The FOODBOWL was established to support and encourage New Zealand food companies to develop new products and expand into new markets as part of a government drive to increase exports.
Potential for growth in New Zealand food exports
The food industry makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s economy through export earnings. Traditionally, New Zealand food companies have exported a lot of primary products, which are further processed in overseas markets before being sold to consumers.
There is considerable potential for companies to earn more from food exports by developing higher-value products in New Zealand. Innovation is needed to develop new product ideas that meet ever-changing consumer demands and are competitive and sustainable in global markets.
New Zealand food companies face unique challenges
New Zealand’s relatively small population and distance from overseas markets present unique challenges for food companies developing products for export.
- It takes a long time to ship products overseas, which means food products need a longer shelf life so that they remain safe well beyond their shipping time.
- Most New Zealand food companies are small and can’t compete with the scale of large global companies. Companies need to create niche market products that open up new overseas markets.
- Scaling up new product ideas to commercial scale is challenging and risky, particularly for smaller companies that don’t have large production capability or the capital to invest.
- Understanding and completing the food safety and compliance documentation required in different markets is complex.
The FOODBOWL is designed to facilitate innovation
The FOODBOWL, located close to Auckland airport, has been established to help New Zealand food and beverage companies overcome these challenges and to facilitate innovation. It’s a food-safe export-accredited facility designed to support and encourage companies to develop new food and beverage products.
Access to state-of-the-art facilities
The FOODBOWL is a physical hub that contains seven multipurpose food production suites and commercial-scale processing equipment, including the latest technology, such as high-pressure processing and a freeze-drying unit.
Any food company – from small start-ups to large companies – can hire The FOODBOWL spaces and equipment. This allows them to develop new products or processes, scale up production of new or existing products and validate products in the market before deciding whether to invest large amounts of capital in their own facilities.
Food industry advice and mentoring
Staff at The FOODBOWL have a range of expertise in the food and beverage industry and are available to support and guide clients in developing new products and processes and increasing production. Staff can guide clients in areas such as food safety regulations and documentation for their product, standards and compliance documentation required for different markets, as well as advice on processing and using the specialist equipment.
Part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network
The FOODBOWL is one of four food hubs across New Zealand that together offer a complementary suite of services to support the food industry, and they all form part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network.
The New Zealand Food Innovation Network is a virtual network of all the different capability providers within the industry. It includes universities, Crown research institutes, ingredient and equipment suppliers and experts in packaging, marketing, export and sales, as well as regulatory entities such as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), which oversees New Zealand food safety standards.
Facilitating access to a network of experts
In addition to their own knowledge and experience in the industry, staff at The FOODBOWL maintain links with all the organisations in the New Zealand Food Innovation Network and can facilitate access to this broader range of expertise for their clients.
Facilitating access to this national network of experts ensures food companies are exposed to the latest science research and new technologies, as well as knowledge of international market opportunities and experience and skills in business development and commercialisation. This networked approach reduces barriers and risk and speeds up the pathway to market.
Find out more about The FOODBOWL and the broader food innovation network on the New Zealand Food Innovation Network website.