Plant & Food Research to lead new research on Asian consumer trends

Plant & Food Research will be leading a new research programme to identify consumer trends in New Zealand’s key export markets in Asia as part of the $10.9 million of research investment announced today by The National Science Challenge High-Value-Nutrition.

Principal investigator Dr Roger Harker said understanding consumers is a vital part of helping New Zealand be recognised as a world leader in the rapidly increasing global food-for-health market.Food science

Dr Harker, Science Group Leader of the Consumer & Product Insight Group at Plant & Food Research, is initiating preliminary work designed to lead to a wider study to identify the key drivers of consumer behaviour in relation to food purchases and health and wellbeing. Researchers and experts from the University of Auckland, the University of Otago and PwC are also contributing to this project.

Five new research contracts have been awarded across several Crown Research Institutes, universities, and independent research organisations.

In addition to leading the consumer insights programme, scientists from Plant & Food Research’s Food Innovation Portfolio will be contributing several other research programmes within the High-Value Nutrition Challenge, including a University of Auckland-led programme investigating the relationship between nutrition for metabolic health; Malaghan Institute of Medical Research-led research into the relationship between nutrition and immune defences; and AgResearch-led programme examining the relationship between nutrition and gastrointestinal health.

The three priority research areas targeted in the research funding include new food solutions to improve metabolic health (obesity, diabetes and heart health), boosting immune defences and improving gastrointestinal health, and complementary research into understanding innovative food science solutions and more detailed insights into health consumers, particularly in Asia.

For more information about The National Science Challenge High-Value-Nutrition visit


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