A major six-year research into the appetite control mechanism in plant foods is being taken up in New Zealand.
Scientists will try to figure out how the plant foods reduce appetite and keep people feeling fuller for longer.
The Plant & Food Research programme has secured $19.2 million over six years from the Foundation for Research Science & Technology together with substantial financial backing from both Zespri and Sanitarium as well as Hansells Food Group, Comvita, NZ Extracts, Simplot, Bell Tea & Coffee and input from Yarrows.
The project will also involve key scientists in this area from the University of Auckland and Massey University. In addition overseas experts will have an important input into our understanding of the potential appetite control mechanisms triggered as food passes along the digestive tract.
Dr Kieran Elborough, General Manager of Science for Food Innovation at Plant & Food Research, says "What we learn will be used to develop and support proprietary ingredients and food concepts for New Zealand based companies. We will also use the knowledge to select fruits, vegetables and cereals with an enhanced ability to affect appetite as well. Ingredients and whole foods from this programme could also ultimately be combined with other non-plant or dairy derived ingredients with similar appetite control effects."
Dr Richard Templer, acting Chief Executive at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, says this is an excellent example of how Crown research institutes (CRIs) collaborate on research that is ready-made for the business sector.
"Plant & Food Research is collaborating with two universities to ensure the best research team is formed, to produce the new knowledge and technology in demand by New Zealand companies," Dr Templer says.
"CRIs are cornerstones of the science that underpins New Zealand's economic wellbeing and this is why the Government is reforming CRIs to ensure New Zealand gets the best out of these organisations."
Zespri Food Science Advisor, Lynley Drummond says, "We're looking forward to the opportunity to support Plant & Food Research and better understand the role of fresh kiwifruit as part of a healthy diet. In particular, the role kiwifruit can have in making people feel full and the potential use of kiwifruit, either on their own or in combination with other foods, to moderate food intake."
Mark Roper Marketing Manager at Sanitarium New Zealand says there is a demand for food products made from wholesome, natural ingredients that are good for us. "Sanitarium is interested in natural ingredients and foods that help people feel fuller and make it easier for them to manage their weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This programme will help us develop products that best meet these needs."
This research has potential for New Zealand companies both domestically and through export off-shore. The international weight management food market was worth $513 Billion in 2009 and the appetite control portion of that market is expected to reach $17 Billion this year. The research gets underway in October.