Roisin Slattery from Ballindoney, Grange, Clonmel was a member of the winning team in a Dragons Den-style event to produce a top baby food
The innovative seafood toddler meal suitable for children aged 10 months was awarded 1st prize at a ‘Food Dragons’ Den’, run by the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Food Business and Development at UCC.
The winning product ‘Seafood Spoonfuls’ was made with simple, wholesome, organic and natural ingredients, and packed in a convenient pouch for parents with hectic lifestyles.
The Dragons’ Den was the culmination of projects in which students from the BSc Food Science and BSc Food Business degree programmes at UCC developed new food products as part of their final-year research projects.
Each student group had to present their product and ‘sell’ it to a panel of five Dragons: Ronan O’Farrell, Food Industry Consultant; Deirdre Collins, Dees’ Wholefoods; Colum O’Sullivan, Cully and Sully; Audrey Houlihan, AIB; and Dr Mark Fenelon, Teagasc.
The Dragons all had huge experience of the food industry, and entrepreneurship in particular, and the trophy was awarded to the team whom the Dragons believed had developed both the best product and business plan to make it a success.
The winning team included students Claire Masterson (Enniscorthy, Co Wexford), Sinéad Whelton (Bandon, Co Cork), Roisín Slattery (Clonmel), Claire Halpin (Stradbally, Co Waterford), Suzanne McCarthy (Ballincollig, Co Cork) and Minghan Liu (Magazine Road, Cork) who had been working on this project for the past six months.
The trophy was presented by Colum O’Sullivan of Cully and Sully, one of the judges, who praised the winners for their originality and product design. “We liked the fact that ‘Seafood Spoonfuls’ was less processed than some of the other student products and that it introduced toddlers to seafood at an early age,” he said. He emphasised that such innovation and creativity will be cornerstones of the future development of the food industry and added that all products on display exhibited great potential.