A team from Rototuna High Schools has taken out third place in a Student Product Development Challenge with a beverage made using only Waikato ingredients.
The joint NZ Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST) and Royal Society Creativity in Science and Technology (CREST) challenge saw 10 teams from Auckland and two from Hamilton develop new and novel food products over the course of the school year, with project briefs provided by industry sponsors and guidance from food technology professionals.
Students Liam Anderson and Gaith Laith, led by supervising teacher Jenny Mangan, were given a brief from their client Zealong Tea Estate to develop a ready-to-drink non-alcoholic mocktail using their locally-grown oolong tea as a base.
After an initial visit to Zealong to learn about tea production and tasting, the group spent six months researching and testing, with the help of mentors from Wintec and University of Waikato. The end result was Feijoa Frenzy, a carbonated natural drink made with just three ingredients: Zealong oolong tea, honey from Te Awamutu, and locally-harvested feijoas.
The project was judged at a showcase at Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls on Wednesday 26th September. As well as the final product, judges looked at the methodology, discussion, and critical evaluations provided by the students in their final report.
It was the first time Rototuna Senior High had taken part, and the first time Hamilton schools were included in the Auckland regional competition. Both participating Hamilton schools placed, with Waikato Diocesan School also taking out first place with their project.
“It’s been a really rewarding experience for both the students and myself and has enabled real authentic learning that wouldn’t be possible without the support that Zealong has provided,” said Mrs Mangan.
Client representative Annalese Webber from Zealong said she was impressed with the final outcome.
“Liam and Gaith’s beverage is harmonious, with the oolong tea balancing out the sweetness from the feijoa. They have clearly put a lot of effort into development and their result is well-deserved.”