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Knowledge Award winners 2012

For the ninth year in a row, food science students from across the U.S. accepted the challenge of using functional ingredient technology to create appealing foods with an improved nutritional profile. The Knowledge Award program, sponsored by DuPont Nutrition & Health, this year stimulated the development of innovative concepts for delivering increased nutrient density and added health benefits in ways that consumers can enjoy. In some cases, high-scoring entries transformed guilty pleasures into guiltless ones by lowering fat and sugar content and adding fiber and/or other vitamin-rich components.
   
The competition began in late April with product evaluations conducted in a two-day preliminary judging forum by six DuPont food specialists. The preliminary judges tasted and evaluated each concept, assigning scores based on a 100-point scale. (The identities of the students and universities associated with each of the entries were kept from the judges.) The 12 highest-scoring concepts advanced to the final round of judging.
   
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 12 finalists. The judges studied written reports, evaluated each concept 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. 

We are pleased to announce this year’s top three winning entries:

First place

For the second year in a row, First Place was awarded to a team of students from Clemson University, this time for “Harvest: Run Blue,” a great-tasting, nutritious beverage providing the healthful benefits of fresh fruits and whole grains. 

This beverage is rich in nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron and protein.  It contains only 230 calories per 12 oz. serving and 12 grams of whole grain from barley and oats.

The six-person team consisted of Zachary Hopkins (Team Leader), Andrea Musselwhite, Samantha King, Jamieson Boyer, Gabrielle Gunter and Daniel Hutcherson.  The product is aimed at the 18-34 year old age group, and will likely do well in Hispanic markets, where consumption of yogurt-based beverages is currently highest.

The final formulation consisted of four DuPont™ Danisco® ingredients:  XIVIA™ C xylitol was used to add sweetness and balance the tartness of the yogurt and lemon.  GRINDSTED® Pectin SY 200 was used to stabilize the final product and prevent separation of the beverage.  MicroGARD® 200 was added to suppress the growth of spoilage bacteria.   HOWARU® Dophilus Premium Probiotics were added for intestinal health purposes.

Second place

Second Place was won by a two-person team from Kansas State University consisting of Krista McKay (Team Leader) and Josh Sinning. Together, they developed “Sweet Potato Crisps,” a baked snack using a combination of sweet potatoes, carrots and whole wheat flour. 

This snack food provides a healthier alternative to traditional potato chips and meets consumers’ current demands for products containing whole wheat, vegetables and fiber.

The crisps are cholesterol-free, low in fat, provide vitamin A, calcium and iron, and are lower in total carbohydrates than traditional potato chips. Sweet Potato Crisps are aimed primarily at 18-24 year olds who want to eat healthier but crave salty snacks.  PANODAN® 205K DATEM was used as a dough conditioner to strengthen the gluten network so the product is easier to sheet out and to improve mouth feel.  GUARDIAN™ Toco 70 was used as an antioxidant and to improve shelf life.

Third place

Third Place went to another Clemson University team led by Courtney Chiang.

Other team members are: Josh Galvarino, Kristiaan Fish, Dorothy Kerrison, Chris Milhouse and Lauren Wiseman.  The team created “Blast Sorbet,” a delicious, healthy sorbet containing mint extract, raspberry puree, blueberry puree, blackberry puree, sweet potato puree, carrot puree and omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil. 

The flavor is rich and decadent, yet refreshing with an intense berry flavor accented by mint. This product focuses on young adults looking for beauty and improved health benefits from omega-3 sources.

The natural sweetness of the berries helps to keep the sugar and calorie content low, even with the addition of flax-seed oil. GRINDSTED® SSD-5328 Stabilizer System, a blend of pectin and guar gum, was used as a stabilizer and to minimize ice crystal growth.  GUARDIAN™ Toco 70 was used as an antioxidant in the flax seed oil to prevent lipid oxidation and the production of rancid or off flavors.  Xivia™ C xylitol was used as a sugar replacer and to reduce calories.

Winners of the 2012 competition were highlighted at the Prepared Foods New Products Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., September 11, 2012, and DuPont will soon release a product review booklet outlining selected entries in the 2012 Knowledge Award competition.

Thanks and congratulations to the winners and all participants for their hard work in bringing forth inspiring concepts that illustrate the promising future of food science.