High value avocado powder exports at Waikato Innovation Park

Press Release – FoodWaikato

High value avocado powder exports grow at Waikato Innovation Park

Hamilton, 31 May 2013 – The Waikato Innovation Park’s product development spray dryer is going green – avocado green, to be exact.

The country’s only open access product development spray dryer is helping Bay of Plenty company, Avocado Oil New Zealand, dry avocado pulp into a high value powder for use in cosmetic, nutriceutical and food products.

The dryer – known as FoodWaikato – is part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network, a national network of science and technology resources that supports growth and development of New Zealand food and beverage businesses.

With two avocado drying trial runs under his belt, Plant Manager Dave Shute, says drying fruit is just one example of the diverse nature of the FoodWaikato facility.

“Our plant has been up and running for one year now and we’ve primarily been drying milk products. So, drying avocados – in fact fruit of any kind – was new territory for us.

“We did our first trial run in January, which introduced us to the challenges of dealing with a fruit that is fibrous, highly viscous, and oxidises rapidly if exposed to air.

FoodWaikato had the huge challenge of cleaning the plant to the highest food safety standards so that it was ready to process milk again within 24 hours of the trial taking place.

“Although quite challenging, we learned a lot during that first trial and our second trial which we just completed went really well. We’re now gearing up to help Avocado Oil New Zealand with commercial production of the avocado powder,” explained Mr Shute.

Brian Richardson, Executive Director of Avocado Oil New Zealand, says it’s been a long process to gear up to commercial production of its new avocado powder, Avopure, and it has finally become possible with access to FoodWaikato’s product development spray dryer.

High quality avocado powder is in demand by manufacturers across the world for use in cosmetics, such as face masks, nutriceutical supplements and capsules, and food products such as re-hydrated guacamole, smoothies and even baby food.

“The avocado powder we have developed has a unique point of difference on the international stage compared to our competitors. It will be the first premium avocado powder available which contains no added fillers or carriers and contains higher levels of potassium, fibre and energy,” says Richardson.

“Following in the footsteps of Grove Avocado oil, we developed Avopure using 100 per cent natural New Zealand grown avocados and nothing else, ensuring all the nutritional and skin benefits of avocados are retained. Without the extra additives seen in our competitor’s products, manufacturers will essentially get twice the product – and twice the benefits – from the same volume,” said Mr Richardson.

This is the second avocado initiative produced from the company, its popular brand Grove Avocado Oil was launched in 2000 and is widely available throughout New Zealand, Australia, Japan, USA, Sweden, Germany, UK, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Singapore and Brazil.

Avopure will be sold initially in the US, Japan, China and Australia.

“Once the Food Innovation Network was established a few years ago, however, we had huge support and it’s got us to the point of finally being able to develop a commercial product. Before coming to FoodWaikato, we used the FoodPilot facility in Palmerston North to help us with research and development. We did our first small scale trials with Peter Walker Consulting in Auckland, and gearing up to commercial production at FoodWaikato was the final step that proved we can do it.

“As a result, Avocado Oil New Zealand can now access an entirely new export market.”

Dave Shute says avocados are just one example of the different food products that will go through the FoodWaikato plant this year.

“We are talking to around ten different companies at the moment who want to do trials with us and several of those are fruit and vegetable products.

“We want to get the word out to food innovators within New Zealand and throughout Australasia that we’re here to help. If you have a great idea for a new dairy, fruit or vegetable product that requires drying, come talk to us.

“The Waikato Innovation Park’s wider purpose is all about creating economic value for our region and the country by supporting companies to develop new products and new markets.

“FoodWaikato’s purpose is to contribute to the Park’s wider aim by supporting food innovators. Avocado Oil New Zealand’s story is just one example of how we’re making that happen,” explained Mr Shute.

FoodWaikato is part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network (www.foodinnovationnetwork.co.nz). The plant is owned and operated by the Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton, New Zealand. The spray dryer has a half tonne per hour capacity and is capable of drying dairy products as well as fruit and vegetable products. The primary purpose of FoodWaikato is to stimulate growth in the food sector by providing an open access facility in which businesses can trial and produce spray dried products.

ENDS

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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