Science of Food

Research aims

The Food Science team will translate clinical research into prototype food products that deliver real health benefits. They will work with the New Zealand food industry to commercialise High Value Nutrition research and ultimately bring new value-added export products into the market.

The Food Science team brings together New Zealand’s world-leading capability in food structure design, food formulations and food processing to explore innovative options for nutrient and bioactive bioavailability in model food projects.


Key research elements

The Food Science research programme is a critical enabler for the HVN Health Platform Programmes and potentially several of the contestable fund programmes within HVN. 

The first phase of our work, entitled ‘Scanning the Horizon’, has focussed on providing essential information and guidance in the regulatory, intellectual property and market intelligence landscapes. 

‘Bioactive Food Systems’ is the second phase of the Science of Food programme and addresses the technological challenges around delivering food systems based on the needs of the HVN Health Platform Programmes that will meet consumer and industry needs for consumable food products that deliver the identified health benefits.


Expected outputs

As part of Scanning the Horizon we have brought together a wide array of information about foods with health claims that are currently on the market, and evaluated the opportunities and threats in the patent landscape that face the Health Platform programmes. We have delved into the food regulations in New Zealand’s major export markets, and produced clear summaries and guidelines that will help New Zealand Food and Beverage businesses to navigate their way through complex layers of legislation.

In the Bioactive Food Systems part of the programme, the Food Science team will translate food-health relationship knowledge into prototype food products for use in clinical trials and for evaluation by the food and beverage industry. The expertise of the team in food product design, food engineering, food safety, regulatory systems, sensory evaluation and digestion modelling will provide vital assurance that the health benefits of bioactive compounds are retained in the foods products, and will support development of marketing material to communicate these benefits to consumers.


Programme details

High-Value Nutrition has allocated $600,000 for Scanning the Horizon as a lead-in to a larger $1.5 million programme (Bioactive Food Systems) to support the design and development of food and beverages that maintain their health benefits through to the point of consumption.

The principal investigator is Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, with colleagues from the University of Otago, Lincoln University and AgResearch. Key scientists include Professor Richard Archer, Professor Philip Bremer, Professor Charles Brenner, Dr Jolon Dyer and Dr Simon Loveday.



Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, Director of the Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh is a world renowned food scientist and Director of the Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North. He is also the Co-Director of the Riddet Institute, a National Centre of Research Excellence focused on food science and nutrition, and he is part of the High Value Nutrition Science Leadership Team. Professor Singh's research has focused on food colloids, food ingredient functionality, functional foods and food structure-nutrition interface. He has published over 300 research papers in international journals, and is co-inventor of 12 patents which have formed the basis of several commercial innovations. His international standing and outstanding contributions to food science has been recognized by a string of national and international awards, including the Prime Minister’s Science Prize. He serves on several national and international committees advising on food strategy development and implementation. 




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