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Distinctive New Zealand flavours


Distinctive New Zealand flavours

Creating flavours from New Zealand native plants is the aim of a new, $1 million, Crop & Food Research programme that will see distinctive New Zealand food products developed for niche, high-value, export markets.

The largest Maori Business Network, Federation of Maori Authority, is a partner in the research programme and some of its members will help identify traditional use of native plants in foods and flavourings.

The Authority’s chief executive, Paul Morgan says the research has the potential to transform the current small-scale, wild-source gathering of crude flavour materials into a commercial food ingredient industry capable of targeting mass food markets.

Leader of the Flavour programme, Dr Meto Leach of Crop & Food Research says scientists will work with members of the Authority, including companies exporting meat, dairy and seafood and convenience food products.

“Once the flavours have been identified, our scientists will extract them from the plants and their chemistry, sensory appeal, safety, stability and whether they can be readily sourced and concentrated will be evaluated,” says Dr Leach who leads Maori Research at Crop & Food Research. “Sound science will provide the knowledge platform to develop innovative and distinctly New Zealand flavour ingredients for a diverse range of food products.”

Ethnic cuisine is a growing international trend and pre-packaged convenience foods and homemade meals, that are healthy with exotic flavours, are in demand, Dr Leach says.

The four-year Flavours programme has been funded from the inaugural Foundation for Research Science & Technology Te Tipu o te Wananga portfolio that encourages research exploring the interface between New Zealand’s indigenous knowledge base and science for new innovations that will make a real difference for New Zealand.

The University of Waikato School of Maori and Pacific Development will help acquire the traditional knowledge of native plants.

This research is another step in adding a truly New Zealand indigenous dimension to our food products as they enter a global market seeking regional differences.

ENDS

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