Our picks from the FoodNZ Archive


Beware the ongoing cost of owning a pilot plant

A pilot plant facility gobbles money forever. Make sure you have deep pockets.

Professor Richard Archer, Massey University

Now that the NZ Food Innovation Network has operated for a few

years, we know what it costs to own and operate pilot plant. This

is timely as regions eye regional development money and imagine

shiny new facilities landing in their laps. Pilot plant assets require

significant funding for effective operation.

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Crumble the artificial cookie. 

Millennials are reshaping the future in their quest for better-for-you foods. Respond with a recipe for sugar-reduced cookies! Insightful formulations and application knowledge... Get in touch for your bespoke recipe. Read more about our clean label ingredient solutions.


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Global consumer trends in store for 2018

Julie North, Food & Health Communications Consultant at

The end of every year brings a flurry of trend reports and predictions we can look to for guidance and inspiration in new food developments, angles for new communications, consumer groups and potential new markets. They are valuable resources, worth a little time to digest their insights and take to strategic planning and brainstorming in the New Year.

So what are some of the big players in this game predicting as key trends for 2018 and beyond?

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Rapid freezing for storage of sheep milk

Authors: Prof Richard Archer, Prof Mohammed Farid, Jolin Morel, Dr Georg Ripberger, FIET

It has been said that New Zealand’s prosperity was “built off the

sheep’s back”, but in recent years Bovine, ie cow Dairy has become

New Zealand’s largest agricultural earner.

Traditionally, the sheep industry in New Zealand has focused on the

production of meat and wool. In recent years however, a small but

rapidly growing sheep dairy industry has developed. The sheep dairy

industry produces a high value product, with a wide range of possible


In order to support the growth of this industry, a small team of

researchers from Massey University (MU), The University of Auckland

(UA) and GNS Science (GNS) are working to develop a rapid freezer

suitable for use on sheep farms, to allow raw sheep milk to be

stored for long periods without a loss of product quality.


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Sugar – turning sour with rising obesity rates?

This article supplied by the Nutrition Foundation in 2013


Rates of obesity are rising here in New Zealand, and we are still looking for reasons why. After years of messages about fat being a major contributor, a large percentage of the population are now conscious of how much fat they eat, of the reputedly ‘bad’ saturated fats, and how these negatively affect their health. But still rates rise.

Recently, the spotlight has swung around to sugar – in fact there is a wave of consumers who see sugar as the new diet evil, responsible for not only obesity but diabetes and other health issues, and they are convinced it needs to be drummed out of their daily diet.



Heart Foundation Reformulation targets making a difference

An additional focus – sugar

This year marks an important milestone for the Heart Foundation and its work with food companies to reduce sodium levels. Ten years ago, the Heart Foundation started working with food industry to set sodium reduction targets for loaf bread. The 2007 pilot was a success with major companies achieving 18% sodium reductions in one year in many packaged loaf breads.

Since 2010 the programme has been extended to 14 core food categories and more recently, has also focused on setting sugar reduction targets.


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Food scientists play pivotal role in Nestlé’s 150 years

As Nestlé celebrates 150 years, it’s a good time to recognise the evolution of the company and the underlying processes that have led to Nestlé being the business it is today.

Intensive research and testing – always

In mid 1867, after intensive research and tests, Pharmacist Henri Nestlé developed an alternative source of infant nutrition for young babies unable to take breast milk. His formula was approved and tested by doctors and midwives and he continued to regularly research his products to ensure safety and quality. The invention of this life saving product led to widespread success and its use quickly extended to the elderly, unwell and infirm.


Read the full article here


A new generation of functional snacks


Help culture healthier habits from early morning till night by tending to snack lovers’ expectations on taste and healthfulness. Optimise your recipe by reducing fat or sugar content or add health benefits to new grab-and-go nutrition. Snacking goes beyond skipping meals; they are the new meal.


NZIFST 2017 J C Andrews Award address

– A game of two halves

Roy Biggs


Following is Roy Biggs address presented at the NZIFST Conference as the recipient of the 2017 J C Andrews Award. This award celebrates the achievements of Dr John Clark Andrews as the catalyst to the setting up of the Massey University Food Technology degree.


Thank you to the NZIFST for the J C Andrews award and I am very conscious of the great honour paid to me. To use a sporting analogy my career in the food industry has been one of two halves in more than one way:

  • Half in the UK and half in NZ
  • Half in production, factory and company management, the other half in technical management
  • Half in the dairy industry (mainly cheese), half in the processing arm of the intensive farming sector – salmon and poultry

Blessed are the Cheesemakers

(Monty Python – Life of Brian)

I started work on the 1st August 1970 as a management trainee for the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) of England and Wales

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A new generation of functional snacks: REGISTER FOR OUR MINDFUL SNACKING WEBINAR - available in September.


