Tobias Richter

By Tracey Sheehy, FoodSouth business development lead

Welcome to what promises to be a very different 2022.  Here at NZFIN it’s a busy time of year as we welcome clients who have spent the holiday period on their passion projects.  They’ve had the space and the opportunity away from the daily grind to really unpack the details of what’s needed to successfully scale their latest innovative product development.

An unsung hero of our team, and often the first port of call after speaking with a business development specialist at NZFIN, Tobias Richter (Tobi) is a whiz when it comes to reformulating a product for commercial manufacture at scale.  While he’s again missed a Northern Hemisphere Christmas with family at home, perhaps the cooler Otago climate has alleviated some homesickness.  Tobi is based at FoodSouth Otago, where NZFIN have a partnership with the University of Otago.

Over the past year, Tobi has been working behind the scenes on a number of new “better for you” beverages and RTDs.  Some are super-secret and still under wraps until their commercial launch, but if you’ve enjoyed a Cheeky hard iced tea, a Robin Hood organic vodka fusion, a kawakawa lemon and lime drink or an improved Fizzliss RTD then you too have benefitted from Tobi’s food science magic.

Tobi has access to bench-scale facilities where he can help bring innovative concepts to life, for scale-up at other NZFIN hubs or contract manufacturers.  Together with the team from the university he can also look into the shelf life and stability of your products, or how it would fare compared to other products in the eye of the consumer. He’s a food scientist by trade, but we think of him more like a magician, able to take a client’s detailed vision and bring it to reality. Whether you are a start-up, trying to realise your dream of your own product, or a multinational company wanting to explore an idea on the side without overloading their own research and development department, everyone is welcome.

Tracey Sheehy is the business development lead for FoodSouth, which is the South Island hub of the New Zealand Food Innovation network.  Tracey has a technical background with a commercial focus, and almost 20 years experience working in a range of  New Zealand food and beverage companies. She’s passionate about enabling New Zealand businesses to achieve success on the world stage. 

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.