AgResearch is to spend over $4 million to develop sensors to measure the export quality of red meat.
The funding comes from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise's Endeavour Round.
AgResearch senior scientist Cameron Craigie said the five-year research project would create a new measurement system and enhance consumer confidence in New Zealand meat.
Dr Craigie said the sensors would mean that farmers could be rewarded for high quality meat.
"New Zealand has a unique place in the export market because we largely raise our stock on pasture. This point of difference gives our export meat an eating quality advantage that consumers are willing to pay extra for.
"We want to make it easier for the consumer to recognise and appreciate the premium position of New Zealand meat products, and that depends on being able to measure the quality and prove those measurements are meaningful."
Dr Craigie said marketers of New Zealand meat products can provide the consumer with quality information at the supermarket through packaging on premium meat products.
"We want to get to a point where the consumer in a supermarket in the United Kingdom or China can pick up a leg of New Zealand lamb and see from the packaging that it has an excellent textural profile, a good level of intramuscular fat to ensure succulence and flavour, and generally an assurance that the product will consistently taste good."