Alliance turning waste into $100m boost to the New Zealand economy

The Bioresource Processing Alliance is an MBIE-funded R&D programme that works with the primary sector to turn low value biological waste into high value exports – with a potential to add at least $100m to the New Zealand economy in the next three years.

Bioresource Processing Alliance's General Manager Anna Yallop is convinced that New Zealand is strategically placed to take advantage of the global trend towards making better use of companies' by-products.

'We are in an excellent position to lead the world in utilising primary sector secondary streams and moving those streams up the value chain,” says Anna.

One of the companies the Bioresource Processing Alliance has been working with is New Zealand King Salmon, helping them turn salmon off-cuts into treats for cats and dogs. The Bioresource Processing Alliance's research capability was used for processing and palatability trials and the positive results from this research lead to a product launch in August 2016. The resulting Omega Plus salmon treats and wet food have an expected value of $20 million per annum.

Omega Innovations' Divisional Manager Simon Thomas says, “The research that Massey University scientists undertook as part of the Bioresource Processing Alliance project gave us confidence in our brand and surety in what we say to our customers, which is critical when you're building the picture of your product for consumers.”

MBIE funding of $15,000 through the Bioresource Processing Alliance was matched by substantially more from New Zealand King Salmon.

“New Zealand King Salmon has done an incredible job of getting their products into the market and I really enjoy my regular discussions with the company to track their progress and offer support where possible,” says Anna.

“This is a great example of how we can combine our strengths in primary production with expertise in product development inside companies and research organisations, we have the ability to create some very positive outcomes for the country.

“The fact that our clients can save money, make money and reduce pressure on the environment is a real bonus and being such a connected country means the possibility for product opportunities is virtually endless,” Anna says.

There has been an excellent uptake in the programme by industry with over 55 clients. Industry partners are given the opportunity to work with some of New Zealand’s top scientists, engineers and economic specialists to harness the hidden value of the biological raw materials they process.

The Bioresource Processing Alliance has so far carried out more than a 125 research projects. Company involvement in 95 of the projects has led to two start-ups as well as the launch, or soft launch of six product lines with more on track for launch in the future.

The Alliance brings together four New Zealand research organisations; AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, Scion and Callaghan Innovation, as well as universities. These organisations have integrated their science and engineering skills, worked with university to utilise their capabilities and optimised access to scale-up and pilot facilities.

Read further information on the Bioresource Processing Alliance on their website(external link).