Plant & Food Research has been awarded $1 million from the Ministry of Business & Innovation’s High Value Nutrition fund to work with Zespri on research into whether kiwifruit can help better manage blood glucose levels.
Zespri General Manager Marketing and Innovation Carol Ward says the funding will help further develop Zespri’s health strategy, providing scientific evidence of kiwifruit’s health benefits to underpin consumer communications around the world.
“This funding is great news: the results of this work could well give our consumers another reason to buy Zespri Kiwifruit, as kiwifruit volumes increase strongly. This will help grow our industry’s export revenue and returns to New Zealand growers,” says Ms Ward.
Dr Juliet Ansell, Zespri Innovation Leader for Health and Nutrition, says Zespri Kiwifruit has powerful health benefits and this is the basis of the company’s consumer communications in the 54 countries around the world in which Zespri Kiwifruit is sold.
“Our research shows that the more consumers know about the health benefits of kiwifruit, the more likely they are to see kiwifruit as an important nutritious addition to the daily diet. We want to build on our base of loyal, regular consumers who value the health benefits they get from eating kiwifruit,” says Dr Ansell.
Health marketing is increasingly important when taking into account global trends towards an aging population, rising middle classes in developing countries and increasing interest in healthy living.
Zespri has invested in health and nutrition research over the years and lodged the world’s first self-substantiated health claim for fresh fruit – and first-ever in NZ – under the Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ) Standard for Nutrition, Health and Related Claims.
This funding will be made available over three years.