A major six-year research into the appetite control mechanism in plant foods is being taken up in New Zealand.

Scientists will try to figure out how the plant foods reduce appetite and keep people feeling fuller for longer.

The Plant & Food Research programme has secured $19.2 million over six years from the Foundation for Research Science & Technology together with substantial financial backing from both Zespri and Sanitarium as well as Hansells Food Group, Comvita, NZ Extracts, Simplot, Bell Tea & Coffee and input from Yarrows.

The project will also involve key scientists in this area from the University of Auckland and Massey University. In addition overseas experts will have an important input into our understanding of the potential appetite control mechanisms triggered as food passes along the digestive tract.

Dr Kieran Elborough, General Manager of Science for Food Innovation at Plant & Food Research, says “What we learn will be used to develop and support proprietary ingredients and food concepts for New Zealand based companies. We will also use the knowledge to select fruits, vegetables and cereals with an enhanced ability to affect appetite as well. Ingredients and whole foods from this programme could also ultimately be combined with other non-plant or dairy derived ingredients with similar appetite control effects.”

Dr Richard Templer, acting Chief Executive at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, says this is an excellent example of how Crown research institutes (CRIs) collaborate on research that is ready-made for the business sector.