Swiss food and drink company Nestlé has acquired FERRI PRO technology, which is developed by New Zealand scientists to allow the company to address iron deficiency.

The technology has been developed by Massey University researchers at the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) hosted in the Manawatū campus.

FERRI PRO technology has been developed to address iron deficiency without affecting the taste of food and beverages.

Riddet Institute director Harjinder Singh, who led the research team, said:The technology was developed to help to address the world’s most important nutritional deficiency, with over 1.6 billion people suffering from iron deficiency anaemia.

“But our goal was to not only address iron deficiency, but address it without impacting the product quality. So, we developed a novel protein-iron complex using food-grade materials and a unique processing method.

“We will have access to an innovative technology that enables us to effectively fortify our foods and beverages without compromising the quality and taste.”

“The complex has substantially superior functionality compared with other products in the market. It provides advantages over other sources of iron present in foods, including ferrous sulphate, the recognised leading iron supplement.”

Nestlé head of nutrition, health and wellness Petra Klassen Wigger said: “At Nestlé we believe that we have a key role to play in support of global efforts to tackle the burden of micronutrient deficiencies.

“Through this collaboration with Massey University, we will have access to an innovative technology that enables us to effectively fortify our foods and beverages without compromising the quality and taste.”

Commercialisation and technology transfer will be taken up through Massey Ventures, a fully owned subsidiary of Massey University.

Massey vice-chancellor Jan Thomas said: “The deal builds upon Massey’s reputation for world-class research by attracting the attention of the largest food company to solve a major global health problem.

“We’re excited about the future potential of the strong working relationship we have developed with Nestlé, and their interest in the food science and nutrition research capability at Massey and the Riddet Institute.”