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Jeanette Rapson, NZ registered dietitian and founder of Early Habits

Massey University PhD student Jeanette Rapson announced as Kiwinet Finalist

3rd August 2021

PhD student Jeanette Rapson, founder of freeze-dried baby food company Early Habits, is recognised as one of sixteen finalists in the 2021 Kiwinet Awards under the 'Momentum Student Entrepreneur' category. The eighth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards are designed to celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation within New Zealand’s universities, Crown Research Institutes and other research organisations.

Massey University PhD student Jeanette Rapson, a registered NZ Dietitian and founder of Early Habits, is an up-and-coming innovator on a mission to help new parents feed their baby nutritious food on-the-go. Through a unique processing method and her deep customer understanding, she will be the first in New Zealand to bring innovative freeze-dried 100% vegetable baby foods to market.

Jeanette’s entrepreneurial journey was kick-started through the 2020 Grand Ideas Competition at Massey University, securing 2nd place for her Early Habits idea. Following this, Jeanette received funding and mentor support through Massey Ventures, taking every opportunity to develop her understanding of business, entrepreneurial networks and give back to the business community. She also pitched her way to success as a finalist in Kiwi Innovate 2020, run by The Factory in Palmerston North – securing a spot on Innovate’s ten-week accelerator programme. Additional support from Momentum and KiwiNet has helped Jeanette realise her passion for innovation and the need to bring her product to life.

Jeanette’s freeze-dried baby food powders contain only vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, beetroot, kūmara, green bean, potato, pumpkin). The sachets are travel/storage friendly with a long shelf-life. With the simple addition of water, the powders rehydrate to smooth baby purées. The freeze-dried method retains the nutrients, flavours and vibrant colours.

Having recently submitted her PhD research on infant nutrition as a student at Massey University and the Riddet Institute; she is now ready to take her innovation further and seize every opportunity to upskill, work with industry and build networks.

Winners of the Kiwinet Award categories will be announced at an evening reception on 16 September in Auckland.

For more about Early Habits, visit

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