Today, New Zealand’s fruit, vegetables, wine and high-value fresh foods are positioned in premium market segments in 120 countries.

New Zealand’s price premium has been established by leveraging its relative geographic isolation to secure off-season supply opportunities in major world markets. It is also the result of innovative postharvest systems and technologies that ensure produce reaches consumers in top condition.

At home, strict biosecurity measures and low-chemical crop-protection systems ensure access to key markets is maintained or enhanced through food safety and pest- and disease-free assurances to importing nations. Crop management techniques developed using in- depth knowledge and modelling of plant biology and environmental science, mean premium crops can be grown in highly sustainable low-input systems.

With pathways to market secured, New Zealand then focuses on new crop development programmes. These emphasise key traits demanded by consumers, including novelty, convenience and health functionality. Resulting products are carefully protected through international patents, and their value and attraction to consumers is enhanced by innovative branding strategies.

New Zealand’s investment in horticultural science dates back to the 1920s, when government and industry first worked together to develop key export crops and markets. Today, The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research continues that tradition. It works with industry bodies, commercial businesses, government, aid agencies and international research collaborators to deliver science, technology and innovative products that maximise horticultural productivity, sustainability and quality.

A recognised global leader in industry-aligned science, Plant & Food Research can design and deliver R&D programmes that focus on new cultivar development, yield optimisation, sustainable production, water-use efficiency, biosecurity, pest and disease control, and postharvest product quality. Plant & Food Research can also deploy consumer and sensory science capability and functional food expertise to underpin the creation of high-value fresh and processed foods and ingredients.

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