Funding for a summer intern enabled one of New Zealand’s largest beef jerky manufacturers, ANZCO Gourmet Foods, to solve a manufacturing challenge.

Nick Walker, a Bachelor of Food Technology (Process Engineering) student studying at Massey University spent his summer break in Taranaki, working as an intern for one of New Zealand’s largest beef jerky manufacturers, ANZCO Gourmet Foods, located in Waitara. 

During his three-month internship, Nick was tasked with investigating how ANZCO can achieve a more consistent and improved cooking cycle for their beef jerky products.

“I really enjoyed working at ANZCO and being able to apply course work into real world practice.  The project allowed me to research all sorts of elements that make up the cooking of jerky, like marination time, different binding ingredients and oven placement,” says Nick. 

He enjoyed the aspect of putting forward engineering ideas to help solve real life issues. “It feels good to know that I helped them solve some issues and improve the cooking cycle,” says Nick. 

In addition to his assigned project, Nick was also invited to be involved in other opportunities.  “While I was on my placement I got involved in learning the electronic interface for their new ovens, along with new product development and sensory testing,” he says. 

Nick is about to embark on his final year at university, which will be project based.  “Massey University has arranged for my 4th year project to be done with a Hawera-based business.  So I am looking forward to adding value to another company in Taranaki,” says Nick. 

Jacques Jordaan, ANZCO’s Operation Manager, says having an intern funded by Callaghan Innovation enabled staff to be more effectively positioned.  “Having a dedicated resource freed up other staff and allowed Nick to focus on a successful outcome.  This equated to an immediate saving to the business of approx. $20,000” says Jacques.  

ANZCO believes it is important to support the development of students and the R&D Experience grant they received was of benefit to them.

“Students have a willingness to learn and develop their skills in the real world. They can also provide a fresh approach and add value in areas of a business that may not have been explored due to lack of resources,” says Jacques. 

To find out more about the R&D Experience grant email R&D@venture.org.nz or phone (06) 759 5150.