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The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council says Government funding of $21 million, to establish a network of new food innovation centres in Manukau, Waikato, Palmerston North and Canterbury, will create a significant resource for the food industry, and encourage more product development to be done in New Zealand.
“Minister of Economic Development Gerry Brownlee has been a champion of this project from the beginning. This investment shows his and the Government’s commitment to providing infrastructure to help the food industry grow,” says Katherine Rich, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food & Grocery Council (FGC).
“New product development is the lifeblood of all food companies, but many New Zealand food companies are not of a size to warrant an in-house product development resource. These open-access facilities will shorten the time it takes to get products to market and reduce the risk and cost to small and medium-sized food companies, in particular, associated with new product development.”
The new centre being built in Manukau will be focused on processed food and will go a long way to plug a commercialisation gap, which many believe has limited practical development of new and existing products within the food industry.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the work of Professor Ray Winger. His vision and tireless effort over the past eight years to provide these facilities for industry has been the driving force behind the Manukau facility,” says Katherine Rich.
“FGC gives its wholehearted support of these centres and encourages all food companies to see them as a valuable industry resource.
“We would also like to thank the Ministry of Economic Development for allowing FGC to play a role in the development of the business case for a national food industry research network and we look forward to these facilities opening ,” says Mrs Rich.