Rights: The University of Waikato Published 25 June 2009 Download

Taewa snacks are made from taewa flour using an extrusion process. The snacks are lightweight, colourful and have a strong New Zealand identity, which makes them an ideal in-flight snack for an airline like Air New Zealand. Dr Jaspreet Singh explains how scientists at Riddet Institute in Palmerston North have developed crispy expanded snacks from taewa.


Dr Jaspreet Singh (Riddet Institute)

Well, the knowledge we gained through the physical, chemical and the nutritional characterisation, we used that knowledge for the development of novel products such as taewa snacks, so these taewa snacks are actually the expanded crispy ready to eat snacks we prepared from different varieties of Māori potatoes by using extrusion cooking technology.

We produced the taewa flour, which is actually the raw material for the expanded snacks, and during our initial talks, Air New Zealand also expressed their, their preference to have a lightweight high-volume expanded snack for their on-board passengers.

We peeled and shredded the Māori potatoes, and we dried and ground to a fine powder, which is actually taewa flour, and then we blend this taewa flour with the maize flour, and then we used – at different ratios – and then we used that blend for extrusion cooking at the different temperatures to develop, or to produce these expanded snacks.

Extrusion cooking is a technique in which we extrude or we cook the cereal and cereal-based flours to make breakfast cereals or the expanded snacks. So we can use the raw materials like maize flour, or rice flour or a product of flour, and then we can cook and mix and share, and do the netting inside the barrel at high temperatures, and ultimately, that mix comes out in the form of expanded snacks. And we can cut those snacks to different shapes and sizes.

The primary market we are targeting at the moment is the premium hospitality industry. We had extensive talks with Air New Zealand, and their contract food supplier Health Pak, regarding the commercialisation of the expanded snacks.