City student’s food thesis catches eye of top supermarket

Rebecca Scotland
Rebecca Scotland
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IT’s a constant source of debate on every trip to the supermarket – and one local schoolgirl has set about trying to solve it.

Rebecca Scotland decided to investigate just when it was worth paying a few pennies more for a label and when settling for an own brand product could be just as good. The result is not just a prize- winning Advanced Higher dissertation in health and food technology but interest from one of the major supermarket chains.

The 18-year-old looked at ten basic foods for her study and concluded that, with simple items such as chocolate and butter, the cheaper options were often the best.

Rebecca, who completed the dissertation as part of her S6 course work while she was a pupil at Holy Rood High and is now studying applied sports science at Edinburgh University, said: “I looked at Tesco because they are the most popular supermarket. I took the basic, premium and organic foods and took ten basic foods from them, like cheese, butter and chocolate.

“I carried out a couple of tests, such as a sensory evaluation, where I blindfolded teachers and asked them to taste things.

“Things like pizza were worth paying the extra for, but with more simple things, it was the cheapest ones which were the better buy. People think the higher priced items are better quality, but that’s not always the case.”

Her dissertation was given top marks by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which in turn led to her winning the prestigious British Nutrition Foundation Award, designed to promote awareness of good practice in food and nutrition.

Rebecca and her teacher, Janice Watson, were flown to London to receive the award, which was presented by Princess Anne, patron of the British Nutrition Foundation.

At the event, Rebecca was approached by the Sainsbury’s special diets and health manager, Annie Denny. The teenager hopes to work in sports nutrition and diet and is eagerly awaiting her verdict on her dissertation.

Rebecca, from The Jewel, said: “I was really surprised to find out that I had got the top mark in Scotland and it was nice to find out that all my hard work had paid off.”

Ms Denny said: “It’s excellent to see students taking an interest in supermarket food and health. Rebecca was a worthy winner of this prestigious award and I am sure that she has a fantastic future ahead of her.”