Institute of Food Technologists and Disney Collaborate to Fuel Youth Interest in Food Science

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The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and Disney Consumer Products (DCP) are collaborating to raise the visibility of food science careers and the innovative potential of the profession to develop healthy and nutritious foods.

The IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans, the largest show of its kind focusing on both the science and business of food, was the venue for Disney and IFT to announce the winners of a college competition designed to create healthy snacks for kids. Thousands in attendance also had a chance to see the debut of a “Day in the Life of a Food Scientist” video that captured a snapshot of what it is actually like to be food scientist at Disney.

Disney-IFTSA Nutritious Food for Kids Competition
Twenty-one student teams from across the country submitted proposals for the Disney-IFT Student Association, which challenged college students in food science degree programs to create delicious and nutritious snacks for kids. Now in its third year, the annual competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students in food science and nutrition programs throughout North America. All entries focus on snack food or beverage product concepts for a retail outlet that are geared toward children age 12 and younger and inspired by Disney characters. The product must integrate a fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy product and/or whole grains.

Six finalist teams were selected to compete in the competition finals at the IFT 2011 Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 11-14. The Grand Prize went to the University of Wisconsin, Madison team for its Pixie Dust Beverage Mix. First Prize was awarded to a team from the University of Arkansas for the Phenomenal Funchies, a hand-held, baked snack filled with dried fruits including berries, mango and banana.

“Day in the Life of a Food Scientist” Disney Video
In a video featuring food scientists from around the world, DCP highlights the interesting and unexpected food science opportunities available in the licensing industry. Whether providing input on creative product packaging development or working with licensees and the nutritional guidelines, food scientists at DCP use their unique backgrounds and training to work with licensees that provide delicious and fun foods to kids and families to promote a healthier lifestyle.

“DCP understands the challenges faced by parents in regard to their family’s nutrition and wants to be part of the solution. DCP licenses best-in-class food manufacturers to develop and market products that meet DCPs nutritional guidelines,” said Embola Ndi, PhD, Vice President, Food, Health & Beauty, North America and Global Product Development at DCP.

This video is included in IFT’s “Day in the Life of a Food Scientist” series designed to educate students, teachers, the media, and the general public about the positive impact and rewards of the food science and technology profession. The video series is part of a broader effort to get students more interested in food science by letting IFT food scientists in academia, government and industry tell their unique story in their own words. IFT launched the Day in the Life of Food Scientist program last year with a unique video that followed IFT member Michele Perchonek, Advanced Food Technology Manager at NASA. The video followed Perchonok and her team in Houston, Texas, as they carried out their work on the Space Food Systems Laboratory, with the ultimate goal of ensuring astronauts have enough food on future missions to Mars.


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