By Cara Sulieman
IT’S not just a salad…it’s a salad designed by a group of schoolchildren from Bo’ness that will be hitting the shelves of Marks and Spencers across the country.
Four pupils from Bo’ness Academy put their chefs hats on and came up with the winning taste sensation – the Fruity Fiesta salad.
The biggest employer in the Bo’ness area, the school has worked with them in the past on smaller projects.
So when they wanted to base a project on the development of a new healthy snack, they knew that the company would be able to help.
Head teacher David Mitchell said: “It was a food and drink challenge that was set for the year ones and there were 140 pupils trying to come up with a recipe.
“We narrowed it down to four finalists who were then judged by people from Marks and Spencers.
“Even once the winning group were chosen they had a lot of development work to do before it was complete.
“One or two of the pupils have expressed an interest in a career in the food industry after the project.
“We certainly get a lot of pupils going on to work for Caledonian Produce when they leave school so it’s fitting to work with them.”
The kids developed the recipe by doing a poll of their classmates and working out what ingredients they liked.
They then came up with a recipe using those foods and the Fruity Fiesta salad was born.
And although it was hard work, the children enjoyed the process and can’t wait to see their salad in stores across the country.
Ross Nimmo, one of the pupils on the winning team, said: “It was really exciting to have our salad chosen as the winner and it’s brilliant to think that people across Scotland can buy our Fruity Fiesta Salad.
“It was nerve-wracking pitching to the judging panel and team at Marks & Spencer, but we worked very hard to come up with the salad and are really proud of the final product.”
Sweet chilli dressing
A combination of wild rice, fluffed white rice, peppers, carrot and mango, the salad comes with a tub of sweet chilli dressing to be drizzled on top.
It took 12 weeks for the kids to concoct the salad, deciding on the taste and ingredients, including the name and package design, along with working out a suitable retail price.
Once they had finalised the product, the team then travelled down to London where they pitched the salad to the Marks & Spencer development team.
Julia Bradley, Product Developer for Marks & Spencer, said: “We were delighted with all the salads pitched by the pupils and were really impressed by the quality of hard work that went into the project.
“The pupils were professional, creative and had really done their homework. The Fruity Fiesta Salad is a fantastic new addition to our offering in store – we’re looking forward to introducing it to our customers across Scotland.”
She was joined by the winning team Gemma Angus, Louise Murray, Fraser Wilson and Ross Nimmo, who were first in line to buy the new dish.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning said: “I am delighted to be here today to support the launch of this product which demonstrates the creative talent of the young people from Bo’ness Academy.
“Their work shows the potential that Scotland’s young people have.
“The Scottish Government is committed to developing employability skills in our young people and this project between Caledonian Produce and Bo’ness Academy is a fantastic example of the success that can be achieved.
Fantastic success story
“Through the Government’s Determined to Succeed Programme I would like to see more of these fantastic success stories which highlight the need for skills for life and skills for work and increasing partnership working between schools and employers with the aim of improving the overall learning experience of Scotland’s young people.
“I wish Bo’ness Academy every success in the sale of their fantastic Fruity Fiesta Salad.”
The fruity fiesta salad costs £1.99, with 10 per cent going to Bo’ness Academy, and goes on sale across Scotland from tomorrow.