Product development sprayer gives local companies access to new markets

New Zealand’s Waikato Innovation Park is using a product development spray dryer known as FoodWaikato to dry avocado pulp into a high value powder for use in food products.

FoodWaikato is the only open access product development spray dryer in NZ and is part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network which supports growth and development in the New Zealand food and beverage industry.

The dryer is currently helping company’s including Bay of Plenty and Avocado Oil New Zealand to develop the products for commercial use including rehydrated guacamole, smoothies and baby food.

Plant manager Dave Shute said that the dryer had previously been used for drying milk products and the switch to drying fruit, such as avocado presented a few challenges, including cleaning the plant to ensure the highest possible safety standards.

“Our plant has been up and running for one year now and we’ve primarily been drying milk products.  So, drying avocados – in fact fruit of any kind – was new territory for us,” said Shute.

“We did our first trial run in January, which introduced us to the challenges of dealing with a fruit that is fibrous, highly viscous, and oxidises rapidly if exposed to air.” 

Shulte said that Waikato Innovation Park is currently in discussions with around ten different companies who wish to do trials with several other fruit and vegetable products.

“We want to get the word out to food innovators within New Zealand and throughout Australasia that we’re here to help.  If you have a great idea for a new dairy, fruit or vegetable product that requires drying, come talk to us,” he said.

Brian Richardson, Executive Director of Avocado Oil New Zealand said that the creation of Avopure, its new avocado powder would not have been possible without with access to FoodWaikato’s product development sprayer.

“The avocado powder we have developed has a unique point of difference on the international stage compared to our competitors. It will be the first premium avocado powder available which contains no added fillers or carriers and contains higher levels of potassium, fibre and energy,” said Richardson.

Richardson said that the development of the powder has now given them access to an entirely new export market.

Avopure will be sold initially in the US, Japan, China and Australia. 


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