Prime Minister John Key launched the Food Innovation New Zealand (FINZ) initiative in Palmerston North today - and a special beer was made for his visit.

FINZ, a collaboration between Massey University, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Fonterra, the Bio Commerce Centre and the Riddet Institute, was created to support the agri-food industry to perform better in domestic and international markets.

FINZ was the largest collaboration of food innovation experts in the southern hemisphere and aimed to increase sector exports to $40 million in the next 10 years.

Massey vice chancellor Steve Maharey said New Zealand could help to produce more high quality food and "contribute to feeding the world in a sustainable way".

"We know that in order to generate the most added value, we need to draw upon the best science has to offer."

Meanwhile, fourth-year food technology student Michael Farrugia brewed a special beer for Mr Key's visit to launch FINZ.

He created the dark wheat beer in Massey's Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health microbrewery.

Mr Farrugia said the beer had characteristics of banana and cloves.

"I also used a dark, heavily roasted barley and chocolate wheat that should give the beer chocolate and caramel undertones."

- NZPA