Help culture healthier habits from early morning till night by tending to snack lovers’ expectations on taste and healthfulness. Optimise your recipe by reducing fat or sugar content or add health benefits to new grab-and-go nutrition. Snacking goes beyond skipping meals; they are the new meal.




Flaxseed (Linseed) fibre – nutritional and culinary uses – a review

Laurence Eyres FNZIFST, Mike Eyres BV&O


Flax (Linum usitassimum) has a long history of use as a food, medicine, and textile fibre. The Latin name means “very useful”. Hippocrates used flax to treat abdominal pain. Originally cultivated in Mesopotamia, the use of flax has been documented as far back as 3000 BC (Cunnane & Thompson, 1995). This Flax differs in genera from the native New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum) which was given the common name “flax” by settlers in reference to its use as a source of fibre for weaving (Cooper & Cambie, 1991). The seeds from the two genera differ markedly in their appearance, chemical composition, and use. Several companies produce flaxseed in the Canterbury region from Linum usitassimum and their websites are given at the end of this paper.

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Yersinia – what we know and what we don’t know 

Steve Flint, FNZIFST, Jon Palmer, Haoran Wang – Massey University, Palmerston North


In September 2014, over 100 people across New Zealand presented with confirmed cases of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis illness (The Press, 2014). Symptoms from this illness include abdominal pain, fever, diarrhoea and joint pain that can last for several months.

Carrots and lettuces were flagged in the media as being the source of the illness.  Continue reading

Miraka Dairy Factory - a unique development 

Dave Pooch, FNZIFST


Tapping into geothermal energy, whanau owned and supported by Vietnam Dairy Products, Miraka Dairy Company embodies the vision of taking family owned dairy farms into the global market. The plant has the power and capacity to process more than 250,000,000 litres of milk into powders and UHT products every year.

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Do you know what you’re eating?

Lee Huffman, Carolyn Lister and Subathira Sivakumaran, Plant & Food Research

Plant & Food Research are working to build a better food composition database. You can help.

The New Zealand Food Composition Database (NZFCDB), and its underlying data is a valuable resource, allowing a wide range of users both in and outside New Zealand to understand the composition of the food they’re eating. A new dataset is being launched in the next few months – the 20th edition since it was first printed in the 1980s. Since 2011, the database has also been available online, with more than 9,000 people accessing the data each year.


Plant & Food Research has recognised that to offer full value and application, the comprehensive food composition data need to be easier to access and answer a user’s questions. Plans are therefore under way to upgrade the existing web interface so that users will be able to interrogate the database and manipulate the information with greater ease for their own purposes. Ultimately, the team want to make New Zealand food composition data more readily accessible to users, including the food industry, the fresh food sector, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), MoH and the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) staff, dieticians, nutritionists, educators, students, researchers, and the public, as well as providers of nutrition calculators, tools and apps.

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Gut bacteria: feeding our friends within

Katrina Pace, Registered Dietitian

This article is courtesy of the Nutrition Foundation 


Microbiota – what, where and why?

Let’s start at the beginning with a few basics: ‘Microbiota’ is the new name for what we used to call “gut flora”. Although in layman's terms we often use the phrase “gut bacteria”, the term microbiota encompasses more than just bacteria. It includes bacteria, yeast, fungi and viruses: all found in our bodies. For ease in this article, we will just refer to bacteria as they make up the largest proportion of microbiota.

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John Lawson, Lawson Williams Consulting Group

The careers experts at Lawson Williams Consulting continue to offer tips, tricks and advice on building your chosen career.

I recently spoke at the NZIFST conference. My topic was What employers are looking for in Graduates in 2015.

It is interesting to ask the same question for not only graduates but all employees.


Employers want a lot when looking for employees in 2015 … they want what they call Talent.

But why? The answer is we live in a V U C A. world.

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Something old, something new:- Hurdle technology

- a marriage of preservation techniques

L. McIntyre and J. A. Hudson

Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) Ltd., Christchurch Science Centre, PO Box 29-181, Christchurch 8540

In 2007, Food New Zealand published a review on existing and novel strategies for the biocontrol of foodborne bacteria [22]. In that article we discussed the utility of various biological approaches such as bacteriophages and protective cultures to increase the safety and extend the shelf life of foods. In most cases, these do not in themselves offer a complete food safety solution; hence their application in combination with other preservation options (the hurdle technology concept) holds greater potential. What follows here is a review of this food preservation area and an update on some of the more recent findings published in the literature.


The term hurdle technology was first coined by Leistner in 1978 to describe "the deliberate combination of existing and novel preservation techniques in order to establish a series of preservative factors (hurdles) that any microorganism present should not be able to overcome".

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Here's what our J C Andrews Award winner, Ray Winger, said 10 years ago. It is always interesting to review earlier assertions and compare them with current actuality.

JC Andrews Memorial Award 2007

Challenges facing NZ food technologists in the 21st Century

Professor Ray J Winger



There has never been a more interesting time to be Professor of Food Technology at Massey University. I am fortunate to be able to reflect on the huge technological developments being created and to see how they relate to the food industry and consumers.


