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Food Product Innovation Competition open to college students across Oklahoma

Friday, August 24, 2018

Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center is challenging college students to share their creative and innovative ideas for new food and beverage products in November for a chance to compete in a product innovation competition.

“The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, introduced new food inventions that are now American classics including the hamburger, hot dog, peanut butter, iced tea, cotton candy, the club sandwich and the ice cream cone,” said Chuck Willoughby, FAPC business and marketing relations manager. “Now 114 years later, college students have the opportunity to create the next greatest food and beverage inventions.”

The Food Product Innovation Competition will take place Nov. 8 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at FAPC and will foster creative research, idea development, product and process development, and commercialization potential and evaluation. However, individuals or teams must complete the entry form by Oct. 10.

“The goal of this competition is to provide students with an opportunity to take on the role of a food scientist and develop a new product,” said Dani Bellmer, FAPC food process engineer. “By participating in the competition, students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the various stages of product development.”

To participate in the contest, undergraduate or graduate students from any Oklahoma college or university are asked to create a new food or beverage product.

Competitor selections will be made by Oct. 12, and selected applicants must submit a $25 deposit to reserve a spot in the contest. The entry fee will be refunded after students complete the event, and competitors will be reimbursed up to $100 for ingredients and supplies.

During the Nov. 8 event, selected participants will display a storyboard or poster and provide product samples for tasting. In addition, participants will deliver a 3- to 5-minute presentation in FAPC’s Kerr Auditorium, and answer questions from the judges and audience members.

Entries will be judged on both oral presentation quality and product characteristics and will be 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 will serve as judges. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive $500, $250 and $100, respectively.

Chuck Willoughby, FAPC business and marketing relations manager, said he is excited to see the ingenuity of students as they develop their products for the competition.

“This is a great opportunity for students to share their ideas and network with food industry professionals,” he said. “The competition also supports FAPC’s vision of fostering innovation and growth and preparing students for careers in the food industry.”

For more information about the Food Product Innovation Competition description and rules, please visit

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.

Story by Mandy Gross

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