Ārepa and Polyphenols

Public Summary

Principal investigators: Dr Nicola Gillies
Industry partner: Angus Brown, Ārepa
High-Value Nutrition funding:

The High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge is supporting new research to examine the impacts of a blackcurrant-based product.

The project is led by Dr Nicola Gillies at the University of Auckland in collaboration with industry partner Ārepa (Angus Brown, CEO and Professor Andrew Scholey, CSO). Ārepa produces a range of blackcurrant-based products for sale both domestically and in export markets.
There is growing awareness that what consumers eat, and drink, is linked to virtually all aspects of human health. At the same time, numerous disorders linked to poor or unbalanced diets are on the rise. As a result, demand for functional foods and beverages with health claims underpinned by robust scientific evidence is also increasing.

Three-month trial to monitor impacts

HVN will support Ārepa to extend and complement the existing science built on their patented formula. Dr Gillies and her research team will recruit 40 healthy females to participate in a three-month randomised, double-blind cross-over trial. This trial will monitor the impacts of daily consumption of the Ārepa beverage compared to drinking a placebo.

The Neuroberry® blackcurrant cultivar used in the Ārepa formula is unique to Aotearoa New Zealand and contains levels of various compounds with potential to positively influence key aspects of health. Research in this project’s area of focus has been limited in humans to date, though other plant-derived bio-actives in the Ārepa formula are known to target stress, anxiety, cognition and sleep.

This research will provide further insight into the effects of consuming Ārepa’s products using a systems nutrition approach.

Growing scientific knowledge to deliver nutritious food to the world

HVN and Ārepa both share the mission of growing the knowledge that Aotearoa New Zealand needs to deliver food to the world in a manner that enhances health and wellbeing. This project upholds the Vision Mātauranga strategy of HVN, aligning with the theme of Hauora/Health by offering an innovative and holistic approach to improving health and wellbeing, and acknowledging that mental and physical health cannot be separated from one another.

This project aligns with the HVN mission to develop high-value foods with validated health benefits to drive economic growth. With robust evidence to underpin marketing and health claims, we anticipate that research outcomes will broaden Ārepa’s target market and export opportunities.

Potential for new claims through partnership

HVN brings together a dedicated industry partner and multi-disciplinary research team with expertise in investigating complex food-gut-health interactions, promoting innovation and leadership in the science of food and health relationships from Aotearoa New Zealand.



Research team

Dr Nicola Gilles

Angus Brown

Angus Brown is the CEO and co-founder of Ārepa, a brain-food technology company working at the nexus between nature, neuroscience and food technology to make the worlds smartest food, his goal is to build a world-leading billion-dollar health food company out of Aotearoa New Zealand exporting high-value, clinically validated functional brain food.

Before Ārepa, Angus was the Business Manager at The FoodBowl, helping large and small companies alike develop and launch new products to market.