Article

Dairy competition helps inspire next generation of food developers

Developing a new food that people will want to snack on takes more than catering to cutting-edge taste buds.

National Dairy Council’s annual New Product Competition helps inspire the next generation of food developers and gives students the unique opportunity to experience what it might be like to work in product development for a food company. On June 26, 2018, for the seventh annual New Product Competition, six student teams were chosen from undergraduate and graduate dairy and food science programs across North America to fully develop a new dairy-based snack to meet the evolving needs of today’s consumer. The students tapped each other’s strengths as they worked together to create a new food from start to finish including formulation, processing, packaging, pricing and marketing. 

This year, a team of students from Kansas State University was awarded the first-place prize of $8,000 at the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee.

From left to right: Bill Graves of National Dairy Council (NDC), Kansas State Faculty Coach Jayendra Amamcharla, Team Captain Yuda Ou, Priyamvada Thorakkattu, Karthik Sajith Babu, and Rohit Kapoor of NDC

The Kansas State team created Quick-Quark, a creamy, German-style drinkable quark (unripened cheese) made predominantly with dairy ingredients, including whole milk, cream, milk protein concentrate and sweetened condensed milk. The milk ingredients were fermented using starter cultures, resulting in a smooth, mildly tart quark base. Each 150-gram serving of Quick-Quark provides either 200 or 220 calories, depending on flavor (acai blueberry or piña colada), and is an excellent source of dairy protein (14 grams) and calcium (30 percent Daily Value). Packaged in a flexible, spouted pouch, Quick-Quark can be an all-day, any-occasion portable dairy snack. It’s a great snack for kids, too, since it uses real dairy, is flavored with fruit and has no preservatives. 

In this year’s competition, teams from Cornell University and Clemson University were awarded second- and third-place prizes of $5,000 and $3,000, respectively.

What was the most valuable thing the students learned from the competition?

“It takes long hours of hard work, good communication and great teamwork to take an innovative idea and make it into a product that can be easily commercialized,” said Yuda Ou, leader of the Kansas State winning team.

Members of the Cornell University second-place team, who created Sunbites, reiterated the importance of teamwork and communication. According to team leader Rebecca Cheng, “Working within a team brings together creativity and inspiration. However, with so many different thoughts and ideas, it is crucial to find a balance through effective communication and compromise to achieve team harmony and success.” 

See all six of the innovative dairy snacks created by the student teams below:

 Quick Quark

Quick-Quark, Kansas State University

 A creamy, German-style drinkable quark (unripened cheese) Quick-Quark is packaged in a flexible, spouted pouch, making it a great on-the-go snack for both adults and kids.

 

Sun Bites

SunBites, Cornell University

SunBites is a bite-size, savory cheese snack made from tangy Cheddar cheese crackers and crunchy milk protein crisps bound together in an innovative cluster shape — ideal for on-the-go snacking.

 

Fromage

FROmage, Clemson University

FROmage is a quark-based vanilla French ice cream that delivers on indulgence while supplying protein for a satisfying snack or dessert.

 

Moo Cakes

MooCakes, The Ohio State University

MooCakes, a dairy-based, chocolate coated bakery snack, are ideal for those looking for an alternative to protein/energy bars or for a more nutritious alternative to sweet bakery products.

 

Mottochi

Mottochi, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Mottochi is protein-rich snack that pays homage to conventional Japanese mochi, while bringing more to the table than traditional mochi by way of high-quality dairy protein. 

 

Teafir

Teafir, Cornell University

Teafir is a ready-to-drink fermented dairy beverage inspired by traditional kefir. Pieces of fermented tea jellies add an interesting “chew” to the beverage.