Plant & Food Research

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Plant & Food Research
Rangahau Ahumāra Kai
Plant & Food Research logo.svg
Agency overview
Preceding agency
Headquarters120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham, Auckland
Agency executives
  • David Hughes, CEO
  • Michael Ahie, Chairman

Plant & Food Research (Māori: Rangahau Ahumāra Kai) is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute (CRI). Its purpose is to enhance the value and productivity of New Zealand's horticultural, arable, seafood and food & beverage industries. The interests of the institute are based in horticulture, arable and seafood research, specifically in the areas of sustainable production, bioprotection, elite genetics & intelligent breeding, food and health science and biomaterials.[1][2]

The institute was formed on 1 December 2008 by merging existing CRIs HortResearch and Crop and Food Research.[3] Plant & Food has over 900 staff based at sites throughout New Zealand as well as science and business development staff working in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Areas of Research[edit]


New and novel plant varieties – Pipfruit, kiwifruit, stonefruit, berries, potatoes, brassicas, onions, peas, cereals, hops and ornamentals.

Conventional breeding – Over 300 hectares of research orchards and farms across New Zealand plus unique germplasm collections for key crops.

Functional genomics – Molecular biology, genetic mapping, marker assisted selection, bioinformatics, metabolic profiling.

Consumer and producer trait targets – Health, colour, texture, flavour, storage, flowering, shape, dwarfing, pest and disease resistance.


Smart packaging – Biosensors and consumer-friendly packaging including ripeSense, now marketed by Ripesense Limited.

Environmentally friendly pest and disease treatments and grading technologies – Heat treatment (water or air) for insect disinfestation or pathogen reduction. Near Infra-Red (NIR) and non-destructive firmness grading technologies.

Hi-tech storage – Modified atmosphere storage plus novel temperature manipulations and optimisation. Controlled atmosphere storage including dynamic CA storage.

Ripening control and monitoring – Ethylene treatments (pre-ripening or conditioning), Ethylene antagonists SmartFresh .

Freshcut innovation – Technology that supports fresh-cut solutions with added food safety.

Sustainability & Bioprotection

Carbon efficiency – Whole lifecycle analysis for key crops including kiwifruit and wine.

Soil ecology – Soil and water management and modelling. Risk assessment.

Crop management tools – Software tools that optimise inputs and interventions. CropLogic Potato Calculator and Spray Plan Manager.

Integrated pest and disease management – IPM and IFP systems.

Pollination – Artificial pollination, honeybee ecology, varroa mite resistance and natural varroa controls.

Non-chemical pest and disease control – Biocontrols, pheromone-based insect mating disruption and trapping, Sterile Insect Technique.

Insect biology - Biology, life history, behaviour and ecology of insects and mites.

Food & Health

Functional foods – Plant-based foods and food ingredients that offer consumers health benefits beyond basic nutrition.

Superfruits and high health vegetable cultivars – New, novel, natural plant cultivars with enhanced levels of health-promoting compounds.

Nutrigenomics and gastronomics – Customised foods tailored to the needs of individuals based on their genetic profile.

Sensory evaluation – Understanding and predicting future global consumer, market and technology trends through research into consumer behaviour and preferences.

High value seafoods – New harvesting, postharvest, processing and storage technologies that improve the texture, taste and shelf life of key finfish, shellfish and crustacean species.


  1. ^ "The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Ltd". The Treasury. 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, New Zealand". Directory of Official Information. Ministry of Justice. 2013.
  3. ^ Mapp, Wayne (1 December 2008). "Minister welcomes new Crown Research Institute" (Press release).

External links[edit]