Rabobank Food & Agri Research - All Sectors https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/rss/rss-all-sectors.html All sectors feed for Food & Agri Research en <![CDATA[Podcast: To Feed or Not to Feed – Can We Grow Grain-Fed Lamb?]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/animal-protein/podcast-to-feed-or-not-to-feed.html?utm_medium=RSS Feedlotting lamb is becoming more popular. Angus Gidley-Baird and Brian Samson look at the fundamentals in the Australian lamb sector to identify if there are possibilities for growth.

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Animal Protein Wed, 31 Jul 2019 15:05:13 GMT 262145
<![CDATA[Brazilian Sugarcane Biweekly Update ]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/sugar/brazilian_sugarcane_biweekly_update.html?utm_medium=RSS Latest update on the Centre/South 2019/20 cane harvest.

Sugar Wed, 31 Jul 2019 12:14:05 GMT 245958
<![CDATA[Weekly Commodity Snapshot]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/agri-commodity-markets/commodity_snapshot_weekly.html?utm_medium=RSS Our overview for wheat, corn, soybean, sugar, and coffee prices, published weekly.

Report highlights- The S&P GS Ag Commodity Index gained 0.5% last week, supported by wheat and sugar but held back by coffee, cocoa and corn. In the week before, non-Commercials sold -89,451 net lots across agricultural commodities – the highest net selling volume in 11 weeks – taking their net short position to -223,256 lots.

- ICE #11 Sugar gained 4.9% WOW on higher oil prices, strong Brazilian ethanol demand, and following the Indian government’s announcement that it would not only continue its buffer stock system but increase it from 3m metric tonnes to 4m metric tonnes.

- ICE Arabica lost -4.7% WOW on a good Brazilian weather forecast and a slight depreciation of the BRL. Downside remains limited due to dry weather and uncertainty for Central American crops.

- CBOT Corn fell 0.5% last week as US supply-side concerns ease on good moisture and moderate temperatures, aiding crop development.]]>
Agri Commodity Markets Tue, 30 Jul 2019 15:54:01 GMT 259541
<![CDATA[Weekly Commodity Forward Curves Overview]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/regional-food-agri/weekly-commodity-forward-curves-overview.html?utm_medium=RSS Our weekly overview of forward curves for wheat, corn, oats, soybean, rapeseed, canola, palm oil, sugar, coffee, hogs, cattle, oil, gas, and ethanol.

Grains & Oilseeds Sugar Agri Commodity Markets Tue, 30 Jul 2019 13:04:10 GMT 248031
<![CDATA[Wine Quarterly Catalog]]> https://research.rabobank.com?utm_medium=RSS This page is an overview of previously published Wine Quarterlies

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Wine Quarterly Q3 2019

Wine Quarterly Q2 2019

Wine Quarterly Q1 2019

Wine Quarterly Q4 2018

Beverages Beverages Tue, 30 Jul 2019 10:29:40 GMT 262122
<![CDATA[Pork Quarterly Q3 2019: Disease and Trade Issues Are Jointly Changing the Global Market]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/animal-protein/pork-quarterly-q3-2019.html?utm_medium=RSS Rising disease pressures are challenging the global market. Specifically, African swine fever (ASF) continues to threaten the global pork market, not only by causing a production drop in Asian countries, but also adding uncertainty to trade and production prospects in other parts of the world. While China’s pork prices have started to move higher, production responses in the rest of the world appear cautious. Other factors, including disease management and weather, are hindering production in Europe and Brazil. The resumption of Sino-US trade negotiations is a positive development, implying a chance for China to review tariffs on US pork imports.

Other highlights from the Pork Quarterly Q3 2019 include:

ASF continues to spread in China, with new cases mainly reported in South China. Live hog prices are finally moving higher, indicating tight supply. While fresh meat prices are moving, large inventories of frozen meat continue to pressure prices and weigh on market returns.

Pork production in 2H is expected to rise, driven by a large breeding herd and improvement in productivity. While pork exports are struggling, the resolution of trade terms with Mexico and Canada should boost exports, and the resumption of trade negotiations with China is a positive. The labor shortage remains a key constraint in 2H 2019.

ASF in eastern Europe remains pressing, discouraging expansion. Summer heat is slowing production growth, contributing to better market prices. Exports have increased from most member states, mainly driven by stronger demand from China.

