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Functional foods at centre of NZ-Japan research

New Zealand and Japan have announced three collaborative research projects into the health benefits of functional foods

Functional foods at centre of NZ-Japan research

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New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Emplyment (MBIE) has announced three bilateral research projects with Japan, delving into the health benefits of nutritionally enhanced foods.

So-called functional foods will be the basis for the three projects, with MBIE to invest NZ$400,000 in each two-year research project.

New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research and Japan’s Aichi Gakuin University will focus on the health benefits of blackcurrants, and blackcurrant-based foods.

"We've been given some funding to look at carbohydrate metabolism in the body and our particular focus is looking at blackcurrant fruits or blackcurrant fruit derived products on carbohydrate metabolism and how the body utilises energy for cognitive performance and exercise performance," the project’s leader Roger Hurst told Radio New Zealand, adding that the research would build on work undertaken by NZ Plant & Food in recent years.

The two other projects will look into the health properties of marine organisms and specific gut bacteria for children.

“New Zealand and Japan will benefit significantly from close collaboration on these projects. As well as unlocking health benefits, this research has the potential to create new market opportunities for New Zealand’s food industry,” said MBIE’s science investments general manager Prue Williams in a company statement.


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