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Tuesday 28 June 2022

Iwi beverage business wins $54k R&D funding boost

16th April 2021 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

The iwi-owned business behind an innovative functional drink has received $54,000 in government funding for further research into traditional Māori ingredients.

Kaitahi As One’s novel beverage, Kaitahi Smoothy Drops, combines fruits, greens, seeds, and taonga species including kūmara, pūhā, kawakawa and rewarewa honey.

The South Taranaki-based company produces frozen smoothy drops, which are being sold in major supermarkets across the country, that blend into a beverage once a liquid is added.

The funding from from the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge would enable Kaitahi to investigate their product line’s nutrient composition and identify and validate bioactive components present in their indigenous ingredients.

The smoothy drops may be able to garner nutritional or functional health claims, according to HVN which said that functional drinks, such as Kaitahi’s, are expected to emerge as the fastest-growing product segment in the non-alcoholic beverage market.

This project will be conducted through close collaboration with the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence at Massey University and consulting organisation Smart Regulatory Solutions.

“Kaitahi is an example of a progressive and competitive Māori enterprise invested in their iwi by providing employment in a valuable industry,” Joanne Todd, High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge Director said.

Arohaina Owen, who leads the Kaitahi Working Group, said the funding was a great honour and recognition of her team’s mahi “to see what we are accomplishing and to see how our HVN grant is providing an iwi business the opportunity to move to the next stage of growth.”

Kaitahi As One won the Te Māna Atatū Whanganui Māori Business Supreme Award in 2019 and the Fine Food Most Innovative New Foodservice Product Award in 2018.



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