Kaitahi Smoothy Drops

Research Team

Arohaina Owen

Arohaina’s background is in Financial Services and she holds a Masters in Financial Planning.  She currently leads the Kaitahi Working Group, who is a committed team of individuals working towards the overall strategy and vision of the company – to be part of the solution.

Arohaina is Pookai Aronui (Director) for Te Pataka o Rauru and Kii Tahi Ltd, investment arms of Southern Taranaki iwi, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi.

Dr Ali Rashidinejad

Dr. Rashidinejad is a research scientist/officer at the Riddet Institute, a National Centre of Research Excellence in food science and nutrition. His current main research focuses on the oral delivery of bioactive compounds (in particular, polyphenols) via functional foods. While this generally lies in the development of methods/technologies that protect/encapsulate bioactives, Ali is specifically interested in the behaviour of bioactive compounds in the food matrix and gastrointestinal tract, with a focus on polyphenol-enriched functional food products. Read more.

Public Summary

Principal Investigator: Dr Ali Rashidinejad, Riddet Institute

Collaborating Organisation: Kaitahi 

Kaitahi is a Māori-owned business creating a novel beverage using taonga species (pūhā and kawakawa) in their smoothy drops. Found in the freezer section of Aotearoa’s major supermarkets, Kaitahi Smoothy Drops with fruits, greens, seeds, and traditional Māori ingredients are blended into a beverage with the simple addition of a preferred liquid. Functional drinks, such as Kaitahi’s, are expected to emerge as the fastest-growing product segment in the non-alcoholic beverage market.

Kaitahi is an example of a progressive and competitive Māori enterprise invested in their iwi by providing employment in a valuable industry. The funding from High-Value Nutrition Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga enables Kaitahi to investigate their product line’s nutrient composition and identify and validate bioactive components present in their indigenous ingredients. The smoothy drops may be able to garner nutritional or functional health claims. Evidence of such claims would leverage Kaitahi as a Māori-led enterprise; their mātauranga leading to a validated health claim. Furthermore, exploring regulatory standards for export to Australia may enable Kaitahi to increase its market potential and grow its high-value food business offshore. This project will be conducted through the close collaboration with the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence at Massey University.

Here are a list of Smoothy Drops stockists; check out Kaitahi’s Instagram page too!

Please refer to the Research Overview documents for more information about the High-Value Nutrition contestable funding scheme. High-Value Nutrition is one of the eleven National Science Challenges. The Challenge has a $45.6 million budgeted research investment from 2019-2024.


Immune Health Highlights

HVN Patent Insights Report – Immune Health

HVN Patent Insights Report – Immune Health

We have recently published our 2020 Science of Food Patent Insights Reports into our four HVN Priority Research Programmes. Below is a summary of the Immune Health Patent Insights Report. Read the full Immune Health Patent Insights Report 2020. Watch Dr Olivier Gasser...