The New Zealand Government will invest up to $21m over the next five years to set up a “food innovation network” of four food and beverage development centres in the country.

The regional centres at Manukau, Hamilton, Palmerston North, and Lincoln will help companies develop new food and beverage ingredients and consumer products.

The Lincoln centre in Canterbury will focus on plant-based ingredients and consumer food products, the government said.

Manukau will focus on processed foods while the Waikato facility will work on meat-based products and dairy ingredients.

Palmerston North will engage in food research and training food technologists to strengthen connections between research and the industry.