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Student teams find winning recipe in national food competitions

June 29, 2012 By Nicole Miller

The UW–Madison food science club has three new awards to add to its trophy case after spending this past week at the Institute for Food Technologists‘ annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The club fielded two teams in a Disney-sponsored collegiate food product development competition, and won first and second place for their innovative, healthy, kid-friendly products.

The top prize went to a five-person team led by Kristen Doster that developed Peanut Butter Jamsicles, a popsicle version of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The other UW–Madison team in the contest, led by Teresa Tierney, took second place for Pit Stop, a Cars movie-themed smoothie composed of a purple layer of fruit and vegetable juices and a white layer of Greek yogurt that kids can shake up themselves. 

In a separate contest sponsored by the Mars company, a third UW–Madison team, led by Tim Grady, won second place for Cranberry POPlers, a microwavable frozen snack made of sweet potato-enriched soft pretzels stuffed with cranberry filling.

This is the second year in a row that three UW–Madison teams have advanced to the finals.

The contests represent the culmination of nearly 10 months of work for the students, starting at the beginning of the previous academic year. They brainstorm in the fall, and once they settle on a product, they prepare dozens of batches over the following months to fine-tune the recipe. In late winter they submit a written proposal, and if they’re accepted into the finals, they must expand their proposal into a written report and prepare presentations for the judges.

There’s always a chance that the products will make it to market.

“Disney owns the intellectual rights to the products in the Disney competition,” Grady says, “so you could actually see those products on store shelves someday.”