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SA students win award for nutritious version of Nutella

| Innovation and technology

A nutritious version of Nutella has earned six Stellenbosch University food science students second place in the International Union of Food Science and Technology’s (IUFoST) Food Science Students Fighting Hunger product development competition.

The award was presented to Cenette Bezuidenhout, Carin-Marie Engelbrecht‚ Nicholas Grobbelaar‚ Taryn Harding‚ Shannon Howell and Megan Kleyn at the IUFoST World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Dublin, Ireland.

Their S’cool Beans sandwich spread tastes like chocolate and hazelnuts, but is actually crammed with highly nutritious sweet potato and sugar beans -and has less than half the sugar of traditional chocolate spreads.

The spread is high in protein and contains the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to ensure the development and growth of children.

And if the reactions of the conference delegates who tasted it are anything to go by, the "veggies by stealth" spread is a winner. "Where can I buy it?" many of them wanted to know.

It was not on sale, the students having made a small batch of S’Cool Beans in their university’s food science department lab, but its retail cost will be around R20 for a 400ml jar.

That is if it makes it into mass production. The students’ aim is to get the spread into school feeding schemes, where it will have the most impact.

"That’s our dream — to get it to the people who need it the most, but of course we’d love to see it on supermarket shelves as well, as all children will benefit from it," said Engelbrecht.

The award will certainly increase the chances of that happening. Already several South African corporates have approached the students with a view to commercialising the product.

"I think that the prize that we received today proves that other people in the food industry have the same vision for S’Cool Beans as we do," Engelbrecht said. "And that food scientists in SA have what it takes to compete with the best in the world."

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