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Pure Heart Aotearoa: Helping New Zealand take on the hemp industry

This article was published on Aug 16, 2023, 2:22 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

With New Zealand Food Innovation Network at their side, iwi-owned Pure Heart Aotearoa has been able to test and prove a ready-to-drink hemp milk. A multi-billion dollar industry full of potential awaits.

What's in this article

    At a glance

    • Looking to capitalise on a multi-billion dollar industry, Pure Heart Aotearoa has produced a ready-to-drink hemp milk to sit alongside their other products, such as hemp oil.
    • By utilising the hubs at Callaghan Innovation’s New Zealand Food Innovation Network, Pure Heart Aotearoa have been able to test and prove their product, ready for launch.

    “Without New Zealand Food Innovation Network, I struggle to think how we would have achieved any of this.”

    Adam Webster, Marketing Manager, Pure Heart Aotearoa

    Putting hemp at the heart of operations

    In New Zealand, hemp may be a fledgling industry but, based on its ability to improve both the environment and the economy, it’s an industry packed with potential.

    Pure Heart Aotearoa has been looking to quickly tap into that potential with investment in science, process and intellectual property helping them produce and commercialise superior hemp food and beverages. 

    Particularly, the Dannevirke-based iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tāmaki nui-a-Rua, is set to launch a ready-to-drink hemp milk that it will push into the rapidly-growing Asia Pacific market, looking to take their share of the $15 billion plant-based milk alternatives global market. 

    End-to-end help from Callaghan Innovation

    With their own hemp oil already doing big things, the iwi turned their sights to hemp milk and started working with FoodPilot, a hub run by Callaghan Innovation’s New Zealand Food Innovation Network.

    “The R&D process is expensive, but it’s an essential investment and working with FoodPilot gave us the level of expertise we needed to achieve the results we wanted,” Marketing Manager Adam Webster explains.

    “New Zealand Food Innovation Network are also so connected with every part of the food industry, that everything could be accessed through them. They are all so professional and we never had to worry about protecting our intellectual property,” Webster adds.

    After FoodPilot, Pure Heart Aotearoa headed into the FoodBowl hub allowing the company to get established and prove their product in-market before investing in their own processing plant.

    Webster says the process of working with New Zealand Food Innovation Network has given them continuity throughout all stages of the process. “From heading into FoodPilot to be introduced to the science and technology and being able to be hands on with them, through to the final testing and then scale-up at The FoodBowl, we now feel better placed to make the large investment into our own production facility.”

    In fact, the iwi had already established a relationship with a Chinese company, which will eventually allow them to build a state-of-the-art processing facility in the Tararua region. This will inject much-needed jobs into the area, which is a big tick from the iwi who are a non-profit, committed to building their community.

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