AgResearch scientists are looking at how food is digested in animals with the aim of producing health benefits such as leaner meat.
It's part of a collaboration between the Crown research institute and the Liggins Institute at Auckland University.
AgResearch says the study will look at how nutrients in foods are released during digestion in animals and humans, and how nutrients affect metabolism.
Science and technology general manager Jimmy Suttie says the beneficial outcomes of the research for farmers are obvious.
He says they're particularly interested in what makes animals lean and what makes them fat, and environmental influences on their genes.
They're interested in finding ways to feed animals accordingly so they will be "healthier food" for people.