Heavy metals in seafood – what is the risk to the consumer?

Ian C Shaw, Professor of Toxicology, University of Canterbury

This article is based on a lecture given at the 8th Annual Plant & Food Research Seafood Processing & Preservation Workshop, Nelson, New Zealand, March 2012.


Where do heavy metals come from? Heavy metals, including mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) are present in the earth’s crust and leach out into the terrestrial and aquatic environments, albeit at very low concentrations More....

NZIFST J C Andrews Award Address 2016  – Earning More in the Meat Industry

Rob Archibald

The Meat Industry today

In the last 5 years we have seen an unprecedented conversion of land to dairying. This means three things for the meat industry 1) less land for sheep and beef farming. 2) more manufacturing meat and meat by-products from manufacturing animals such as cull cows, bobby calves, and dairy bulls. 3) beef & sheep farmers wanting more for each animal to stay in the meat business.

With limits on the available land the Meat Industry can’t produce more – so it needs to earn more from what it produces. Farmers and the country as a whole spend a huge amount both economically and ecologically raising animals so we just have to earn more from them.


Are my business risks really what I think they are?

Jane Lancaster MNZIFST, and Dennis Thomas, FNZIFST, Catalyst® Ltd

We reap many benefits from the globalisation of food products. For one, our diets have grown more diverse now that we can buy foods that originate from all around the world. But there are downsides too. When you haven't grown or slaughtered your own dinner, you can't be sure how it was grown or where it's been. We have to rely on companies and government oversight to make sure what we're eating is safe and appropriately labelled.

Is food safer than it used to be?




Using Moisture Sorption Isotherms in food engineering

Water profoundly influences product attributes such as quality and safety. To completely understand water effects in a product requires an understanding of the amount of water (moisture content) that can be held at a given energy state (water activity). Moisture sorption isotherms describe the relationship between water activity and moisture content at a constant temperature. The nature of this relationship depends

on the interaction between water and other ingredients. The amount of water vapour that can be absorbed by a product depends on its chemical composition, physical-chemical state, and physical structure. Consequently, the isotherm shape is unique to each product type due to differences in capillary, surface, and colligative effects.


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The low-down on Health Claims and Health Star Rating for oils and fats

Anny Dentener-Boswell, FNZIFST, ADECRON Food Tech Consulting

How do the health claim changes in the food regulations and the new health star ratings (HSR) impact oils and fats?

Health star ratings are progressively appearing on labels as the supermarkets label their own-brand products with it. So will your product stand out by not declaring its HSR?

Not all oils are what they seem

There is a wide range of choices on “healthiness” from the lowest ½ star for salted butter up to the highest 4 ½ stars for hazelnut and canola oils and lots of choices in between. See table and read more here

Dos and Don’ts of a brilliant CV

Part 1 of a 2 part series: For new Graduates

John Lawson, Lawson Williams Consulting Group


Most of us have a CV and therefore will know it’s not an easy document to create. An interesting statistic is that an estimated 40% of all CVs are not entirely factual.


A significant number of people don’t understand the purpose of a CV and therefore don’t achieve the response they hope for. As a recruitment solutions business, operating for 25 years in the New Zealand market we have read a few CVs and the following are some pointers for graduates. We know there are many opinions on CV content so this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Read more here

Frying oils: selection, smoke points and potential deleterious effects for health

Laurence Eyres, FNZIFST


Frying is a complex, high temperature process with many reactions of hydrolysis, oxidation and polymerisation occurring during the frying life of the oil with resultant effects on the fried food with respect to texture, taste, shelf-life and nutritional properties.

The specifications, functional requirements and supply conditions for the industrial food market are far more rigorous and demanding than for the retail market. Some specialty oils supplied to the industry are not available at retail.


Sanfords – leading the way in fish by-product research

Dave Pooch, FNZIFST


"Sanford used to be a traditional fishing company. They harvested the fish then sold it.

They used to do value added products by changing the presentation. Now, they are a truly innovative seafood company and focus on fresh,” said Dr Sabrina Tian when I met her at Sanfords a little before Christmas.


Assuring water quality and safety in food processing

Most of us take water for granted, thanks to improvements in public health over the past century.

As food producers and processors, we require good quality water for a range of operations, including washing, blending or mixing, cleaning, ice making, steam production and product transportation in-process. To assure food safety, we must operate within a framework based upon sound science that ensures water quality in process, and optimises its use.

Water as an ingredient poses the biggest challenge in terms of quality and purity.


The Cloud – A fresh approach to modernising your IT

Consumer tastes are continually evolving. Never before has there been a greater consciousness of what's in the products we eat, how they are processed and preserved, and the sources of their ingredients. Frankly, consumers are taking a fresh look at what they're eating, and it’s the companies that can meet these expectations which are seeing results in the form of increased sales.


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