Danisco USA’s annual new product competition for food science students once again sparked the development of some promising new food and beverage concepts by student teams from universities across the country.
The 2009 Danisco Knowledge Award judging began in late April with product evaluations conducted in a two-day preliminary judging forum by six Danisco food specialists. The preliminary judges tasted and evaluated each concept without knowing the identities of the students and universities associated with them, and entries were scored based on a 100-point scale. The highest points received determined the top 12 finalists. This year, due to a two-way tie for twelfth place, 13 concepts advanced to the final round of the competition.

Next, an appointed panel of judges – comprised of six product development experts from the food industry – conducted independent and anonymous assessments of each of the top 13 entries. The judges studied written reports, evaluated the concepts based on taste and product criteria, assessed the marketability and uniqueness of each, and assigned a score based on a 200-point scale to determine the top three Knowledge Award winners. 

It is with great pleasure that we announce this year’s top three winning entries:

First place goes to a team of five students from Washington State University/University of Idaho. Kellie Grant led the team – which included Dan Ramseyer, Kimberly Court, Lauren Davis and Elizabeth O’Daffer – in submitting Pro-Yo Delectables, a fruit-filled chocolate- and granola-covered frozen yogurt novelty. One serving provides a good source of fiber and probiotics. This product is targeted toward adults (especially women) because of their desire for indulgent frozen novelties with portion control. Each serving contains 3 grams of fiber and only 140 calories. It is ready to eat and contains probiotics to support immunity and digestion. Grindsted Pectin YF 347 was used in the fruit center to form a jam-like texture. Litesse Two was used in the frozen yogurt and in the fruit center as a prebiotic and a low calorie-bulking agent. Grindsted IcePro 2516 provided creaminess and reduced ice crystals in the frozen yogurt.  Howaru Dophilus and Bifido are the probiotics in the frozen yogurt.

Second Place was won by a four-person team of students from Clemson University led by Breanna Wingate. The team also included Jacklyn Dejockheere, Lisa Fuller and Adam Rubelmann. Together, they developed Dark Delirium, a variety pack of dark chocolate truffles that are a healthier alternative to other chocolate candies on the market, and yet still decadent. The variety pack consists of three different truffles, all of which have a shell made of 71% dark chocolate and a super fruit ganache. The ganache varieties include Black Currant, Pomegranate-Caramel and White Chocolate-Pomegranate. Dark Delirium appeals to a variety of current food industry trends and consumer desires, including the indulgence factor, antioxidant health benefits, excitingly unique super fruit flavors, mini serving sizes and convenient, individually-wrapped packaging. Litesse Ultra polydextrose functioned as a sugar and partial fat replacer, and was used to increase dietary fiber. Grindox 204 antioxidants inhibited oxidation in the chocolate and in the butter. Betafin® BF 20 betaine was used to support hearth health since it aids in reducing homocysteine levels. MicroGard 200 was applied to inhibit yeast and mold and extend shelf life.  Grindsted Carrageenan CS 115 was incorporated for texture modification and to control cold flow in the caramel. Dimodan HP distilled monoglycerides prevented crystallization, improved dispersion and reduced stickiness in the caramel.

Third Place was awarded to the University of Arkansas team led by Jeana Monrad. Other team members are: Gaewalih Oupadissakoon, Brittany White and Annie Graves. The team conceived Trio-Tizers, a pre-cooked, frozen dish with three complete appetizers in one tray, providing consumers a “home-cooked” appetizer with little fuss. The three appetizers include garlic herb chicken skewers, caramelized onions and cranberries with warm brie on crackers and herb and cheese stuffed mushrooms. Trio-Tizers targets on-the-go consumers who are always short on time but want quality and delicious appetizers to share with friends and family. It has a competitive advantage over other frozen appetizers because no other product offers the value-added variety of three fully prepared, up-scale appetizers that do not need any other ingredients. Grindsted Xanthan 80 was used as a stabilizer in the marinade for the garlic and herb chicken skewers.  This also allowed the marinade to stick to the chicken pieces. Grindsted Pectin YF 357 thickened the caramelized cranberry and onion sauce. Litesse Two polydextrose also was used in the caramelized cranberry and onion sauce as a fiber source and bulking agent. Grindsted Pectin AMD 783 protected proteins in the dairy portions (sour cream and cream cheese) of the stuffed mushrooms. Panodan 150-K, an emulsifier, prevented oiling off of the stuffed mushrooms. Grindox 497 antioxidant inhibited lipid oxidation in the stuffed mushrooms.

Danisco will soon release a product review booklet outlining selected entries in the 2009 Knowledge Award competition, and winners will be formally announced at the Prepared Foods New Product Conference, in Palm Beach, Fla., September 9-12.

Thanks and congratulations to the winners and all participants for the intriguing concepts, and their creativity, knowledge and hard work brought to this year’s program.