Developing plant derived foods to keep us feeling full

1 November 2010

Discovering how plant foods reduce appetite and keep people feeling fuller for longer is a new Plant & Food Research programme receiving investment from New Zealand food companies and government.

The six-year research programme has secured $19.2 million over six years from the Foundation for Research Science & Technology together with substantial financial backing from both Zespri and Sanitarium as well as Hansells Food Group, Comvita, NZ Extracts, Simplot, Bell Tea & Coffee and input from Yarrows.

The Plant & Food Research programme will also involve key scientists in this area from the University of Auckland and Massey University.  In addition overseas experts will have an important input into our understanding of the potential appetite control mechanisms triggered as food passes along the digestive tract.

Dr Kieran Elborough, General Manager of Science for Food Innovation at Plant & Food Research, says “What we learn will be used to develop and support proprietary ingredients and food concepts for New Zealand based companies.  We will also use the knowledge to select fruits, vegetables and cereals with an enhanced ability to affect appetite as well.  Ingredients and whole foods from this programme could also ultimately be combined with other non-plant or dairy derived ingredients with similar appetite control effects.”

Dr Richard Templer, acting Chief Executive at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, says this is an excellent example of how Crown research institutes (CRIs) collaborate on research that is ready-made for the business sector.

“Plant & Food Research is collaborating with two universities to ensure the best research team is formed, to produce the new knowledge and technology in demand by New Zealand companies,” Dr Templer says.

“CRIs are cornerstones of the science that underpins New Zealand’s economic wellbeing and this is why the Government is reforming CRIs to ensure New Zealand gets the best out of these organisations. 

“The Government expects CRIs to form closer relationships with research users, improve their focus on science quality, and increase collaboration and partnerships with other research institutions. This Plant & Food Research project shows just how this can be achieved.”

Zespri Food Science Advisor, Lynley Drummond says, “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to support Plant & Food Research and better understand the role of fresh kiwifruit as part of a healthy diet. In particular, the role kiwifruit can have in making people feel full and the potential use of kiwifruit, either on their own or in combination with other foods, to moderate food intake.”

Mark Roper Marketing Manager at Sanitarium New Zealand says there is a demand for food products made from wholesome, natural ingredients that are good for us. “Sanitarium is interested in natural ingredients and foods that help people feel fuller and make it easier for them to manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This programme will help us develop products that best meet these needs.”

This research has potential for New Zealand companies both domestically and through export off-shore. The international weight management food market was worth $513 Billion in 2009 and the appetite control portion of that market is expected to reach $17 Billion this year. The research gets underway in October.


Background

• Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand based science company focused on generating knowledge that ensures sustainable growth in the plant and marine-based food industries. With over 900 staff based at sites across New Zealand and globally, Plant & Food Research provides research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products. Our science in key areas – including elite cultivar development, sustainable production systems and bioprotection – supports the production of high quality produce that earns a premium in international markets.  Our research in food science and the consumer drives the design and development of new and novel functional foods that offer benefits to human health and wellbeing.

• About ZESPRI Group Ltd
With sales revenues of $1.5 billion, ZESPRI is the world’s most successful horticulture marketing company and the ZESPRI® Brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit.  Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ approximately 250 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America.  On behalf of our 2,700 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, ZESPRI manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZESPRI® GREEN, ZESPRI® GOLD and ZESPRI® ORGANIC Kiwifruit.

• About Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Company
Sanitarium is one of New Zealand’s most trusted food companies, supplying health foods to kiwi families for over 100 years.  100% locally owned, Sanitarium is the leading manufacturer of breakfast cereals in New Zealand, with a portfolio of brands including iconic Weet-Bix, family favourites Skippy Cornflakes, Light’n’Tasty, Sanitarium Muesli and the innovative liquid breakfast Up&Go.  Sanitarium invests locally in research & development as well as nutrition education & advice to continually develop new products and programs that encourage healthy lifestyles.   

• About the Foundation for Research Science and Technology:
The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology invests more than NZ$500 million a year on behalf of the New Zealand Government in public good research, science and technology and in assisting businesses with research and development initiatives. These investments are made to enhance the wealth and well-being of New Zealanders.
www.frst.govt.nz

Contact:
Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
EMail: media@plantandfood.co.nz
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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