Food Science in Action

Journal of Food Science Education

The Journal of Food Science Education (JFSE) aims to develop a rich video library of foundational food science resources for K-12 STEM educators. Studies show that children who learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at a young age tend to pursue these fields as their profession. Video can be a great teaching tool in today’s classroom, enhancing an educator’s repertoire by engaging students audiovisually to show them how food science and technology work.

Food Science In Action

Congratulations to the 2019 Winners!

1st Place: “Why Does It Hurt When You Eat Pineapple?” by Kat Fernandez, Matthew Poon, and Jacqueline Yee from University of California, Davis

2nd Place: “ES PUTER: Science in a Cup of Indonesian Ice Cream” by Lakeshia Erlino Kuswoyo, Catherine Trixie, Irvan, I Kadek Juni Saputra, and Kadek Danayasa from Universitas Prasetiya Mulya, Indonesia

3rd Place:: “S'more Science” by Zhixin Wang, Caitlin Carmody, and Autumn Rudlong from Cornell University


View all of the accepted submissions from 2015 through 2019:


About the Competition

2019 Theme: Teaching and Learning Science Through Food
The 2019 contest is closed as of April 8th. Check back here in September 2019 for info on the 2020 contest.

Food can be a fun and engaging way to teach students about science. For this year’s theme, in a 1- to 5-minute video, create an experiment or a demonstration that teaches viewers an aspect of science using food. Include sufficient details and a materials & equipment list so viewers can repeat the experiment or demonstration at home or in the classroom/school lab. 

Examples include:

  • Red Cabbage Chemistry: Use a red cabbage indicator that will test the acidity or alkalinity of solutions
  • A Matter of Exchanging Phases: Teach students about phase transitions by making liquid nitrogen ice cream (tastes good, too!)
  • Small but Mighty: Use fermentation to teach students about microbiology (bread dough rising; yogurt or cheese production; making kombucha, beer, or wine)
  • How to Eat Glass Without Getting Hurt: Make hard candy using a simple recipe, and answer questions such as, why should you NOT stir after a certain point, why do you need a mix of sugars, what would happen if you tried to substitute sugar alcohols or Stevia/high intensity sweeteners, why does the candy "shatter" when you break it, what is the purpose of greasing the cooking surface, and why dust the candy with powdered sugar?
  • Seemingly simple recipes and processes to drive chemistry and engineering narratives, e.g.:
    Pancakes (Flippin' Amazing):
    -Hydration of dry ingredients/batter formation
    -Interactions Among Macronutrients
    -Maillard Browning
    -Chemical Leavening
    -Foam Stability
    -Heat Transfer
    Coffee (Grounds for Gustation):
    -Maillard Browning as a continuum across light/medium and dark roasts
    -Solution Chemistry/Solvent Effects + Time + Temperature Effects (cold brew vs filtered)
    -Carbon Dioxide Production and Crema (from Maillard; seen in espresso)
    -Effects of different preparation methods.
    -Extractions over time (drip brewing visibly differs minute-by-minute if you do fraction collection).

Additional examples can be found in the JFSE article entitled “Using Food Science Demonstrations to Engage Students of all Ages in STEM,” by Schmidt et al. (2012). Videos may be live action, animation, or a combination, and should be created especially for this contest.

Aim your video to the education level of one of these 3 audience categories:

  • Elementary School (K–5)
  • Middle School (6–8)
  • High School & Beyond (9–12, Higher Education)

Submit Your Video

Check out our submission guidelines, criteria, and tips for creating a video below. If you need additional assistance, contact Amanda Ferguson at

Submissions must be received by Monday, April 8th, 2019.

Complete the online submission form & upload your video

Criteria for Submissions

Videos should be 1–5 minutes in length and show an experiment or demonstration teaching science through food. A complete materials and equipment list must be included at the end of the video.

Creativity: Video submissions should use creative and original approaches to convey the message. Videos may be live action, animation, or a combination, and should be created especially for this contest.

Tone: Video submissions should be creative, fun, entertaining, and portray food science in a positive manner.

Production Quality: 1) Audio quality – dialogue should be easy to understand. 2) Visual quality – visual effects should enhance the message. 3) Editing should be smooth and coherent. Captioning for ADA compliance is encouraged.

Accuracy: Video content must be scientifically accurate. If relevant, include appropriate references in the credits. The judges will evaluate all videos for scientific content and veracity.

Other criteria:

  • The contest is open to anyone. Individual or team submissions are permitted. Team videos should be submitted only once, by a designated team lead. Prizes are awarded to the winning individual or team lead (to be shared by the team). There is no limit on the number of unique submissions per individual or team.
  • For students creating and submitting videos, faculty input is encouraged.
  • Videos should be newly created for the contest, not previously published online.
  • Complete the submission form and video upload.
  • Entries may not include unsuitable content; obscenity (e.g. FCC violations and similar); disparagement; defamation; pornography; harassment; racial, ethnic, or sexual slurs; other offensive conduct or material, or otherwise include inappropriate or unlawful content. What constitutes inappropriate content will be determined at IFT's discretion.
  • Any content sourced from existing materials (i.e., not created by the submitter) must follow copyright laws.
  • By participating in the competition, you fully and unconditionally agree to and accept these rules and the decisions of IFT, which are final and binding in all matters related to the competition. Whether or not you receive a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth in these rules. The competition is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and is void where prohibited by law. Videos will not be judged if any of the above eligibility criteria are not met.

Judging and Prizes

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of JFSE Editors for scientific accuracy and basic quality standards. Feedback from the Editors will be sent to submitters whose videos are not accepted. Accepted videos will be posted to IFT's YouTube channel.

A panel of judges, comprised of JFSE Editorial Board members and communications professionals, will review and choose the top three (3) videos based on the criteria above. The winners will be announced on Monday, April 22nd, 2019.

First Prize: $1,000 and recognition at IFT19
Second Prize: $500 and mention at IFT19
Third Prize: $250 and mention at IFT19


You agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless IFT and its employees, directors, and agents as to any claims relating to the submission or use of the submission of the videos submitted.

IFT and its employees, officers, directors, agents, contractors, representatives, affiliates, divisions, sections, and/or advertising/promotion agencies (the "Released Parties") shall not assume any responsibility whatsoever for any of the following: delayed, failed, partial or garbled computer transmissions; technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to, lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, internet, or other connections; the availability, accessibility, technical failure or miscommunication of computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions; the incorrect or inaccurate capture or failure to capture information whether caused by YouTube or YouTube users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the competition; errors of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, network or otherwise arising out of or relating to the competition; theft, loss, destruction or damage to an Entry in whole or in part; and other factors beyond their reasonable control. The Released Parties are not responsible for injury or damage to your or to any other person&rsquos computer related to or resulting from participating in the competition.

Except where prohibited, all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these rules, or the rights and obligations of the participant and IFT in connection with the competition, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Illinois, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Illinois, or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Illinois. The venue for any dispute arising under these Rules shall be the state or federal courts located in Chicago, Illinois.

All videos submitted shall remain your property, but by entering the contest, you grant the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) irrevocable and perpetual royalty-free consent to reproduce, distribute, adapt, modify, or use your submission for promotional purposes. By submitting a video, you consent to allow IFT to use all or part of your submission in any form and media, including, but not limited to, the IFT website, YouTube, electronic media, audio and/or video, and waive any right to approve such distribution. By entering this contest, you and any other people featured in the video agree to all terms listed above and that your video may be used at the discretion of IFT.