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

2018 Winners:

Theme: Evolution of Food and Nutrition Through the Ages

1st Place: "Waiter, There’s a Fly in My Soup! - Old Customs and New Buzz of Eating Bugs" by Cara (Can) Feng, Sharon Li, Cassie Liu, Juliet Lucente, and Charlie Stahurski; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

2nd Place: "Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Bar" by Sarah Caballero, Zi Liang, Harrison Phan, and Mai Tan; California Polytechnic University-Pomona

3rd Place: "How Much Do You Know about Yogurt?" by Shuli Liu, Jingyi Meng, Zhuzhu Wang, Chia-Yen Hsieh, Yuwei Wu, Mariane Pastorelli Latanze, and Jason Dietsch; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


View all of the accepted submissions from 2015 through 2018:

About the Competition

The 2018 contest is closed. Check back in September 2018 for an announcement about the 2019 contest.

2018 Theme: Evolution of Food and Nutrition Through the Ages 

Do you ever wonder, as you grate some fresh Parmesan onto your spaghetti, “who thought to use a calf’s stomach to make cheese, and why?” From traditional cheesemakers to modern vegetarian and genetically-modified alternatives, the story of rennet from ancient history to modern times demonstrates one small aspect of the evolution of food through science.

For this year’s theme, choose a food, process, ingredient, or nutrient, and explore its evolution: how did it start, where is it now, and what was science’s role in its progression?

Ideas include:

  • How did canning evolve to what it is now?
  • Some may glamorize “the good ol’ days of food”, but what advances have been made to prevent that food from making people sick?
  • How did bread baking get industrialized?
  • How did refrigeration revolutionize how we make, purchase, and consume food?
  • How were macronutrients viewed through history? One example: there are plenty of ads for candy bars from the '40s and '50s touting the fact that they’re full of sugar “for energy.” How have the perceptions changed over time and what has come to light about the need (or lack thereof) of these nutrients in our diet?

In a 1- to 5-minute video, demonstrate the scientific progress of one subject in food or nutrition, using facts to show students real examples of Food Science in Action. Videos may be live action, animation, or a combination.

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

Criteria for Submissions

Videos should be 1–5 minutes in length and demonstrate the history and development of a food, ingredient, or process, taking a then-to-now approach.

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 and upload a submission form with background information about you and your video.
  • 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, May 7th, 2018.

First Prize: $1,000 and recognition at IFT18
Second Prize: $500 and mention at IFT18
Third Prize: $250 and mention at IFT18


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.