Vending machine challenge brings new ideas to the table

February 2017

Researching, developing and launching a brand new product for the vending industry was all in a day’s work for UCB students when they went head-to-head in an annual competition.

For the past five years the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) has teamed up with students on UCB’s Culinary Arts Management course to help them create a new product which is gluten free, dairy free and contains less than 400 calories per portion. The challenge is one of the highlights of the Culinary Product Development module.

This year’s winning team comprised Emma Hawkins, Lucy Dengate, John Cotton, Kieran Hynes, Joshua Dunn, and Arun Bhullar, who all came up with a new product called Natura Bites.

Lucy said: "The overall experience of the module was very exciting and gave me a positive perspective on going into the product development industry. Winning the competition was the icing on the cake and it really was a shock because as a team we never thought we would win due to the high competition around us.”

Senior lecturer Bernhard Schumacher said: “This live learning project provided a unique opportunity for our students to showcase their newly developed culinary creations to industry experts. The students came up with a great variety of very innovative product concepts. The overall level of creativity, professionalism and attention to detail was excellent.’’

Steve Collins, membership services manager at the AVA added: “We task students to not only develop vendable, tasty products, but to also look at vending from a whole new perspective and be as creative as possible. Working in partnership with the University and product developers of tomorrow is an important part of ensuring that the vending industry continues to evolve and bring fresh ideas to the table, responding to the needs of an ever-changing society.”

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