Navigating food research through the changing winds of consumer trends requires a successful business model to act as a beacon or lighthouse. New Zealand is viewed as a successful export-oriented country with a similar market need to that of the EU. Hence, collaboration between the two through the FOOD-FRENZ project is preparing to sail for horizons that are more effective.
MENTORING THE MENTOR
Food safety and quality issues require a multinational approach. Nowadays, the phenomenon of the production chain means that consumers in one country buy food grown in a second country that is often processed in a third country. The integration, therefore, of research, best practice and the establishment of regulatory standards across the globe is essential. FOOD-FRENZ represents a confident step towards achieving this goal by bringing two disparate communities together.
When it comes to economic development, however, the EU and New Zealand actually share several fundamental similarities. Both rely on the food sector for economic growth, they produce similar types of products (e.g. dairy, meat, wine, fruit, vegetables and seafood) and share many of the threats and opportunities that face the industry today.
New Zealand has well coordinated production systems, an active research base that is respected internationally and strong government support. As a global exporter of food, New Zealand, in turn, needs to ensure the country's research is linked to the best international expertise. The FOOD-FRENZ collaboration is, in fact, an obvious piece in the puzzle in creating a truly international food research community.
A STEP AHEAD OF THE CONSUMER
Trends in food consumption are changing rapidly. As consumers, for instance, we are placing more and more emphasis on food safety and the nutritional properties of food - driving the industry towards clean, green food production. The FOOD-FRENZ partners want to develop innovative food products that meet such needs in a global context, for both high-volume production as well as niche markets.
Two key areas have been isolated to achieve this aim. Firstly, the need to place importance on consumer requirements by integrating trends and perceptions into research priorities. Secondly, the need to encourage collaborations between sectors of the food industry to develop stronger links between the starting point of research and the end point of market production.
The core activities of the two-year project include two joint workshops, twenty fellowships and a joint conference to disseminate the results of both the workshops and fellowships. Each step in the process will be shared through the project's dedicated website.
The workshops showcase the interaction of researchers and industry delegates from the partner countries. The fellowships will take place from September 2007 to February 2008, to allow EU researchers to experience first-hand the critical summer and spring period of food production in New Zealand. Finally, the joint EU-New Zealand conference will take place in Hungary in July 2008.
The FOOD-FRENZ project presents an authentic opportunity for learning through sharing. The outcome of which will focus future research, lead to increased development of multinational industries and support the long-term potential of international legislature on best practice standards.
List of Partners
- Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association (UK)
- University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK)
- AgResearch Limited (New Zealand)
- New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Limited (New Zealand)
- Institute of Environmental Science and Research (New Zealand)
- Fonterra Cooperative Group Limited (New Zealand)
- The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand (New Zealand)
- Lincoln University (New Zealand)
- Massey University (New Zealand)
- The University of Auckland (New Zealand)
- FOOD-FRENZ (FRENZ-NET)
- Full title:
- Food research in Europe and New Zealand: a complementary network to stimulate consumer-focused research collaboration across food sectors
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- Martin Hall,
Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Valerie Rolland,
- EU contribution:
- € 349,999
- Specific Support Action