Our Work

Ko te angitu ehara i te mahi na te kotahi, engari na te mahi a te roopu katoa.
Success is never the work of one, but the work of the whole team.

A New Zealand Sustainable
Food Systems Dialogue - Event

Sustainably feeding a growing population is a global problem, but also one for New Zealand to consider. Where does our reputation for high quality, premium food products fit in a hungrier world? How can Kiwi innovation and ingenuity make a difference to the global future of food? At the Feed our Future dialogue, stakeholders and decision makers came together for an accessible evidence-based discussion of the key global issues and the local decisions that we need to make. We explored the current conversation of sustainable food, bringing moderation and balance to what is often a debate of extremes. This dialogue inspired valuable conversations and put New Zealand at the front of the sustainable food systems debate.

Feed Our Future (June 2021): single day meeting in Te Papa, Wellington. Bringing government, industry and science together to engage in evidence-based discussion of sustainable nutrition. 120 attendees, with follow-up recordings and shared more widely.

Following the event, the New Zealand Science Review ran a special issue on the event featuring articles from each of the speakers and summaries of the audience discussion. The special issue was guest edited by SNi® researchers and can be found here.

Feed our Future - Setting the Scene

Feed our Future Keynote – An Important Conversation

Barbara’s experience includes working for FAO at the UN and is chair of the Sustainable Diets Task Force and on the UN Committee on World Food Security.

Feed our Future – “Nutrient Bioavailability & protein quality”

Session 1 – Nutrition comes first.

Thom discusses optimisation of proteins in a balanced sustainable diet.

  • Professor Thom Huppertz, from Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

Feed our Future – “How affordable and accessible is nutrition?”

Session 1 – Nutrition comes first.

Nick outlines the affordability of diets worldwide and how accessible the nutrients you need to live, are.

  • Dr. Nick Smith, Riddet Institute, Massey University, New Zealand

Feed our Future – “Origin of the current conversation: An exploration of the animal/plant divide”

Session 2 – The Current Food System Conversation.

Frederic discusses the evolution of meat eating, and how it is accepted within society.

  • Professor Frederic Leroy, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Feed our Future – “The role of animals in a sustainable circular food system”

Session 2 – The current food system conversation.

Hannah discusses a circular food system, and the importance of its role in feeding humans, while minimizing environmental impact.

  • Dr Hannah van Zanten Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

Feed our Future – “Environmental footprinting & accounting for nutrition”

Session 3- Stewart discusses the environmental impacts of food systems and examining the real cost of food production.

How can we compare foods in a realistic way?

  • Dr Stewart Ledgard, AgResearch, New Zealand

Feed Our Future – “Reframing food waste with respect to nutrition”

Session 3 – Food waste is a big issue in sustainability and a third of it is thrown away domestically.

How does this impact on nutrition?

  • Associate Professor Wayne Martindale, University of Lincoln in the UK.

Feed our Future – “Alternative Proteins – what is their realistic future?”

Session 4 – Changing the Food System

Paul talks about the future of cell produced food and the challenges that this production method faces to feed the world.

  • Professor Paul Wood, Monash University in Melbourne
Feed our Future – “Consumers are central to any change in the food system” Session 4 – Changing the Food System Joanne discusses any changes to a system being consumer-led. Sustainable diets need good sensory attributes, be effortless, cost-effective and become the normal choice for consumers.
  • Professor Joanne Hort, Massey University & FEAST, New Zealand


New Zealand

Ministry of Primary Industries

Ministry for Primary Industries

  • Modelling nutrient trade in the APEC region 
  • Investigating the climate impacts of the NZ diet
  • Submission of ‘game-changing solutions’ to the United Nations Food Systems Summit
University of Otago 

University of Otago 

  • DELTA Model used in teaching at Masters and undergraduate level 


Global Dairy Platform
  • Creating an optimisation model for sustainable healthy diets: iOTA Model®
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Prof Warren McNabb selected member of the Scientific Advisory Committee informing a ‘comprehensive and evidence-based global assessment of the contribution of livestock to food security, sustainable food systems, nutrition and healthy diets’
  • Prof McNabb and Dr Nick Smith contributed to reviewing FAO documents on this topic
Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands)
  • Scientific partners on Global Animal Production Database project
  • DELTA Model® used in MSc in Nutritional Sciences program, as well as specific summer school and masterclass courses
  • Articles written for SNi® website
Monash University (Australia)
  • DELTA Model® used in MSc in Food Science and Agribusiness program
  • Two SNi® research projects undertaken by food science students
University of São Paulo (Brazil)
  • Collaborative research on global nutrient trade
  • Articles written for SNi® website
University of Lincoln (UK)
  • DELTA Model® used to inform research
  • Articles written for SNi® website

Scientific Activity


Land use of global food system scenarios: working to include land use footprints in the DELTA Model®.

