Nu-Mega -Flexibility and expertise provide perfect test bed

FOODBOWL

10 December 2020

After years of utilising the spray drying capabilities at FoodWaikato, Nu-Mega Ingredients had another product innovation they wanted to take from the R&D concept stage, to small batch commercialisation. The FoodBowl hub was the obvious choice.

The Australian-based company develops science-based bioactive ingredients for health and nutrition products for infants, children and adults. Research Quality and Regulatory Manager, Glenn Elliot says they chose to work with the New Zealand Food Innovation Network (NZFIN) for several reasons. Headlining these are the Kiwi way of approaching… well, everything! “We like your working style. There is a willingness and flexibility to get things done.

“Whether it’s a new innovation or scaling up to commercialisation, the expertise and enthusiasm of the NZFIN team makes it simple. There is also an immense willingness to work with those within industry.”

Since July 2019, Nu-Mega has been working with the FoodBowl on scaling up the manufacturing of a novel emulsion technology developed by Nu-Mega containing DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an Omega-3 fat, from an algal source. The double-emulsion technology is specifically designed for DHA fortification of ultra-heat treated (UHT) beverage products. “The patented technology has been refined, trialled and now we are producing this product at The FoodBowl in semi-commercial quantities, which provides a more appropriate delivery system for manufacturers to fortify their UHT products with DHA.

“Our HiDHA® Gelphorm® emulsion technology is specifically designed to withstand the high temperature and high pressure associated with the UHT manufacturing process.”

The flexibility and working style at the FoodBowl allows companies like Nu-Mega to send in their own highly-skilled R&D and technical staff to work on product development. “For the two major trials we ran, we sent in teams from Australia and our staff based at the Melody Dairies site at FoodWaikato. The size and type of equipment available to us at the FoodBowl, along with the immense flexibility to adapt machinery and try different things makes it the perfect place to scale-up new and innovative concepts. It’s a pleasure working with the skilled team of experts who understand our process requirements and have the capability to add value.”

During the manufacturing scale-up design stage, Glenn says the ability of the FoodBowl team to adapt the equipment to try new ways of doing things, combined with their input into the development of standard operating procedures and HACCP implementation based on previous trial work, was invaluable.

While Nu-Mega continues to manufacture on an ongoing basis at the Auckland facility, it is scoping increased production capability. Glenn says that over the years Nu Mega has worked with NZFIN, it’s been able to refine and de-risk investment in large scale production by trialling and testing its products on the suite of equipment available through the network. “This enables us to move quickly from the R&D prototype stage to commercialisation without having to commit to the larger batch sizes a traditional contract manufacturer would require.

Glenn says there are new innovations on the horizon and the FoodBowl will remain a provider of choice in Nu-Mega’s R&D process. “The flexibility, enthusiasm, expertise and the way they minimise the red tape makes it the right facility for us to continue innovating.”