Otago Polytechnic
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Looks so good you could eat it

An innovative food technique takes presentation to a new level.

Sanitarium approached the Otago Polytechnic with the challenge to design handcrafted foods that look identical to fruit and vegetables but are filled with contrasting flavours. 

Food Design programme leader Tony Heptinstall and lecturer Tim Lynch worked with Otago Polytechnic's EPICentre technicians William Early and Ken Wyber to develop food-grade silicon moulds. Tony Heptinstall says: 

“The technique involves making edible fruit and vegetables replicas from vegan white chocolate and So Good milks. It's not every day that you get to have a dhal curry which is encased in turmeric chocolate and presented in a red or green chilli shell or an apple pie smoothie presented in an apple hanging on a tree. We’ve got a series of other quite contrasting flavours all designed to ‘shake up’ what a plant-based diet can look like. What we’re doing is not only highlighting the design evolution of the food we are able to create, but also embrace the contemporary movement towards flexitarian and vegetarian diets. People are looking at food from not just a taste and health consideration but from a sustainability and environmental perspective."

Sanitarium's marketing business manager Hayley Scott, says the outcome surpassed their expectations:

“We approached the polytechnic to help us come up with a way to show Kiwis how non-dairy milks can be used creatively in kitchens around the country. Throughout their collaboration with their students and colleagues they have completely embraced this challenge and we have been amazed at what they have been able to produce.”

A proof of concept display was created in the form of an entirely human-made, edible garden, where more than 3,000 hand-crafted fruit and vegetables were made available to the public to sample in Auckland’s Britomart in February 2018. This garden exhibition won a gold award in the 2018 Best Design Awards.

Find out more in the Idealog article here.