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New Zealand Tops Savills Global Food Security Index

New Zealand ranks first in a new global food security index produced by multinational real estate company Savills.

The company has compiled its Food Security Index as part of its latest global Impacts research, which looks at the factors shaping the future of global real estate.

The index, published this year for the first time, measures how well a country provides sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Food security is one of the key factors Savills has identified as driving future global real estate activity.

Ryan Geddes, managing director of Savills New Zealand, says New Zealand’s global reputation as a trusted food producer gives the country a distinct advantage to leverage our high level of food security, which is likely to benefit a wide range of industries including real estate.

“New Zealand has a well-established reputation as a global leader in food production. Our status as a top food producer and exporter means we have built a strong platform in food production and distribution logistics, which is vital as the Covid-19 crisis highlights the fragility of food supply and distribution chains around the world.”

New Zealand’s ‘brand’ is centred around our pure environment, which is a key advantage benefiting our food producers, Geddes says.

“Consumers globally are aware of our ‘clean green’ credentials, with government regulations promoting sustainable farming and a much smaller population per square metre than many other food producing nations.”

New Zealand’s outstanding natural beauty and the pure environment in which we produce food are key factors influencing our country’s ability to produce highly sought-after food products for consumers globally, says Geddes.

“These factors are part of New Zealand agribusiness’ key differentiators, underpinning premium market positions for our products in many markets.”

Food producers also have the use of sustainable infrastructure in some regions, for example inland ports, which enable access to sea freight by rail, he adds.

The rise in the importance of food provenance globally has strongly increased the demand for New Zealand food products, which is a key differentiator for our country. Global consumer preferences today are becoming much more focused on safe, trustworthy food sources with traceable ‘farm to table’ origins, and New Zealand has a well-established reputation as a leader in this area.

All these factors contribute to strong demand trends in the property market, Geddes says.

“In particular, there is currently extremely high demand for quality warehousing & logistics facilities in New Zealand among investors – with tenants operating in the food sector making up a significant occupier group.”

“With real estate being determined by the location of people, and those people dependent on the ability to access secure food sources, examining food security will become a crucial part of real estate investment and development activity. In the future, food-related real estate development will be increasingly focused towards locations where populations have safe and secure access to food,” says Geddes.

In the Savills Food Security Index, New Zealand is followed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia making up the top five positions.

“Understanding food security has never been more critical. Climate change and extreme weather were

testing food systems to their limits even before Covid-19 closed borders and shook labour availability,” Savills states in its report accompanying the index.

Savills analysed and ranked 38 countries around the world on four ‘pillars’ of food security – availability, access, stability and utilisation – to construct the index.

  • Availability relates to a country’s ability to ensure an adequate supply of food. Greater weighting is given to domestic production, due to reduced exposure to disruptive international influences.
  • Access involves infrastructure which must be developed to allow distribution of food from its source, which includes warehousing & logistics-related property. Food must also be affordable, which consists of a combination of factors including personal wealth and food prices.
  • Utilisation asks the question: does the consumption of available food result in reduced levels of malnutrition? Poor safety and quality of food may actually compromise food security.
  • Stability (or lack thereof) can seriously impact all other pillars of food security. For example, nations with high climatic, economic or political insecurity have higher risk of supply chain disruption, resulting in lower food security.

The index shows that food security varies widely around the world, with large variations in country performance even between the most secure regions of Europe and North America, although New Zealand is the most food-secure country overall.

Regional comments in the Savills Food Security Index report include:


Across Asia, once food is available, access to it is not a concern, but mediocre utilisation and stability drag on average weightings. Export economies New Zealand and Australia top and tail the top five spots in the overall index due to strong performance in availability and stability. In contrast, developing Thailand and Indonesia rank poorly due to low food quality in respect of calorific and nutritional adequacy. Japan is the most stable nation, and second in our rankings for accessibility. India is in the bottom 10 overall and never outside of the lower half of the table for any category.


Considering they are both major food exporters to Europe, Kenya and Senegal are surprise laggards in the index. Cameroon and Tunisia also hold one or more of the bottom places in each pillar. Food access is less of an issue in these countries than utilisation, where food safety, food quality and general health all contribute to a heightened risk of malnutrition.


Western Europe ranks as the most food secure region in the world, led by Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. The emerging economies of Eastern Europe are all within the top 10 for domestic food production, leading to a good performance in food availability, but performance in other categories is highly variable.

The Middle East

Stability, with its consideration of politics, economics and business climate, affects all aspects of food security and is an ongoing concern for the Middle East. Despite this, good utilisation and reasonable access means the Middle East as a whole scores only slightly below the global average.

North America

The highly developed economies of the United States and Canada score well above the global average with consistently high performance. However, Mexico’s instability affects its own ranking and that of its neighbour, the USA.

South America

South America is severely hampered by the accessibility of its food, particularly in terms of physical infrastructure. Affordability is almost equally poor. South America is below the global average overall.


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