The Challenge

The High-Value Nutrition Science Challenge will enable transformational change in New Zealand’s food and beverage industry to position the sector as an international centre of excellence for high-value food-for-health products.


The High-Value Nutrition Science Challenge is unashamedly ambitious and bold. High-Value Nutrition is focused on enabling transformational change and creating substantial benefits for New Zealand, including significantly increasing export revenues from the food and beverage sector by 2025.

The High-Value Nutrition Challenge will invest in novel science at the cutting-edge of knowledge and work alongside industry to ensure New Zealand’s capability in validated health foods is sustainable and relevant in the long-term.

Around the world, and particularly in Asia, there is spiralling consumer demand for food with validated health benefits—products that are scientifically-proven to boost vitality, alleviate the effects of aging, improve digestion, help prevent allergies and provide the optimal conditions for growth and development. Food regulators are developing clear standards and processes to support the approval of health-related product claims that will raise the standard for scientific validation of the claims.

New Zealand has a fast growing food and beverage export industry which enjoys an enviable international reputation for excellence in primary production, quality and safety.  Most of our exports, however, leave our shores largely unprocessed or minimally processed. The evolving regulatory environment for approval of validated food-health claims provides an opportunity for New Zealand to add to the strong provenance of New Zealand origin foods

By understanding what consumers in target markets are looking for and investing in robust research into food-for-health benefits, New Zealand can produce a range of higher-value branded products that meet consumer expectations. Taking advantage of this major global opportunity for validated health foods will allow New Zealand to diversify its food and beverage export portfolio and significantly grow export earnings from the sector. We will become known around the world for being a source of safe, high-quality, scientifically-validated high-health products, produced from premium raw materials.

High-Value Nutrition is a vital part of the drive to enable New Zealand industry to capture the food-for-health export opportunity. At the core of High-Value Nutrition’s approach is a commitment to understanding consumers and their health concerns in our export markets. At the same time, High-Value Nutrition will carry out innovative research into why and how foods can act on biological pathways in order to address needs at all stages of life, from birth to old age, and provide consumers with the ability to increase health through including clinically-validated foods in their diet. The knowledge developed will be aligned with insights from clinical trials and understanding of the regulatory environment. Once made available to industry, this combined offering can underpin the development of food and beverage products that deliver the validated health benefits consumers are seeking.

Additionally, High-Value Nutrition will use the expertise from across its national network to partner with business on specific research projects. 

Our vision

Two students working on a research project

The High-Value Nutrition Challenge is a transformational programme which uses innovative science and leading expertise from across New Zealand.

Our vision is:

Growing New Zealand food and beverage export revenue through international leadership in the science of food and health relationships.

Our mission

Female teacher explaining an experiment

The High-Value Nutrition Challenge will significantly grow the value of New Zealand food exports by creating competitive advantage through scientific validation of the health benefits of food and beverages

Our mission is:

Develop high-value foods with validated health benefits to drive economic growth through research excellence in the following research themes:

  • Clinical application (demonstration of a health or wellbeing benefit from a food consumed by humans)
  • Biomarkers (defining the biomedical mechanisms and indicators for the food health relationship)
  • Meeting consumer preferences for and motivations to purchase healthy foods
  • Food science and technology (ensuring the foods deliver the health benefit to consumers).

Our focus

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High-Value Nutrition will focus initially on four priority health targets which are aligned with consumer-driven food-for-health trends. They are:

  • Metabolic health (including obesity, diabetes and heart diseases)
  • Gastrointestinal health
  • Immune health
  • Weaning foods for health.

To support and inform these areas, High-Value Nutrition has two underpinning streams of work:

  • Food science and supporting health benefits
  • Consumer insights into the export food-for-health market.

As the High-Value Nutrition Challenge progresses, other priority areas and work streams may be identified.

Vision Mātauranga

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Vision Mātauranga seeks to unlock the potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people through science and innovation. Maori owned assets in the primary industry, and associated emerging food and beverage businesses, are an important part of Māori achieving their economic development goals.  High-Value Nutrition is focused on working with innovative Māori-owned food and beverage businesses which are aligned with the High-Value Nutrition mission to develop options for growing exports of high-value products with validated health benefits. High-Value Nutrition will also invest in the development of researcher capability to grow the capacity of Māori in this sector

In addition High-Value Nutrition is committed to ensuring there are strong Māori voices involved in its activities at all levels—research, management, advisory boards and governance. High-Value Nutrition is also engaged with entrepreneurial Māori food and beverage companies to bring Māori-based innovation into its activities.