It’s one thing to wonder about the next generation of food and beverage product developers, but there’s absolutely no need to worry. The DuPont Knowledge Award (KA) product competition demonstrates that collegiate food science faculty and students are on pace with on-trend product concepts, consumer interests and ingredient technologies.
DuPont Nutrition & Health, New Century, Kan., recently hosted its 10th annual new product development competition, and it drew 37 entries from 22 universities nationwide. DuPont recognizes the KA winners and three top new product concepts at Prepared Foods’ annual New Products Conference and awards prize money to the winning teams (first place, $10,000; second place, $5,000; and third place, $2,000).
For the record, the DuPont Danisco ingredient line includes antimicrobials, antioxidants, betaine, natural colors, cultures, emulsifiers, enzymes, functional fibers and extracts, hydrocolloids, probiotics, specialty proteins, sweeteners and tailored blends. The company requires that competing KA teams formulate their items with two or more of these ingredients. Entrants (individuals or teams) must be enrolled in an accredited four-year college or university; and be enrolled in food science or a related major as a junior, senior or graduate level student with a faculty sponsor-advisor.
Experienced industry new product developers evaluated contestants’ offerings, which included a written report and specific product criteria. From there, judges selected 12 semi-finalists and then ranked three winners according to a 200-point scale.
Washington State/University of Idaho captured this year’s first and second place awards. Those honors, respectively, went to Aphrodite’s Treats, a Greek yogurt cheesecake; and Stuffed Puffs, sweet potato pastas filled with flavorful vegetable mixes. Perennial contender Clemson University finished third with Bistro Garden’s Savory Yogurt, a portable yogurt snack with vegetables.
“Increasingly, students are developing ‘on-trend’ products and are looking for creative solutions to marry taste and health,” says Ariella Gastel, DuPont Nutrition & Health’s director of strategy and business development. “There were a number of clever, gluten-free options and creations that leveraged positive health positioning by using Greek yogurt. The competition gets tougher each year, as the students really think about the market and innovative ways to meet the needs of the population.”
Leading the top two student teams was Dr. Kerry Huber.
“The DuPont Knowledge Award competition provides students with a meaningful, real-world experience that requires them to define and complete a complex scientific objective: namely, the development of a novel food product,” says Dr. Huber. “For many students, this competition may represent the first true opportunity they have had in their academic experience to fully unleash their creativity; passion for food science; and technical knowledge in a truly independent manner.”
Huber continues, “Thus, as a faculty advisor, it is truly a rewarding experience to witness the enthusiasm, professionalism and hard work student participants devote to this opportunity. This competition provides a unique learning opportunity in which students not only gain hands-on understanding of food science principles through direct application, but also learn much about themselves, as they interact with other team members in the process of developing a food product from concept to finished product.”
Echoing those sentiments is Dr. Margaret Condrasky, an associate professor at Clemson’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
“The Clemson team operated as a small business team with a novel idea for a spoon-able, savory yogurt,” she says. “The members assumed specific roles. For me, this teamwork stands out as a valuable experience. The exercise notably enhances individual member’s confidence -- not only in working as a team with a goal and hard deadline -- but also in sharing small successes, as well as setbacks. It is important for colleges to participate, since the competition enhances student performance and readiness for careers in culinogy (a Research Chefs Association term) and the food industry in general.”
Gastel says DuPont could not be more pleased with its 10-year-old product development competition.
“When we started this program, it was a way to give back to the food science community and stimulate innovation,” she says. “We wanted to enable students to think about the practical aspects of food science. Also, DuPont is a science-driven organization, deeply rooted in innovation. We believe the best ideas are developed through collaboration, and students often have the freshest ideas. We are hoping that these ideas stimulate our customers’ product development efforts.”
For more information:
DuPont Nutrition & Health • www.danisco.com
And the Award Goes to ...
First Place Award: Aphrodite’s Treats
School: Washington State University/ University of Idaho
Description: “This refrigerated, ready-to-eat Greek yogurt cheesecake has all the satisfying attributes of full-fat cheesecake but without the calories. Each serving contains a high source of fiber and a good source of protein, and half the fat of a standard cheesecake. A shortbread-style crust surrounds a Greek yogurt filling and is topped with a delicious raspberry fruit swirl.”
Key ingredients*: Litesse polydextrose, MicroGARD 100 cultured dextrose
Team members: Lynette Andersen (team leader), Yinmeng Sun, Athena Beckwith, John Ock, Karin Thorsen and Professor Kerry Huber (faculty advisor).
Second Place Award: Stuffed Puffs
School: Washington State University/University of Idaho
Description: “Stuffed Puffs are a sweet potato-based pasta crust with vegetable-dense fillings in two flavors: Zesty Bacon Jalapeno and Savory Italian Vegetable and Cheese. The items are served with a basil-Marsala cream dipping sauce. Stuffed Puffs are a novel, new frozen appetizer that combines frozen convenience foods, pasta and sweet potatoes in a delicious puff that will appeal to consumers’ taste buds and desire for improved health.”
Key ingredients*: Litesse II polydextrose, DIMODAN HS-K distilled monoglycerides, GERMANTOWN Best Mix Stabilizer, GRINSTED Xanthan 80
Team members: Jake Fischer (team leader), Kari Jones, Jack McClure, Un Cheng Vong and Professor Kerry Huber (faculty advisor).
Third Place Award: Bistro Garden’s Savory Yogurt
School: Clemson University
Description: “Bistro Gar-den’s Savory Yogurt is a unique savory snack and a satisfying, delicious way to support health and wellness goals. It contains an excellent source of calcium and fiber, and is a good source of vitamins A and C. It is low in cholesterol and contains a half serving of vegetables.”
Key ingredients*: GRINSTED Xanthan 80, GERMANTOWN Best Mix Stabilizer, HOWARU Dophilus LYO probiotics, YO-MIX 495 yogurt culture.
Team members: Alexandra Weeks (team leader), Tessa Brinkman, Kathryn Davis, Alexandra Corvese, Gabriella Hall, Elizabeth Howell and Professor Margaret Condrasky (faculty advisor).
*Patented, registered, trademarked DuPont Danisco ingredients
Because Inquiring Minds Want to Know…
Visit www.danisco.com/ knowledge for more information about 2013 Knowledge Award honorees and DuPont’s 2014 competition. Readers also may contact Rebecca Bingman, DuPont Nutrition & Health marketing communications, at Rebecca.Bingman@dupont.com or at (800) 255-6837, ext. 3436.