Nutrient trade: working with the University of São Paulo to understand the international movement of nutrients and the implications of this trade.

Milk alternatives: undertaking research measuring the nutritional composition of plant-based beverages.

iOTA Model®: An optimisation model for sustainable healthy diets. 



Participation in UN Food System Summit dialogues:

  • Two NZ Government Dialogues.
  • Global Alliance for Sustainable Livestock (Oceania Region) dialogue.
  • Global Meat Alliance dialogue.
  • Two independent NZ dialogues.

Provided expert commentary on sustainable nutrition for Science Media Centre.


Articles on new research in the sustainable nutrition field are posted weekly under SNippets.

Articles covering a theme in the field are posted monthly under Thought for Food.

These articles are written for a non-scientific audience, to increase readership. We have over 12 000+ article reads to date.


Peer-reviewed articles

The role of meat in the human diet: evolutionary aspects and nutritional value. Animal Frontiers.

Leroy F, Smith NW, Adesogan AT, Beal T, Iannotti L, Moughan PJ, Mann N (2023).

Comparison of carbon footprint and water scarcity footprint of milk protein produced by cellular agriculture and the dairy industry. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.

Behm K, Nappa M, Aro N, Welman A, Ledgard S, Suomalainen M, Hill JP (2022).

Estimating cropland requirements for global food system scenario modeling. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.

Smith NM, Fletcher AJ, Millard P, Hill JP, McNabb WC (2022).

Modelling the contribution of meat to global nutrient availability. Frontiers in Nutrition.

Smith NW, Fletcher AJ, Hill JP, McNabb WC (2022).

Modelling the contribution of milk to global nutrition. Frontiers in Nutrition.

Smith NW, Fletcher AJ, Hill JP, McNabb WC (2022).

The Role of Holistic Nutritional Properties of Diets in the Assessment of Food System and Dietary Sustainability. Advances in Nutrition.

Dave LA, Hodgkinson S, Roy NC, Smith NW, McNabb WC (2021).

Animal and Plant Sourced Nutrition: Complementary not Competitive. Animal Production Science.

Smith NW, Fletcher AJ, Hill JP, McNabb WC (2021).

Use of the DELTA Model® to understand the food system and global nutrition. Journal of Nutrition.

Smith NW, Fletcher AJ, Dave LA, Hill JP, McNabb WC (2021).

Lifetime Climate Impacts of Diet Transitions: A Novel Climate Change Accounting Perspective. Sustainability.

Barnsley JE, Chandrakumar C, Gonzalez-Fischer C, Eme PE, Bourke BEP, Smith NW, Dave LA, McNabb WC, Clark H, Frame DJ, Lynch J, Roche JR (2021).

Media Articles
  1. American Society for Nutrition released an article on how they are "rethinking food systems to promote food and nutrient sustainability" in their journals. The DELTA Model® paper is one of the four papers they highlight as their journals' contribution.
  2. Massey scientists are cream of the crop at international dairy award. Stuff July 2022
      1. Dr Nick Smith receives 3rd place in IDF Professor Pavel Jelen Early Career Scientist Prize. IDF. July 2022
  3. Segment on Rural Delivery, TVNZ. April 2022 
  4. Dr Jacqueline Rowarth: How do we grow more food without using more land? The Country. April 2022 
  5. New review shows animal and plant-sourced foods are better together. Beef+Lamb NZ. December 2022
  6. "Need or Greed" World Climate Foundation  Oct 2021
  7. “Can we feed our team of 5 million first?” Food NZ. October 2021
  8. “Measuring the world’s needs” Farmers Weekly. September 2021
    1. Also published with the title “The science is there with proof of agriculture's essential role in delivering global health and nutrition, and underpinning farming's social licence for responsible production” co.nz
  9. “Plants and animals, not plants vs animals” Food NZ. August 2021
  10. "Riddet Institute model a “game-changing solution” for achieving sustainable nutrition” Massey University. July 2021
  11. “Paper concludes cutting meat won't reduce a person's carbon footprint much” Stuff. July 2021
  12. “Food for thought: Latest DELTA Model® reveals global disparity of nutrient availability and production shortfalls.” NutraIngredients-Asia. July 2021
  13. “Cutting food waste alone won't solve world's nutritional needs.” Produced in response to a presentation at Nutrition 2021, June 2021, and carried by:
    1. Newswise
    2. com
    3. com
    4. com
    5. National Hog Farmer
    6. EurekAlert!
    7. com
    8. The Health Press Daily
    9. Beef Magazine
    10. Science Buddies
    11. Press-News.org
    12. Global News & Entertainment
    13. “Kiwi Ingenuity In The Future Of Food – Expert Reaction.” Scoop. June 2021.
    14. “Microbiomes and sustainable nutrition.” Royal Society Te Apārangi Fellows Newsletter. June 2021
    15. “Riddet Institute contributes to dialogue on the future of the food system.” Food Technology Magazine. April 2021
    16. “Good nutrition starts with bioavailability science.” Stuff. April 2021
    17. “Sustainable Nutrition Initiative – Feed Our Future.” Food NZ. March 2021
    18. “Achieving sustainable nutrition on a global scale.” Royal Society Te Apārangi Fellows Newsletter. February 2021
Other publications
Conference Presentations
ILSI Annual Meeting, Brussels 2022

