Nutrition & Health Science

Zespri invests considerably in Health & Nutrition research in three core areas of: Digestive health, Vitamin C health and Nutrient richness. We do not have in-house research facilities, so this work is undertaken through research partners in New Zealand and overseas and is co-ordinated by our Health & Nutrition Innovation Leader, Dr Juliet Ansell. The reason we invest in scientific research is to provide the data we need to substantiate our health communications in our many markets. At Zespri we believe in the integrity of our product and in-order to build trust with our loyal consumers, we know the importance of demonstrating the scientific efficacy of our kiwifruit.

SRSA Steering Group

In 2008, Zespri set up an expert group of leading scientists and nutritionists to steer our work on new health and nutrition projects. The Strategic Research and Scientific Advisory Board (SRSA) meets each quarter at the Riddet Institute in New Zealand to consider existing and new projects for scientific merit and strategic fit, presented by Zespri’s specialist team. The composition of the steering group has been carefully put together to cover the range of activities that we are working in, such as laboratory based research, animal model research and human clinical trials. As an example, Professor Richard Gearry, a Gastroenterologist was recently brought on-board for his expertise and assistance on global clinical trials in the area of digestive health. Our Research Pipeline outlines our planning and review process.


  • Dr Juliet Ansell

    Dr Juliet Ansell

    DPhil (Oxon): Innovation Leader Health & Nutrition at Zespri International Ltd

    ​Juliet is based in New Zealand and joined Zespri in July 2014. Prior to that she was an academic research scientist for 20 years working in the field of human health and nutrition. Juliet has a BSc from Kings College London and a doctorate from Oxford University, UK.


    Dr Abby Thompson

    PhD, BTech: Director of Riddet Innovation at Massey University

    Abby's research experience ranges from food science to clinical nutrition, and she has an awareness of farming practices, marketing, consumer science and public health. This provides her with a valuable perspective on the AgriFood value chain. Part of her current role is the day-to-day oversight of large collaborative research programmes led by the Riddet Institute involving key strategic partners, including Zespri. She is also responsible for leading the food innovation, commercialisation and business development activities within MIFST.
  • Lynley Drummond

    Lynley Drummond

    BSc, Strategy, Innovation & Science advisor at Drummond Food Advisory Ltd

    ​Lynley has extensive experience in the food industry and in her nutrition and regulatory expertise is crucial for the current clinical trial projects.


    Dr Jocelyn Eason

    BSc, PhD, MBA: General Manager Food Innovation at Plant & Food Research

    ​Jocelyn is responsible for the management of 130 scientists in the food innovation area. Jocelyn is also involved in science investment strategy for government and commercially funded research and is a member of several science leadership boards for NZ based research (High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, and Food HQ-NZ).

  • Professor Richard Gearry

    Professor Richard Gearry

    MBChB, FRACP, PhD: Professor of Medicine at the University of Otago

    Luminal Gastroenterologist & Therapeutic Endoscopist. ​Richard is Professor of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch and Consultant Gastroenterologist at Christchurch Hospital and in Private Practice. His primary research interests are in luminal gastroenterology, particularly inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. He an experienced clinical trialist and enjoys translational research.

  • Carol Ward

    Carol Ward

    ​General Manager Marketing at Zespri International Ltd

    Carol is responsible for steering the marketing team, developing strategic initiatives to grow consumer demand for Zespri Kiwifruit, based on deep consumer insight. Carol has been based in Taiwan since 2013, and has been with Zespri for 12 years with roles in marketing, Planning and Supply Manager, Director Corporate and Grower Services and GM Marketing. Prior to working in the kiwifruit industry, Carol held a variety of marketing and sales roles at Carter Holt Harvey Tissues and divisional management roles at Hanimex (NZ) Limited and New Zealand Dairy Foods.

  • Dr Veronique Parmentier

    Dr Veronique Parmentier

    BSc, PhD: Global Health Marketing Manager at Zespri international Ltd

    ​Veronique leads Zespri’s global consumer research to understand brand awareness, consumption frequency and drivers, which health benefits that resonate with consumers and what motivates our target groups and turns them into regular kiwifruit consumers.
    Based in Europe, Véronique is also the link between science, innovation, research partners and Zespri’s in-market teams. She started at Zespri in 1998 in the European marketing team. Véronique graduated in 1994 as bio-engineer at KULeuven (the University of Leuven in Belgium) and has a PhD in applied biological sciences, specialising in kiwifruit ripening.

  • David P. Richardson

    David P. Richardson

    BSc, MSc, PhD, FIFST, FRSM: ​Specialist Consultant in Nutrition & Food Science

    Previous roles as Group Chief Scientist Nestle UK Ltd, Accredited nutritionist, member of many government, regulatory and industrial committees in UK and EU and Fellow Royal Society of Medicine, London.

  • Distinguished Professor P J Moughan

    Distinguished Professor P J Moughan

    BAgrSc (Hons), PhD, DSc, Hon DSc, FRSNZ, FRSC: Co-director of Riddet Institute at Massey University

    ​Prof. Moughan was appointed to the foundation chair in monogastric biology at Massey University in 1993 and his research has encompassed the fields of human and animal nutrition, food chemistry, functional foods, mammalian growth biology and digestive physiology. Professor Moughan sits on a number of editorial boards for scientific journals and is an adviser to the international food industry.


Clinical Trials Management

Although all projects pass by the SRSA board for scientific merit and strategic fit, the ongoing clinical trial project management and trouble shooting is carried out by a smaller team. This consists primarily of Professor David Richardson, Lynley Drummond and Dr Juliet Ansell with principle investigators for each country involved in protocol development and ongoing trial management.

Both Professor Fukudo and Professor Barbara sit on the Rome Foundation Committee. In addition to developing the Rome Criteria for diagnosing Functional GI Disorders (FGIDs), the Rome Foundation appoints working teams that address other complex issues in the field. International senior-level members who are directly involved in and who have published work in the topic areas are chosen to develop a summary of the research and literature to-date, and then offer guidelines or recommendations to help advance future research. Teams then develop a manuscript for publishing in a peer-reviewed journal.

Zespri is extremely fortunate to have such a respected, expert team of principal investigators working together on the Global Clinical Trials project.

  • Professor Fukudo

    Professor Fukudo

    Principle Investigator

    Professor Shin Fukudo from Tohoku University in Japan

  • Professor Gearry

    Professor Gearry

    Principal Investigator

    ​Professor Richard Gearry for New Zealand

  • Professor Giovanni Barbara

    Professor Giovanni Barbara

    Principal Investigator

    ​rofessor Giovanni Barbara from Bologna University in Italy


Research Partners

Zespri has established a number of research partnerships in New Zealand and internationally, who provide world class input into nutrition and health science.