Exports are increasing, driven by Chinese and Russian demand, although pig producers remain skeptical about whether this represents a structural return to growth. Domestic pork prices are rising, as exports are outpacing production growth. If internal consumption picks up in 2H 2019, this will provide further support for prices.

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Click here to download the Pork Quarterly Q2 2019

Click here to download the Pork Quarterly Q1 2019

Click here to download the Pork Quarterly Q4 2018

Animal Protein Animal Protein Mon, 29 Jul 2019 12:20:38 GMT 262080
<![CDATA[Commitment of Traders Weekly Update]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/agri-commodity-markets/cftc-cot.html?utm_medium=RSS Every Monday, we publish a view using data from the Commitment of Traders report published by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Agri Commodity Markets Mon, 29 Jul 2019 11:48:29 GMT 260296
<![CDATA[Wine Quarterly Q3 2019: Update on the Chinese Wine Market]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/beverages/wine-quarterly-q3-2019.html?utm_medium=RSS China has been one of the most dynamic wine markets over the past decade, but is undergoing profound changes that have implications for both foreign and domestic suppliers. Rabobank’s Wine Quarterly explores some of the ongoing developments in this key market.

Report summary

Over the past decade, the Chinese wine market has been the fastest-growing market in the world, undergoing changes at a breakneck pace, according to Rabobank’s Wine Quarterly for Q3 2019. Stephen Rannekleiv, Global Strategist – Beverages: “Chinese consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about wine (and changing consumption habits), competitive positioning of imports is changing, domestic players are adjusting their strategies, and the retail environment is evolving faster in China than anywhere else in the world. For wine marketers, China offers an enormous opportunity, but requires a dedicated focus in order to understand the ongoing changes.”

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Wine Quarterly Q2 2019

Wine Quarterly Q1 2019

Wine Quarterly Q4 2018

Beverages Beverages Fri, 26 Jul 2019 18:29:03 GMT 262094
<![CDATA[Agri Commodity Markets Monthly July 2019: Summer Arrives in US, Corn Bulls Overheat ]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/agri-commodity-markets/ACMR-Monthly-reports.html?utm_medium=RSS After months of rain and cold, US midwest summer in July brought welcome reprieve to corn, soy and wheat fields and restored river transport. The benign weather pattern tamed the bull in G&O, however major risks remain for poorly conditioned US summer crops, while forward weather in Central America, Indonesia and Australia still looks on the dry side. Amid a relatively tight corn balance sheet and with geopolitics still at play we can expect some volatility over the coming months. On the softs side, a rather strong Brazilian real will likely provide support.

Download previous editions

Click here to download the Agri Commodities Monthly June 2019

Click here to download the Agri Commodities Monthly May 2019

Click here to download the Agri Commodities Monthly April 2019

Click here to download the Agri Commodities Monthly March 2019

Click here to download the Agri Commodities Monthly February 2019

Agri Commodity Markets Agri Commodity Markets Thu, 25 Jul 2019 14:11:45 GMT 259338
<![CDATA[Talking Points: To Infinity and BYND – Lessons Learned for Meat Alternatives from the Introduction of New Ingredients ]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/consumer-foods/Talking-Points-July-2019.html?utm_medium=RSS In this month’s edition, we share some thoughts on the market for meat alternatives, including drawing some parallels with the introduction of other new food ingredients.

Click here to download this article as a PDF fileDownload previous editions

Talking Points: Will Amazon's Algorithms Make Expo West Redundant?

Talking Points: We Didn't See That Coming

Talking Points: Let's Talk About Waste

Talking Points: Badges of Honor - Restoring Trust With the Consumer

Talking Points: The Snack Bar Barometer

Talking Points: 'Opportunities Abound' - Part Two

Consumer Foods Wed, 24 Jul 2019 16:22:55 GMT 262076
<![CDATA[Podcast: The Triple Bottom-Line With Jackson Family Wines]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/beverages/podcast_the_triple_bottom_line.html?utm_medium=RSS Jackson Family Wines has achieved a 33% drop in greenhouse gas emissions and a 60% reduction in the water required to produce a bottle of wine over the last decade. In February, the company, together with Familia Torres, announced a new working group, International Wineries for Climate Action, with a mission to decarbonize the wine industry. On this episode, Katie Jackson and Julien Gervreau from Jackson Family Wines share their bold vision for a more sustainable wine industry and the progress they’ve made in their own operations to reduce emissions and increase efficiency – all while becoming more profitable in the process.

