Goodman Fielder gives top priority to R&D

The three patented products include a new baking product with enhanced health properties and two dairy products with improved sensory and health attributes.

Goodman Fielder [NZX: GFF] will commercialise three new food products this year with health benefits for consumers, the first of a pipeline of innovation into smart foods.

The three patented products include a new baking product with enhanced health properties and two dairy products with improved sensory and health attributes, the company says.

Australia-based Goodman Fielder facing a takeover from Wilmar International and First Pacific Co.

Research and innovation senior manager Shantanu Das said he couldn’t say more about the products at this stage other than they should reach shop shelves in the next 12 months and “the public will judge for themselves.”

The products have been developed over the past two years in conjunction with the Palmerston North-based Riddet Institute, the government-funded centre of research excellence focused on the food industry.

Goodman Fielder decided two and a half years ago to establish a research and innovation office, head hunting Mr Das, who was then innovation manager at the Riddet Institute.

Previously, most innovation in the fast moving consumer goods area came from a marketing perspective rather than science, Goodman Fielder’s R&D and quality officer Andrew Teixeira says.

“Most consumers don’t even know what they will want in the future. In some ways, it’s a bit like the smartphone; before it was built no one knew they wanted or needed it but now that it’s here, everyone wants and needs one.”

Mr Das says the team is developing new technology to deliver differentiated products that will be hard to copy in three categories: dairy, baking and grocery.

“Key drivers of our innovation are taste, health, convenience and cultural relevance,” he says.

The Riddet Institute works with a number of food manufacturers to give them access to science and scientists to create new and improved high value nutritional products. 

High Value Nutrition, the first and largest of the government’s 10 National Science Challenges, has funding of up to $180.8 million over 10 years to fund science that meets the goal of developing high value foods with validated health benefits to boost exports.

The goal is to boost food exports to $45 billion by 2025.