Our milk-fingerprinting technology took the top prize in the Innovation Excellence in Research category at the recent New Zealand Innovators awards in Auckland.
It has received further support for its world-leading innovation in a 2015 evaluation of its work in Food Structure Design which, like research into milk-fingerprinting, is supported by funding through the Primary Growth Partnership between government and industry.
The expert panel of top scientists, including Professor Erich Windhab, ETH Zurich, and Professor Allen Foegeding, North Carolina State University, world-leaders in the fields of engineering and oral processing respectively, ran the rule over Fonterra’s Food Structure Design project.
They concluded that the various projects were on track and expected to deliver “successful completion”.
In highlighting the work done to develop technology around mozzarella cheese, they said there had been “tremendous achievements” and “advancements in processing, tailoring fats and measuring performance”.
The panel compared the research programme with similar projects being done around the world and concluded Fonterra’s was “one of the best”.
It said there are “few other programmes existing that involve industry and academic partnership with funding levels and time scales that permit the depth of science and advancements in technologies developed in this project”.
Those advancements were not limited to producing potential products and growing the New Zealand economy either. The science and those behind it were benefiting too.
The programme, said the review, “supports the ability of academics to publish in top scientific journals and exposures students and post-doctoral scientists to industry practices”.
It went on to say that, “if you want to be trained in food structure design, this is one of the top three and possibly the top programme in the world to receive that training.
“The programme serves as a model for how academic and industrial perspectives can be consolidated in a programme that benefits all parties.”
It was putting New Zealand in an “outstanding position” around such programmes, and offering an “unique opportunity” to “generate an international competitive advantage”.