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Competition Seeks Winning Bug-Based Formulations

BY: Mary Ellen Kuhn
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Crickets and mealwormsConsuming insects as a food source has become a hot topic in the food world, and this year, the seventh annual Developing Solutions for Developing Countries competition invited students to formulate a nutritious and desirable product using insects as a major ingredient.

Students rose to the challenge, and six finalist teams—three in the U.S./Canada division of the competition and three in the international segment—will vie for top honors at IFT15 in Chicago.

For those eager to learn more about the insect-based concoctions that the students have come up with, oral presentations will take place from 2–4 p.m. Sunday, July 12, in Room S404bc of McCormick Place. Each team will give a 15-minute presentation. Later in the afternoon (from 4:30–6 p.m. in Room S404d), the contestants will participate in a roundtable question-and-answer session, which will allow the competition judges and audience members to ask them questions.

Meanwhile, however, here’s a preview of the 2015 finalists and the products that allowed them to get to the final stages of the contest.

U.S. Canada Division

  • McGill University students came up with Falamus Instant Mix, a nutrient-dense flour used to instantly prepare hummus or falafel, which its creators suggest could be used to alleviate malnutrition in Syrian refugee camps.
  • University of Massachusetts students created Meal-malade, a protein-packed powder with a base of cassava starch and mealworm sweetened with dried pineapple and fortified vitamin A sugar; its applications are versatile thanks to its thickening properties when boiled with water.
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison students developed Nu Stew, an East African–inspired canned stew comfort food that features sweet potatoes, peanuts, amaranth, and protein-packed silkworm pupae.

International Division

  • Universiti Putra Malaysia students formulated a wholesome, sustainable biscuit called Coco-Wormy that is made from mealworms, desiccated coconut, and sweet potatoes.
  • Universidad de Costa Rica students developed a cookie snack called Cricketa that is made with cricket flour and sweet potato puree. It is designed to serve as a source of protein, iron, and vitamin A for Costa Rican children.
  • A second Universidad de Costa Rica team made it to the finals with its concoction, Molibannann, a nutritious dry mix of plantain and mealworm flour designed to be used in several Haitian dishes for children.

Winners of the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries competition will be announced during the IFT Student Association Closing Ceremony, which begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 13, in the Continental AB Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago.

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