Funding for research student
Annies Marlborough has won government funding to employ a graduate student to research methods of retaining more of the beneficial properties of fruit in their dried fruit snacks.
The natural food company is one of 70 businesses around the country to receive a slice of $2.2 million from the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry to give students work experience and help companies with research and development.
Each company receives up to $30,000 funding, which covers the cost of hiring a postgraduate student for the first six months.
Annies food technologist Marion McNeilly said the intern programme would give the students valuable work experience in a commercial environment and help them find employment after their studies.
"They will be tasked with developing new flavours using different fruits and vegetables and looking at how to retain their fibre content and nutrients," she said.
"We want to make the fruit leathers even closer to the fruit in its natural state, but in a convenient, packaged way."
The growing desire of people wanting to know what is in their food has been increasing demand for their products which are preservative and additive-free, she said.
"There has been a big drive from the sales team based in Europe which takes time but we are starting to see the result of that more and more."
Eighty per cent of the dehydrated fruit pulp products are exported to the United States, with markets in New Zealand, Australia, India, Dubai and Europe all growing, she said.
Mrs McNeilly said although dehydration is a traditional method of preserving food, Annies wants to keep at the forefront of new technologies and methods as they are developed.
The successful intern would be someone studying food science or technology.
- The Marlborough Express