Coatbridge Baby Food

Coatbridge Students creating a new baby food

About the Project

The partnership was an opportunity to provide practical and industry-led contextual learning for S5/6 pupils studying Higher Health and Food Technology.

The project also aimed to develop pupils' personal effectiveness in using and managing resources in the context of health and food technology by adding to the dimensions of self, family and community by providing a range of challenging experiences relating to the food industry.

This was achieved by the pupils developing being tasked to research and develop a stage one baby food product that would fit the range of products produced by the Natural Fruit and Beverage Company.

The Coatbridge/Airdrie area is a major source of employees for the company and raising awareness is a key part of the sustainable future.

Natural Fruit and Beverage Company

Project Partners, Aims and Objectives

  • Showcase the range of skills required by the industry
  • Raise awareness about the company and its products in the local community
  • Raise awareness of the development processes behind well known brands
  • Provide industry context for learning
  • Integration with curriculum planning
  • Provide a continuing professional development opportunity

Outcome

Progression - This project significantly moved on from previous school based projects that simply asked pupils to come up with ideas for mixing flavours. Now there is a project that encompasses many aspects of the whole process of new product development, based on real industrial specifications.

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

Staff development - The company staff saw it as enjoyable and on an individual basis got quite a lot out of being involved.

How we did it

The Director of the Natural Fruit and Beverage Company introduced the company and its product range to the pupils, the range of potential careers in the industry and the processes involved in producing a product.

The Natural Food and Beverage Company provided a brief for the pupils to develop a new stage one baby food product that would fit into the 'Ella's Kitchen' range.

In developing their product the pupils were asked to consider branding, marketing and packaging. Importantly they should also consider the ingredients and their sources in terms of health and the environment.

The company's project manager then continued the liaison in terms of helping develop the product.

Pupils worked in pairs to develop their product:

  • Researching dietary needs of the target group
  • Conducting market research on existing products, for ideas
  • Making prototype of products and carrying out sensory analysis

Factory visits were arranged to demonstrate the various stages of production.

The company provided the pupils with a range of resources:

  • Puree samples
  • Specifications for raw materials
  • Background specifications for customers
  • Costing guidelines on what is considered expensive
  • Packaging specifications
  • Final product specifications and pack sizes

While no “winning" product was declared the company did provide feedback and comment on each products.

What we learned

Awareness of food production. Despite the local roots of the company, many of the pupils expressed surprise when they discovered what the factory produced and made pupils understand how food on the supermarket shelf is made.

Career pathways. Many of the pupils commented on the diversity of job roles available in the food industry and have a much broader understanding of the breadth and depth of the careers available.

Science and the importance of science and lab work came as a surprise to the pupils.

What next?

Inter-department - Think about including other subjects such as geography – much of the food comes from across the world.

Planning - Introduce the project early in the term.

CPD – An ideal opportunity for staff to extend their knowledge of industry.