Established in 2011, the Anagenix Group partners with leading scientific research organisations to commercialise new products that are based on New Zealand bioactives, while Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute.
The two organisations have established The Innovation Cell, a co-investment business model whereby Anagenix will launch new natural ingredients for consumer products, based on Plant & Food Research science, into the market at an early stage.
Anagenix CEO Chris Johnson told us the marketing stories for these products will develop over time. He said additional scientifically-validated nutrition or health claims would be based on the consumer response.
“We develop, commercialise and launch products and then base the marketing based on what the market wants," he said. "A lot of people spend a lot of time on new products before even understanding if the consumer wants it.”
He cited its BerriQi product, a Boysenberry-based ingredient blend aimed at Chinese consumers concerned about the effects of pollution, as a prime example of how the new collaboration will work.
This product is based on Plant & Food Research science that suggests Boysenberry consumption can manage lung inflammation. The company is expecting sales of NZ$3.6 million in the first year following launch.
“We had a soft launch in China in March and it has been very well received,” he added, telling us that deals were in place with multi-level marketing companies and that discussions were ongoing with some pharma firms.
“Consumer trends can change quickly, and being able to get a health product to market that addresses their concerns at the right time is key to building our business,” he added. “Anagenix is very excited to be able to collaborate with Plant & Food Research to truly co-develop new products, rather than on a project by project basis."
David Hughes, group general manager commercial at Plant & Food Research said small businesses haven’t always been able to access science due to the length of time and cost involved.
Portfolio of evidence
He said. “The Innovation Cell model provides Anagenix with a product concept, based on fundamental science, that can be introduced to the market and adapted based on consumer feedback and additional research findings. Over time, the company is able to co-fund further research and build a portfolio of scientific evidence that supports health marketing of the product.
“The Innovation Cell provides Plant & Food Research with the ability to liaise with a different type of organisation, putting into practice a more innovative, entrepreneurial style of thinking.”
On a broader scale, Johnson said Asia was continuing to offer considerable opportunities for Anagenix's products. In addition to BerriQi, it has a digestive health ingredient Actazin - a cold-pressed powdered kiwifruit concentrate which is also based research conducted in partnership with Plant & Food Research.
“That product has good volumes in the US and we sell some into Europe too. But Asia remains a major focus. We have business in Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand and we are talking seriously with people in Indonesia. There is also interest in India,” he added.