Kansas State University


Food Science Institute

K-State in the National Dairy Council Competition

By Morgan Wolfe


Nothing seems to hold back these food science students from doing what they love. Graduate students, Yuda Ou, Karthik Sajith Babu and Priyamvada Thorakkattu decided to compete in this year’s National Dairy Council (NDC) Competition and have already experienced exciting results. Last week, the group received news that their product proposal had been selected to be in the top six and will be further reviewed in the next step of the competition.

This year the 2018 NDC competition has one major challenge: “Develop a Dairy-Based Snack that Answers the Evolving Needs of Today’s Snacking Consumer.” Today, modern snacking has three main elements. According to the National Dairy Council, they are:

  • NOURISHMENT: 56% of snacking occasions reflect some need for daily sustenance, long-term wellness, or health management
  • PLEASURE: 49% of snacking fulfills emotional desires for enjoyment, craving and comfort
  • OPTIMIZATION: 34% of all snacking occasions reflect need to fulfill physical and mental performance demands

Our K-State food science students’ innovative idea was recognized as a potential cutting-edge idea in the snack area.

The next leg of the competition requires each group to submit a full project report on April 2 that will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected by the NDC. Following the report, each group must send enough of their product for 18 servings as well as storage, preparation and serving instructions by April 19 to be reviewed. Finally, the groups will present via webinar on April 25 for final judging. Each group will present and respond to questions of the judges for 15-25 minutes maximum. The top three winners will be announced at the end of the day; however, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placings will not be announced until June 24-27th in Knoxville, TN at the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting. The first place winning group will receive $8,000 followed by second place at $5,000 and a third place prize at $3,000.

Luckily for our K-State competitors, two group members have had experience in the NDC competition in the past. Yuda Ou participated in the competition in 2016, and the team was selected to be in the top six finalists.¬†Karthik Sajith Babu participated in the 2017 competition, and their team was placed 2nd in the final. This year the two have teamed with an additional graduate student, Priyamvada Thorakkattu to compete in hopes of taking first place. Dr. Jayendra Amamcharla is the team’s advisor.

Congratulations to these K-State food science students. We wish you the best of luck throughout the rest of the competition.

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