The Dairy Research Institute, through the support of the dairy checkoff, announced the winners of the inaugural Dairy Research Institute New Product Competition during a special July 16 ceremony at the 2012 American Dairy Science Association Meeting in Phoenix. The competition is designed to help inspire dairy innovation by challenging college students to develop dairy-based products that meet consumer needs. This year, participants were tasked with creating a dairy beverage that included more than 51% of fresh milk, dry milk or other dairy ingredients.
"The estimated $37 billion beverage industry presents significant opportunities for dairy-based drinks," said Bill Graves, senior vice president, Dairy Research Institute. "Generating ideas based on consumer needs and trends identified by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, students demonstrated innovative ways that dairy can help meet this demand. Their idea-sparking beverages were great-tasting and nutritious, delivering what consumers expect from dairy products. We congratulate all the students on the work they submitted, and encourage industry to consider these opportunities."
The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students who submitted entries as individuals or teams. Three winners were selected from 18 entries.
"Spurring product innovation, while at the same time identifying future leaders in the U.S. dairy industry is a win-win for dairy farmers," said Bill Siebenborn, a Missouri dairy farmer and chairman of United Dairy Industry Association. UDIA represents 18 state and regional dairy promotion organizations across the country, helping fund the dairy checkoff program, a primary funding source for the Dairy Research Institute. "By identifying innovative products that meet today's consumer needs, we are helping contribute to the long-term viability of the U.S. dairy industry."
The first-place team, receiving $8,000, was from Clemson University. They developed an oat-infused vanilla milk. The product, called "tOATal Milk," is enhanced with protein, probiotics, conjugated linoleic acids and fiber. The entry caters to the growing sports performance beverage market and leverages the benefits of protein shakes and grain/nut milks while delivering the nutrition dairy provides. With 14g of protein and 4g of fiber per serving, this beverage has a light, sweet flavor profile. By combining the techniques used in the production of fluid milk and beer, the team was able to develop this product with only slight modifications to traditional dairy processing equipment.
The second-place team, receiving $5,000, was from Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia, Canada. They created an on-the-go mango drinkable Greek yogurt. Building on the popularity of greek yogurt, "Mighty Mango" is marketed for consumption post exercise. Targeted to health-conscious women, Mighty Mango contains nearly 10g of protein and fewer than 200 calories per serving. The students packaged the product in a biodegradable bottle to appeal to consumers' desire for environmentally-friendly products and speculated that future flavors beyond mango could include "Powerful Pineapple," "Brawny Berry," "Toned Tangelo" or "Fierce Fig."
The third-place team, receiving $3,000, was from the University of Tennessee. They developed a caffeine-enhanced drinkable yogurt with antioxidants called "Wired Berry." Developed with teenagers and young adults in mind, the product is a healthy alternative to coffee that provides antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium and protein in addition to caffeine. Made with low-fat yogurt, the product is flavored with blueberry and strawberry purees and contains 190 calories per serving.
Three additional teams were selected as finalists, including:
A premium, lactose free, ready-to-drink smoothie - Cornell University, "Dairy Dream Mango-Orange Smoothie".
A carbonated yogurt smoothie developed as a healthy alternative to soda - Kansas State University, "Yo-Fizz".
A fortified pomegranate chai milk beverage targeted to health-conscious consumers - University of Delaware, "PomMOOgranate".
The judging panel, composed of experts from the dairy industry, media, suppliers and members of the Dairy Research Institute, selected the winners. In addition to the final product, the six finalists also were evaluated on the merits of a cover letter and preliminary report, a final report and webinar presentation.
To find out more about the products and teams, visit USDairy.com/DairyResearchInstitute.