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Encouraging students to be innovative, creative and to problem solve in food science and technology.


Working collaboratively, The New Zealand Institute of Food Science Technology (NZIFST) and CREST initiated the NZIFST CREST Food Innovation Challenge, formerly known as  the Student Product Development Challenge, to give senior secondary students the opportunity to experience first hand the innovative work done by scientists, technologists and engineers in New Zealand’s food industry, and to raise the profile of a career in this industry.

This Challenge is linked with the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Team Silver Challenge CREST awards so all participants who achieve the CREST assessment criteria are able to add this prestigious award to their academic curriculum vitae.

Guidelines for the NZIFST CREST Food Innovation Challenge

The Challenge requires teams of Year 11 - 13 students, who are studying NCEA Science and/or Food Technology, to develop a new food product for an industry client, following the process defined in the Team Silver Challenge CREST awards (very similar to the product development process used by the food industry).

Each team is supported by a CREST Consultant/Mentor, a professional from the food industry,or NZIFST member.

Each team receives sponsorship from the food industry, to contribute to the costs the school has incurred in entering the Challenge.

Participating teachers in the North Island receive professional development from the staff of the School of Food and Advanced Technology at Massey University and participating teachers in the South Island are supported by staff from the University of Otago and Lincoln University.


The professional food scientists and technologists who assess the projects using the CREST criteria also judge the regional competitions.


The Food Innovation Challenge is an invaluable lesson in implementing food science and technology, as practised by the food industry into secondary schools.

More importantly, it is an outstanding example of collaboration involving teachers, students, the tertiary sector, the food industry, NZIFST and the Royal Society Te Apārangi, resulting in students choosing food science and technology as future learning pathways and career choices.