Companies must continue spending on research and development during the economic downturn, warns the Foundation for Food Science and Technology.
The foundation's investment arm, TechNZ, which spends almost $50 million a year on research and development, says innovation is critical to companies maintaining their competitiveness.
TecnNZ business investment director Eileen Basher told a "survive and thrive" workshop in Napier on Friday that research and development is a proven tool to help companies survive in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, many put it in the "too hard" basket, she says.
Ms Basher says that if New Zealand companies wind down and do the bare minimum, they will lag behind their international competitors when economic conditions improves.