NZ research group aims to triple foods exports

A new research collaboration will see six key players in the global food community unite in their effort to triple New Zealand's food exports to $60bn by 2025.

Launching yesterday, FoodHQ will aim to deliver on the government's Business Growth Agenda, which calls for a trebling of the real value of food exports in the next 12 years.

AgResearch, Fonterra, Massey University, Plant & Food Research, the Riddet Institute and the BCC will work together at the Palmerston North-based campus forming part of a food "super-campus."

Project manager, Mark Ward, said "This is an enormously significant step forward. By working together as FoodHQ, our innovative organisations will enable a new economic platform for New Zealand, with higher levels of revenue and the creation of jobs."

The super-campus will be home to more than 4,000 researchers and educators involved in the agri-food value chain. Designed to meet – or surpass – world benchmarks, it will compare with other industry- centred innovation hubs in Denmark, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United States.

The site will encompass the Fitzherbert Science Park on one side of Tennent Drive on the outskirts of Palmerston North, and Massey University's Manawatu campus Turitea site across the road.

"The six food partners are already within a kilometre of each other," Ward said. "The super-campus will reflect a modernisation of the facilities in the Fitzherbert Science Park and Massey University, and the partners will upgrade current facilities and build new ones in consultation with each other.

"Most importantly, the super-campus will give current and future global customers one-door access to the very best in New Zealand food innovation. The collaborative approach creates a faster, easier way for food companies to work with the partners."

An estimated $230m in annual economic value will be added to the region from the creation of new research and development jobs.

Ward said bringing the six industry leaders together will be of great benefit to New Zealand's food industry, and will also help to attract international food manufacturers to the country.

"Because our value chains are fragmented, we’re not as competitive on the world stage as we could be. While the six main FoodHQ partners are all strong organisations in their own right, bringing them together as FoodHQ opens the way for a collective vision, greater accomplishments and a defragmentation of the industry. This will attract major food producers from around the world to undertake their research and development here," he said.

"FoodHQ will also champion the idea of food innovation and promote New Zealand’s shift to being a value-added food nation, building on its strength as a commodity producer."


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