Plant and Food Research
‘Human health science to support new functional foods from berryfruit – our targets, approach and insights’.
To secure a premium market position for a food, one of the most popular strategies is to claim an intrinsic human health-promoting ability. Fruits in general have an inherent natural ‘health halo’ with some fruit often classed as ‘superfruits’ and/or ‘functional foods’ because they are rich sources of different bioactive substances that can provide human health benefits beyond just their nutritional content. A lot of marketing emphasis has been placed on antioxidant activity of fruit compounds for health but unfortunately this mode of action is not well supported by science. In recent years other mechanisms are being revealed that can explain why fruits and their compounds are healthy. Dr Roger Hurst, Science Group Leader and Principal Scientist with Plant and Food Research, leads a team of researchers focused upon providing health science evidence to support the development of new fruit food products – especially berryfruit. Roger will present on the teams strategic targets, their multi-pronged approach to building the science evidence from chemistry, cell screening to human clinical studies and will give insights into key data from various berryfruits that is leading to the creation of new and improved berryfruit-derived functional food opportunities in NZ and Asia.
Dr Hurst has a biomedical health background through a career at the University of Toronto, Canada ; the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK ; and the Institute of Neurology, London, UK. Since joining Plant & Food Research (2007) he has developed an interest in phytochemical compounds and their role in modulating oxidative stress, inflammation, and immunity to aid tissue recovery and repair. He has published over 90 scientific manuscripts.