May 2, 2019, by Lexi Earl

The Inaugural University Food Challenge!

Wednesday 27 February 2019 was a truly special day for the Institute of Food Science and Technology Student Group. The inaugural IFST University Food Challenge event was held at Coventry University. Teams from five different institutions: University College Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Coventry University and Oxford Brookes University competed against each other to be crowned the first of the IFST University Food Challenge champions.

This event was the culmination of over two years hard work by our very own James Huscroft (3rdyear PhD Researcher in Food Science and Immediate Past-Chair of IFST Student Group) and the rest of the Student Group committee. Not only was this the first event of its kind in the UK Student Food Science scene, it was also a collaborative effort with our colleagues across the Atlantic Ocean in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) in the United States. The prizes were sponsored by Campden BRI, IFT British Section, IFIS Publishing and the IFST with additional sponsorship for the venue (Coventry University) and the sandwiches provided by Greencore. This really was a true venture of student and industry collaboration.

Following a similar format to the highlight of Monday night television viewing (BBC’s University Challenge), this event tailored questions encompassing all aspects of Food Science and Technology from the intricacies of rheological properties of heating a soup, to UK food law, all the way to picture rounds on obscure fruits from across the planet.

The University of Nottingham team composed of Food Science, and Nutrition & Food Science students (Chris Stephenson, Jemima Willgoss, Bronwyn Powell and Keren Gething), had a flawless performance throughout the competition, with the top accumulative score in the preliminary stages, and reaching the final to play University College Birmingham. An exhilarating half hour long final rounded out a phenomenal day with UCB taking an early lead. UoN clawed back and it all came down to the final question where UCB buzzed first on the question “What condition causes the gut lining to be damaged from ingesting gluten?”, correctly answering with ”Coeliac disease”. UCB were crowned champions at the buzzer with a final score of 185 to 180.

Following the success of a true collaboration in global food science particularly across the Atlantic Ocean with our colleagues the IFTSA, the result of the event has been recognised by members and fellows of the IFST across the UK and as such, the IFST Student Group received the “IFST Impact Award 2019” at the annual Volunteers Assembly and AGM for organising and successfully pulling off this new venture.

Bring on next year when University of Nottingham Food Science will aim to take the crown!


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