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Healthier Food and Drink Product Design Competition

Published: 27 Apr 2018

CIT Culinary
CIT Culinary students Maddie and Ruby

Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) Culinary students have collaborated in a first time partnership with University of Canberra (UC) Design students in an ACT Health project that will see students working together on the ‘Fresh Tastes’ program for ACT junior sporting clubs. Culinary and Design students from both tertiary institutions will work together on this innovative project to encourage healthy lifestyles for young people, whilst addressing obesity in Australia and the ACT.

The ACT Government first initiated this program three years ago to influence healthier eating choices in ACT primary schools away from the usual unhealthy options available in schools, grocery stores, sporting venues, media and advertising, as well as the workplace.

Through the ‘Fresh Tastes’ program, 11 CIT students and 33 UC students will collaborate in small groups  to develop a food product that will contribute as a healthier choice option in junior sporting clubs across the ACT. Merging design skills from the UC students, with the chef’s in training at CIT, students will work together to create a healthy food or drink product, starting from the design phase all the way through to packaging and presentation for market.

With the guidance of industry experts and mentors to work across three workshops in the next five weeks, the product must appeal to young people as a pre-prepared food or drink product, or requires minimal preparation .With the help and guidelines from Nutrition Australia, students have received assistance to understand what ‘healthier’ food and drink options mean, and will learn across the various workshops in how to best appeal their crafted product to young people.

We caught up with CIT Culinary students Maddie and Ruby, as they were meeting with their fellow UC peers in a workshop this week, who are studying their second year in a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. Maddie is hoping to finish as a qualified chef and work in the ACT food industry, with Ruby seeking to travel around the world as a chef and see where her journey leads her.

“We are finding the ‘Fresh Tastes’ workshop to be very informative, and have enjoyed doing something outside of the classroom whilst collaborating with UC students at the same time. We are currently brainstorming on delivering a healthy beverage, and have really enjoyed the planning process with the guidance of ACT Health mentors. We are slightly nervous, but mostly excited, to present and deliver our groups’ product on the 14th of May in front of a judging panel, in what has been and felt like a real industry experience”.

Thinking outside the square consists of thinking of product competition and taste, as well as designing a product that can be used on a broader spectrum of canteens and other businesses, targeting children, and a broader stakeholder group consisting of parents, canteens and sporting venues. The project also involves food production, marketing and sales advice.

Now in the design phase, students have 5 weeks to collaborate, work on their product and present to a panel of judges at CIT in Reid in the culinary kitchens on the 14th of May 2018. We look forward to seeing what the students come up with - so stay tuned!