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Building innovation into Marlborough food & beverage sector


12 April 2013

Building innovation into Marlborough’s food and beverage sector

The untapped potential of Marlborough’s primary sector, if cleverly exploited, could take this region out in front of the field as an export earner according to a report prepared for the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC).

The research, examining the prospects for innovation with existing primary products, suggests that these industries could be transformed, said MRC chief executive Gerald Hope.

“There’s enormous scope for products which are health and performance oriented. It’s about turning smart ideas and clever science into new products and processes which will meet the expectations of the future,” said Mr Hope.

The report is the work of the Massey University-based Riddet Institute which was asked to look at ways to develop and enhance the value of the primary produce of this region.

Riddet Institute general manager Mark Ward said it quickly became clear that advances could be made by creating new partnerships between the primary industries and scientific researchers, underpinned by support from central and local government.

“Aquaculture, wine and other natural products already produced in Marlborough could provide the raw material for production at the next level; creating natural based extracts and nutrients that promote health and wellbeing for an international market which is large and growing – and immensely valuable.”

“Marlborough is already a valuable brand associated with wine and greenshell mussels for example but it also has the potential to become an international brand that is synonymous with food and beverage innovation.”

Late last year a group of 12 Marlborough-based companies took part in this research project and the final report from that work is now being circulated for feedback.

Mr Hope says the MRC board, which has formally adopted the report, believes it will help focus attention on Marlborough’s particular areas of natural competitive advantage.

“It’s exciting to think that this piece of research could be the catalyst to transform the aquaculture and natural extracts sector in Marlborough as it currently operates.”

The Research Centre and Riddet Institute are now establishing a formal partnership to develop a food and beverage cluster in Marlborough.

Mr Ward says the cluster approach will connect Marlborough businesses into the existing national food and beverage network, assisting the businesses involved to attract attention and support from Government agencies, investors, sponsors and research providers.

Massey University vice chancellor Steve Maharey will be in Blenheim on Friday 19 April to launch the Riddet report with an address in which he will outline his views on the potential for this country in agrifood innovation and higher education.


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