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This episode was recorded on location at JFW headquarters in Santa Rosa, California, and is hosted by Rabobank’s global beverages strategist, Stephen Rannekleiv and also features Rabobank’s Andre Baladi. This episode replaces an episode titled ‘JFW – Preview’ which was accidentally published on July 23.

Beverages Wed, 24 Jul 2019 14:27:46 GMT 262066
<![CDATA[A Scrappy Supply Chain]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/fa-supply-chains/a_scrappy_supply_chain.html?utm_medium=RSS Recent trade tensions have brought difficulties to the already challenged OCC and kraftliner markets. Is US kraftliner taking a turn for the worse after decade-long growth?


- Since China changed its import policy again in 2018, the US old-corrugated-containers (OCC) market has seen oversupply and significantly lower domestic prices. Current soft domestic OCC demand is increasing pressure on US domestic OCC prices, which have plunged further.

- Low OCC prices also complicate the US kraftliner market, which suffers already from softer domestic and global demand. At the same time, US-China trade tensions bring extra challenges to the US OCC and kraftliner markets.

- Dealing with a structural oversupply of domestic recovered paper (RCP) requires the entire supply chain to start working together on domestic recycling challenges. We are starting to see developments in technology, industry partnerships, consolidation, and foreign capital flowing into the US, but more efforts are still needed. Efforts from a regulatory perspective might also be needed to stimulate a systematic change.

Soft OCC Exports Put Pressure on Domestic Market

Market conditions were rattled after China introduced its harsh regulation of RCP imports in the beginning of 2018. The average price of US domestic OCC 11 briefly stabilized at around USD 60/mt for 2H 2018 before tanking another 50% in 2019 (see Figure 1). We expect soft OCC prices to persist in the US in the coming one to two years, as we see Chinese OCC imports continue to diminish due to weaker domestic containerboard demand and to China’s move towards zero RCP imports.


Total US OCC exports in 2018 climbed by 26.5%, or 2.3mmt, as Southeast Asian regions stocked up on low-priced, low-quality OCC 11 (see Figure 2). However, the surge did not sustain, and OCC trade flow is yet to find its balance. Total US OCC exports remained flat year-over-year through May 2019, with major importing countries such as China and Mexico seeing big dips (down 20% each). US OCC exports were first disrupted in 2017 by China’s significant import quota cuts, driving down volume by 8.8%, or 870,000 mt. The excessive volume created then contributed to OCC oversupply and was further stimulated by China’s dramatic shift from OCC 11 to the cleaner OCC 12 (double-sorted OCC) in 2018, due to the 0.5% contamination rule. In the long run, we do not expect new Asian markets to absorb all of the tonnages that would have been exported to China.

Adding to weak exports, domestic OCC demand is also showing signs of softness. Logically, the growing production of recycled containerboard in the US (now 30% of the total US market) would require additional volumes of OCC. However, total US OCC consumption decreased 3.7% year-to-date through April 2019, according to the American Paper & Forest Association, due to a soft containerboard market and downtime at multiple major US containerboard mills. This, in combination with low export OCC prices, increased the pressure on US domestic OCC prices, which plunged further.

In the case of an expected complete OCC import ban by China by the end of 2020, an additional 5.5mmt of US OCC exports (based on 2017 and 2018 average volume) would need to find a new home. Three million metric tons of additional recycled capacity from announced projects and capacity creep could potentially consume 2.4mmt of those 5.5mmt of OCC. This would still leave over 3mmt of OCC in oversupply – or 12% of total OCC produced domestically.

