Staying ahead of global food trends: Massey’s FoodPilot programme


By Nikki Middleditch, Massey


Staying ahead of global food trends: What are we working on at Massey’s FoodPilot?

Food trends come and go. At the FoodPilot, we anticipate trends and work with businesses to create the next generation of food products. Ingredients, processes and products need constant re-invention to meet the needs of rapidly changing modern consumers and the food system.

Colostrum and collagen are two ingredients that have seen a resurgence in recent years.  The FoodPilot team at Massey University are exploring methods of collagen production. Collagen is a protein produced in the human body and supports bones, skin, muscles and connective tissue.  It is a popular addition for health and beauty applications.

As the uses for collagen continue to diversify, the FoodPilot is investigating collagen extracted from meat by-products, improving its characteristics and functional properties.  Similarly, colostrum (initial milk) processing is well-established in the dairy industry, but current work is focused on better processing of different fractions and protecting the bioactives for commercial use. If we develop or improve colostrum processing and technology, we might see growth in high-value colostrum-based products.

Understanding market needs and tailoring R&D programmes to optimise those needs is key to seeing our collaborators expand product portfolios and markets. The Food Pilot is a unique one stop shop to extensive expertise available within Massey; we support innovation, product and process development. This includes access to laboratories for experiments and the capability to scale up.

The ability to work with a wide range of raw material sources and technologies is made possible through the FoodPilot’s comprehensive Risk Management Programme (RMP). This allows our clients to export their prototypes to certain markets. Our RMP gives us the advantage of working on collagen extraction from one animal species and colostrum processing from another species under one roof, at the same time. This keeps us ahead of the changing needs of global customers and consumers.

Nikki Middleditch is the newly appointed FoodPilot general manager at Massey University, Palmerston North. She oversees the largest collection of pilot-scale food processing equipment in the southern hemisphere and helps to provide solutions to the industry’s food-related innovation needs.