Natural industry awards its leaders at New Zealand Natural Products Summit

Natural industry awards its leaders at New Zealand Natural Products Summit

The leaders of the natural products industry were recognized at the 10th Natural Products Summit in Nelson.

The leaders of the natural products industry were recognized at the 10th Natural Products Summit in Nelson.

The annual awards, held by Natural Products New Zealand and sponsored by, James & Wells Intellectual Property and the Cawthron Institute, acknowledge individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Dunedin functional food ingredient developers and marketers, (From Left to Right) : Dr Chris Boalch, NZ Trade & Enterprise; Dr Andrew Sansom, Chief Scientific Officer of Seperex Nutritionals;  Phil Rasmussen of Phytomed; Dr Wendy Maddocks-Jennings of MJ Health; Jo Singer who accepted the award for Christine Acres of Seadragon Marine award for Outstanding Contribution ; Paul O’Brien, CEO of EasiYo and Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Natural Products NZ.Seperex Nutritionals was recognized for its outstanding achievements at the Natural Products NZ industry awards night in Nelson.

Seperex Nutritionals received the Cawthron Innovation in Science & Technology Award for the research and development innovations for two bioactive marine extracts, BioLex® and BioLex-Plus®, which have attracted substantial global interest.

Two proprietary manufacturing processes were developed to extract high levels of several novel anti-inflammatory/analgesic compounds from New Zealand green lipped mussels which can be used for joint mobility and pain management as well as alleviating the symptoms of eczema and dermatitis.

The development of BioLex® was completed in 2010 following an intensive research and development programme involving a number of leading New Zealand research organisations over six years.

Seperex Nutritionals developed methods to separate and concentrate bioactive lipids while maintaining bioactivity. The company tested their methods in pilot scale and successfully scaled up production to commercial scale. Over the past 12 months, a significant quantity of the bioactive ingredients has been exported.

North Harbour‘s EasiYo Products Ltd, was recognized for its outstandingachievements at the Natural Products NZ industry annual awards held in Nelson.

EasiYo, the biggest homemade yoghurt brand in the world, received the Natural Products NZ Exporter of the Year Award for the impressive export success in the face of last year’s globally challenging business environment.

Twenty years ago, EasiYo was started in a North Shore garage by a schoolteacher who wanted to provide nutritional and economical food for his children.

Now, 75% of the company’s products, totaling $23m, are exported to Australia, the USA, the United Kingdom, Asia and most recently, Italy. Despite increased milk powder prices and currency devaluation EasiYo has seen an export growth of 19% in GB Pounds over the last year, which is attributed to a significant expansion of the Foodservice Division, supported by brand investment.

Palmerston North based skin care company, MJ Health Ltd, was recognized for its outstanding achievements at the Natural Products NZ annual industry awards night in Nelson.

MJ Health received the James & Wells Intellectual Property Excellence in Marketing Award for its Dr Wendy’s 100% botanical skin care range, New Zealand’s only completely plant based natural skin care product, which is commercially available and exported.

For a minimal investment, MJ Health achieved significant growth (20%) in sales based on an intensive social media marketing campaign.

Five years ago, Dr Wendy Maddocks-Jennings began creating an organic, botanical skincare range in her kitchen. She developed allergies and skin sensitivities through being exposed to harsh chemicals in hospitals and initially created natural products for her own use. Dr Wendy’s skin care range is now exported to four countries with interest from two others.

Dr Wendy Maddocks-Jennings says that from a small business perspective using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs has enabled the company to reach into its key markets—UK, Hong Kong and Malaysia—to access more customers than they would not have otherwise connected with.

Phil Rasmussen was recognized for his outstanding contribution to the New Zealand natural products industry at the Natural Products NZ Awards night in Nelson last week.

Pharmacist and practicing medical herbalist for 18 years, Phil Rasmussen is managing director of Phytomed Medicinal Herbs, which produces premium herbal medicines for qualified health practitioners.

Phil started the business, which makes herbal extracts including ones from New Zealand natives, in his back yard in 2001. The business grew from one shed to two, then a caravan and another shed, and Phil realized the demand for quality—and where possible, certified organic—herbal tinctures was high and a plant manufacturing to Good Manufacturing Practice standards was required so the business moved to their current location where it employs 18 people. Phytomed’s retail brand Kiwiherb has been exported to the United Kingdom for the last eight years.

Phil is dedicated to increasing the amount of local raw materials used by New Zealand manufacturers and has supported local growers, wild-harvesters and farmers to grow the body of primary producers who supply the natural products industry.

As a committee member for the NZ Association of Medical Herbalists, Phil has spent many years committed to assisting the development of the industry.

“Despite the ongoing challenges with the New Zealand and international economies the natural products industry in New Zealand continues to thrive and its companies such as Seperex Nutritionals, EasiYo, M J Health and Phil Rasmussen highlight the determination, dedication and application of innovation in the industry.

“The natural products industry has undergone much change and growth in the past few years even in the face of a global economic crisis and is now a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy with export earnings of an estimated NZ$1billion annually.

“Greater than NZ’s organics and biotechnology sectors combined, the NZ natural products/bioactives industry is now even larger than the NZ wool industry,” says Mrs Palmer.

The Industry Awards capped off the tenth annual NZ Natural Products Summit and was attended by natural health specialists, research organizations, government agencies, big and small manufacturers and marketers including brand leaders like Healtheries, Comvita, Red Seal, Blackmores, Manuka Health, and Lifestream International.

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