zealand SME businesses.


Don Everitt

Don Everitt contributes to New Zealand food companies by leading global marketing, innovation and teamwork. For 15 years he led the marketing team at New Zealand King Salmon in developing new products and in building the Regal, Seasmoke, Southern Ocean and Ora King brands.  In order to compete globally against commodity competitors the company built new distribution networks in selected target markets.  As a result New Zealand King Salmon now has staff in Australia, Japan, USA and New Zealand and is growing fast.


Rod Oram

Rod Oram has more than 30 years’ experience as an international business journalist. He has worked for various publications in Europe and North America, including the Financial Times of London. For more than a decade, Rod has been helping fast-growing New Zealand companies through his involvement with The ICEHOUSE, the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Auckland’s Business School.


Agenda: Day 1


Registration & Coffee


Opening remarks from the Chair

Prof. Mike Boland, Principal Scientist and Executive Officer, Riddet Institute


High Margin Food as a key economic driver

Rod Oram will analyse the importance of this sector to the economy, the challenges to growing it and the rewards of succeeding.

Rod Oram, Business Journalist


Keynote Address: Envisioning your company’s growth

David Irving, Chairman, Prolife Foods


Panel discussion: Developing a standardised national food strategy for the F & B industry

• What should the plan entail?
• Who takes the responsibility?
• Is there a necessity for a standardised food strategy?

Prof. Jacqueline Rowarth, Professor of Agribusiness, University of Waikato
Andrew McCallum, Chief Adviser Sector Policy Team, Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment
David Irving, Chairman, Prolife Foods


Morning Tea


The value of Made in New Zealand

The value for NZ made products at the international markets is exceptional and more companies in this arena can use this as a great opportunity to excel. Bringing ideas from past experiences as the General Manager of Global Strategy at NZ King Salmon and Deputy Chairman of Omega-3 Centre, Don will discuss the cultural and social aspects that go into building platforms for high value growth within companies.

Don Everitt, Deputy Chairman, Omega-3 Centre; Board Member, Nutrigenomics New Zealand


Case Study: From Humble beginnings to high margin

The Crush Pack Yogurt, a product that started with humble beginnings got off the ground in full swing when the idea was stylized and commercialized to fit the premium consumer at both local NZ markets and international markets. Garry will discuss the journey of this product.

Garry Reynolds, Director - Commercialisation, EverEdge IP®




Opportunities for high margin products in the Chinese Markets

Envision future opportunities for your company through this session which aims to explore the ever burgeoning Chinese landscape. Understand how companies who have already entered this vast market have created a place and niche for high margin, premium products.

Graham Kearns, Executive Director, New Zealand China Trade Association
Representative from GMP Pharmaceuticals Ltd


Exporting high margin food products to India

India is home to more than a million rapidly rising middle class families.What are the implications of this piece of fact for all the food and beverage exporters in the kiwi landscape who proactively export to India?
• What are the opportunities for companies exporting to India to pitch their products to the market at a premium price?
• Will the cultural and social factors and India's economic position in the global arena have any role to play?

Don Rae, International Market Manager, New Zealand Trade Enterprise


Afternoon Break and refreshments


From ideation to execution to commercialisation: Taking the product from the laboratory to the store shelf

This session will take you through the cycle of realising the potential of your ideas; starting from the execution phase to eventually the commercialising phase. Stuart will discuss examples and give top tips on making most out of the facilities available at the Foodbowl.

Stuart Walker, Director, Carrol Industries; & Former CEO, Foodbowl


Co-presentation case study: The story of how I went from being a chef to a food manufacturer

Stuart will walk the audience through an interesting journey of Bevan Gray who went from a chef to a food manufacturer. Stuart will highlight some of the challenges that Bevan faced prior to developing the "Hoola Skinny Dips" and the role of Foodbowl in his journey.

Stuart Walker, Director, Carrol Industries; & Former CEO, Foodbowl


Commercialisation of IP in Food & beverage: An overview of common challenges and best practices

• Strategies to achieve better commercial goals
• Leveraging the competitive advantage of your product and positioning it as high margin- how IP will play a vital role
• Knowing your IP rights while exporting your products

Kate Wilson, Partner IP Strategy Team, James & Wells


Networking Drinks

Agenda: Day 2


Welcome back from the Chair

Prof. Mike Boland, Principal Scientist and Executive Officer, Riddet Institute


Advancing and supporting the F & B industry: The role of the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED)

David will discuss the continuing work that ATEED is doing to support and nurture innovations within the F & B industry. He will also be covering plans and pathways under review for the future and will touch upon what the industry can expect from the ATEED going ahead.

David Anstice, Sector Specialist Food & Beverage, ATEED


The role of university research commercialisation wings in the F & B industry

• The need for cross-sector collaboration: What the academic research facilities can offer the businesses?
• How this collaboration will add value to the bottom line of both parties involved

Karl Crawford, Business Manager Food & Health, Auckland UniServices


Morning Tea


Looking at open innovations from both sides

Continuing from the how-to aspect of cross sector collaboration, this session explores how businesses that develop an open innovation relationship with the academic research institutions can enhance the value of their product. Professor Boland’s presentation will be based on his experiences on working with Fonterra and Zespri.

Professor Mike Boland, Principal Scientist and Executive Office, Riddet Institute


Case study: Gold Kiwifruit for the premium markets

This session will study the complete cycle starting from the ideation to the execution up until the commercialisation of the Gold kiwifruit that was developed specifically for the premium export market.
• Challenges encountered during the commercialisation process
• Recognising opportunities in international markets
• Top tips to lead your product through successful commercialisation

Bryan Parkes, Innovation Manager, ZESPRI International


Lunch Break


Real food, real results: Studying the health benefits of NZ grown blueberries

The superior anthocyanin content of the New Zealand blueberry fruit interacting with and assisting the body’s natural antioxidant mechanisms is found to hasten recovery amongst athletes. Through this session gain deeper insights on opportunities ahead to commercialise and incorporate these benefits into your blueberry based products.

Prof. Stephen Stannard, Head of School Sport & Exercise, Massey University


The consumers know best (Or do they?)

The decision to commercialise an innovative idea is often affected by the fear of the outcome. This session will trigger your thoughts around the concept “if you build, they will come” and will ask the question of whether consumers always know what’s best for them. Engage in this session to find out how owners can have more control over the fate of their new business by educating the customer and developing the right attitude to risk and success.

Greg Hall, Ice Cream Maker, Kohu Road


Afternoon Break & refreshments


Harnessing “Brand NZ”: The role of branding and advertising in securing the high margin for food exports

While health benefits and functional qualities of a food product can help you secure that extra margin, the role of branding and advertising is equally important and cannot be underestimated. Engage in this session to find out how.

Ralph Walker, Director, Onemata


Case study: Smart marketing: Engaging international consumers and influencing brand perception

• Community engagement: How we engage our Asian customers
• Delivering top quality customer experience: From NZ to Asia
• Brand perception and how it plays an important role in positioning your products at a high value
• Staying abreast with consumer needs and changing behaviours: Best practises at Villa Maria

Charlotte Read, Asia/Middle East Marketing Manager, Villa Maria Estate


Case study: Using market research to shape the marketing strategy for your product

• Studying the role research can play in enhancing the strategic outcome of your product and shaping your market strategy
• What was our strategy before the research and how we changed it
• How the new research made tangible difference to our sales outcomes

Paul O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer, EasiYo


Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference

Supporting Organisations

Interested in sponsorship?

There are some exclusive opportunities to promote your company, and its products and services, at this leading event. Contact the sponsorship team below to request a prospectus or discuss the options, or view more about event sponsorship.