May 2018

It's a bug's life at Applied Food and Nutrition final project presentation day

Read time: approx 2 mins

Applied Food and Nutrition students have wowed assessors with cutting-edge solutions to current issues affecting the British public’s health and nutrition.

From eggless cakes to low-sodium seasoning and sugar-free sweeteners, the class of third-year students presented posters investigating the pros and cons of different nutrition products on the market, with some, in the case of Dolly Smith, even coming up with products of their own.

Aware of the environmental issues surrounding high-protein meat such as fish, beef and chicken, Dolly set about finding a more sustainable food source with even higher levels of nutrients; insects.

Rich in iron and calcium, with more protein and four times less fat than red meat, Dolly investigated different ways of incorporating bugs into a popular flapjack recipe – with 83% of testers stating they couldn’t tell the difference.

It wasn’t just cakes and creepy-crawlies on offer, however, with several students conducting investigations into the relationship between nutrition and various medical issues.

After noting the high proportion of coronary-related diseases among Afro-Caribbean communities in the UK, student Renniese Allen set about reducing the salt levels in the most popular seasonings in Caribbean cuisine. While many pre-made jerk, chicken and fish seasonings are laden with salt, Renniese created a fresh, salt free alternative she tested in secret on home-cooked meals for her family – with very positive responses.

The rise of vegan, plant-based and cruelty-free foods is what prompted Tajminder Panesar to investigate the effectiveness of current egg alternatives in baking in her final project. After experimenting with pea protein, xantham gum and potato starch, Tajminder found that it was a simply a combination of soya milk and oil that made the best vegan brownie. But her ultimate conclusion? There’s nothing quite like the real thing.

“There have been a lot of really fantastic ideas on show today,” said AFN lecturer Tamorah Lassam-Jones. “I’m so proud of the work everyone has done. It’s one thing conducting the research and finding the conclusions for these projects, but the really difficult thing is being able to present them to an audience – and they have done so excellently.”

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