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Drink up! Oat-infused milk wins top prize in new product contest

It's an $8,000 idea from a student team at Clemson University.

Dairy Research Institute New Product CompetitionAn oat-infused vanilla milk developed by a student team from Clemson University won the $8,000 first prize in the Dairy Research Institute New Product Competition. The announcement was made yesterday at the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting.

The second-place team from Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia, Canada, received $5,000 for a mango drinkable Greek yogurt. The third place prize of $3,000 went to students from University of Tennessee, Tenn., for a caffeine-enhanced drinkable yogurt with antioxidants.

The Clemson team created their beverage, dubbed “tOATal Milk,” with health-conscious adults in mind. The drink is an oat-infused vanilla milk enhanced with protein, probiotics, conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) and fiber. The entry caters to the growing sports performance beverage market and leverages the benefits of protein shakes and grain/nut milks while delivering the nutrition dairy provides. With 14 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving, this beverage has a light, sweet flavor profile. By combining the techniques used in the production of fluid milk and beer, the team was able to develop this product with only slight modifications to traditional dairy processing equipment.

The Dairy Research Institute, through the support of the dairy checkoff, announced the winners of the inaugural Dairy Research Institute New Product Competition at the 2012 American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Meeting in Phoenix. The competition is designed to help inspire dairy innovation by challenging college students to develop dairy-based products that meet consumer needs. This year, participants were tasked with creating a dairy beverage that included more than 51 percent of fresh milk, dry milk or other dairy ingredients. The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students who submitted entries as individuals or teams. Three winners were selected from 18 entries.

“Mighty Mango” from Mount Saint Vincent University is an on-the-go drinkable yogurt that the students marketed for consumption post exercise. Targeted to health-conscious women, Mighty Mango contains nearly 10 grams of protein and fewer than 200 calories per serving. The students packaged the product in a biodegradable bottle to appeal to consumers’ desire for environmentally friendly products.

“Wired Berry” from the University of Tennessee was developed with teenagers and young adults in mind. The team calls the product is a healthy alternative that provides antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium and protein in addition to caffeine. Made with low-fat yogurt, the product is flavored with blueberry and strawberry purees and contains 190 calories per serving.

Three additional teams were selected as finalists:
• A premium, lactose free, ready-to-drink smoothie from Cornell University called “Dairy Dream Mango-Orange Smoothie”.
• A carbonated yogurt smoothie developed as a healthy alternative to soda from Kansas State University called “Yo-Fizz”.
• A fortified pomegranate chai milk beverage targeted to health-conscious consumers from the University of Delaware called “PomMOOgranate”.

The judging panel, composed of experts from the dairy industry, media, suppliers and members of the Dairy Research Institute, selected the winners. In addition to the final product, the six finalists also were evaluated on the merits of a cover letter and preliminary report, a final report and webinar presentation.

Bill Graves, senior vice president, Dairy Research Institute, blogs about the competition..

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