Thirteen new food product creations were unveiled during Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center’s second annual Food Product Innovation Competition.
The Nov. 8 competition challenged college students to share their creative and innovative ideas for new food and beverage products to help foster creative research, idea development, product and process development, and commercialization potential and evaluation, said Dani Bellmer, FAPC food process engineer.
“The goal of the competition was to provide students with an opportunity to take on the role of a food scientist and develop a new product,” Bellmer said. “By participating in the competition, students gained an understanding and appreciation of the various stages of product development.”
Walter Bowser and Will Petty won first place with their new product: Bubble Calm, an all-natural anxiety-relieving bubble gum.
A team of OSU food science students, including Ashley Gifford, Karley Griffin, Christina Thomas, Haley Wolzen, Emmy Bechtold and Ally Casey, won second place with their creation: Hot Hooves, a sweet and spicy ice cream.
Team Just Wing It, consisting of Conner McDaniel, Tony Kountoupis and Dennis Pletcher, won third place with the creation of three hot sauces made with homegrown peppers and custom flavors.
“We were fortunate to have a great group of students participate in this year’s event and present their creative and innovative ideas,” Bellmer said. “The competition is becoming a popular event, attracting students from different departments on campus and even other colleges and universities around Oklahoma.”
Other products entered in the competition included Bomb Bucha, SeeNut and BeaNut Bar, PhytoPhit, Knafa, Pollinator Pumpkin Puffs, Nutty Apple Protein Mix, Wine Bread, Lentil Kefir Drink, Queso on-the-Go and Gluten-Free Cricket Powder Bread.
Student competitors displayed a storyboard or poster and provided product samples for tasting. In addition, participants delivered a 3- to 5-minute presentation in FAPC’s Kerr Auditorium, and answered questions from the judges and audience members.
Entries were judged on both oral presentation quality and product characteristics and evaluated for consumer appeal and market potential; clarity and organization of presentation; product and process description; product appearance, texture and taste; creativity and uniqueness; and commercial process description.
Representatives from the food and beverage industry served as judges, including Dave Cathey, The Oklahoman; Kim Reynolds, George’s Stables; Megan Torline, BlendTech; Chad Mills, OSU Riata Center for Entrepreneurship; Jill Joyce, OSU Department of Nutritional Sciences and Leigh-Ann Kidney, US Foods.
First-, second- and third-place winners received $500, $250 and $100, respectively.
Sponsors of the event included the OSU Riata Center for Entrepreneurship and Howard Industries, platinum level; Institute for Food Technologists – Oklahoma Section, gold level; Startup Stillwater, the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Griffin Foods, silver level; and BlendTech and S&D Coffee & Tea, bronze level.
“We greatly appreciate the willingness of the sponsors to help make this event a success for students to share their ideas and network with food industry professionals,” said Chuck Willoughby, FAPC business and marketing relations manager. “The sponsors understand and support FAPC’s vision of fostering innovation and growth and preparing students for careers in the food industry.”
FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that stimulates and supports the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.