11 TAR UC's Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Food Science students recently made a name for themselves at the Malaysian Institute of Food Technology ('MIFT') 10th National Food Science and Technology Competition reinforcing the efficacy of TAR UC's professionally driven, industry-relevant and entrepreneurship-focused education. The final stage of the competition took place on 17-18 March 2017 where the team from TAR UC comprising 10 students was named as the Champion in the Innovative Food Product Development category while another student took third place in the Oratory category. The competition attracted more than 360 participants from 12 institutions of higher learning.
The 10 students who were named as the champion team are Teow Shuh Jun, Tan Iee Rou, Teh Kaili, Lee Wee Kee, Chu Kok Hua, Yap Bee Shin, Chan Wai Han, Beh Xin Ling, Chong Yi Ning and Hue Jia Wei. Their invention which won them the top spot as well as a hamper, plaque and certificates is called "Fit Mee", which is a microwavable noodle. The ingredients used to produce the noodles are from food waste which conforms to the theme of the competition that is the utilisation of sustainable food source. "We saw this competition as a great opportunity for us to use the knowledge and skills we have acquired from our study at TAR UC to produce a food item which is convenient, innovative, healthy and has commercial value. The time we had was only one and half months, which was quite limited considering the fact that we needed to develop a product from scratch. However, we successfully tackled this as we were able to work very efficiently as a team and this experience thought us a great deal about time management as well as maximising each other's strength as a team. It took a lot of research work, experiments and brainstorming sessions as well as extensive use of the food and science labs in campus to produce Fit Mee. We also put in a lot of thoughts on how to make Fit Mee commercially ready such as the way how the noodles are packed for consumers' convenience as well as to produce the designs of the packaging. Our lecturer was of great help in providing the necessary guidance, inputs and support which motivated us further to do our best in the competition," remarked Teow Shuh Jun who is the team leader of the group.
Meanwhile, Tan Iee Rou shared her thoughts on the factors that could have led to the team's victory in the competition. "After the Q&A session which followed after our presentation of Fit Mee to the panel of judges, we were told by the judges that our presentation was very satisfactory as we presented comprehensive data and information. Besides this, we were the only team that presented a complete business plan for Fit Mee as a commercially ready product and this I believe gave us a competitive advantage over the rest of the teams to win the top spot," she opined.
Jonathan Phang Kah Wai was another TAR UC student who took part in the Oratory category of the competition and won third place. Participants in this category were given all 10 topics of discussion 2 weeks prior to the competition as preparation, after which, on the day of the competition, participants were required to draw one of the 10 topics and present the topic to the judges in 10 minutes. Jonathan presented a topic on 'Misinformation about your product has gone viral on social media' where he illustrated different ways of using social media to tackle misrepresentation of product facts. His well-executed oratorical presentation won him a certificate.