Food processing and engineering research

Food engineering research at Massey University focuses upon the design and optimisation of processes and equipment used to make foods. Research methods include the construction and analysis of prototype and pilot-scale equipment and the formulation and solution of mathematical models of equipment and processes.


Cross section of a feijoa

Food physics

Understanding the molecular drives for chemical and physical changes in foods during processing and storage is vital for good food engineering design. We have a dual-purpose magnetic resonance spectrometry and imaging instrument. This is an ideal technique for monitoring the molecule states in food. We have experience in determining molecular changes in high protein concentration dairy systems during heating and storage (cheeses, milk concentrates and protein bars), protein/carbohydrate and carbohydrate/gum interactions in high concentrations, non-destructive fruit & vegetable analysis and comparing stomach emptying rates in live rats.


Kiwifruit on production line

Post-harvest operations

Our research expertise includes postharvest physiology and quality assessment including assessment of developing technologies for non-destructive measurement of quality. We also work on developing physical, temperature, and quality models. Our staff also have experience in the application of postharvest systems in developing communities and the assessment of nutritional benefits of fresh produce food items.


We have expertise in non-food horticultural products such as ornamental plants, and strong ties to many of New Zealand's leading horticultural businesses. Our experience working in Asia, South America and Europe enables us to collect strong experimental and industrial data.


Turbulent flow in a pipe

Fluid flow

Most food processing requires movement of fluids. Due to their complex structure and composition most food products have a complex, non-Newtonian flow behaviour. Our expertise includes measurement and characterisation of the complex rheology of food products including at very high shear rates, and the modelling and visualisation of fluid flow in complex geometries including inside dispensing systems and inside the digestive tract.


Encapsulation and microfluidics

Wettability, particle to bubble attachment, dynamic absorption at interfaces, interfacial rheology, self-assembly and other interfacial phenomena are the core processes that occur whenever gas-liquid, liquid-liquid, gas-solid-liquid phases are present in a system. This is common in many foods and other materials that are complex mixtures of multiple phases.

Our expertise is in visualisation, characterisation and modelling of the interfacial phenomena which are central to colloids, coalescence, liquid filament breakage, and microfluidic flows.


Refrigeration technology

Refrigeration is an important technique for food preservation and processing, especially for many of New Zealand’s export industries. Our expertise is in linking food quality outcomes to the design and operation of the refrigeration system. We also have expertise in the sustainable design and operation of refrigerated facilities, accounting for total environmental impacts including refrigerant selection and minimising energy use.


Meat on production line ready to be packaged

Meat processing

We have expertise in designing meat processing systems for both human food and pet food.

A particular strength is novel extraction methods.



Massey University has a number of postgraduate qualifications where you can focus on the area of food, including our doctorate programme. Contact someone in the areas of research expertise you are interested in above, or have a look at more detail on our qualifications below.


If you are an individual or business and are looking for advice or consultancy research in any area of food science, food technology or the business of food, please contact Riddet Innovation.  

If your enquiry is particularly related to fresh products after harvest, refrigeration, or nutritional analyses, please use the alternate links below.

Food processing and engineering staff

  • Laurie Favre

    Laurie Favre

    Postdoctoral Fellow : Fruit Ripening Physiology - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Jason Hindmarsh

    Dr Jason Hindmarsh

    Senior Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Patrick Janssen

    Dr Patrick Janssen

    Senior Lecturer in Food Science - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Rachel Liu

    Rachel Liu

    Food Technician - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Richard Love

    Dr Richard Love

    Senior Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Emilia Nowak

    Dr Emilia Nowak

    Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Michael Parker

    Dr Michael Parker

    Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Jaspreet Singh

    Dr Jaspreet Singh

    Senior Research Officer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Associate Professor Marie Wong

    Associate Professor Marie Wong

    Associate Professor - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology

    Programme Director Bachelor of Food Technology - CoS - Administration and Management


  • Alan Wright

    Alan Wright

    Senior Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


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