Research precedes innovative menu

Massey University fourth year Food Technology students served a range of innovative products to their staff last fortnight, following a year of planning, market research and development.

The students, who were formed into groups early this year, were challenged to create a menu that would be suitable for the market and consumers.

Extensive range

Senior lecturer in Dairy Technology Rod Bennett said that the project covered an extensive range of product development.

“In the first semester, they studied the needs of consumers and the characteristics of a particular product, following which, they knew how to proceed. The students were required to make the product to a commercial standard during their second semester,” he said.

Mr Bennett said that many products were technologically challenging, including preservation, storage and moisture control.

A group led by student Simon Cushing was entrusted with the task of making a high-quality beef snack for the Middle Eastern market that would last six months at room temperature.

“We had to find a way to keep the meat from going off, so we went for a product somewhere in between salami and jerky, which we thought was appropriate for that market,” he said.

Dairy snack

Vivek Gargi and his team developed a healthy, single-serve dairy snack.

“We had three ideas to start with and we took them to a focus group to narrow it down to the product that we called ‘Pro-Bites.’ There were many challenges, especially getting the chocolate coating and the packaging right,” he said.

Elena Norris and her group created a gluten-free spring roll.

“The frozen product can be baked or deep fried. We went through a number of concepts, including experimenting with a number of batters and coatings before settling on the rice wrap. It’s great to now see the end product,” she said.

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