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Student Product Developers Bring Their Best to IFT16

BY: Mary Ellen Kuhn
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Healthful grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts play starring roles in the products that have reached finalist status in the IFTSA & Mars Product Development Competition sponsored by Mars Chocolate North America. This prestigious annual competition, now in its 26th year, challenges student teams to come up with a concept and take it all the way through the final stages of product development.

Finalists from six universities will compete in the phases of the competition that take place during IFT16: oral presentations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, in room S404bcd followed by poster presentations from 3–5 p.m. that day in the South Hall.

What creative concoctions did this year’s student product developers come up with? Here’s a sneak peek at the entries from the finalists.

  • The Cornell University team developed BanaNut Bites, which are soft banana cake bites covered in a smooth peanut butter glaze and chopped peanuts.
  • McGill University product developers describe their entry, Rephyll, as “a reinvention of a full day’s serving of vegetables in the form of a juicy patty that replicates the sensory and cooking experience of beef.”
  • YerBagel from the Michigan State University team is a frozen microwavable bagel product formulated with whole wheat flour and filled with coffee fruit powder and yerba mate–infused, naturally flavored cream cheese spread. The yerba mate and coffee fruit powder contribute 80 mg of caffeine per serving.
  • The entry from the Pennsylvania State University team is Garden Poppers, a quick, on-the-go snack or appetizer made from real vegetables. Garden Poppers have a creamy, savory center that mimics the texture of vegan cheese surrounded by a soft and chewy whole wheat outer layer.
  • The University of Wisconsin–Madison team came up with Qeen-yos, which are quinoa and peanut butter bites with chia seeds and dried cranberries. The bites are coated with a spicy, chipotle-cinnamon yogurt shell.
  • Faux Pho from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University team is a savory, vegetarian, Asian-inspired noodle soup with a twist.

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