Finalists Determined In IFT Student Food Product Development Competition

May 07, 1998

CHICAGO -- Six university teams of graduate and undergraduate students are finalists in the 1998 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Student Association Product Development Competition sponsored by M&M/Mars. This international contest honors the top new food product inventions of university teams based on a written report, oral and poster presentations, and taste tests at IFT's Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO June 21-22 in Atlanta.

This year's contest had a record 20 entries, including one from outside the United States for the first time. Finalists were selected by a panel of industry food scientists based on preliminary proposals of new products that described their technical aspects and marketability. Winners will be chosen based on product originality, feasibility, innovativeness, and market potential as well as on team members' presentation skills.

Students from the University of Wisconsin at Madison were proactive in the development of "Pro-Crunch," crunchy, toasted cookie bits coated with probiotic bacteria that are intended as a consumer add-in ingredient for yogurt. The product's active cultures, Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus acidophilus,are friendly bacteria that have demonstrated health benefits in the human gastrointestinal system. These cultures are suspended in milk fat to create a liquid that is sprayed onto the cookie bits, forming a hard coating. Pro-Crunch gives less than two grams of fat to the food to which it is added. It will provide consumers with a higher dose of probiotic bacteria than traditional yogurt products.

Cornell University will compete this year with "Wrapidos," formed flour tortillas sealed on three sides with one side open for stuffing. A moisture barrier on the inside of the tortillas prevents them from leaking and falling apart like their traditional counterparts. Wrapidos are packaged by the half dozen and sold refrigerated.

No more running out of chocolate or burning marshmallows over the campfire with Iowa State University's "S'morsels." These bite-size s'more taste-alikes combine the traditional ingredients of graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow in an easy-to-heat-and-eat form. The graham cracker crust is tube-shaped, coated internally with dark chocolate, and filled with a fluffy marshmallow center that has a low melting point should one like to toast it over the campfire without scorching the chocolate. The crust is specially formulated to allow for additional toasting, too?in the oven or above flames.

Kansas State University's team will feature "Chicotillas," bite-size, rolled tortillas with a spicy raisin filling. These shelf-stable snacks are low-fat and ready-to-eat. The tortilla shell is flavored with herbs and spices to complement the sweet and spicy raisin filling. Line extensions will include Chicotillas with pineapple, papaya, apricot, cranberry, mango chutney, and mixed fruit fillings as well as with multi-grain or corn shells.

"Banana-Custard Delights" will be presented by students from Rutgers University. They are frozen chocolate-covered banana slices embedded in vanilla custard. Shaped like mounds, the treats provide about two or three mouthfuls of delight each. Two come per package.

"Dinodrops," chocolate-coated sour cherries imprinted with a dinosaur's foot, brought the University of British Columbia to the finals. With a seemingly distasteful assortment of colors (carnivorous brown, blood red, sickly orange, puke green, and jaundice yellow), these candies are targeted to children under 14 years of age. They are encased in a red, brown, and green box that can make "Dinocalls" when emptied by blowing through one end of the container, which also depicts the rear end of a dinosaur. The backside of the container provides educational information about dinosaurs.

The competition will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, beginning with oral presentations on Sun., June 21 from 10 AM-12 Noon. The poster session (34-E) will be held on Mon., June 22 from 9-11 AM, followed by the judges' sampling of products from 12-2 PM. Winners will be announced that day at 7 PM at the IFT Student Association Social and College Bowl in the congress center.

Institute of Food Technologists

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