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 By The FoodBowl chief executive Alexandra Allan 




This will be Alexandra’s last column for HotSource. Her contributions have been a real asset to HotSource since its conception in August 2020 and we thank her for her work. NZFIN will continue to supply columns written by experts from its five manufacturing hubs around the country.

New Zealand’s food and beverage innovators are helping to drive the transition from a commodity ingredient supplier to western markets, to deliver more than $4.7 billion dollars of high-value consumer-focussed products annually into more diverse international markets.

We all know the largest growth area is the Asia region and the swing from our traditional western markets to these highly populated and increasingly affluent countries has and continues to happen fast. And while we have businesses moving fast – is it fast enough to stay ahead (or even abreast) of what countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany are doing? Our geographical distance and the challenges of COVID-distribution are adding to that complexity.

Data from MBIE highlights 27 categories where New Zealand businesses are making waves and getting their packaged, branded products into overseas markets. Across the NZFIN hubs, we work with clients in most of these categories and are seeing first-hand the innovation, hard work, and determination to take our high-quality ingredients, fuse them with Kiwi know-how to succeed internationally. Our immense pool of knowledge and infrastructure across the network is a crucial part of the food and beverage industry here in New Zealand.

Our relationships with Callaghan Innovation, NZTE, MPI and MBIE mean these high performers come into an eco-system where we can surround them with the expertise, support, and resources they need. Then add in the deep science and research we have access to through our working relationship with New Zealand’s universities and crown research institutes – whilst it’s definitely an evolving eco-system, it’s one we’re working hard to make sure it’s fit for purpose.

One of our great strengths as a network has always been our ability to connect people. If we cannot help a client, we will know someone who can. Our desire is for every food innovator to do well and as a network, we work to enable all great ideas.

Knowledge is our super-power and as we approach our 10-year anniversary, every client we work with, every new process, and new idea we develop (whether it works or not!) provides us with a cumulative and increasing deep pool of knowledge which we use to enable our industry.

Alexandra Allan is the chief executive for The FoodBowl – an open-access facility operated by NZ Food Innovation Auckland and part of the NZ Food Innovation Network. She has experience in managing client projects as well as oversight on plant operations previously as the client solutions manager for The FoodBowl. Prior to that, Allan has held senior positions at Danone and Horley’s in product development.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology or the parent company, Hayley Media.