Students undertaking the University of Adelaide’s Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Science degree have the opportunity to participate in a Food Product Development course in their third-year. This involves taking a product from concept to research and development and consumer testing.
Three of last year’s students in this program – Lauren Davis, Veronika Ostrikova and Millie Shinkfield – developed a product called Cultured Chickpea Hommus. This product involved fermenting a chickpea paste using a yoghurt culture, and when incorporated into a hommus, this created a new depth of flavour when compared to conventional recipes. Cultured hommus is not available in the hugely popular dip market category, creating a unique edge over existing commercial ranges.
The students entered the 2016 Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Student Product Development Competition, which in 2016 required products to include a minimum of 30% pulse ingredients, fitting in with the International Year of Pulses. This competition provides a unique opportunity to experience a “real life” new product development project and gain exposure to industry experts, peers and future employees within the food industry.
Lauren, Veronika and Millie were invited to attend the 49th AIFST Conference in Brisbane to present their food product in the competition finals. The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine sponsored their trip with $1,500 towards support for travel, accommodation and incidental expenses.
Congratulations to all three girls – Cultured Chickpea Hommus came second in the competition which was an excellent achievement!
According to the group, the experience was a fantastic insight into the process of new product development, particularly in having to pitch and “sell” a prototype product to industry professionals. Attending the finals at the annual conference provided a great insight into the food manufacturing industry, and there were many opportunities to participate in other conference presentations and networking events.
These students have all now graduated, and are pursuing a variety of paths. Lauren is travelling and working overseas, Veronika has begun work at the SA Pathology Food and Environmental Laboratory, and Millie has just completed her Honours year.