Kaitahi smoothy drops

Public Summary

Principal Investigator: Dr Ali Rashidinejad, Riddet Institute
Industry partner: Kaitahi As One
High-Value Nutrition funding: $54,000

Kaitahi smoothy drops

Kaitahi As One 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 As One’s 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 As One 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 As One 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 and consulting organisation Smart Regulatory Solutions.

High-Value Nutrition is one of the eleven National Science Challenges.

Read the HVN media release.

Research Team

Arohaina Owen

Arohaina’s background is in Financial Services and she holds a masters’s in Financial Planning.  She currently leads the Kaitahi Working Group – 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.

Ali’s 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.