From Vision to Victory

Written By: Meridith Bibbo, Cal Poly Food Science majorFoodies!

Talk about a win-win (-win?) situation: food science and nutrition students fulfilling their dreams of creating a new food product while fulfilling the needs of a developing country. And better yet, winning a competition for doing so!

As covered in the Summer/Fall AgCircle Magazine, the 2012-2013 school year welcomed a new product development team to the scene when Emma Sandquist (third year) and Adam Ye (third year) decided they wanted to enter the Institute for Food Technologists Students Association (IFTSA) Developing Solutions for Developing Countries (DSDC) competition.The theme of the competition was to choose a nation plagued with HIV/AIDS and to create a product to provide these people with proper nutrition.

Following many months of research, bench-top testing, and sleepless nights (even over Christmas break!), the team submitted their preliminary proposals to IFTSA with fingers crossed, hoping to make it to the next round of the competition.

They succeeded!

This meant that over the summer, the team travelled to annual IFT Expo to present their product in front of a panel of judges and a room full of spectators. The Expo, which was held in Chicago this year, attracts food scientists and food enthusiasts from across the nation to learn the latest trends in industry, see first-hand innovative new products and technologies, and to make connections with other attendees. Good thing the Cal Poly team did not have stage fright!



After some quick tours of the city, the DSDC team entered the Expo, ready to pit their product against those of universities across the country. They were not the only team from Cal Poly there, though! The Disney Product Development team was also entering into their respective competition with a product they called “Mike’s S’creamy Dip & Scare Me Chips”. Their aim was to create a Disney-themed healthy snack for kids. Both teams were required to present a fifteen minute oral report and then engage in a five minute question/answer period, as well as offer their product for a sensory evaluation. After this, they were left to await the results.


When the results came in, it was a major victory for Cal Poly! The DSDC team received second place for “Malawi Mix” (Rutgers University took first) and the Disney team took home first place (University of Minnesota took the ultimate Grand Prize). Each team was awarded $3500, a personalized plaque, and a highlight in Food Technology.  Though neither team claimed the top prizes in their competitions, two prizes for one university is not too bad at all—especially when Cal Poly’s teams were the only completely undergraduate entries and one of the teams started merely as a vision by a student passionate about giving back.

Way to go Cal Poly Food Science and Nutrition Department!

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