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Fighting Hunger competition an unforgettable experience for our Food Science students

29 November 2018
Anna Worthington from Team Hungry Hippo with the two certificates awarded at the IUFoST Food Science Students Fighting Hunger competition in India, 2018
Anna Worthington from Team Hungry Hippo with the two certificates awarded at the IUFoST Food Science Students Fighting Hunger competition in India, 2018

Our two teams of undergraduate Food Science and Nutrition students, who were selected to present at the IUFoST Food Science Students Fighting Hunger competition in India, have returned and they are buzzing about their trip!

Team Cool Bananas and Team Hungry Hippos were thrilled to attend and present their products, Super-Kai (a fortified dry mix for traditional New Zealand Māori sourdough-style bread) and Nutri-Fuel (a high fibre banana biscuit that is affordable and nutritious for low-income families).

Hungry Hippos team member, Anna Worthington, says the competition involved presenting to a panel of international judges and setting up an interactive display where people could taste and ask questions about their products. 

“It was a great experience meeting the other student teams and seeing what products they developed to address hunger in their countries, from artificial rice to jackfruit bread,” she says.

“There was also much to be learnt from the oral presentations, food product exhibition and by networking with other conference attendees.”

Team Hungry Hippos return triumphant from Mumbai after being awarded two of the five prizes the competition - for best scientific content and having the best display.

Anna admits the trip was not all smooth sailing, as once they arrived in India they had to overcome a number of hurdles. One of the hurdles was that the hotel they stayed in did not have an oven in their kitchen (let alone in the rooms!).

“This was a problem for our team (Hungry Hippos) as our product, Super-Kai, was a dry-mix bread which you add water to, knead and then bake in an oven,” Anna continues.

“The hotel staff kindly let us use their microwave in an attempt to bake the bread, but this resulted in a smoky, burnt, inedible loaf. We were concerned because we'd come this far though, and we didn’t want the lack of an oven stop us from presenting samples of our product.

“Thankfully Anand Mohan [a PhD student in Chemical Sciences who was also presenting a poster at the conference] was able to get us a convection oven late that evening. At the crack of dawn the following day we were kneading and baking the bread in our hotel room. It was the best loaf we ever made, and was well received by everyone who tasted it.”

The six students also had time to explore the nearby streets and markets while they were there.

“On the first day we managed to catch the local train to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

(CST) station and see the Gateway of India,” Anna says.

“Other highlights include the delicious food - fresh watermelon at breakfast each morning, along with exotic curries and naan – and catching rickshaws to the conference each day. Weaving through the traffic was madness, but somehow no one crashes.

“We learnt so much, and although the sounds and smells were unfamiliar and overwhelming at times, it all made for an exciting experience - an experience we won't forget.”