Brain Food: The Official Blog of IFT

Students Showcase Knowledge, Creativity Through Competitions

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June 17, 2019

By Amy Clarke Sievers

Each year, IFT provides student members a wealth of opportunities to expand their knowledge, explore potential career paths, network with peers, volunteer their time, and socialize at its Annual Event and Food Expo. Among those opportunities is the chance to showcase their creative thinking, scientific prowess, and teamwork through a number of competitions.

College Bowl Competition

Now in its 34th year, the IFTSA College Bowl Competition tests the knowledge of student teams from across the United States in the areas of food science and technology, history of foods and food processing, food law, and general IFT/food-related trivia. Finalists from IFT Student Chapters in eight geographical areas participated in a final competition at IFT19 in New Orleans. After 15 grueling rounds, the University of Wisconsin – Madison team was crowned the 2019 College Bowl National Champion, taking home a $1,000 prize. The Ohio State University came in second, earning a $750 prize, and rounding out the top three was Louisiana State University.

The 29th Annual IFTSA & MARS Wrigley Confectionery Product Development Competition

Providing students with a chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a real-world scenario, the annual IFTSA & MARS Product Development Competition challenged student teams to develop a new food idea and carry the concept through marketing and production. Following oral presentations at IFT19 from six finalists, Michigan State University took home top honors and a $3,000 prize for its TryDough product. Coming in second and earning a $1,500 prize was the University of Wisconsin – Madison and its Trinipea. Cornell University and its Waffull Wands came in third place and earned a $500 prize.

Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Product Development Competition

The IFTSA Developing Solutions for Developing Countries (DSDC) competition promotes the application of food science and technology and the development of new products and processes aimed at improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. This year, student teams were challenged to create a nutritious food product targeting a particular developing country and addressing at least two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), excluding the ‘zero hunger’ SDG. Six finalist teams shared their solutions at IFT19 and Lund University from Sweden claimed first place and a $3,000 prize for their MORINGAU product. Bogor Agricultural University from Indonesia came in second and earned a $1,500 prize for their Go-Crokies, and Taylor's University Lakeside Campus from Malaysia came in third and earned a $500 prize for their Jack Mung product.

Smart Snacks for Kids Product Development Competition

The USDA “Guide to Smart Snacks in Schools” recommendations provides the framework for students to create a fun and nutritious food or beverage product targeted at kids and/or teens in the IFTSA Smart Snacks for Kids Competition. Six finalist teams channeled their younger selves to come up with novel, tasty treats that incorporated “smart” qualities. With its Smooshables Yogurt, Rutgers University won $3,000 for its first place finish. Utah State University’s Cosmic Crackers took second, earning them a $1,500 prize. Dip-A-Roos from California Polytechnic State University – Pomona came in third, earning the team a $500 prize.

Undergraduate Research Competition

The Undergraduate Research Competition is designed to showcase outstanding, independent research at the undergraduate level. Six finalists had the opportunity to network with members of both industry and academia throughout the process and presented their original research projects both orally and via poster at IFT19. Sarah Caballero, a senior from California Polytechnic State University – Pomona, won first place and a $1,000 prize for her research on the comparison of plant and animal-origin proteins for the impact of Maillard conjugation on nanoemulsion formation and stability. Kuanrong Zhu, a senior from The Ohio State University, placed second and won $750 for her research on fingerprinting maple syrup by vibrational spectroscopy and pattern recognition. Nicholas Pham, a sophomore from University of Missouri, placed third and won $500 for his research on the effect of NaCl on emulsification properties of heated whey protein isolate and pectin soluble complexes at pI.

Graduate Research Video Competition sponsored by Campden BRI  

Taking a digital twist on presenting research, the Graduate Research Video Competition invited students enrolled in a master’s, doctoral or equivalent degree programs to create a three-minute video showcasing their original research on any subject related to food science or technology. Judges selected Alexander Joseph Taylor from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign as the competition winner for his research on the characterization of yeast’s role in cocoa fermentation. Taylor will have the opportunity to attend a 10-day industry visit at Campden BRI in the United Kingdom, and experience each of their major divisions focusing on the most relevant areas related to this studies.

Thank you to all the students who worked so hard over the last year during the various stages of these competitions, and congratulations to all of our 2019 IFTSA competition winners.

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