The event was attended by Synlait Chief Executive Officer Grant Watson, members of Synlait’s executive team, the Synlait Farmer Leadership Team farmer suppliers and Massey sciences staff.
Synlait is a milk nutrition company combining expert farming with state-of-the-art processing to produce nutritional milk products for global customers that provide health and wellbeing benefits. It employs more than one thousand people in Canterbury, Pokeno, Auckland, Palmerston North and China.
In March 2018, Synlait opened its Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North, a partnership with Massey University.
The Palmerston North Research and Development team is based in Massey University’s Riddet Complex and primarily concentrate on innovative liquid dairy product development, as well as supporting processes and technology. When the partnership began in 2018, Synlait had five staff members based at Massey. This number has since grown to 19, with Massey graduates among them.
College of Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ray Geor says the relationship between Synlait and Massey is an excellent example of industry and the university collaborating to achieve real, concrete outcomes.
“Massey’s history is steeped in examples of industry collaboration. Our founders, including Professor William Riddet, worked closely on critical research with the dairy industry. The Massey ethos to work collaboratively has endured for nearly 100 years. This tradition continues to go from strength to strength. The College of Sciences is delighted to celebrate this significant partnership milestone with Synlait. We look forward to identifying more ways we can work together in this crucial area of New Zealand’s economy.”
The partnership has also led to internship opportunities for Massey students studying towards a Bachelor of Food Technology with Honours. Synlait Food Technologist Zara Beckinsale completed such an internship during her fourth year project, which then turned into a full-time role with the company.
Synlait Chief Executive Officer Grant Watson says, “Synlait’s long-term relationship with Massey is a terrific example of how industry and universities can work together to create tangible outcomes for customers and consumers. Our UHT cream product developed at Synlait’s Massey site is now exported to China and used by Foodservice professionals. This is a perfect example of this partnership coming to life.”
Head of School of Food and Advanced Technology Professor Julian Heyes is happy that the university has been able to support Synlait as their work has progressed through product development to sensory science.
“The School of Food and Advanced Technology’s research strengths align well with Synlait’s needs and they have been able to access our specialist knowledge.
“This has been a mutually beneficial relationship, with interesting joint projects requiring troubleshooting from both sides. We have been grateful for the new technology installed in our FoodPilot, which has been made available for our staff and students when not in dedicated use by Synlait. We have also appreciated the direct interaction with technical experts from the Synlait Dunsandel plant. There are clear areas for potential expansion in our collaboration, given our joint interests in all matters relating to increasing on-farm sustainability and sustainable food production.”
Food tech grad making a career out of milk
Food technologist Zara Beckingsale, Ngāpuhi, Tūhoe, picked her career out of a book, despite never having heard of the job before.
Synlait welcomed to Manawatū campus
Synlait Palmerston North was officially opened last week on Massey University's Manawatū campus.