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XLabs: Future Of Food

Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) is partnering with Circularity, a Circular Economy Innovation Consultancy, to bring its award-winning XLabs: Future of Food program to the Nelson Tasman Region in August this year.

We are inviting those businesses right across the food and beverage industry to join us to work on a challenge facing their business and reimagine it be more abundant, nature-positive, and truly regenerative by design.

Why the future of food?

  • How we produce our food is key to reducing our emissions.
  • The current value of our food is being lost or underutilised.
  • The potential of NZ's food industry and global leadership is boundless.

Increasingly, trade agreements require everyone working across the food system to ensure their business and products address the environmental issues of land use, ingredient sourcing, organic waste streams, emissions, and more. With of food lost or wasted, New Zealand’s Emission Reduction Plan identifies the circular economy as a strategy for businesses to reduce emissions from organic waste streams.

We can transform the impact of our food, our industry and our systems with global leadership to meet consumer expectations and nutrition.

This is our opportunity.

“A future where nature-positive food is available at scale is possible. Circular design for food offers food producers, makers and retailers a pathway to realise food’s potential to be good for nature, farmers, and business”.

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XLabs provides organisations with the training opportunity to design and validate solutions with:

— Diverse, low-impact, upcycled and regeneratively produced ingredient selection and sourcing

— Eliminating packaging or designing circulated and reusable alternatives

— Circular business models, new technologies and renewable energy

Over 100 New Zealand organisations have already completed the programme, including Zespri, Silver Fern Farms, Lion, LeaderBrand, Rescued Kitchen, and NZ Hothouse. Of these, 92% felt excited about taking action at the end of the program and 88% agreed they came away with at least one thing they/their business could change or start doing in the next 6-12 months. 

The Nelson Tasman region is home to over 150 food and beverage businesses. The Food, Beverage and Wellness sector represents 10% of Nelson Tasman's GDP, totalling $588 million. It is vital to support these leaders, and that’s why we are offering local rates for business in the Nelson region.

Melissa Munro, Manager Regional Strategy and Investment, NRDA says “The Nelson Tasman region is home to over 150 food and beverage businesses, over 400 including hospitality. The Food, Beverage, and Wellness sector represents 10% of Nelson Tasman’s GDP, to the value of $588 million. NRDA knows it is vital to support this sector, and that is why we are offering local rates for businesses within the region for this programme.

We are excited to partner with XLabs as they provide the opportunity to think with clarity around the environmental challenges businesses face and enable them to unlock solutions by redesigning the future of food being produced and manufactured in region. This will enable our region to be better placed to meet the demand for food that is better for our people, and our regional environment”.

Join XLabs: Future of Food with our online and in-person 3-day design sprint to realise value and efficiency in new ways, wasting less, with less impact on the planet. Apply for a place at XLabs: Future of Food here:

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