No Winner in the Trade War<p>The US-China trade war poses an additional challenge to US OCC and containerboard pricing. Pulp and paper products comprised USD 3.7b worth of the USD 100b goods that were targeted for raised tariffs in 2018. With the recent additional tariff increase on June 1, 2019, some of these products will be taxed at significantly higher rates of up to 25% (see Table 1). Last November, China lowered its tariffs for the same products from Most-Favored-Nations within the rest of the WTO. This not only translates to an overall economic impact of over USD 350m in pulp and containerboard products’ tariffs, but also curbs the competitive advantage of US products. US OCC and kraftliner prices have become less attractive due to the tariffs, encouraging Chinese buyers to turn to imports from other countries.</p>
<p>As one of China’s most important trade partners, the US’s trade policies could hinder the strong growth of China’s export-driven economy. This would negatively affect US containerboard export demand and limit opportunities for US exports of kraftliner. Though not a direct factor in US kraftliner demand, the ongoing US-China trade dispute could have a much more profound impact over the long term than is seen now.</p>aTable107092019Kraftliner Under Pressure From Internal and External Factors

Domestically, US kraftliner prices – which had experienced continuous hikes since 2009, with the exception of a minor price adjustment in 2016 – have declined by 4% since March 2019 (see Figure 3). Kraftliner producers are taking downtime in reaction to the softer demand resulting from decelerating global economic growth, total US containerboard-capacity additions outpacing demand (3% annually until 2021), and oversupply in the global markets. The pain is partly offset by lower pulp and OCC prices. The oversupplied domestic RCP market gives recycled containerboard producers a competitive advantage in sourcing raw materials, allowing them to lower the cost of recycled containerboard production. This puts additional pressure on kraftliner prices and margins, and we are starting to see a trend of US producers incorporating a higher percentage of OCC in kraftliner as a response.

Conversely, we expect imported containerboard will continue to cover the OCC gap in China in the short term, providing extra export opportunities for US kraftliner. US virgin containerboard exports grew in 2018 by 5.5% YOY, or 254,000mt (see Figure 4). However, US kraftliner needs to compete with recycled containerboard from Europe and Southeast Asia, especially where producers also benefit from low OCC prices and transport proximity. This, along with the trade war, adds to the challenges of US kraftliner exports.

FA_Vertical-paper-axis_Fig2Need for New RCP Scrap Management Solutions

OCC and mixed paper have suffered the most from China’s RCP import policy changes. To respond to the subsequent supply-demand imbalance, the US urgently needs to update its waste management system and to produce cleaner RCP. There have been a series of reactions throughout the supply chain aimed at systematically addressing the current lack of RCP waste management infrastructure:

- Technology innovation: Companies are developing patented technology to sort and process waste like never before, extracting value out of scrap efficiently, and producing cleaner RCP as a result. Examples include: the Max-AI AQC robotic sorter by Bulk Handling Systems; Alpine Waste & Recycling’s investments to improve sorting speed by 33%; and WestRock accepting mixed-paper bales containing foodservice packaging for its recycled containerboard mills in the US.

- Recycler consolidation: We are beginning to see consolidation among recyclers, as large packaging and consumer-packaged-goods companies demand a greater supply of recycled content in their packaging. For instance, Integrity Fiber Supply acquired Marck Trading to better supply Midwest Paper Group, who just completed a 400mmt/year recovered containerboard expansion.

- Foreign capital: In addition to foreign capital flowing into the pulp and paperboard space, we are starting to see the participation of foreign capital in the scrap recycling front. Though most investments focus on plastic scrap, there has been one investment in the RCP recycling space – Ecomelida’s investment in carton recycling in South Carolina.

- Industry partnerships: Consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) companies, retail companies, non-profit organizations, and municipalities are coming together to generate solutions. For example, the Foodservice Packaging Institute partners with municipalities to extract high-quality fiber from foodservice packaging. Closed Loop Fund is collaborating with major CPG and retail companies to develop scrap collection and processing infrastructure in the US and to create value out of RCP products. Their efforts include supplying single-stream recycling carts to municipalities to produce cleaner RCP bale, and investing in companies like CleanFiber to create cellulose insulation from OCC and old newspaper.

Despite these efforts, the US is still faced with greater challenges. High scrap collection and processing costs continue to squeeze the profitability of recyclers, driving smaller independent operators out of business. In order to be profitable, some companies are changing their earnings model by charging for RCP pick-up, as an example. Given limited growth opportunities in new domestic and export markets, we believe that regulatory mandates, such as those in Europe and Canada, could play a crucial role in stimulating investments in better waste management solutions. Yet such policy changes, both at state and at national levels, would be difficult to achieve. Drafting and adopting legislation is a long process, and an economically viable solution is yet to be found.

