Product Development Finalists Head to the Finish Line
by Mary Ellen Kuhn
Want a preview of the kinds of offerings tomorrow’s star food product developers may be bringing to the marketplace? The IFT Student Association’s Product Development Competition is a good place to find it.
This prestigious—and demanding—annual competition invites participating teams to conceptualize a new food idea and then work to take the concept through all stages of product development. At this year’s Annual Meeting, finalists from six universities will move into the final stretch of a competitive process that began months ago.
Oral finals will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 12, in Room 388 of the Morial Convention Center. Product posters on display from 8–11 a.m. Monday, June 13, in Hall I-2 will offer a close-up view of the products and the processes involved in developing them.
Here’s a sneak peek at what the six finalist teams will be bringing to the table in New Orleans.
• Cornell University — Vege3 product developers bill their healthful snack offering as “veggies … cubed!” It’s a lightly seasoned, shelf-stable snack made from real vegetable puree and ranch seasoning—presented in cube form.
• Michigan State University — Minute Escape brings together apple pie and ice cream into a single, microwaveable dessert experience. The convenient treat comes in the form of a small pie (5 inches in diameter) complete with crust, filling, crumble topping, and ice cream positioned in the center of the pie in an inverted cup.
• Ohio State University — Omega Munch is formulated to deliver heart-healthy omega-3s without the fish oil aftertaste. This fruit and seed snack combines organic flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, and raisins.
• Pennsylvania State University — Par-Fections, “the portable parfait,” features a mixture of granola, fruit leather, berries, and yogurt leather in 2-oz bags. This low-fat, nutrient-packed snack is targeted to busy, health-conscious consumers.
• University of Massachusetts-Amherst — Joe Nuts’ product developers describe their offering as a twist on the classic on-the-go breakfast of coffee and doughnuts. The product is a doughnut hole with a liquid coffee center.
• University of Wisconsin-Madison — Blissful Bites, which team members describe as “elegant yogurt truffles on the go,” feature three layers—a filling made with real yogurt that is dried so that it is shelf-stable surrounded by a yogurt-flavored coating and topped with a blend of oats, flax puffs, and rice crisps.
The Product Development Competition, which is sponsored by Mars Chocolate North America, is an IFT tradition dating back to 1991. Look for an announcement of the competition winners in IFT Live.