Seventeen new food product creations were unveiled during the Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center’s third annual Food Product Innovation Competition.
The Nov. 5 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.”
Emily Geest and Sarah Elzay, integrative biology graduate students, won first place with their product: Pollinator Puffs, soft cookies made with locally sourced ingredients that highlight the importance of pollinators both locally and regionally.
Thais Gaia Oliveira, a nutritional science graduate student, won second place with her creation: Healthy Crackers, a cornmeal based snack cracker. Oliveira also won the People’s Choice Award, which was added to this year’s competition.
Third place was Allison Hoisl, an animal and food sciences undergraduate student, with her product: Bagel Buzz, a caffeinated bagel.
“I was very impressed with the student preparation and quality of ideas, and bringing in outstanding judges to the event,” said Ranjith Ramanathan, associate professor in OSU’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences. “It is good to see the number of participants is increasing from year to year. This contest has potential of extending to a national level and being a premier food innovation event for students.”
Other products entered in the competition included Chickpea Chicks Cashew Humus, Oklahoma Lumberjack Brown Ale, Save the Date Energy Bars with Dates, Ketogenic Pizza Pies, Rum Chocolate Drops, Paleo Party Jalapeno Jelly, Troha & Sons Beef Jerky, Coffee Cubes, Asian Golden Gram Pancake Mix, Guilt Free Ice Cream, Sandwich Pockets, Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes, Masoub and Rumchiz.
Student competitors displayed a storyboard or poster and provided product samples for tasting. The top five entries, selected by the judges, 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 David Brooks, Shawnee Milling Co.; Dave Cathey, The Oklahoman; Mackenna Heath, Shawnee Milling Co.; Leigh-Ann Kidney, US Foods; and Chad Mills, OSU Riata Center for Entrepreneurship.
First, second and third place winners received $500, $250 and $100, respectively. The People’s Choice Winner also received $100.
Sponsors of the event included the OSU Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, Howard Industries and Dave McLaughlin, platinum level; Venturing & Emerging Brands of The Coca-Cola Co., gold level; Green Bay Packaging and Institute of Food Technologists – Oklahoma Section, silver level; and BlendTech, 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.”
Surbhi Lal and Haley Swan of The Coca-Cola Co. were able to attend the event and also take a tour of FAPC’s processing facility.
“We enjoyed seeing all the innovation and learned so much about the FAPC program,” Lal said.
FAPC, a part of the OSU 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.
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