New Zealand optimises its natural conditions – fertile land, temperate climate, space to grow or graze – with experience, expertise, and safe, sustainable production to produce quality foods and beverages. The result is some of the best-tasting dairy, meat, seafood, fresh produce and wine the world has to offer. Food production and manufacturing is an integral part of New Zealand’s economy, comprising nearly half its total exports.

New Zealand is also at the forefront of future foods, with an innovation network driving the development of bioactives and functional foods that provide a positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.

Sector Highlights

Food technology

New Zealand's food technology innovation started in 1882, with the export of the first-ever shipment of frozen meat to London. Since then, its pioneering developments range from plant and animal breeding, to mechanised cheese making, spreadable butter, world-leading membrane separation technology, and meat processing robotics.
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Current advances in functional foods include: investigating the high concentrations of bioactives in New Zealand-grown blackcurrants for their positive effects on muscle repair; and the creation of Amarasate, a natural extract of New Zealand hops, that has potential as a supplement to reduce appetite/increase satiety for future use in the management of obesity.


Future foods infrastructure

New Zealand was an early adopter of Food Science and Technology, introducing its first university degree in the subject in 1961. Six of New Zealand’s eight universities now offer courses in the sector, turning out product development technologists, sensory scientists, food chemists and microbiologists.
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The food and beverage sector benefits from more than half a billion dollars a year spent on agri-food research across a wide range of areas, from fruit genetics to nutraceuticals, the development of value-added products, to novel food processing procedures. Food research is supported by four Crown Research Institutes and government-funded Centres of Research Excellence.

“There’s no doubt New Zealand is at the cutting-edge of research in the food industry, both in converting produce and raw materials into good food, but also making sure our foodstuffs are high quality, sustainable, and safe.” - Anne Scott, President of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST)



New Zealand is the world’s top dairy exporter, accounting for one-third of international dairy trade. Much more than just milk, innovation has ensured there are now more than 100 categories on offer, from gourmet ice-cream to spray-dried milk proteins and infant formula produced from goat milk.
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The Fonterra Research and Development Centre (FRDC) in Palmerston North is one of the largest research facilities in the world dedicated to dairy, heralding more than 90 years of dairy R&D in New Zealand. Its dairy science is creating products that help reduce the risk of allergies, boost immunity and address bone health.

“Fonterra Research and Development Centre is home to many of the world’s leading experts in dairy. We have more than 280 researchers, engineers and scientists from 46 different countries, with more than 100 PhDs, and over 3,500 years of combined dairy experience.

“Over the last decade our farmer owners have invested more than a billion dollars to help us turn dairy dreams into reality and keep our Co-op on the cutting edge of global dairy development.”
- Mark Piper, Fonterra’s Group Director R&D



New Zealand’s wine industry is young, but fast-growing and flourishing. New Zealand is the third biggest wine importer into the United States after France and Italy, and New Zealand wine is in good shape to achieve $2 billion of exports by 2020.Read more

Some 700 wineries from sub-tropical Northland to snowy Central Otago are producing high-end wine, from internationally-renowned Sauvignon Blanc, to leading Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and other varietals like Syrah.

The New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre in Marlborough is providing world-leading research, with current projects investigating vineyard ecology, and the production of lower alcohol/lower calorie wines.

“The New Zealand wine story continues to be an incredibly positive one for the industry and New Zealand as a whole. Our reputation as a premium wine producer and marketer of the first rank is growing on the world stage and increasingly New Zealand wines are in the ‘must stock’ category.” - Philip Gregan, CEO New Zealand Winegrowers

Bring your next high value food and wine conference to New Zealand

To enquire about having your business event in New Zealand please feel free to contact me.

Leonie Ashford

Leonie Ashford

Business Events Bid Manager

New Zealand

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