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Beyond 2000 - Food For Thought

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE USE

30 JUNE 1999

Beyond 2000 - Food For Thought

Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton today expressed optimism about New Zealand's future as a food producing nation when opening the NZ Agricultural and Horticultural Science Convention in Albany, in a speech entitled "Food for Thought - What will we be eating next century?"

"New Zealand food producers are well placed to supply world markets with some of the best and brightest, fastest and most flavoursome, greenest and cleanest, most fashionable and functional food. These are all areas where niche markets abound."

"The food of the future is all about variety, innovation and customer satisfaction. Getting new ideas into a marketable product is fundamental to competing internationally in the fast moving consumer driven food arena."

"It is also important to ensure consumer confidence in the food we eat. Clearly there is a role for Government to play in protecting consumer health and safety; but the food industry must also play a role."

"New products are hitting the supermarket shelves on a weekly basis. Those who create the opportunities, who get involved with change, who recognise consumers' wants, will have a bright future.

"The impact in the cereal world shows that the market continues to change and evolve on the basis of consumer taste and demand. Hubbard cereals now sell nearly 500,000 New Zealand breakfasts a day from a standing start in the last 10 years."

"As for wine and wasabi, salmon and salami, olives and oysters - already the innovators are out there. For example Amagi Bioculture in Christchurch and their innovative work with wasabi for the Japanese and wider food market. In the Dairy Industry some of the milk extracts in the lipid and specialist protein areas sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars per kilo in the wealthy markets of the world."

"In the nutriceutical area highly specialised foodstuffs are increasingly being used by people such as Peter Hillary's team in their expedition to the South Pole. They found a third of their daily energy requirements in a small high energy bar provided by dairy industry technologists at Kiwi Co-operative Dairies Ltd."

"In the fishing industry the development of hoki loins is one of many new products tailored specifically for the export market."

An extract from fish is believed to improve brainpower. Research underway shows brain development in children increases with this particular extract. Folate and Folic acid in the Vitamin B range are thought to reduce the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

"I see a renaissance occurring in the agricultural and horticultural sector. Add to it changes in marketing as we refocus producer boards and there is an exciting fast changing future for the New Zealand food industry."

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