Govt funding announcements include $3m in new projects for High-Value Nutrition

Whoopee. The Government is giving researchers another opportunity to apply for funding from the Endeavour Fund.

And the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge is investing $3 million in its Consumer Insights and Science of Food research programmes.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said the research into high-value nutrition is hugely important in moving New Zealand’s food production from volume to value.

“These projects will help product development that brings maximum returns for New Zealand food exporters.”

The Consumer Insights research programme is focused on understanding consumers’ beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and behaviours.

Up to $1.5 million has been allocated to research the science of consumers, with a focus on health and wellness needs of Asian consumers. It will research what is needed to establish a habitual consumption of high-value nutritional foods, which is vital in ensuring investment is directed in areas that will resonate most with consumers.

This programme will provide direction to clinical research supporting the development of high-value foods and beverages for Asian markets. Companies will also get better information on how to market their products to demonstrate how they meet the needs of consumers.

The Science of Food research programme similarly will receive $1.5 million to address the technological challenges in protecting the health promoting compounds (‘bioactives’) in food during the journey from raw ingredients to finished food products, through to digestion.

The team will design ingredients and processes that keep those bioactives in top condition within food products, so that when eaten, the bioactives are released to the body at the right stage of digestion needed to deliver their identified health benefits.

The Consumer Insights research programme is led by Dr Roger Harker of Plant and Food Research, and is a collaboration between Plant and Food Research, the University of Auckland, the University of Otago, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Trace Research.

The Science of Food research programme is led by Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, co-Director of the Riddet Institute at Massey University, and involves experts from Massey University, the University of Otago, the Cawthron Institute, AgResearch and the Israel Institute of Technology.

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