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    Rights: University of Waikato. All rights reserved.
    Published 27 November 2014 Referencing Hub media

    Jennifer Boggis, Director Heilala Vanilla, and Associate Professor Marie Wong from Massey University discuss their collaboration to develop new value-added vanilla products from Heilala vanilla. 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. The Heilala collaboration with Massey University has allowed Heilala to research and develop further value-added products, such as a vanilla paste, for their international market.


    Jennifer Boggis
    Vanilla is not something that has ever been manufactured in New Zealand before so obviously we had to be quite innovative and research focused.

    Associate Professor Marie Wong
    Heilala wanted to put a vanilla paste extract onto the market, and they weren’t sure how to start development.

    Jennifer Boggis
    I think because of the really specialised knowledge that was required, we were led to Massey University.

    Associate Professor Marie Wong
    So the university has companies constantly coming to us for projects, for students, because our students have great innovative ideas and can help the industry. I think we’ve helped Heilala a lot. We’ve basically helped them develop their products, understand the science behind their products, understand the flavour of the vanilla because you know it’s quite unique, it’s one of the most expensive flavourings in the market.

    Jennifer Boggis
    So globally at the moment, we export to seven countries. Australia’s our biggest market, and then there’s countries like Japan, Denmark, US, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong. Our partnership with Massey has really been fundamental in our growth and having a product that is going to be acceptable in the vanilla space if you like.

    Associate Professor Marie Wong
    Yeah, for students it’s great, because they get to develop a product, and Heilala does take the product to the market and then the students get to see it on the supermarket shelves. Students they get to do real industry problems and basically hit the ground running when they’re employed in the food industry.

    Jennifer Boggis
    The research and the stage that we’re at in terms of our product development is streets ahead in some instances of what’s going on around the rest of the world. I think having that partnership with Massey has really given us not only the knowledge but the confidence to be able to go out there and market our products to the best in the world.

    Associate Professor Marie Wong
    They’re easy to work with, they’re a really great company to work with, and they’re happy to collaborate with us and we enjoy collaborating with them.

    Video courtesy of Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
    © Kiwi Innovation Network Limited, 2013