Principal investigator: Amy Reason, Research and Development, Zealong Tea Estate
Industry partner: Zealong Tea Estate
High-Value Nutrition funding: $32,885
Zealong Tea Estate and Plant and Food Research are working together to investigate the health benefits associated with New Zealand-grown teas. In particular, the project team will research the potential digestive, metabolic and mental health benefits associated with drinking New Zealand teas.
The Kakariki Kiwi project aims to validate the health benefits of Zealong tea as a significant New Zealand-grown product to encourage a new primary production industry in Aotearoa. This will, in turn, increase consumer demand for the teas in both domestic and international markets.
Researching nutritional values of tea grown in New Zealand
The project will characterise and compare the nutritional profiles of the three teas grown in New Zealand: black, oolong and green. Studying each tea’s characteristics will provide an understanding of the properties and potential unique markers of New Zealand-grown tea.
A series of specific phenolic and nutritional tests with the Food and Health Information team at Plant and Food Research aims to:
- review the literature to provide benchmark data for phytochemical profiles and their specific health benefits
- generate nutritional and biomarker profiles for the three teas grown in Aotearoa
- compare the profiles and rank the potential benefits.
Currently there are no specific details on the composition of tea grown in Aotearoa New Zealand. Of particular interest are the phenolics, antioxidants and caffeine.
This research is essential to determine if data around the health benefits of tea grown overseas is valid for New Zealand-grown varieties. For example, if a New Zealand product was found to have a new key phytochemical, then overseas data may not include this key health information.
The Kakariki Kiwi project will use its findings to validate health claims associated with New Zealand-grown teas to raise their profile in domestic and international markets.