UCB students accept AVA product development challenge

November 2014

Culinary Arts Management students have been challenged to create innovative new products for the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) to be in with a chance of winning £1,000.

They have received feedback on their initial ideas from a panel of industry experts, including specialists from Unilever, Mondelez International and Coinadrink. The products need to be commercially viable and also meet a number of strict criteria, including not exceeding 250 calories per serving and being suitable for ambient storage.

Students have to produce an original product with a fictional brand name and a creative marketing strategy. They also have to generate eye-catching, environmentally-friendly packaging and promotional material at a simulated trade exhibition next month.

This product development challenge is overseen by UCB chef lecturer and module leader Bernhard Schumacher. “The students are very enthusiastic about their product ideas and are demonstrating a highly creative approach to the challenge,” said Bernhard. “The project will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the commercial processes in food product development, which will give them invaluable industry experience and heighten their credentials for future employment.”

There are six groups taking part in this challenge. Each group has been assigned a specific vending market sector to design products for: education (schools), health care (hospitals), leisure (gyms), transport (train and bus stations) and businesses (offices).

The UK food vending industry is worth a staggering £1.87 billion per annum and there is a constant demand for new food products to improve offerings to customers based on changing lifestyles, tastes and dietary requirements.