The Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted its annual food product launch at DUT Hotel School, Ritson Campus on Thursday, 11 October 2018.
The launch showcased novel food products developed by the Department’s second-year students. Each year, the students are tasked with researching the global food market, scrutinising the gaps that are available in the range of products being consumed by society and come up with novel food products over a period of six months.
A panel of judges from the industry assesses the students by tasting food products, looking at how professional the students were and how marketable and innovative the product is. The group project forms part of the students’ practical assignment.
This year (2018), 10 groups of students showcased their delicious yet healthy inventions. The inventions consisted of Spinosa-a dry cider that is made from monkey orange and apple infusions, Pepper iced tea made with the pepper cress plant and lemongrass, Eatsa’ cup -a vegan biodegradable and edible cup made with indigenous fruits, Pasta La Vista-pasta made with seaweed, Sorghee fresh-a traditional sorghum beer with added flavours, Bambara Cremè -a gluten-free custard made from Bambara groundnut, Kumquat jam-a colourant free jam made from kumquats and passion fruit, Mapa bar-a protein bar made with mopane worms, Nutty-Nutty Taco-a gluten-free frozen dessert made in taco shapes and Wild Kandy cider-cider made from guava and pineapple.
Prof Feroz Mahomed Swalaha said there was a panel of five judges from various industries. “The group that wins and who also gets the top three positions, as well as the award for the most innovative product, would obviously be something that industry wants,” he added.
Taking first place with the prize money of R6000 sponsored by SAAFOST was won by Bambara Cremè, an innovative product which follows the two food trends; zero-waste and disruptive green food. It is low-fat and dairy-free custard made from Bambara groundnut.
Sharing her excitement on winning the 2018 Food Product Launch, the team leader of the innovative Bambara Cremè, Snenhlanhla Ximba described their dessert as the first of its kind, giving assurance that it has not been made anywhere else.
“This dessert is made from the underutilised crop called Bambara groundnut. The reason why we chose to use Bambara groundnut, is because I believe that we as young and upcoming food technologists have a task to create non-existing food products. We want to put Bambara Cremè on a commercial scale where everyone will get to know about Bambara groundnut,” said Ximba excitedly.
Bambara Cremè also won the most innovative product, receiving a further R2000 sponsored by Tongaat Hulett and Tale and Lyle.
Meanwhile, the second place with the prize money of R4000 sponsored by Tongaat Hulett was taken by Pasta La Vista, a spicy and saucy Italian pasta with all the benefits of seaweed. In describing their product, the group highlighted seaweed as a good source of fibre that helps to lower the bad amount of bad cholesterol.
The third place was taken by Eatsa’ cup and included prize money of R3000 sponsored by Tale and Lyle. Eatsa’ cup, compostable edible cups are made to reduce plastic waste and create a sustainable future.
Giving the vote of thanks, Prof Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi thanked Prof Swalaha, all the sponsors, judges, DUT staff and students, who worked hard to make this event a success.
“You are still young and you should take risks and some of you should start thinking of starting a company from the products that you have made,” he said.
Pictured: Prof Swalaha with the first place winners at the annual food product launch.
Waheeda Peters and Sandile Lukhozi