Otago Polytechnic

“Sustainability is both a tradeable commodity now and a real opportunity to incorporate integrity into business strategy,” describes Tim Lynch.

After successfully completing his Bachelor of Culinary Arts, Lynch embarked on a Master of Design Enterprise at Otago Polytechnic. His thesis on sustainable business platforms for primary producers saw him create his own self-sustaining entrepreneurial venture, The Boatshed Smokehouse, bringing user-centred design thinking to food. This business funded his entire postgraduate study, and enabled him to create and run other small, up-and-coming spin-off enterprises.

Lynch also collaborated with industry, including the CEO of Foodstuffs, sharing his knowledge and skills. He conducted research into user perceptions of Foodstuff’s underperforming Pam’s Brands and helping them to investigate the “traditional trade-off between innovation and market share”.

In addition Lynch noted two main problems that existed in the aquaculture marketplace and turned them into golden opportunities. The first of these was the realisation that few companies in Otago were prudently managing coastline resources. Secondly, Lynch noted that there was a growing market segment for ready-to-eat products. These insights led to Lynch creating tasty gourmet foods from fish that has traditionally been throw away. “When fish is caught and filleted on board, only about 70% of it is utilised,” he recounts. “When you consider the total value of seafood from New Zealand is $4 billion a year, the wastage is considerable. I wanted to use as much of that 30% as possible, using farmers’ markets as a springboard.”

Lynch describes this as having value not just for consumers and profit margins but also for employees: “It ensures their jobs and expands their skillset.”