Winners Announced for Institute of Food Technologists Student Competition

June 25, 2009


Chicago, IL – The University of Minnesota and Wageningen University in the Netherlands were the winners of the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) competition, Developing Solutions for Developing Countries.

The competition was designed to use food science-based technologies, or modified existing products to address critical regional health-based issues in developing countries. This year’s theme was Using Food Science and Technology to Solve Health-Based Issues. The winning teams received $3,500 as a prize.

The University of Minnesota developed a product for Bangladeshi residents called Pushtikor, which is Bengali for “nutritious.” Pushtikor is a mix of ground lentil and dried potatoes packed in a paperboard canister accompanied by a spice mix based on moringa leaf powder.

Wageningen University students developed sorghum enriched with a protein and fermented and dried to create a cereal product.  The goal of this product is to aid in the alleviation of chronic hunger in Africa.  The production utilizes a solar dryer.

Sponsored by the IFTSA and General Mills, the competition promotes the application of food science and technology and the development of new products and processes that are targeted at improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. Applicants were free to suggest novel ways toward potential solutions that could include new food product development, food safety methods, food preservation technologies, packaging and nutrient fortification. IFTSA is committed to engaging student members from around the world and utilizing their scientific skills to serve a bigger cause and promoting awareness, about the global context of issues related to food availability, nutrition and health.

Teams were evaluated on their written and oral presentations. They were judged on quality, organization, communication, interest generated, potential impact on developing countries and selling their ideas to fellow food technologists.  Each of the finalist teams received a certification and a travel grant. 

Listed are the 2009 finalists:


  • Cornell University (second place) with SolanaPlus, a shelf stable, fortified potato flake product that can be used in a variety of food applications. This project proposes the formation of farming cooperatives that would implement a food processing technology to convert potatoes into the product.  Farmers would reduce their losses from raw potato spoilage while creating an opportunity for economic growth. 
  • Washington State University-University of Idaho with Tu Mazi, a blend of the Swahili words for fruit and milk. An all-natural beverage powder with a unique blend of fruit, milk, and healthy probiotics packed in a specially-   designed package.  It is designed to serve the needs of people in Africa, specifically Kenya.


  • Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.  High protein, iron rich instant noodle made from corn to combat nutritional deficiencies in pregnant women in Southeast Asia. Noodles are a common food source in Southeast Asia. Extrusion is used to produce the noodles.
  • University of Pretoria, South Africa (second place). A weaning food for infants made from pumpkin, cowpeas and maize meal (hence the name PUCOMA) that is shelf-stable and ready-to-eat.  It will meet the requirements for a weaning food to supplement the infant’s diet as well as provide an entire meal.  It is targeted at Sub-Saharan African populations to reduce the consequences of malnutrition.

For more information about IFTSA and the student competition visit:


About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is a nonprofit scientific society with more than 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT serves as a conduit for multidisciplinary science thought leadership, championing the use of sound science through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy.
For more information on IFT, visit

Jeannie Houchins, MA, RD