New Zealand livestock farmers are ahead of the game in what is needed to meet the environmental and social needs of consumers. A Sainsbury’s executive Gavin Hodgson has noticed a big improvement in the approach of NZ farmers since his last visit in 2019. Gavin Hodgson is director of agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture at the United Kingdom supermarket chain, and was speaking to 700 farmers at the Plate to Pasture Farmer Conference in Christchurch. Sainsbury’s conducts 26 million transactions a week through more than 600 supermarkets and 800 convenience stores…turning over $64 billion a year from customers. Mr Hodgson says when times are tough consumer values are compromised which effects premium products like beef and lamb but also plant-based alternative proteins – with demand not as rapid as expected. He cited research that shows 54% of respondents found alternative protein meals too repetitive, 53% said vegan and vegetarian alternatives were too expensive and 49% feared that meals based on these products did not provide the nutrients they need.