August 25, 2019

Students create seaweed beer and fava bean vodka in new £3.5m science labs

L-R: Emma Webber, Kirstie McKillop and Fiona Park in the Consumer Experience Lab

Students created seaweed beer, fava bean vodka and investigated the greatest brand of ready salted crisps ahead of the opening of Abertay University’s new £3.5m science labs.

Abertay will next week officially unveil the new facilities which will be used by the University’s Division of Food and Drink, this month named best in Scotland by the Guardian Good University Guide 2018.

The investment includes the only Consumer Experience Laboratory in Scotland to provide industry-quality climatically controlled booths for sensory analysis of food.

Ahead of the opening on 30 May, fourth year student Kirstie McKillop has already taken advantage of the new facilities to carry out testing of her seaweed-infused beer.

The 26-year-old from Linlithgow said Abertay’s Food and Consumer Science course provides the ideal gateway to a large range careers in the food industry.

“Getting to go out and do work placements was really good because we have found all employers are looking for experience, and not all university courses give you that.

“I’m using the new labs to do some sensory evaluation and cut my product down to the most popular type of beer.

“I’m really pleased with how it’s going and it’s great to have access to such modern facilities.”

Like Kirstie, fellow fourth year Fiona Park’s final year project to make a distilled spirit out lentils, peas and fava beans was inspired by sustainability.

The 21-year-old from Glasgow said: “Abertay sets you up so well because you cover, food, law, marketing and lots of other subjects, so you get so much great experience to pull from that can be used in any industry.

“I’m trying to focus on the use of sustainable raw materials that are better for the environment and legumes don’t need the same fertilizers used for more traditional sources like potatoes.”

Classmate Emma Webber, 21, from Lenzie, is keen to break into food writing and has already been part of a team that wrote recipes for the BBC Good Food Magazine and This Morning TV show.

She used the lab’s specialist lighting function to test participants comparing crisps.

She said: “There are five different brands, all of them ready salted, and I’m looking at the whole process from the type of potato, the variety each brand uses and the thickness and texture.

“Participants gave feedback and try to guess which crisps are being used.”

The new labs will also be used for Abertay’s Biomedical and Forensic Science courses.

For more information on Abertay’s Food and Consumer Science course visit: https://www.abertay.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/bsc-food-and-consumer-science/.