Fruit sticker apple of judges’ eye
Environmentally friendly label makes the grade at Young Enterprise awards night
A water-soluble, environmentally friendly fruit sticker that will reduce waste and encourage consumers to wash their fruit is this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme Company of the Year.
For the past eight months, Woodford House students Sarah Wixon, Maggie Peacock, Zoe Rookes and Rylie Bensemann have been hard at work in the science lab perfecting their product Bayuble.
Despite all their hard work, they were “surprised” to become the Hawke’s Bay regional champions.
Their idea stemmed from conversations around plastic bags and the recent move by supermarkets to ban them.
“Our first idea was to have an alternative plastic plastic bag, but we looked to Hawke’s Bay and thought how can we personalise it to where we are from,” CEO Sarah Wixon said.
The “pesky little stickers” might seem useless at first glance but are important, containing a price lookup number (PLU) so the fruit is easily identified by checkout staff.
Peacock said “no one had been offering solutions”.
They hope their plastic-free, biodegradable sticker idea will revolutionise how fruit is labelled. And while the make-up of their sticker material is a trade secret, it uses a byproduct of apples.
Wixon said it required an “intensive amount” of testing, and a number of prototypes never made it.
Although the students are in their final year of high school, they are all studying degrees which have business elements and plan to continue with their fledgling company.
“Since we are still in the research and development stage, we hope to continue our testing and look forward in to the future of Bayuble to see what we can do, how we can make our products better and expand our product range. This is not the end.
“We all have a passion for business, so it will always be a part of our lives, no matter what we do.”
The team’s mentor is Dean Prebble, a former New Zealand trade commissioner in Taiwan, who recently set up the Hawke’s Bay Angels investment group.
They say Prebble’s input and feedback has been priceless and he has provided them with valuable contacts as they have researched their project.
“We’ve built up a lot of connections in the industry through our research, which has included discovering there have been alternatives to fruit stickers, including a fruit tattoo (done through lasering).
“We looked into that and discovered that lasering the fruit can leave it blemished, which detracts from its visual appeal,” they say.
Woodford’s head of business studies and director of innovation, Toni Dunstan, incorporated the YES programme into its newly introduced level three business studies course.
“What I love about this course is the experiential learning and the interdisciplinary nature.”
YES Hawke’s Bay regional coordinator Karla Lee said 65
teams from 15 schools in the region came up with an idea of a product or service, did market research and then took it to market.
The students completed three YES challenges which determined the top six teams in the region.
The top six Hawke’s Bay teams were Empressa Central (Central Hawke’s Bay College), MyTapp (Woodford House), Poncho Me (Iona College), Project Rangatahi (EIT Business Enterprise Unit), Lightning Lock (Hastings Christian School) and Bayuble.
Two Hawke’s Bay teams won national excellence awards this year: George by St John’s College and Hawke’s Bay Prison’s Letz Lead.
The Bayuble team will represent Hawke’s Bay in Wellington on December 6.
Woodford House’s Rylie Bensemann (communications director), left; Zoe Rookes, (marketing director); Maggie Peacock (operations director); Sarah Wixon (CEO) won the Hawke’s Bay YES Company of the Year.