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NMI supports the development of a new high-carotene pumpkin variety

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3 November 2020

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) offers a wide range of food nutritional, safety and antioxidant analysis services.

NMI’s various clients seek their advice and capabilities to assist with:

  • product development
  • marketing
  • labelling
  • compliance

Their client base consists of large national and multinational food producers and retailers. It also includes small to medium enterprises (SMEs). SME needs can vary from domestic and export compliance, to innovation and new product development.

A recent example of NMI’s support for innovation in the agriculture sector is related to the development of a new Australian-grown pumpkin variety called ‘Orange Glow’.

Daintree Fresh, a SME agricultural producer, first approached NMI in 2012. They asked NMI to test regular pumpkin varieties currently in the market for their primary nutritional properties.

In March 2019, they again approached NMI seeking advice on the appropriate scope of testing to demonstrate the safety, quality and unique nutritional characteristics of their new pumpkin variety.

In July this year, Daintree Fresh submitted their new crop of pumpkins to NMI.

Testing of this new pumpkin showed very high levels of beta-carotene, compared to regular pumpkin varieties like butternut and Jarrahdale. The high beta-carotene content is the reason for its vibrant colour. Hence the name Orange Glow.

Depending on the season and degree of ripeness, the beta-carotene levels appear to be anywhere from 2 to up to 4 times greater than in regular varieties.
With the help of NMI’s expertise in food analysis, Orange Glow is now in its marketing and distribution phase.

Orange Glow is promoted as a new superfood. It is easier to cut and contains fewer seeds than other pumpkins. Restaurants in particular have shown a keen interest in the product.

Daintree Fresh is now liaising with other pumpkin producers about the potential for expanded, year-round production.

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