Click here to download this article as a PDF file]]>
F&A Supply Chains Tue, 23 Jul 2019 14:39:33 GMT 261919
<![CDATA[Podcast: Sugar Oversupply and Subsidies — Where’s the Good News?]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/sugar/podcast_sugar_oversupply_and_subsidies.html?utm_medium=RSS With crushing in full swing, the domestic harvest brings to light the topic of marketing in a tough environment. Wes Lefroy and Charlie Clack discuss Rabobank’s latest outlook and where there could be opportunities for growers.

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]]> Sugar Mon, 22 Jul 2019 15:03:36 GMT 262054 <![CDATA[Podcast: What’s in a Name? Dairy Implications in NZ-EU FTA Negotiations]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/dairy/podcast-dairy-implications-nz-eu-fta.html?utm_medium=RSS Emma Higgins and Blake Holgate discuss where the EU-NZ FTA negotiation process is currently at, and what some opportunities and concessions might look like for New Zealand's dairy industry.

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Dairy Fri, 19 Jul 2019 10:55:47 GMT 262039
<![CDATA[Brazilian G&O Monthly Update – July 2019]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/grains-oilseeds/Brazilian-GO-Monthly-july-2019.html?utm_medium=RSS Our latest progress report for Brazilian G&O, detailing farmgate prices, amounts sold, exports and crush margins for corn & soybeans, as well as regional weather developments.


- Brazilian soybean farmgate price 2% down MOM due to a decline in the currency rate.

- On the other hand, Brazilian corn farmgate price 1% up MOM, pushed up mainly by increasing international prices (CBOT).

- In 1H 2019 (Jan-Jun), Brazil exported 47.3mmt of soybeans, 8% higher than the volume exported in 1H 2018 and a record for this period.

- Brazilian corn exports reached 9.7mmt in 1H 2019, 86% more than the same period last year and the second-highest in the history for this period (just behind 2016, at 12.3mmt).

- In Mato Grosso, 76% of the second-crop corn area was harvested by mid-July, the fastest pace ever.

Grains & Oilseeds Tue, 16 Jul 2019 17:44:45 GMT 262008
<![CDATA[Podcast: Novidades do Ethanol Summit 2019]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/regional-food-agri/podcast_novidades_do_ethanol_summit_2019.html?utm_medium=RSS Matheus Almeida, especialista de insumos da equipe de pesquisa setorial do Rabobank Brasil, conversa com Andy Duff, estrategista global do Rabobank, sobre vários temas de tecnologia e de mercado que foram abordados durante o Ethanol Summit 2019, que aconteceu em junho em São Paulo.

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Farm Inputs Tue, 16 Jul 2019 16:37:50 GMT 262018
<![CDATA[Podcast: NZ Red Meat Mid-Year Outlook (Part 1) – Sheepmeat]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/animal-protein/podcast-nz-red-meat-mid-year-outlook-part1-sheepmeat.html?utm_medium=RSS What does the second half of 2019 have in store for New Zealand sheepmeat prices? In part one of this two-part series focusing on New Zealand’s red meat outlook for the remainder of 2019, Blake Holgate & Emma Higgins discuss whether sheepmeat prices will be able to match last year's record levels. Part two, the outlook for New Zealand beef, will be released late July.

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Animal Protein Mon, 15 Jul 2019 18:25:10 GMT 261999
<![CDATA[Podcast: Food Forward — Is Animal Protein here to stay?]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/animal-protein/podcast_food_forward_is_animal_protein_here_to_stay.html?utm_medium=RSS Spoiler alert! Meat isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean the animal protein industry isn’t changing. What will the sector – and our diets – look like in twenty years? Animal protein strategist Justin Sherrard carves into our meatiest questions.

Listen to the podcastAbout the podcast
What will be on our plates in 2050, and how will it get there? Food Forward is a new Rabobank podcast featuring the innovators and agriculture experts who are changing the way we produce and consume food.
By the middle of this century there will be nearly 10 billion mouths to feed. How do we feed the world and stay within planetary boundaries? How can we support a transition to a more sustainable food system that empowers everyone along the food chain, from the farmer to the consumer? Join Food Forward as we search for answers.
Dutch listeners can also look for our sister podcast "Food Forward NL" wherever they listen.
Animal Protein Mon, 15 Jul 2019 17:01:01 GMT 262002
<![CDATA[Putting the Pieces Together in Plastic Packaging: Expansion and Diversification Drive a Fragmented Industry Towards Consolidation]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/fa-supply-chains/putting-the-pieces-together-in-plastic-packaging.html?utm_medium=RSS Despite the positive outlook from the growing use of plastic packaging in the food and beverage sectors, plastic packaging producers are facing a number of structural challenges. The growing societal, regulatory, and investor pressure that calls for a reduction of the use of plastic packaging or ‘more sustainable solutions’ is the number one challenge at the moment. At the same time, the power of brand owners is progressively growing, due to consolidation, and they are ever more demanding in terms of operational flexibility and innovation. Conventional material improvements, such as lightweighting or downgauging, are not enough anymore. Brand owners want more ‘sexy’ and sustainable solutions, and fewer partners to serve them.

