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Marketing students challenged to create new product by McCain


University of Hull marketing students were challenged to create a new product for multinational company McCain as part of the company’s initiative to reach out to a younger audience.

McCain Foods, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, offered first year business students the opportunity to create an inspired addition to the range. 

Dr Fannie Yeung, marketing lecturer at Hull University Business School, said: “This project provided our students with a chance to innovate and create an exciting new product to appeal to a younger audience.

“The students were able to research the market, the target audience, and existing product range for potatoes and root vegetables. Once they had decided on their new product, they submitted their work for review and the shortlisted teams then went on to present their research and concept to a panel from McCain.

“The feedback from McCain has been extremely positive – and we really appreciate all the support they have given the students. It is a real asset for the students to gain experience in this way and to boost their CVs by responding to a real-life challenge from a multi-national company.

“We have run the competitions for five years now, working with Beverly Building Society, Rix Petroleum, Greencore, AAK, and Whitby Seafoods, and it is always wonderful to see how our students respond to the challenge.”

A team of senior executives from McCain attended the presentations, awarding Daniel McPhillips, BA Business Management, and Kelly Rafournies, a student on our Exchange School of Histories Languages & Cultures programme, with the award for Best Marketing Plan. McCain also awarded Josh Mullins, BA Marketing, and Geoff Palmer, BA Business Management with ICT, for giving the best presentation. 

Daniel said: “It was a really good positive experience, it was good to gain insight into how a bigger international company works as well as see the kinds of new ideas they want from us as well.''

Lizzie Pyle, Senior Communications Manager at McCain Foods GB, said: “The students’ work has given us some real food for thought and most importantly, some of the ideas which came through from the students were similar to ones we’ve generated through formal research. So it makes us feel confident that these are good ideas that we should be looking to take forward in the future.

“Something which surprised us about the students’ research was just how important packaging, sustainability and the environment are as issues to consumers. We knew these were important but I don’t think we realised just how important they were for the young people of today. It just goes to show how things like single-use plastics are on the radar of everyone these days.

“We really valued what the students came back with and I can see the potential of involving them in the future. It’s a great way for businesses to learn from fresh consumers and the students themselves too benefit by getting experience on a real life business challenge. So, it’s mutually beneficial.

“This was a live brief so it was a great opportunity to be able to get fresh eyes and different perspectives. What we really wanted to achieve is to broaden the appeal of the McCain brand and its products to a younger audience and this clearly came through in the brief. 

“Hull is a local university to us and we’ve had great experiences of working with them before. Hull University Business School also has a great reputation in the region so we were confident it would be a good experience.” 


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