Science Challenge invests $7m in advanced food research

Seven science and business teams have been awarded National Science Challenge funding worth $7 million to transform current knowledge of high-value foods.

The successful proposals will each receive $1 million over the next three years from the first contestable funding round of the High-Value Nutrition Science Challenge, one of 11 National Science Challenges dedicated to breaking new ground in key areas of science.

Food sold on the basis of health claims or benefits must have validating science behind it, said Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce, and this fund makes that research possible.

“There will be a big demand for high-value foods with validated health claims throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the years and decades ahead,” Mr Joyce says.

“This work is at the cutting edge of value-added food processing.  It will help take New Zealand food to the next level of adding real value to the quality food we produce.”

The winning proposals include a food with new kind of dietary fibre that will sustain babies though the night so they don’t wake up hungry, and a children’s milk powder that is much more like unprocessed milk to reduce the risks of allergies.

Joyce said both of these products would be of high interest to the Chinese market where there are 90 million children aged under six years old.

Another proposal is working toward a protein-packed food that could improve mobility for the elderly, and an investment is being made in  strengthening the evidential science behind the health benefits of kiwifruit, mussels, grass-fed beef and a2 milk.

There were 33 bids for the round, which was open to all New Zealand-based research organisations.

Details on the successful proposals can be found here. 

An earlier post on AgResearch’s successful bids can be found here.




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