Researcher holding up a GMO vegetable. Genetically modified organism or GEO here transgenic plant is an plant whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques known as recombinant DNA technology.

Five food research projects have been granted $10.9 million under a new Government scheme. As one of the research areas selected by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in 2013, the high-value nutrition challenge aims at driving innovation in food science and boosting New Zealand’s exports by $1 billion over the next decade.

“The best scientific brains in the country will be working closely with the innovators and exporters from New Zealand food and beverage companies, to ensure our findings can translate into greater value for our experts,” said Professor David Cameron-Smith, science director of the high-value nutrition challenge.

Three different projects (AgResearch, Malaghan Institute and Auckland University) will study the complex relationship between nourishment and physical wellness, with a focus on metabolism, immunity and gastro-intestinal health. A fourth preliminary project, by Massey University, will establish current knowledge on the food science of health foods, whilst Plant & Food Research will focus on food-for-health in NZ foreign markets, especially Asia.