CHICAGO -- Six university teams of graduate and undergraduate students will engage in a "food fight" at the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT's) 1999 Annual Meeting July 24-25 in Chicago, Ill., as finalists in the IFT Student Association's Product Development Competition. This annual North American contest honors the top three food product inventions of student teams based on written reports, oral and poster presentations, and taste tests at IFT's meeting.
The finalists were selected by a panel of industry food scientists based on preliminary proposals that described the technical aspects and marketability of their inventions. Winners will be chosen based on product originality, feasibility, innovativeness, and market potential as well as on team members' presentation skills.
Last year's winner, Cornell University, will compete for the top slot again this year with Sweet Spots, individually-wrapped frozen treats that take only minutes to prepare. The product consist of a whole, crisp Jonagold apple, filled with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and coated with caramel and oats. Its unique microwave packaging allows the consumer to heat up the apple without melting the ice cream in order to simultaneously enjoy hot and cold sensations. Sweet Spots are designed to hit the spot as a dessert or sweet snack.
North Carolina State University will strive to make contest judges think that their product, Jammm Singles, is mmm, mmm good. The Singles are individually wrapped servings of solid fruit spread, designed to melt when placed onto conventional toasted bread products. The incorporation of real fruit into every slice of Jammm provides a small amount of soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Targeting today's fast-paced, health-conscious consumer, these breakfast condiments are supposed to conveniently complement toasted breakfast foods.
No need for a blender for a smoothie, thanks to an invention by students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. They have turned the traditional smoothie into Smoothie Pies, refrigerated treats made of a thick, creamy strawberry and yogurt filling that is cradled by a crunchy graham cracker pie crust and separated by a thin layer of chocolate. In addition, the pies contain calcium, protein, and vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as the probiotic yogurt culture Lactobacillus acidophilus, which may benefit the gastrointestinal system. They are designed to attract today's nutrition-savvy consumers as well as those who simply enjoy the smoothie taste.
Also created to attract health-conscious consumers, SOY-PRO of Purdue University is a high-protein ready-to-eat breakfast cereal made with soy flour. The nutritious profile of the soy bean and promising research on its potential cholesterol-lowering effects and other health benefits made soy flour the Purdue students' choice as the main ingredient of their cereal. Soy-Pro is designed to have a good taste and texture in addition to being good for one's health.
Students from the University of Minnesota will compete with their own idea of breakfast with Sunrise Dippin' Duos, a savory, rather than sweet, way to start the day. Based upon the classic Denver omelet, the Dippin' Duos are oblong English muffins filled with egg, diced ham, onions, green bell peppers and a rich blend of spices. Due to its convenient hand-held size and shape, the product is accompanied with a cheese sauce for dipping. The Dippin' Duos are frozen and conveniently packaged to go straight from the freezer to the microwave for quick preparation.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign team hopes to win the "food fight" with its invention called Tater Stuffs. These savory snacks are a new variation of traditional cheese fries; instead of on top of the fries, the cheese is inside. Designed for use as an appetizer, the product is the first of a potentially whole line of products that may be adapted for sit-down restaurants, fast food, and home use.
The six finalists will square off at IFT's Annual Meeting to try to win the competition, sponsored by M&M/Mars. All contest events will be held at McCormick Place convention center in Chicago, including oral presentations on Sun., July 24 from 10 AM-12 PM, poster presentations on Mon., July 25 from 9-11 AM, and judges' taste tests* on July 25 from 12-2 PM. Winners will be announced that day at 7 PM at the IFT Student Association Welcome Assembly.
* Closed to meeting attendees, but open to journalists.