High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge has today announced a $7million research investment funding projects that build the science required to develop innovative new foods, including those that will help babies sleep through the night and better protect children against allergies.

Funding is also being given to research that will provide the science for new protein-packed foods to help maintain mobility for the elderly and unravelling the health benefits of fat from grass-fed beef. Research into the benefits of a2 milk, New Zealand kiwifruit and greenshell mussels have also secured funding.

The seven successful projects, all science and business collaborations, will each receive $1million research investment over the next three years following a contestable funding round. They are –

  • Otago University – research to understand how to extend energy release from foods to allow “A Good Night’s Sleep”. This new food for the babies’ evening meal will contain novel dietary fibres, sustaining the energy release through the night so they don’t wake up hungry. (see video)
  • AgResearch and Miraka – to undertake research on the natural traits of milk and how they can be maintained in specially processed milk to enable benefits such as reduced risk of developing wider allergies. (see video)
  • The Riddet Institute (hosted by Massey University) and Goodman Fielder – to research the advantages of blending food proteins into foods aimed at older people to help maintain muscle maintenance and to help mobility. (see video)
  • AgResearch and a2 Milk – to research whether milk from a2 cows prevents intestinal inflammation, and is therefore suitable for people who don’t consume milk due to intolerance symptoms. (see video)
  • AgResearch and Firstlight Foods – to research whether the complex lipids found in New Zealand grass-fed beef can be beneficial for health including reducing cholesterol levels. (see video)
  • Cawthron Institute and Sanford Ltd – to identify and validate the health benefits of Greenshell mussels, in particular looking at the potential anti-inflammatory qualities, improved joint and bone health and increased mobility. (see video)
  • Plant & Food Research and Zespri – to research whether kiwifruit can assist in maintaining blood glucose levels. (see video)

High-Value Nutrition Science Director Professor David Cameron-Smith says the projects put New Zealand at the forefront of international food-for-health research.

“This investment enables research teams working across New Zealand to focus their unique expertise to build the scientific knowledge and substantiation that is required to bridge the gaps between complex health needs and the development of new innovative foods that will make a difference” he says.

“If through this High-Value Nutrition research New Zealand can enable businesses to create a milk powder that helps prevent allergies, foods that can help a baby sleep through the night, and that can help elderly with their mobility – it will help establish us as a world leader in the science behind the globally trending food-for-health.

“It will also create significant export opportunities for New Zealand food and beverage businesses. No more so than in Asia – where a rising tide of health problems and rising wealth has created a huge consumer demand for foods-for-health.

“The level of innovation and science sophistication in the development of these projects are world class. What is most exciting is to see the new science and industry collaboration – working together using the latest insights and technology to create new opportunities for NZ Inc.“

High-Value Nutrition is one of eleven National Science Challenges. The challenge has an $84million budgeted investment over the next ten years. Its mission is to establish New Zealand as an international leader in food–for-health and help grow exports by $1 billion by 2025.

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