Report summary

As the European plastic packaging industry is immensely heterogenic and fragmented, it is understandable that the industry finds itself in the midst of a consolidation wave. Between 2005 and June 2019, there were no less than 412 transactions in this industry, and the annual number has grown rapidly since 2014. Scale and partnerships become more crucial for companies in order to remain innovative, and thus competitive. Looking ahead, Rabobank believes that the consolidation process will continue at recent levels, driven by the industry structure, economics, the need to follow multinational offtakers into new geographies, the necessity to innovate better and faster, and sustainability.

F&A Supply Chains F&A Supply Chains Mon, 15 Jul 2019 16:43:18 GMT 261990
<![CDATA[USDA WASDE: High US Grain Carry-in, and We’ll Need It ]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/agri-commodity-markets/USDA-WASDE-monthly.html?utm_medium=RSS RaboResearch F&A's Agri Commodity Markets team evaluates the USDA's regular World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), providing a comprehensive forecast of supply and demand for major crops.

Download previous editions

June 2019 - Aggressive US Corn Cuts Boost Price

May 2019 - US Farmers Carry a Heavy Burden 

April 2019 - US Demand Down as Stocks Rise

March 2019 - Farmers Discount as Supplies Mount 

February 2019 - Taking Stock Amid Trade Talk 

December 2018: Wait and Xi

Agri Commodity Markets Fri, 12 Jul 2019 12:51:59 GMT 250821
<![CDATA[Podcast: Food in Asia: Table for Two in the Convenience Store]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/consumer-foods/podcast-tracking-snacking.html?utm_medium=RSS Convenience is key in food. More and more consumers are having prepared meals, eating in restaurants, getting take-away or having food delivered to their home. This is a global trend, and in this episode of Consumer Foods-to-Go, host Cyrille Filott discusses how this trend is playing out in South East Asia with Rabobank analyst Umesh Madhavan.

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The key trend is that convenience stores and supermarkets are betting big on food-to-go. The insights on this market and this trend should be of interest to anyone in food, food retail and food service as South East Asia could be leading the pack in the food-to-go trend.

Consumer Foods Thu, 11 Jul 2019 10:54:11 GMT 261933
<![CDATA[Brazil Coffee Stock Survey]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/regional-food-agri/Brazil-Coffee-Stock-Survey-2019.html?utm_medium=RSS Arabica stocks came in higher than expected, prompting an increase in our Brazil 2018/19 crop figure: from 44m bags to 45.9m bags of arabica.

Rabobank conducted a survey among 22 clients, responsible for over half a million bags of arabica production in an area of 13,000ha.

The survey results share conclusions with larger stock surveys out there, indicating a larger-than-expected stock availability. Both company and farmer stocks came in significantly higher in March 2019 vs March 2018, prompting an increase of our 2018/19 arabica production figure of 1.9m bags, to 45.9m bags.

Agri Commodity Markets Beverages Fri, 05 Jul 2019 13:47:14 GMT 261895
<![CDATA[Podcast: Glyphosate Tremors Hit Home]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/farm-inputs/Podcast_Glyphosate_tremors_hit_home.html?utm_medium=RSS Against the backdrop of other glyphosate-related events, Australia’s first glyphosate-related court case was confirmed in June. Wes Lefroy is joined by Cheryl Kalisch Gordon to discuss the potential implications for Australian farmers.

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Grains & Oilseeds Farm Inputs Wed, 03 Jul 2019 17:57:46 GMT 261885
<![CDATA[Structural Changes in the Seed Industry]]> https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/farm-inputs/structural_changes_in_the_seed_industry.html?utm_medium=RSS How do we use state-of-art technology to create high-added-value crop varieties while saving time and costs for R&D?


