By Leow Si Wan
A TEAM of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) lecturers and students emerged as the cream of the crop, winning an international ice cream award on Wednesday, trumping major players such as Dreyer's Grand and Haagen-Dazs.
The NYP team's 'green tea laced with aloe vera' recipe beat industry names from Slovenia and the United States to emerge tops in the best new ice cream category at the inaugural IDF Dairy Innovation Awards in Austria.
The awards, which celebrate innovation in the global dairy industry, is an initiative by the International Dairy Federation - which currently accounts for more than 80 per cent of the world's milk production - and the FoodBev Media's Dairy Innovation magazine.
This year's competition attracted more than 170 entries from 29 countries in 12 categories, including best new cheese and best new dairy drink.
NYP's winning ice cream flavour was developed by four students and two lecturers from the Food Science Programme of the polytechnic's School of Chemical and Life Sciences (SCL).
Said SCL deputy director Mathew Lau: 'This ice cream was created as part of a module. We thought the ice cream we created was good in areas such as food safety, nutrition and taste, so we entered the competition.
'To win at this competition despite our lack of resources shows that we are on the right track in terms of nurturing students to compete internationally.'
The team chose green tea and aloe vera, ingredients that contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, to appeal to its target group - female consumers concerned about their health and skin care.
Ms Gan Heng Hui, 33, one of the lecturers involved in the competition, said: 'We also used a zero-calorific sugar substitute so women can enjoy the ice cream without worrying about sugar content.'
The polytechnic now plans to commercialise the invention.
One team member, student Laura Lim, 20, who will graduate from NYP later this month, said: 'I hope we are successful as we put in six months of hard work to come up with the product. We are confident that it will be popular in the mass market.'
The others in the team are students Chye Shan Shan, 20, Chow Yina, 22, and Gan Shi Wei, 20, and another lecturer Richard Khaw, 39.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.