The Nelson outlet of the national chain of Simply New Zealand tourist shops asked Garin College Year 11 Food Technology class to design a range of products suitable for sale to both local and overseas visitors.
The class did extensive research and visited local industries involved in the food/tourism market, including a local jam manufacturer and market gardens. Back in the classroom, a range of 'traditional' chutneys, jam, sauces and salsas were prepared. Product testing was conducted, and qualities such as taste, texture and appearance were examined to ensure the products were suitable for their intended purpose. The class looked at products on the market and, after evaluating them, ranked them on a positioning triangle, from a gourmet product to an ordinary, plain product.
Nic decided to produce a multilayered jam. He felt this would give his product a unique and appealing edge. He says the idea came from the sand layered bottles he had seen. "After looking at many sand jars, I decided on the number of layers my jam would have."
Nic's biggest hurdle was working out how to re-create the layered look in jam. After some independent research, Nic sought help from a visiting food technologist, Carol Pound, who, after offering advice on keeping jars sterile while cooling, gave Nic some ideas on layering. After trialling two processes, he decided on the use of a water bath to help speed up the setting process.
Nic completed his product by designing and creating its packaging and labeling; settling on the use of raffia packaging for a gourmet look. He enjoyed working on a genuine issue with a real-life client. "It was an awesome experience being able to work with a high profile national business," he said.
Nic produced a high quality solution that fitted in well with similar products on sale at Simply NZ. Nic was determined to get the layers in his jam right and did lots of extra trials in order to perfect it. His perseverance and determination to succeed paid off in the end.