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FAPC fosters innovation with first-ever product development competition

Goat milk frozen yogurt, insect protein bars and ethnic pudding were unveiled during Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center’s first-ever Food & Beverage Product Development Competition.

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager

(Stillwater, Okla. – Sept. 26, 2017) Goat milk frozen yogurt, insect protein bars and ethnic pudding were unveiled during Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center’s first-ever Food & Beverage Product Development Competition.

The Sept. 12 competition challenged college students to share their creative and innovative ideas for new food and beverage products to help foster creative research, idea development, product and process development, and commercialization potential and evaluation, said Dani Bellmer, FAPC food process engineer.

“The goal of the competition was to provide students with an opportunity to take on the role of a food scientist and develop a new product,” Bellmer said. “By participating in the competition, students gained an understanding and appreciation of the various stages of product development.”

Helena Hollins of Langston University won first place with her new product: Silly Billy Frozen Yogurt, soft served frozen yogurt, crafted from locally sources and non-hormonal goat’s milk.

Hollins said her goal is to promote an alternative dessert to traditional products made from cow’s milk.

“Goat’s milk caters to individuals with sensitivity to lactose and contains a list of essential nutrients,” she said. “Yogurt also has its share of health benefits and helps with lactose sensitivity. My objective is to combine these two concepts into a high-quality product that the whole family can enjoy.”

A team of OSU entomology students, including Michael Caballero, Molly Drakeley, Haley Hahn and Thomas Hess, won second place with their creation: The Arthrobar, an individually wrapped protein bar made with insect protein.

“Our target customer is a young individual who is health and environmentally conscious,” Drakeley said. “They not only see the nutritional benefit of insect-based food with high-protein, low-carbohydrate and fat ratios, but also understand the global impact they can make with insect-based foods.”

Team FAPC Fab Four, consisting of Manish Aryal, Sabra Barnett, Audrey Boeken and Joyjit Saha, won third place with the idea of Ethos Pudding, made with exotic flavors and rare ingredients.

“Ethos Pudding is prepared from some of the finest and rarest ingredients handpicked from around the world,” Saha said. “Saffron, housed from the fields in the East, is used along with the more westernized cinnamon, pistachios and soymilk, crafting a rich new taste and aroma.”

Student competitors displayed a storyboard or poster and provided product samples for tasting. In addition, participants delivered a 3- to 5-minute presentation in FAPC’s Kerr Auditorium, and answered questions from the judges and audience members.

Entries were judged on both oral presentation quality and product characteristics and evaluated for consumer appeal and market potential; clarity and organization of presentation; product and process description; product appearance, texture and taste; creativity and uniqueness; and commercial process description.

Representatives from the food and beverage industry served as judges, including Rashaun Robinson, Billy Goat Ice Cream; Victor Gramillo, Fresh Creative Foods; Will West, House of Webster; and Jeff Ragan, KiZE Concepts. First-, second- and third-place winners received $500, $250 and $100, respectively.

Sponsors of the event included OSU’s Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, platinum level; Institute for Food Technologists – Oklahoma Section and Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, silver level; and Fresh Creative Foods, BlendTech, Billy Goat Ice Cream Co. and Over the Fence Farms, bronze level.

“We greatly appreciate the willingness of the sponsors to help make this event a success for students to share their ideas and network with food industry professionals,” said Chuck Willoughby, FAPC business and marketing relations manager. “The sponsors understand and support FAPC’s vision of fostering innovation and growth and preparing students for careers in the food industry.”

Because of the success of the product development competition, FAPC is making plans for next year’s event, which will take place Nov. 8, 2018.

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2017. Since its inception in January 1997, the center’s research laboratories, pilot-processing facilities, educational programs and seminars have kept food and agricultural processors and entrepreneurs on the forefront of cutting-edge value-added processing and technology.

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.