Mogul-directed industrial-scale plant-only diet strategy brings premium branding value scope to commodity exporting nation…
Animal foods substitutes made from plants and on an industrial scale will be produced by an enterprise led by Canadian-born New Zealand resident James Cameron who anticipates that the scheme will have the eventual effect of shifting diets from animal to vegetable.
Mr Cameron’s fellow film mogul Sir Peter Jackson is also said to be involved with the scheme.
Both are land holders in the sparsely-populated Wairarapa Valley which is an hour’s drive north of Wellington, centre of the nation’s film industry.
Go-to operations guy in the strategy is Jasper Robards (pictured) who is Mr Cameron’s stepson.
Mr Robard’s grandmother was Lauren Bacall who was married to Old Hollywood star Jason Robards.
Jason Robards, the grandfather, became famed for such films as Tender is the Night, All the President’s Men, and Raise The Titanic.
Raise The Titanic co-incidentally was an earlier version of the genre that was to lay the foundation of Jasper’s stepfather James Cameron’s own global success.
Lauren Bacall was a visitor to New Zealand later in her career
Miss Bacall is remembered for her candid responses to questions she had spent much of her life fielding, notably those about her earlier marriage to Humphrey Bogart.
She was in New Zealand to take part in the fund-raising Telethon charity and sportingly pitched into the televised extravaganza, the pre-eminent broadcast event of its era.
Mr Cameron has invested in plant food substitution research and development in the Wairarapa region for quite some time, since in fact he set up his Avatar special effects processing in Wellington.
Mr Cameron never loses an opportunity to extol the virtues of a vegan diet, crediting it for bestowing upon him the energy to maintain in his later years the energetic output required of an explorer, agronomist, and film maker.
The range of products from the announced venture will go far beyond such well known protein replacements as soy types and will encompass a full slate of substitute extracts and even plant versions of hitherto synthetic and animal-derived garments.
In the meantime Mr Cameron will benefit from his vertical integration in the form of a retail store in one of the Wairarapa’s fashionable tourist hamlets.
It has the capability to render applied market research on contemporary upscale consumer tastes.
There may be in this vegan drive some ironic advantage to New Zealand food exporting in animal products.
This delicatessen approach to foodstuffs will offset the perennial disadvantage of bulk commodity exports in which New Zealand is a price taker, unable to take advantage of branded and processed added value and thus loyalty.
So the promotional possibilities in the foodstuffs produced under the direction of the moguls will be a valuable pointer to the traditional side of the industry which has twisted and turned to obtain global retail premium finished product value on dairy products especially.
The venture chimes with the policy resonance from New Zealand’s governing Labour-Green coalition.
This is especially so in the venture’s forestry emphasis on foodstuffs such as nuts and fungi.
New Zealand’s emphasis on organic cultivation remains fragmented under the critical mass imperatives of volume export demands.
Mr Cameron notes that plant cultivation and processing will re-invigorate rural settlements and it is here that the moguls’ venture harmonises with a government vision that surfaced 55 years ago.
This was to transform New Zealand into the “Switzerland,” of the South Seas.
This, so the notion went, would be accomplished by selling to the world intensively processed and high value products.
This theme would be accomplished now under the announced animal replacement vegan products scheme by producing a greater range of higher value products wrapped and ready for overseas retailers’ shelves in an expanded number of importing nations.
These high value foodstuffs will introduce Swiss-watch grade retail price elasticity simply because consumers will buy them regardless of the price.
The scheme also points to an avenue opening up in by-passing bulk quotas and tariffs both official and unofficial of the type which for example have restricted an established New Zealand plant export, apples.
Import substitution of high value grocery niche products is another benefit of the plant derived foodstuffs diversity scheme.
The cinematographers mission statement in substituting plants where animals once grazed elicits not so much shock and horror from animal graziers as simple disbelief.
And yet…and yet….those promoting the pastoral conversion scheme are in the ideas business and their ideas have so far been, well, fruitful.