Port Chalmers-based food retailer and product developer Wild Fennel Co has teamed up with second-year students from Otago Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Culinary Arts programme. Richard Mitchell, Professor in Food Design, challenged students to find a way to use ‘waste-stream’ apricots supplied by Darlings Orchard in Ettrick, designing a product that could be sold in Wild Fennel’s spice shop. Calling on a range of skills, students had to select a specific target market, look into consumer patterns within that market, then design their product to suit that market.

In a final challenge, the teams had to pitch their products to a panel of industry experts, who decided which of the ideas were most viable.

Product pitches included a fruit extract, an apricot shortcake hot chocolate pastille, an apricot truffle mix, a fruit kombucha and an innovative breakfast product.

The ‘dragon’s den’ panel were impressed by the sophistication of all of the products, with all showing strong market potential.

The hot chocolate product is now in production, while the kombucha and extract have orders to supply Wild Fennel Co.

The breakfast product (which is being kept secret for now) has export potential and is moving into the next phase of its development.