Food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, have impressed industry experts by developing a range of tasty and healthy children’s meals for the supermarket shelf.
Eleven students in the final year of their Foundation Degree in Food Industry with Management were tasked with developing chilled ready meals suitable for a new Tesco range.
The students had to follow a complex brief following strict retail industry standards which included carrying out research into nutrition, portion sizes, costing and package design. They then prepared their dish and delivered a product presentation before a panel of food industry experts.
The judging panel was headed by Tesco Product Development Manager Stephanie Bacon and included new product development specialists from the Greencore Group, which produces and supplies ready meals for the retailer.
Dishes which particularly caught the eye of the judges included a chicken dinner made by Dina Silva, a sausage and baked bean casserole produced by Alex Mangnall and a sweet chicken curry from Nazreen Dwada.
Said Stephanie Bacon: “It has been very interesting to touch base with the young talent coming into the industry. Tesco has always been keen to give something back by helping to guide and advise the next generation of food technologists. We are also constantly developing our own food ranges and are particularly interested in innovative dishes for children which are high in nutrition but low in the less desirable ingredients such as fat and salt.
“We were very impressed by the thought and effort which the students had put into this project. The overall standard of the products was excellent and every student brought a meal into the room which was healthy and flavourful.”
The students researched and prepared their products in the industry standard food halls which are part of Reaseheath’s £7 million Food Centre, one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.
The project was organised by Lecturer in New Product Design Jayne Storer, working in conjunction with Tesco and Greencore. She explained: “This was a true test of the students’ initiative because it was the first time they had worked to a live brief. It was extremely industry focused and realistic, replicating exactly what they will need to do in their future careers.”
Said Alex Mangnall, 19: “This was a really interesting project which gave us a real life experience of the food industry and will be really useful for our CVs.”