WHEN it comes to educating and training future industry leaders, heavy textbooks and long lectures are no longer the only source of education. Students are also now aware of the practical applications of student learning.
Conceptualized to diversify interest in herbal foods and beverages among today’s youth, Taylor University students came together in a multidisciplinary senior project to create Zing! – a fizzy drink with a blend of South East Asian ingredients and local herbs.
At Taylor’s, college bound students are required to complete at least one multidisciplinary project as part of the Taylor’sphere ecosystem, equipping them with the intellect, creativity and practical wisdom needed to navigate the ever-changing world.
Team leaders Ang Ru Jun, Sydney Sim and Chanel Chua from the School of Food Studies and Gastronomy (SFSG), Taylor Business School (TBS) and School of Media and Communication (SOMAC) respectively, combined groups to contribute with the knowledge of each school. and skill sets in areas including product design, costing and development, media planning, and marketing.
To kick off the multidisciplinary collaboration between the three schools, the SFSG student team presented Zing! product they had invented as part of their two Food Product Design and Development modules, as well as the required input from the TBS and SOMAC teams.
“For this project, we were asked to create a marketing and business plan, including competitor analysis and selection of social media platforms to raise awareness and market the product.
“Our friends from the SOMAC team supported us with this by designing posters for different marketing campaigns, researching the most suitable Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to use with the target audience of Zing! and creating additional platforms that we could use to promote the product,” said Sim, 22, who is currently studying for a Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business and Marketing at Taylor’s.
Throughout the project schedule, the SFSG team worked to improve the formulation of Zing! by conducting sensory tests for their collaborators at the university’s Center for Food Innovation, as well as finalizing the final product to be presented to their professors and pioneers of the multidisciplinary project, Associate Professor Dr. Chong Li Choo of SFSG, Philip Gan of SOMAC and Leow Yen Mee of TBS.
According to Ang, a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Culinology, many young people have a negative perception of herbal beverages, often thinking they are bitter and should only be drunk when feeling sick.
Although there is little awareness of local herbs, she believes there are still many more full of potential left untouched.
“As aspiring culinologists, our goal is to provide bold and creative innovations in food and beverages, employing creativity and critical thinking skills to educate the next generation and spark their interest in herbs.
“Even if our effort does not have an immediate impact, young people like us must take the first step. Being receptive to criticism is essential if we want to know what the public thinks about Zing! and how we can improve. Essentially, the most important point is to have faith in your product, because if you don’t, no one else will,” he added.
Ang shared that her team is looking for potential investors and had the opportunity to showcase Zing! at the Malaysian International Food and Beverage Fair, gaining positive feedback among startups and FMCG companies in the industry.
The zing! The team also participated in the 2022 Techstars Startup Weekend (TSSW) Sustainability Selangor, a startup business development program and competition, where they won first place among the other student teams.
To learn more about the Taylor’sphere, click here.