Sanford undertake market validation


18 November 2020

Launching a new product? What if you had the chance to run small trial runs, refine and perfect the technology and process until it’s just perfect. Then manufacture small batches to test export markets and validate the product. This shows you there is a strong demand, so you go through the scale up process and begin manufacturing the product in larger quantities; and train your staff in the process. All of this with no capital investment – none. And at the end, you have a process, the team, the experience, the know-how and a high-value premium product with solid international demand. Its wins all round with no risk attached and it’s what The FoodBowl offers larger companies wanting to diversify.

Sanford are well known and established for their seafood and aquaculture commodities and were wanting to take their best and most bioactive mussels and turn them into high-value nutraceuticals. This involved drying the mussel meat and then taking the powder and extracting mussel oil to eventually be packaged into gel capsules.

The journey started with Callaghan Innovation in Wellington where supercritical fluid extraction technology was perfected to achieve the goal. With the basic process sorted, it was off to The FoodBowl to scale up and refine the process and take advantage of the commercial scale supercritical extraction machine. The process of extraction uses mild temperatures to provide high quality extracts which are true to their natural form.

“Our relationship with The FoodBowl is a long and productive one,” explains Innovation Leader Andrew Stanley. “For more than five years we have used their facilities and expertise to help us develop new product lines. Their export Risk Management Plan (RMP) also allows us to make products that can be exported.

“Part of our scale up work with them was to ensure we were getting the right yield of oil from the powder to make the project commercially viable, and to understand product variability in composition and quality,” Andrew adds.

Since October last year, the supercritical machine has been in use for Sanford and with all risks mitigated and many lessons and experience under its belt, Sanford is building their own marine extraction centre in Blenheim. The same extraction technology will be installed but on an even larger scale.

“This collaboration between us, Callaghan Innovation and The FoodBowl is incredibly valuable and we can now invest heavily into the technology and facilities with total confidence. We can also hit the ground running from day one. Our product is completely validated before we even open the doors and that is an incredibly strong position to be in.”
“The team at The Foodbowl have always been highly professional and supportive and we are thankful for their help through every step of the process. New Zealand food businesses are privileged to have such as wonderful resource.”

The FoodBowl comment:

“This project highlights the power of collaboration with industry, and with the technical expertise and support of Callaghan Innovation. To be able to work with such an established and dynamic company as Sanford and take what was essentially a waste product and transform it into a high value product is a great win for New Zealand. It's the early adopters of new and advanced technologies that are able to increase their competitiveness.”

Alex Allan – Chief Executive