Developing dairy wellness products is the key goal of the Whai Hua PGP programme.
Supplying ingredients for food manufacture has long been a cornerstone of the New Zealand dairy industry's business. The challenge is to develop new, added-value ingredients that will enhance the offering, based on working closely with in-market partners.
For Whai Hua, there is a challenge to create a niche for themselves as well as an opportunity to help develop Maori agribusiness capability.
This PGP programme will develop immune-enhancing dairy milk products targeting health-conscious consumers in Asian and New Zealand markets.
It will do this by developing dairy herds which produce milk which has high immune-enhancing properties, product development, functionality testing and market research.
Results indicate that the target compounds in bovine milk act in a similar way to their counterparts in human milk, binding with a wide range of bacteria.
Two scientific papers have been recently published that will be used to support product claims.
The natural production profiles of the target compounds have been shown to be repeatable between years.
An elite herd of 510 cows has been assembled containing naturally high levels of the target compound.
Options for breeding cows with naturally high levels of the target compound in the milk are being pursued.
Immunisation trials have been conducted and proven to be acceptable from an animal ethics and welfare perspective. A functional product developed from immunisation of cows has so far proved to be not viable and further development has stopped.
Optimal processing specifications that retain functional activity have been determined and are being translated to commercial scale conditions.
A processing prototype has been installed and tested at the Food Innovation Waikato plant. Commercial validation runs will be conducted in Q2.
Marketing research is on-going to identify potential products, target markets and the level of efficacy evidence that will be required to make product health claims.
A collaborative agreement to undertake an evaluation of the target product has been signed with a major international company. Test material will be supplied in Q2.
Programme start: March 2013 Length: 3.5 years. (A 6-month programme extension ending in December 2016 has been approved) PGP funding: $2.0 million Industry funding: $2.1 million Crown funding paid out to programme for work done to 31 December 2016: $1,944,311.11 Commercial partners: Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani Incorporation, Miraka Ltd, Kanematsu New Zealand Ltd Estimated economic benefits: $8.6 million a year in economic benefits to New Zealand by 2021.
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