Lincoln University has launched a new research centre to be known as the Centre for Food Research and Innovation (CFRI).
The new Centre aims to promote food science and technology through research, innovation, industry outreach and educational initiatives, and is in many ways an extension of the already well-established Food Science programme at the University.
The new Centre’s research capabilities and discoveries will further expand Lincoln University’s relevance and expertise in the field of food science and technology, and go on to position the University as a global leader in the field.
With food science, technology and innovation being critical components of New Zealand’s core commercial activity as a world-leading food producer, the CFRI will align a large part of its activity to the economic interests of the primary sector.
“As the global population grows, meeting the challenge of food production while sustaining the finite land resource is vital. The Centre will assist in delivering new techniques, tools and innovations that result in new products and services crucial to the success of New Zealand’s food industry,” says Assistant Vice-Chancellor Scholarship and Research, Stefanie Rixecker.
Consequently, while conducting its own independent research, the CFRI will complement Lincoln University’s notable research activity in agricultural science and look to work in collaboration with current industry partners such as Lincoln Agritech, AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, and Environmental Science & Research.
As well as aligning itself with New Zealand’s key commercial interests, the Centre for Food Research and Innovation will also look to undertake research in social considerations associated with food and the food industry.
“A key focus of the CFRI will be to utilise the theoretical knowledge of researchers to deliver applied solutions to the problems faced by the food industry, as well as tackle some of the increasing social problems that stem from the food industry as it currently operates,” says the Director of the CFRI and Professor of Food Science at Lincoln University, Charles Brennan.
“One such example of this is a research project to be undertaken in collaboration with the Technical University in Dresden, Germany, and supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand, that looks at how dietary fibres and natural protein-based sweeteners can be used to reduce the calorie content in carbohydrate-rich foods.’
Ultimately this research is designed to produce healthier food and, beyond merely studying the interactions of starch and protein on an individual’s glycaemic response to foods sweetened in this way, the research will explore the consumer’s sensory perceptions to assess a product’s commercial viability. Such research has real value in alleviating the growing global obesity epidemic.