Invited to speak on 'Improving nutrition for public benefit'

University of the Third Age in Wellington, NZ 2022

Invited to discuss the work of SNi® on Sustainable Nutrition and the global food system

Food Structures, Digestion & Health November 2021 Virtual
Presentation on NZ nutrient trade dynamics
IDF Global Dairy Conference October 2021 Copenhagen, Denmark and Virtual

Invited talk on the DELTA Model®

67th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology August 2021 Virtual
Presentation on the current contribution of meat to global nutrient availability
New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology conference July 2021 Palmerston North, NZ

Invited plenary address on sustainable nutrition &

conference presentation on the DELTA Model®

Nutrition 2021 June 2021 Virtual
Presentation on the DELTA Model®
Retail Meat New Zealand conference May 2021 Queenstown, NZ
Invited opening talk on role of meat in sustainably feeding the global population
Deloitte Global Future of Food Community May 2021 Virtual
Invited overview of SNi
International Dairy Federation Nutrition Symposium May 2021 Virtual
Invited talk on sustainable nutrition
Primary Industries NZ Summit November 2020 Wellington, NZ
Invited talk on sustainable nutrition
NZX Virtual Global Dairy Seminar
Invited presentation on the DELTA Model®
Invited Talks
Nutrition Society of New Zealand Scientific Conference December 2021 Virtual
Invited talk on achieving sustainable nutrition globally and locally
World Biodiversity Summit, Side Event to COP26 November 2021 Virtual
Invited talk on sustainable food systems
Royal Society Te Apārangi Falling Walls New Zealand Lab 2021 September 2021 Virtual
Dr Nick Smith presented the DELTA Model® as part of a national innovation pitch competition, receiving second place
Dairy nutrition summer school lecture July 2021 Virtual
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®
Global Food Systems Roundtable for AgriFood week May 2021 Palmerston North, NZ
SNi scientists invited to speak and sit on panel
Wageningen University & Research, Farm Systems Ecology team May 2021 Virtual
Invited overview of SNi
NZ Food Systems Summit Inter-ministerial group March 2021 Wellington, NZ
Invited overview of DELTA Model results
AgResearch Ltd. February 2021 Palmerston North, NZ & Virtual
Invited overview of SNi
World Farmers’ Organisation Scientific Council December 2020 Virtual
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®
Ministry for Primary Industries: Fit For A Better World Group December 2020 Palmerston North, NZ
Invited overview of SNi
Dairy Companies Association NZ: Future Food Systems webinar December 2020 Virtual
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®
Plant and Food Research November 2020 Virtual
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®
Ministry for Primary Industries November 2020 Wellington, NZ
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®
Ministry for Primary Industries Science Governance Group November 2020 Wellington, NZ
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®
International Dairy Federation September 2020 Virtual
Invited overview of the DELTA Model®

SNi® Funding

The Sustainable Nutrition Initiative® is a research programme helping to create a better understanding of the food system and opportunities for improvement in order to sustainably feed the global population with the nutrients required.

This fund supports Massey University students to undertake research as part of the Sustainable Nutrition Initiative®, providing evidence for sustainable food systems for the future.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap