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Article by Nampak 10 October 2013

Nampak encourages the next generation of packaging technologists

The three winners of the Food Science and Technology Category of the 2013 IPSA Student Gold Pack Awards were recently announced at an awards luncheon in Johannesburg. With its emphasis on the development of and education in food science, Nampak is the primary sponsor of this category of the awards.

As part of the competition, Students of Stellenbosch University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT, [Status]) were given a brief to design packaging for food products they developed in teams during their first semester of the Food Science Product Development module.

Individuals were required to propose a packaging solution for their food product that was developed. The product could be re-branded and any appropriate package material could be used.

The students needed to understand the requirements of the product from a packaging functionality perspective throughout the supply chain and including the end consumer’s needs. The packaging needed to deliver the functional requirements of the product, namely achieving the required shelf life, food preservation as well as ensuring convenient distribution and consumption.

Students were to demonstrate their in-depth understanding of the packaging material of choice and its specific suitability to the food product. To do this the local packaging manufacturing industry of the chosen material needed to be researched and students needed to interact with the various players in the chosen industry.

With a focal point of these awards being the knowledge and development of food science, Nampak R&D hosted the panel of judges at their state of the art facility in Cape Town.

Judges Kirsten Tyler (Marketing Manager, Nampak, [Status]), Johan Visser (Head of Nampak R&D, [Status]), Susan Featherstone (Technical Manager, Nampak R&D – Food & Beverages, [Status]), Joseline Felix-Minnaar (UCT, [Status]), Maarten Schurer (Owner at Tinor Services, [Status]) and Vanessa von Holdt (Chairman of Student Gold Pack, [Status]) chose the winners based on the students who demonstrated insight into how packaging can be used as an eye-catching and user-friendly tool to promote products and attract consumers.

Claire Kirby of Stellenbosch University won the gold trophy for her Rosedale Rose & Honey flavoured Labneh. The Rosendale Labneh is a concentrated yoghurt product flavoured with roses and honey. Each portion of Labneh was preserved and protected in an individual PETG petal shaped shell, which extended shelf life to point of consumption. The aesthetically appealing pack was made to look like petals in a flower.

Jessica Kemp from Stellenbosch University won the silver award for her Bean Bites, a falafel style snack sold in party packs containing two different flavours. The packaging consisted of an ovenable paper tray and a PLA film lid, which allows the consumer to take the product straight from the freezer to the oven. The container can be added to the compost heap for decomposition after use.

The bronze award went to Zaharan Hussein of Stellenbosch University for his Modified Atmosphere Packaging for fresh pom-arils. Modified Atmosphere Packaging extends the shelf life of arils from pomegranates adding convenience and preserving the fruits natural sensory attributes. The packaging was an ideal integration of lightweight, recyclable and compostable materials into a low cost preservation technology that relies on an integration of natural product respiration and package permeability to extend shelf life. The judges were particularly impressed with the extent of MAP research and level of technical detail presented in this project.

Runner ups, both from Stellenbosch University, were Milandi van Heerden for her Xpress-o coffee flavoured sweets and Letitia Schoeman for her Whistle & Go Bean Bites falafel style snack.
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