MIHI (Movers in Hemp Innovation) is a collaboration of Māori and non-Māori entities seeking to grow the hemp industry in New Zealand. The MIHI business cluster has received a $100,000 Māori Food & Beverage Development Grant from the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge including co-funding from MIHI for a 6-month project to initiate market research into North America for hemp-derived products.
The project will include a review of the regulatory landscape and options for commercialising hemp-derived products which are appealing to consumers, as well as investigating new product development.
The approach to this project is one based on whanaungatanga (collaboration) and tino rangatiratanga (self-determination), which are values held strongly by MIHI.
“This approach of collaboration and self-determination will leverage and utilise the expertise and knowledge required to develop and commercialise unique hemp food products,” says Richard Jones, MIHI Coordinator. “It also provides a platform that enables Māori to lead, create and deliver high-value hemp-derived products that incorporate Māori values and culture.”
The project intends to deliver on outcomes that contribute to the sustainable future and well-being of the whenua (land) and the people.
“This project supports the HVN mission by focusing on the creation of new hemp food products that emphasise the health benefits derived from the plant to improve well-being,” says Joanne Todd, HVN National Science Challenge Director. “This also aligns with customer trends of seeking healthy products, free from animal products or chemical additives.”
“This project also supports the intent of the HVN strategy by contributing to the growth of the New Zealand food and beverage export market through the creation and development of new hemp-derived products unique to New Zealand, and the HVN focus on supporting Māori owned businesses and indigenous innovation.”
Through collaboration, research and mātauranga, the project will be accelerated and accessible to all MIHI group members. The knowledge gained will inform new product development incorporating an approach of improving the well-being and health of consumers as well as food provenance. It will also inform future research that will provide the evidence needed to validate the health benefits and unique value of a hemp product. Once developed, the products will not only increase the growth of the hemp industry in New Zealand but also the value of New Zealand as a food exporter.
The HVN Challenge is a mission-led programme of innovative research into the health and wellbeing attributes of New Zealand produced foods for our major export markets. The Challenge will, over the next five years, fund a number of projects through a competitive contestable funding process, and has recently approved other innovative projects that will be completed together with business partners.
High-Value Nutrition is one of the eleven National Science Challenges.