New Zealand Food Innovation Auckland, known as The FoodBowl, is fostering innovative ideas into commercial success as the country's food and beverage sector advances toward value-added, premium, prepared food.
New Zealand's Food Innovation Network is a national network of science and technology resources, funded largely by Callaghan Innovation, and is supporting the growth of the food and beverage sector and promoting innovative food science.
The FoodBowl's chief executive Alexandra Allan has just released its latest annual report.
“The FoodBowl is here to make a difference for New Zealand. We aim to increase the amount of value-added manufactured food exports,” Allan says.
“We want to be a catalyst for the national food innovation system and promote capability and expertise in New Zealand to ensure maximum leverage of resources.
“New sorts of food are coming on to the international market at a growing frequency such as milk without cows from company Perfect Day in the United States, and burgers made from plants but look like meat patties by a company Impossible Foods."
Over the last year, the FoodBowl engaged with more than 220 companies on projects, with 90 of these companies utilising the facility to undertake multiple trials and or production to validate, commercialise and export their products.
These companies ranged in size from global multinationals to pre-revenue startups and everything in between.
As part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network with four hubs across the country, The FoodBowl was able to provide joint solutions and expertise to companies to help them on their innovation journey.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of projects coming through our doors to validate new products and processes ahead of committing to commercial decisions and export.
“The shift from commodities to value-add can be challenging for businesses, as it requires new skills, technology, and market analysis," Allan says.
“We are well-equipped to provide a suite of resources to help companies navigate this journey. This includes our state-of-the-art product and process development resources, which allow companies to de-risk when entering a new product category or new international market.
“Our export capability, industry networks, and continuing education programmes add further strategic value in propelling a project from concept to commercialisation," she adds.
“While we're focused on building capability within the industry, we've also continued to strengthen our capability at home. We are particularly lucky to have high-quality staff that are dedicated to positive outcomes,” Allan says.
Food and beverage companies have access to The FoodBowl for significant support, guidance and assistance to help their business grow and stand on the international stage.
Food businesses are driving economic growth and building a successful economy that provides New Zealanders with economic wellbeing.