Tunnocks Biscuit Challenge

Tunnocks Biscuit Challenge

About the Project

Internationally famous biscuit manufacturer Tunnocks has always maintained a close link to its local community and was a willing partner to work with Hamilton Grammar in developing the schools ambitious interdisciplinary (IDL) challenge for 240 S2 pupils.

Tunnocks is a family business that produces high quality products using cutting edge technology and is a major force in Scottish food and drink manufacturing and an ideal company to help demonstrate the opportunities available and skills required in the modern industry to the pupils.

The Tunnocks Biscuit Challenge set pupils the task of developing a high energy snack suitable for an athlete participating in the Commonwealth Games.

'They [pupils] had to be able to work effectively together to overtake this demanding challenge. They had to display a wide range of personal and team working skills which will stand them in good stead for the future,'

Colin Stewart, Head teacher, Hamilton Grammar

Project Partners, Aims and Objectives

  • Develop positive links with a local business partner
  • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach to teaching
  • Provide pupils with real life experiences and active engagement with industry
  • Help pupils to gain practical skills
  • Encourage team work and communication
  • Encourage educated food choices
  • Support new product development
  • Engage pupils in thinking about where their food comes from
  • Understand the global appeal of Scottish produce


Industry and stakeholder input – was crucial to the success of this project, having real people to provide a context and set a challenge makes a real difference to the pupils perception and enthusiasm towards the task and helps to introduce students to dynamic, changing, competitive and economic environment of industry and to understand its importance to the local and national economy.

Terminology - The project provided a context for not just the process but helped in understanding some of the food related and also business related terminology.

Industry visits – were a highlight for the pupils and really helped enhance their understanding of the industry and dispelled many of their preconceptions of what happened at the site.

Engaging Staff – response from staff has been overwhelmingly positive with many reporting how they plan to develop the experience for future years.

How we did it

The Tunnocks Biscuit Challenge was launched at a special assembly for the S2 pupils when a member of staff from Tunnocks spoke to all the pupils to explain exactly what the company does, how it goes about manufacturing high quality products that are exported around the world and then set the pupils their challenge.

The challenge activity started in Health and Food Technology Classes with each class splitting into groups, each of whom developed a new biscuit. With each class the pupils peer reviewed their classmates products and each class voted on a final winner.

Following the product development process the pupils were taken off timetable for 3 days, during exam leave, during this time a new class rotation was developed and each class then spent time in each of the following subjects learning about different aspects of food and drink manufacturing to develop a campaign to market and sell their winning product to a team of "Dragons".

  • Modern Studies – investigation of commonwealth countries
  • P.E – energy input and output
  • History – history of the commonwealth games
  • Music – jingles
  • Drama – developing an advert
  • English – analyzing advertising
  • ICT – product, place, price, promotion
  • Art – designing packaging and logos
  • RME – cultural and religious beliefs of different consumers
  • Geography – carbon footprint
  • Technical – designing packaging

What we learned

Awareness of the food and drink industry – the number of job roles and different skills required to run a business came as a surprise to the pupils. Many did not realise how many different jobs were involved and the skills required to work in the industry. It also came as surprise to find out how difficult it can be to develop and market a new product.

Collaboration – working in teams helped the pupils to become more engaged leading to better attainment.

Business Partners – having an industry partner and link has a very positive impact on the pupils making the experience more enjoyable. It also provides much greater breadth and depth to the experience providing an opportunity for wider achievement and more successful learners.

Breadth of opportunity in the food and drink industry – having so many departments involved in the activity really helped to illustrate the opportunities available and how many skills and subjects are required to work in food and drink manufacturing.

What next?

To include more departments – expand the project to include other departments.

To review and improve what we developed in year 1.