Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Waikato fast turning waste into wealth

Waikato fast turning waste into wealth


The Waikato is fast turning waste into wealth, thanks to New Zealand’s first and only independent product development spray dryer and a collection of the country’s world-class researchers.

Waikato Innovation Park is the first organisation in the region to receive funding from Bio-Resource Processing Alliance (BPA). The $28,000 is helping it develop a way to scale up commercial production of pure avocado powder - a project that was started on a small scale in 2013.

The BPA is a government funded initiative that helps New Zealand’s biological-based manufacturing businesses gain maximum value from waste and by-products, while reducing environmental impacts from primary production and manufacturing activities.

According to BPA general manager Trevor Stuthridge, the initiative has $2.5 million per year on offer to New Zealand companies and their research providers over the next five years.

“The challenge of how to capture more value from waste in our primary industries is huge.

For example, nearly half of New Zealand kiwifruit are not of sufficient quality for direct export; twenty per cent of harvested trees in New Zealand are left on the ground, and a significant amount of material from mussel harvesting is by-catch that gets thrown away.

“The BPA was established to help turn these types of wastes into products with export potential. Four research partners, AgResearch, Callaghan Innovation, Plant & Food Research, and Scion, are working with eligible organisations to apply new technologies and product opportunities to waste streams from New Zealand's forestry, marine, agricultural, orticultural, animal and microbiological industries,” Stuthridge said.

The Innovation Park’s avocado powder project is being done by its FoodWaikato division for Bay of Plenty company, Avocado Oil New Zealand. The pulp from blemished or otherwise non-saleable avocados is dried into a high value powder for use in cosmetic, nutraceutical and food products.

Thanks to FoodWaikato’s processing capabilities, last year Avocado Oil New Zealand launched a world-first 100 percent pure commercial avocado powder product known as Avopure.

The product is selling successfully in the USA, Japan, China and Australia.

Executive director of Avocado Oil New Zealand, Brian Richardson, says Avopure has a unique point of difference on the international stage compared to competitors.

“It is the first premium avocado powder available that contains no added fillers or carriers and contains higher levels of potassium, fibre and energy,” says Richardson.

Now, with support from the four BPA research partners, FoodWaikato is able to further improve the drying process with the aim of boosting commercial opportunities.

The BPA is funding $15,000 towards research by Massey University scientists and $13,000 towards making modifications to the FoodWaikato plant.

New Zealand Food Innovation Network business development manager Shane Kells said the overall aim is to increase throughput of the avocado drying process.

“Avocado pulp is extremely fibrous, so the BPA is working with us to find ways to break down the fibre and also decrease the thickness of the raw product. Because the product is so thick, this reduces how quickly we can process it through the drier. The aim is to increase throughput while maintaining the natural green colour of the raw fruit, and the preserving quality.”

A large part of the value in the BPA’s involvement with the avocado powder project is the opportunity for FoodWaikato to help other companies later duplicate the process with other waste foods.

“As far as we are aware, worldwide no one has come up with a commercially-viable solution to drying pure fruit or vegetable powders through a spray dryer at a fast enough rate that can satisfy projected market demand. If we can crack this challenge, we can help New Zealand growers capture enormous export value from their waste streams,” he said.

FoodWaikato is intent on getting the word out to food innovators within New Zealand and throughout Australasia that they’re here to help.

“The Waikato Innovation Park’s wider purpose is all about creating economic value for our region and the country by supporting companies to develop new products and new markets.

“FoodWaikato’s purpose is to contribute to the Park’s wider aim by supporting food innovators. Avocado Oil New Zealand’s story is just one example of how we’re making that happen,” Mr Kells said.

A workshop for those in the horticultural, forestry, marine, dairy, wool and meat industries is being held on 13 February at Waikato Innovation Park to outline the work of the BPA and the funding opportunities it provides. The avocado project will be used as a project example.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the BPA looks to help generate $100 million of additional added value to the NZ economy by 2020 through successful application of its outcomes to secondary streams arising from NZ's forestry, marine, agricultural, horticultural, animal and microbiological industries.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Earth Day: Global March To Defend Science In NZ Saturday

The March for Science movement emerged in the immediate wake of President Trump’s inauguration as he moved quickly to curtail the power of the Environmental Protection Agency and limit the ability of government agencies to communicate scientific evidence.

Since then it has broadened to “champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity”. More>>

'Opening The Election' Video: Nicky Hager And Mike Joy On Science, Spin, And Society

In two videos relevant to the March for Science from Scoop's 'Opening The Election' forum, Massey University's Dr Mike Joy spoke about promoting science in the face of government spin and journalist Nicky Hager offered a checklist of issues to promote for an open civil society. More>>

 

Health Workers Respond: People's Mental Health Report Released

The People's Mental Health Review reinforces a recent YesWeCare.nz survey of 6,000 health workers, which found nine in 10 believe they don't have the staff or resources to deliver the care Kiwis need when they need it. More>>

ALSO:

More Mental Health:


Energy: Greens Launch Plan For Cheaper And Cleaner Electricity

$112 million for winter warm-up payments to help low-income households cover their power bills • setting a goal for 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 (in average hydrological conditions) • an investigation into the electricity wholesale market. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Aged-Care Settlement

Until yesterday, a National government has always been the sworn enemy of women seeking justice in the workplace, in the face of gender-based pay discrimination. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news