Stag Bakeries Challenge

Stag Bakeries Challenge

About the Project

Stag Bakeries set 100 S2 pupils from five local schools on the Isle of Lewis an ambitious challenge to devise a new biscuit that would appeal to Stag Bakeries main customer base.

Using the food industry as a context for learning, the pupils used many transferable skills to do everything from costing the ingredients, investigating food miles to a scientific analysis of their recipe.

We were so impressed by the standard of entries submitted. We hope to go some way to help students understand what is involved in the production of food that appears on the shop shelves and a greater understanding of the career opportunities open to people considering the food industry as a future employer.

Colin Daniels, Product Development Manager, Stag Bakeries

Project Partners, Aims and Objectives

  • Highlight the range of skills required by industry
  • Support new product development
  • Enhance the corporate social responsibility of the company involved and support the local community
  • Promote industry commitment to developing a skilled workforce
  • Develop an interdisciplinary teaching model with a real context for learning
  • Map CfE experiences and outcomes
  • Develop learning pathways
  • Enhance learning and develop a range of skills including teamwork, self-confidence and leadership.
  • Engagement with potential customers, partners and, very significantly – future employees
  • Provide a source of continuing professional development


Real life business experience – the winning product was placed for sale as part of the Stag product listing and in local shops, to date almost 3,000 biscuits have been sold. This gave pupils the unique opportunity to see their work on the shop shelves.

Interdisciplinary Learning - was evident in the final pupil presentations and working on real product ideas for Stag Bakeries made the learning more relevant, pupils comments included – “I liked the project because it was creative and I learned about pricing, shelf life and designing.”

Understanding the food industry as a career – Over 90% of the pupils that participated said they know either a little bit more or a lot more about the food industry.

How we did it

This partnership was originally established by the 'Skills for Work strategy' of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles) Education Department, when over 100 S2 pupils from Back, Lionel, Shawbost, Lochs and the Nicolson Institute on the Isle of Lewis were brought together with Stag Bakeries to work on developing a new biscuit. However, involvement with A Future in Food transformed the partnership into an interdisciplinary project that involved pupils understanding the application of a range of different skills and the careers available in the industry and encouraging the involvement of a number of different departments in the schools.

Colin Daniels, Product Development Manager, challenged the pupils to devise a new product to go on sale as part of their biscuit range. The product must have commercial potential and be attractive to Stag's customer base.

A winning product would be chosen to go into production by Stag based on: product quality, commercial viability, ease of production and price structure.

After gaining an insight into modern food production from Colin, the pupils then worked in teams to develop a new product, source, cost and analyse ingredients and also think about how to market the product as part of the Stag range. Each school then chose a winning product that was presented to Stag for final judging.

The winning product was a strawberry and white chocolate cookie that actually made it on to shop shelves and was showcased in the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments.

What we learned

Business insights – Staff and pupils agreed that the participating companies provided valuable insights into the world of business. In particular the skills and tools used in this project were seen as being transferable to their wider learning.

Interdisciplinary – The partnership worked across subjects to use the food industry as a context for learning in home economics, maths, geography and science. This allowed pupils to be creative learn about roles and careers available from new product development to marketing and finance.

Real world of work – All the pupils involved in the partnership visited the Stag Bakeries site to learn about modern food production. Despite being a local business, many were surprised by how modern food production was and the range of skill required by the industry.

What next?

The future – The project is now embedded in the curriculum and will run annually with this group of schools, but will focus on a different product to keep it fresh.

Sharing the learning - Local promotion of this partnership encouraged another local business to get involved with their local school and run a similar partnership.