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The NZ Food Innovation Network (NZFIN) plans to focus more on commercialising existing science to help bring new products to market in 2014.
Sarita Males, the chief executive of Auckland-based NZFIN member organisation the FoodBowl, told guests at the annual Incite Southeast Asia strategy session recently that the network will look at more collaborative projects in 2014.
“We’ve already got a strong relationship with the universities and the Crown Research Institutes, and we want to work more on commercialising the science that exists,” she said. 
“Often there’s a lot of science that is really good but it doesn’t get out to industry. So we want to be able to help make the connections, join people up with the right capability providers and help them undertake the new process and production at the FoodBowl.” 
As an example of the Food Innovation Network’s existing capabilities, Males told guests of a high-fibre clear water created for the network’s open days in March 2013.
Containing the fibre equivalent of two pieces of brown bread, the new product was the result of collaboration between the network and a group of packaging, labelling, brand design, ingredients and equipment companies. 
The water has since been marketed to a number of beverages companies who, according to Males, are now “vying for options to be able to purchase the product concept to add it to their own portfolio”.
“We know of a lot of the science that is being developed in the universities,” says Males, “so we want to develop concept samples so we can go out and stimulate innovation.
“A lot of companies get so focused on their own business that they find it very difficult to look forward and think about what’s on the horizon in terms of new ideas.”
The NZFIN is a national network of science and technology resources created to support Kiwi food and beverage companies. It provides facilities and expertise to help develop new products and processes from initial ideas through to commercial success.
In her Incite talk, Males also signalled an increasing focus on working with New Zealand companies looking to add value through functional foods which deliver a health benefit and carry “huge opportunities for growth in international markets”.
For more information contact Sarita Males or FoodBowl business development manager Angus Brown on 0508NZFOOD (0508 693663).
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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