The Food and Health Programme and University of Auckland Business School’s Graduate School of Management co-hosted a visiting group of 25 MBA students from Stanford University, USA in December 2018. The visiting students were in New Zealand to understand how government, business and non-profit organisations are contributing to our changing food and agriculture ecosystem, as it adapts to changing consumer and health trends.

Chemmat’s Prof Brent Young chaired a lively (but collegial) panel discussion at a mixer event held to give Auckland MBA students and the Stanford MBA cohort an opportunity to connect and establish the beginnings of what the Graduate School of Management hope will be an ongoing relationship.

The theme? Thoughts and reflections on a changing landscape: New Zealand and the US’s changing food and agriculture ecosystems – leading the way or following the crowd?

The panel comprised of four representatives from each group and attendees were entertained by the thought-provoking ideas shared by panellists, following each question.

The discussion ranged from ‘what shifts in customer behaviour have an impact on your food and agritech products and business?’, through to ‘how your industry is deploying new technologies to your business practices and what these might look like in the future’, as well as ‘the barriers and opportunities for your industry over the next five years’.

Prof Young said the Auckland and Stanford panellists were all high flying MBA alumna and students that were also prime movers in several innovative companies of global reach.

“In the short hour we had a detailed examination of cutting edge business, science and technology aspects of future foods and the future of the food business. One key take home message for me was that sustainability and multiple bottom lines are increasingly important for the success of food businesses of all scales and types.”

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