Food & Bio-Based Products

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It is increasingly recognised globally that for agriculture to achieve maximum efficiencies from food production in a sustainable manner, maximum value must be obtained from everything that is produced. For New Zealand, this means thinking beyond simple production of milk, for example, to imagining and creating premium dairy products and nutritionals for global consumers, with scientifically validated health and wellbeing effects.

agresearch food and bio based products secondary wool hands2

The role of the Foods & Bio-based Products group is to create the knowledge and tools to develop high-value foods, ingredients and products from pastoral-based agriculture.

We focus on the production and supply of high-value premium consumer goods that are the end result of the agricultural value chain, with the outputs tailored to global market and consumer preferences.

We provide the underpinning research and development capabilities for a 

diverse range of consumer materials from meat and dairy foods, wool carpets and fabric, health and beauty products, as well as to the tools and machinery to support these industries.

Teams within this group:
  • Dairy Foods
  • Food Assurance & Meat Quality
  • Food Nutrition & Health
  • Proteins & Biomaterials
  • Textiles

Our Team

Dr. Li Day
Dr. Li Day

Sector Manager
Food & Fibre
+64 6 351 8608
Email Li

Megan Skiffington
Megan Skiffington

Sector Manager
Meat & Fibre
+64 27 707 0407
Email Megan


Studying mood and emotion in livestock

Featuring Dr. Gosia Zobel & Dr. Jim Webster

New research exploring the moods and personalities of farm animals is being seen as an opportunity to better understand and enhance their welfare.
The research looks at how animals respond in new and different situations. It is the latest work by AgResearch’s Animal Welfare Team helping to expand the knowledge of livestock behaviour, at a time of growing consumer demand for strong welfare standards.

Strategic winter grazing

Featuring Dr Seth Laurenson & colleagues

With farmers always on the lookout out for simple, cheap methods to improve their farm systems, AgResearch and partner DairyNZ undertook practical research to provide just that. This strategic winter grazing research has developed low–cost approaches for farmers to better manage their land in winter conditions. Our scientists say the pick-up from farmers has been amongst the highest we have seen here at AgResearch – which tells us it’s making a real difference. Here the team talk about how they went about it, the methods, and what the areas of benefit are for the farmers.

Sharon the mutant sheep

Featuring Dr Jeff Plowman

Sharon the Felting Lustre mutant sheep has become somewhat of a celebrity since the media spotlight came on in her in early 2017. She was even featured on the BBC!
This rare kind of sheep has straight wool instead of the usual crimped wool, and presents opportunities for our scientists to learn more about the wool structure and how it might lead to new wool products, as well as what it can tell us about human hair.
In this video, AgResearch scientist Jeff Plowman – who has researched these mutant sheep - talks about Sharon and how she is helping add to our understanding.

Lasers from above to 'zap' weeds

Featuring Dr. Kioumars Ghamkhar

Drone-mounted lasers could be used to zap weeds that are posing a billion-dollar problem for New Zealand agriculture.
AgResearch – with partners the Universities of Auckland and Michigan and NZ-based technology firm Redfern Solutions Limited - was awarded just under $1 million in 2017 from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund to look into how to “map and zap” the many weeds plaguing productive land.

Mātai Ahuwhenua

Featuring Pakihiroa Farms Ltd

What aspects of Māoridom are our partners taking into consideration when farming? Hilton Collier of Pakihiroa Farms, owned by Ngati Porou, talks about their priorities in farming and how decisions are made based on five pou. AgResearch Māori Agribusiness Kaiurungi, Chris Koroheke, discusses what working in Māoridom involves.