NZ Blackcurrant Co-Operative Ltd (NZBC) – Meeting Asian Demand for an Active Lifestyle

This story was showcased in our 2019/20 Annual Report

AGMARDT funding is helping The NZ Blackcurrant Co-operative (NZBC) in its drive to establish a new high value market position for its blackberry ingredients.

Blackcurrants are the most researched berry in the world, with numerous established health benefits. However, international brand owners negatively perceived this as being “good for everything” with limited consumer resonance.

Existing messaging of competing berries that currently hold a dominant market share, is that their health benefits are mediated by their antioxidant anthocyanins entering the body’s circulation and acting directly as antioxidants. Recent research by Plant & Food Research (PFR) has revealed a new mechanism of action for NZ blackcurrants, suggesting that their health benefits are mediated by their anthocyanins adapting the body’s own antioxidant, inflammatory, immune and energy pathways for a more active and healthier body.  This gives NZBC the opportunity to turn international brand owner’s criticism into a significant strength and will provide them with novel health benefit messaging in the market.

ADAPTIVE™ was chosen as a trademark to tell the story of the mechanism by which blackcurrants deliver their health benefits, with imagery of the unique combination of red cyanidin and blue delphinidin anthocyanins giving the characteristic dark purple colouring of blackcurrants.  Canterbury is the best geographic area in the World to grow blackcurrants to maximise this unique anthocyanin delivery.

NZBC aspirations are for ADAPTIVE™ New Zealand blackcurrant ingredients to be recognised by international brands as the world’s best for health product development to consumers.

Next steps will be to license ADAPTIVE™ as a trustmark to identified international brands incorporating the existing sustainable and safely-farmed blackcurrant ingredients supported by science from PFR. The commercial opportunity to increase value and volume is significant.

Developing a consensus by a wide range of NZ and international stakeholders has been difficult and is a constant work in progress. Momentum during Covid-19 has also been difficult as all companies, including market partners, are contending with new challenges.

 “AGMARDT funding provided NZBC and PRF the ability to spend extended time in the market to secure agreement and investment to develop an initial execution structure for ADAPTIVE™ New Zealand blackcurrant promotion in Japan. It also provided the focus to build a consensus on market-led messaging and develop a supporting collaboration agreement with PFR.”