Meat quality base to be built at FoodHQ

Left to right are Massey University vice-chancellor Steve Maharey, AgResearch CEO Dr Tom Richardson and Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce at the opening of the new Food Science Facility at Massey University.

Part of AgResearch’s meat quality team will have a new home alongside Riddet staff and Massey students and staff in two years, when the the new Food Science Facility is completed at Massey University’s Manawatū campus.

A partnership between AgResearch and Massey University will see construction of the state-of-the-art $39 million facility Food Science Facility, which is to focus on dairy and red meat research, including meat quality.  It will be built alongside the existing Food Pilot Plant, part of the University’s College of Health, and become a vital new cog in the FoodHQ partnership.

It will be the base for about 140 staff and students, about 90 of them from AgResearch. In addition to research, it will have a strong educational component and will house and train undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce visited the campus as part of a series of economic development announcements in the Manawatū-Whanganui region. AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson and Massey University vice-chancellor Steve Maharey outlined thinking behind the development.

Guests at the presentation included Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith, Manawatu District mayor Margaret Kouvelis, Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway, representative from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and staff of both AgResearch and Massey.

The facility will house food and bio-based science teams from AgResearch (dairy foods, food nutrition and health, and part of food assurance and meat quality), and staff and students from Massey University’s Institute of Food Science and Technology and staff of the Riddet Institute, a research centre hosted by Massey.

The project is at the concept design stage with construction due to start next August and be completed by the end of the following year.

For Massey this is a fantastic development, says Maharey. “We know that it won’t be just some buildings, but a world-class super campus with thousands of people getting up each day to drive our dream of what we can do with food. To conduct world-class science you have to have world-class facilities.”

Dr Richardson said the centre is part of a larger body of work called the Future Footprint Programme. “It will be the epicentre of science for FoodHQ.”

FoodHQ to receive help to attract internationals

That same day, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced the Government will provide $100,000 to help FoodHQ attract international research and development and connect directly to multi-national companies. FoodHQ partners have committed, in principle, to match the Government’s contribution.

“The investment will fund a new business development manager, who will support FoodHQ to accelerate growth and create a more compelling value proposition for global R&D firms,” says Joyce.

“The business manager will focus on market development and lead a strategy refresh that will ensure FoodHQ is able to capitalise on lessons learnt since its inception in 2013.

“Food innovation is one of the Manawatū-Whanganui region’s key strengths, and there are significant opportunities for growth and job creation in further lifting innovation across the region and producing more commodity and value-added products.”

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