Global food company Nestlé has acquired a novel technology developed by Riddet Institute scientists that will enable it to address iron deficiency.
The unique technology, FERRI PROTM was developed to address iron deficiency, without adversely affecting the taste of food and beverages. It was developed by Massey University researchers at the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) hosted by Massey in the Manawatū.
“The technology was developed to help to address the world’s most important nutritional deficiency, with over 1.6 billion people suffering from iron deficiency anaemia,” says Riddet Institute director, Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, who led the research team.
“But our goal was to not only address iron deficiency, but address it without impacting the product quality. So, we developed a novel protein-iron complex using food-grade materials and a unique processing method. The complex has substantially superior functionality compared with other products in the market. It provides advantages over other sources of iron present in foods, including ferrous sulphate, the recognised leading iron supplement.”
Petra Klassen Wigger, head of nutrition, health and wellness at Nestlé says, “At Nestlé we believe that we have a key role to play in support of global efforts to tackle the burden of micronutrient deficiencies. Through this collaboration with Massey University, we will have access to an innovative technology that enables us to effectively fortify our foods and beverages without compromising the quality and taste.”
Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says, “the deal builds upon Massey’s reputation for world-class research by attracting the attention of the largest food company to solve a major global health problem.
“Anaemia effects 25-30 per cent of the population, and about half the cases are due to iron deficiency. Nestlé are in an unparalleled position to fortify foods with FERRI PROTM to enhance the health and well-being of millions of people.”
“We’re excited about the future potential of the strong working relationship we have developed with Nestlé, and their interest in the food science and nutrition research capability at Massey and the Riddet Institute.”
The commercialisation and technology transfer takes place via Massey Ventures, a fully owned subsidiary of Massey University, which manages the University’s commercial investments.