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Better Burger Challenge finalists announced

17 May 2023

The Better Burger Challenge, a contest aimed at encouraging pupils to explore product reformulation and create healthier versions of the classic burger, has announced its finalists.


Developed in partnership with Food and Drink Federation Scotland (FDF Scotland) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the Better Burger Challenge was launched to encourage teachers to use the online “Make it with Meat” resource for pupil­­­­s to create healthier, unique versions of the beloved burger without losing its classic taste.




“Make it with Meat” is a complete project with lesson plans, worksheets and more. It helps pupils learn about the burger making process from farm to fork, and includes lessons on farming, nutrition, reformulation, product development, costing, labelling and careers.

After an original round of judging the shortlisted recipes, created by pupils, were cooked by City of Glasgow College Hospitality Chef Lecturer Gordon Findlater, who also provided recommendations on how they could be further improved from a chef's perspective. 

Out of the entries from different schools across Scotland, four finalists have been chosen after being taste tested by Chef Findlater, along with judges Jennifer Robertson of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Moira Stalker of FDF Scotland. After much deliberation, the finalists are:

  • The Big Drooling Dreamer from an S3 team at Kirkintilloch High School
  • The Deli Burger from an S2 team at Merkland School
  • The Aberdeen Angus from an S3 team at Stewarton Academy
  • The Sweet Chilli Smoken' hot burger from an S2 team at Rothesay Academy

Winners will be announced in due course.

Jennifer Robertson, Health and Education Manager at Quality Meat Scotland, said: “We are delighted to announce the finalists of our first-ever Better Burger Challenge. We were blown away by the quality of the entries. It was great to see so many pupils across Scotland getting involved and thinking creatively about how they could make a classic favourite healthier. Congratulations to all our finalists.”

Moira Stalker, Skills Manager at Food and Drink Federation Scotland, said: “The Better Burger Challenge is a fantastic initiative. We are delighted to have partnered with Quality Meat Scotland to help encourage pupils to think about the many skills and processes required to create healthier versions of a staple family favourite.”

Susan Millar, teacher at Kirkintilloch High School, said: “S3 Hospitality pupils at Kirkintilloch High School thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with their peers whilst taking part in the Better Burger Challenge. It allowed them to show off their creative and critical thinking skills when working together to understand the process of food reformulation and product development.

“It was very difficult to choose class winners as all burgers were made to a very high standard. We delivered lessons alongside the ‘Make it With Meat’ resources which were excellent. Overall, the competition was well received by pupils, and they thoroughly enjoyed the creative process.”

Kirsten Murray, teacher at Merkland School, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be in the final four. I am so proud of what our pupils achieved, and they just thrived throughout this whole experience. The resources were fantastic, and it really helped our pupils with reinforcement of what the Challenge was about and exploring the food chain in great depth.”

Kathryn Taylor, principal teacher at Stewarton Academy, said: “I found the resources really useful, and they can easily be adapted to suit the pupils you have in your class. I aimed the Challenge at the S3 pupils as a number of them are taking the subject on in the national qualification. There are great links and areas of progression to the National 5 practical cookery course.

“The students particularly enjoyed the reformulation process. We did sensory testing on a variety of burgers, herbs and spices to help them create their own burger.”

Tara Timms, teacher at Rothesay Academy, said: “As a teacher, I feel proud that one of our entries are finalists in the build a better burger competition. The team think it is 'cool' that their ambition and invention of the "Sweet Chilli 'Smokin' Hot Burger" has been recognised. They love the fact that the scheme of work allowed them to work in a team, come up with ideas and design their own burger, from initial concept to finished product.

The whole class loved the competitive aspect the series of lessons brought from quizzes supplied at end of each lesson through to the in-class cook off! From my point of view, the resources supplied were of a very high quality offering a huge amount of variety. This allowed me to ensure I met all learners, needs and covered many learning outcomes.”

Find out more information on the Better Burger Challenge