The seed industry creates added value by releasing new varieties. Each new variety involves a total spend of around USD 136m, and, depending on the breeding method, takes between eight and ten years to develop. Because the cost of developing a new variety is high, seed companies tend to invest in crops which are widely cultivated, and in large-scale farming systems, such as corn in the US and soybeans in Brazil. However, such a highly-concentrated product portfolio can be risky. The banning of glyphosate usage, for example, affects the sales of 145 corn varieties, 23 soybean varieties, 22 cotton varieties and 15 canola varieties. Therefore, the key to succeed in the seed industry is knowing how to deliver precisely those new varieties that meet the farmers/consumers’ needs.

Future Breeding in Seed Companies: Customized Breeding

Imagine farmers ordering their seed online just like ordering a MacBook: customized color of the potato flesh, customized fatty-acid ratio of the soybean, customized pest/disease resistance, etc. Traits are adjustable according to their needs. What’s more, this also allows yield to be predicted. In this scenario, the seed company makes a production plan according to the orders placed. There’s no pressure on stocks, no waste on research resources. Consumers can choose their food by communicating their needs with the farmers.

How do we move from the current system to such a future scenario? It all starts with the gene-editing tool, CRISPR/Cas. Simply put, this tool allows us to edit the genome, wherever we want, using two main components: CRISPR and Cas. Cas refers to the protein that conducts the cutting of DNA. CRISPR refers to the DNA sequence that guides Cas to the desired location of the genome for cutting, which is initially used by bacteria for its immune system and was first discovered in the E. coli genome in 1987. Since 2012, the CRISPR/Cas system has shown that it can be programmed for targeted DNA cleavage and has been applied in areas such as human disease therapy, animal breeding, and also plant breeding. This system can be used to edit genes in three steps:

1. seeking a corresponding place in the genome (DNA sequence) to edit
2. cutting the DNA
3. removing/replacing the unwanted DNA by desired ones.

Gene-editing is like correcting errors in Microsoft Word: seeking a typo (finding a gene to edit), deleting the typo (cutting DNA), replacing with the correct word (paste new DNA).

Corteva is using CRISPR/Cas as breeding tool for a corn variety, which shortens the breeding cycle from eight years to five years. The pros and cons of CRISPR/Cas and conventional GMO are shown below.


Different from the conventional transgenic methods, CRISPR/Cas requires a precise order for the specific location in the genome to conduct gene-editing. This requires more information about the genome, and only a few crops have accumulated enough knowledge for this (e.g. corn, soybean, and rice).

In the short term, seed companies can edit crops with known gene functions, but many gene functions are still lacking, for example drought tolerance.

To speed up the gene-function research in crops, plant scientists have been using state-of-art technologies. These include using drones to collect images, information technology to reveal new regulatory networks, and deep learning to train computers for high-throughput phenotyping. The huge amount of data input facilitates the development of models for predicting yield. Coupled with the latest sequencing techniques and good predictive models, it will be feasible to accurately predict yield by the genome sequence of a crop. This will save a huge amount of time and money in breeding, and reduces risks.

Technologies, such as sensors and drones, allow more data to be collected in a given time and space, and this implies more details which can be used to understand crop performance. However, to extract the information from the hundreds and thousands of images, researchers in the area of (bio)informatics are needed. Such experts are hard to find, however, as salaries are often less attractive in the agricultural sector, which means there may be a lack of people available to process the huge amounts of data.

Taken together, the keys to achieving customized breeding are data (both phenomic and genomic), modeling, and gene-editing. Firstly, with phenomic and genomic data we establish the relationships between genes and their function. Secondly, by modeling we predict the performance of a given genotype. Lastly, with gene-editing the desired genotype can be created as soon as possible.


Breeding has been a long and costly task for seed companies, but this is going to change with new technologies. There are three technologies (gene-editing, phenotyping, deep learning), which can play a role in shortening the breeding cycle and reducing costs. Gene-editing allows us to precisely edit the genome of a crop without losing the high-yield background, thus saving time. Phenotyping with drones increases the efficiency of data collection, while deep learning increases the productivity of data processing. With the convergence of the ICT-driven digitalisation taking place in farm practices and with biotechnology, the seed industry will shift to a predictive and customer needs-driven breeding strategy.

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