Food materials science research

We aim to extend knowledge of how processing and ingredient functionality drive the assembly of structured foods with well-defined properties and explore how the dynamic breakdown of food materials in the mouth and digestive tract contributes to sensory perception and nutrient absorption.

We are involved in a number of significant funded partnerships, including Riddet CoRE, the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, Food Industry Enabling Technology and the Fonterra-Primary Growth Partnership. We also work closely with industry partners to support the development of added-value food products through iterative structure design.


Food colloids under a microscope

Food colloids and interfaces

Our expertise extends from the development of fundamental understanding of colloidal phenomena through to the assembly of tailored colloidal structures in food products with specific functionality.

This encompasses research relating to interfacial absorption and surface assembly, emulsion systems, foams and dispersions.


Biopolymer systems

Our work on biopolymer systems aims to provide an iterative approach to the utilisation of raw materials in food product design. Our expertise employs a 'molecules to materials' approach in determining how biopolymer structures and interactions are able to contribute to the assembly and associated functionality of multi-composite food structures.


Milk powder with scoop

Ingredient functionality

We work to understand how particular food ingredient properties can be most effectively utilised as part of food formulation and processing, in order to produce foods with requisite product characteristics.

This includes developing novel approaches for the manipulation of ingredient or additive functionality to deliver targeted product outcomes, such as cost reduction, quality enhancement, or clean label design.


Casein molecules

Structure design and properties

Our expertise focuses on understanding, characterising and ultimately controlling the dynamic behaviours of food materials during manufacture and consumption as part of designing food structures capable of delivering industry or consumer requirements.


Differential Scanning Calorimeter

Food characterisation

We maintain a well-equipped laboratory of tools and techniques for food ingredient and product characterisation, with particular focus on rheology and materials testing, but also extending into surface characterisation and supporting analytical services. 



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 Food Innovation.  

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


Ingredient functionality: Extracting the best out of Mamaku gum 

Mamuku gum Mamaku gum is a polysaccharide with unique rheological properties at the shear rates in the stomach. This viscoelastic gum is extracted from the fronds of the native New Zealand black tree fern (well known as mamaku in Te Reo Māori). After studying this gum for over 10 years, we have recently shown that mamaku delays gastric emptying, temporarily reduce food intake and induce a short-term reduction in weight gain, presumably due to its rheological properties.

The shear thickening properties of this polysaccharide could also create difficulties when processing it at commercial scale. This is further complicated by the temperature sensitivity of Mamaku since processing for any length of time at temperatures above 70ºC results in some degree of irreversible shear thickening loss.

Additionally, concentrated Mamaku gum presents a choking hazard when consumed—as the solution would thicken when swallowed forming a clump in the oesophagus—due to its shear thickening properties. In order to create a safe food ingredient, encapsulation principles can be utilized.

Master’s student Rebecca Tresidder is working to design encapsulated Mamaku that can be liberated in the stomach, allowing the shear thickening properties to reform, which ideally will delay gastric emptying, providing a functional benefit. This unique plant-derived product could be hugely beneficial to the New Zealand economy, as it is extracted from our native tree fern.


Matt Golding Food materials team leader
Professor Matt Golding

Professor Golding leads the food materials science group at Massey.

He is also the Chair of the Fonterra-PGP Chair of Food Materials Science in the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain (TDVC) Primary Growth Partnership programme. The programme aims to enable the creation of new dairy products, increase on-farm productivity, reduce environmental impacts, and improve agricultural education.

Food materials staff

  • Dr Ashling Ellis

    Dr Ashling Ellis

    Research Officer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Associate Professor Kim Tha Kelvin Goh

    Associate Professor Kim Tha Kelvin Goh

    Academic Director, Singapore - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Prof Matt Golding

    Prof Matt Golding

    Professor in Food Colloids - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Sung Je Lee

    Dr Sung Je Lee

    Senior Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Wensheng Lim

    Wensheng Lim

    Lecturer - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Dr Lara Matia-Merino

    Dr Lara Matia-Merino

    Senior Lecturer in Food Rheology and Colloid Science/Tech - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


  • Michelle Tamehana

    Michelle Tamehana

    Technician - Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology


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