Student food competition focuses on developing countries

The Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA), a student-governed community of members of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), has announced the finalists for the IFTSA Developing Solutions for Developing Countries (DSDC) Product Development Competition, which promotes the application of food science and technology and the development of new products and processes that are targeted at improving the quality of life for people in developing countries.

The six teams selected as finalists earn partial travel and registration to IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, the food science, technology, and innovation showcase being held July 14-17 at McCormick Place in Chicago. At IFT FIRST, each team will make its respective pitch to an expert panel with winners to be announced at the IFTSA Closing Ceremony on Tuesday, July 16. First place receives $3,000, second place receives $1,500, and third place receives $500.

This year’s competition theme involved creating a food product sourced entirely from local ingredients with packaging easily produced within a selected developing country.

“In light of record-level inflation and escalating import taxes, it is critical for developing countries to lean into food innovations that leverage locally sourced ingredients to meet the needs of their growing populations. The six food creations from these brilliant teams of student innovators exemplify the important role science and technology must play in addressing these important issues,” said Christina Ginardi, director of academic engagement at IFT.

Last year, IPB University in Indonesia won for Newbies (Drasties), a smoothie produced using local ingredients such as dragon fruit to help local Indonesian producers and keep prices affordable. It also can serve as a nutritional value drink substitute. This year, Indonesia could once again end up on top as Bogor Agricultural University has two products among the six finalists.

The finalists

GemBoost Tempeh and TANDUM Noodle – Bogor Agricultural University (Bogor, Indonesia)

GemBoost is a mung bean tempeh enriched with tofu byproduct. This potential nutritious super food can lower food commodity importation in Indonesia. Meanwhile, TANDUM Noodle is a gluten-free instant noodle made of MOCAF, sago starch, and whole green banana flour. The product uses local ingredients from Indonesia to help improve the society’s wellbeing by increasing dietary fibre intake in a commonly consumed meal.

HopEnergy and Quin’chevere – University of Costa Rica (Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica)

HopEnergy is an instant powdered drink designed for migrants passing through Costa Rica made from panela, milk, grains, and seeds. It is high in protein and calcium, and is a source of iron, vitamin A, and fiber. Meanwhile, Quin’chevere is a powdered beverage based in pigeon pea that is also a source of protein and fiber.

Moringfir – Taylor’s University (Malaysia)

Moringfir is a revitalizing blend of kefir infused with antioxidant-rich and nutrient packed moringa leaves, guava, and pineapple.

Bonapia Multipaste – McGill University (Montreal, Canada)

Bonapia is a multifunctional paste made by locally produced ingredients in Haiti that can be consumed as a snack or diluted into stew, or by incorporating it into Kasav Haitian cassava bread. Bonapia production includes an aquaponic system, which adopts agriculture farming and hydroponic systems to source Bonapia ingredients sustainably.

The DSDC Product Development Competition is sponsored by IFT’s Feeding Tomorrow Fund. Since 1985, the Institute of Food Technologists through the Feeding Tomorrow Fund has awarded more than 2,700 scholarships totalling more than $3 million. In addition to graduate and undergraduate scholarships, IFT’s Feeding Tomorrow Fund also offers scholarship awards for students with specific criteria such as greatest financial need, those transferring from a community college, and first-generational college enrolment.