Food Science Student Team from University of Arkansas Wins Heart-Healthy Product Development Competition with SimplyHeart

March 11, 2013

CHICAGO – The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and CanolaInfo today announced the winner of the Heart-Healthy Product Development Competition at the IFT Wellness 13 Conference in Rosemont, Ill. The winning student team from the food science program at the University of Arkansas developed Simply Heart, a banana and cinnamon flavored breakfast bar.

Heart-Healthy Winning Team“This competition gives students real-world product development experience and the students from the University of Arkansas carried their product well from start to finish,” said IFT President-Elect Janet Collins. “I believe that Simply Heart is a product that could really succeed in today’s marketplace.”

The goal of this competition was to showcase how the food industry can meet the demand of consumers who want healthier food choices. Students were asked to create new, heart-healthy food products that are low in saturated fat and free of trans fat. Products could be for any of meal of the day or a healthy snack and had to include canola oil, which is low in saturated fat.

“Canola oil has the least saturated fat of all common cooking oils, a neutral taste, light texture and high heat tolerance so it is an excellent component of heart-healthy products,” said Shaunda Durance-Tod, M.S., R.D., CanolaInfo Program Manager at the Canola Council of Canada. “Plus, consumers are becoming increasingly aware that not all fats are created equally and looking for products made with healthier oils high in unsaturated fats.”

The goal in developing Simply Heart was to incorporate wholesome, heart-smart ingredients into a convenient, market relevant, delicious and portion-controlled breakfast item targeted at all age groups. Simply Heart has an oat and sweet potato base and is enriched with heart-healthy fruits and coated with puffed millet.

“We started with the idea of snacks, but we didn’t want to compete with snacks from the other teams,” said University of Arkansas student captain Alexandra Huck. “Breakfast is not as saturated a market. This [the competition] this was great experience for the kind of work I want to do.” Huck and co-developer Quyen Nguyen received a check for $3,500, complimentary registration to the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Las Vegas as well as a trophy.

The second place team from Rutgers University received a check for $2,500 for their product, Herbilicious Crisps, thin crackers made with quinoa and other flours flavored with Italian herbs and roasted seaweed. Third place went to the Iowa State University for SmHeart Bites, layered, mini cottage cheese cake snacks with aronia berry puree. They received a check for $1,500.

View the video here.


About IFT
For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit

About CanolaInfo
CanolaInfo is the information source about canola oil for consumers, health professionals, chefs, media, educators–everyone who wants to know more about one of the world's healthiest oils. The CanolaInfo team is supported by Canada's canola growers, crop input suppliers, exporters, processors, food manufacturers and governments. For more information, go to

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