New Zealand pushes innovation and trade at Vitafoods

By Stephen Daniells in Geneva

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New zealand Nutrition

New Zealand's nutraceutical industry is out in force at this
year's Vitafoods exhibition, backed up by the country's trade
and enterprise agency.

The small country with big ideas is attempting to make its presence known in the industry.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), in its first visit to Vitafoods, is joined by seven other companies.

They are all looking to increase market awareness, make contacts, and show their openness to the potential of partnerships and joint-ventures with leading US or European companies.

"We have the ideas and the products, and would be very interested to link up with those with market access," Andres Easdale, NZTE's food and beverage business development manager, told

A report from the World Bank entitled Doing Business in 2006 ranked New Zealand as having the most business-friendly regulations in the world.

For example, the country can be more cost effective than others when companies apply for patents.

It is also ranked as the fourth easiest country globally in which to start a business, behind Canada, Australia and US.

In addition, New Zealand has a large number of science graduates entering the work place, with many of them encouraged to seek employment in the food sector.

The companies in Geneva include New Zealand Extracts, which is promoting its Sauvignon Blanc grape seed extracts.

These are obtained using a water-based process that produces the antioxidant polyphenol profile.

Glenn Vile, director of research at New Zealand Extracts, told that the local conditions in the country result in a grape seed with significantly higher phenolic content than the average European variety.

A New Zealand Extracts trial revealed the potential of the grape seed extract in sports nutrition as a means of reducing the oxidative stress resulting from strenuous exercise.

The effect can help athletes' recovery time, the company claims.

The small study tested the Vinanza Gold grape seed extract on eleven male rowers.

The study, performed by Tim Lowe from HortResearch, claimed to demonstrate the pre-exercise benefits of supplementation with the grape seed extract, as well as the reduced levels of protein carbonyls obtained after one hour after the exercise.

The work is ongoing, but the results were sufficiently promising to suggest a successful move into the sports nutrition market.

Just the Berries, another company in Geneva, manufactures nutraceutical ingredients and finished products from blackcurrants.

Due to the thinning ozone hole over New Zealand, the country's blackcurrants have responded by producing higher levels of antioxidant anthocyanins, making the extracts rich sources of antioxidants.

Both Manuka Health New Zealand and Comvita are also present in Geneva.

They are highlighting the potential of Manuka honey, made by bees feeding on the manuka tree.

The honey is reported to have significant antibacterial activity, potentially making it useful in the areas of oral and throat health, gut health and as a topical for wounds.

Vitafoods is providing the ideal platform for increasing the awareness of the vast potential of New Zealand-sourced ingredients, the companies say.

A special pavilion is set aside for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

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