SUN VALLEY, Idaho — A carbonated ice cream creation won top prize in this year’s new product development competition sponsored by the Idaho Milk Processors Association.
The grand prize winner earned its developers, a team from Brigham Young University, $10,000 to be split between the university and the innovative students.
BYU’s Sparkling Scoops is a carbonated, hard-packed ice cream in single serve, pull-top cans. The students described it as a fizzy, creamy frozen treat “just waiting to tingle the consumer’s taste buds.”
Consumers will be drawn to the uniqueness of this soda-pop style ice cream, they said in their final report to judges.
“We are confident that the unique and exciting sensory experience consumers get when they pop open a can of our carbonated ice cream will keep them coming back for more,” they said.
The BYU team is comprised of co-captains Kate Hartmann and David Doxey and their colleagues Jeremy Arbon, Jeffrey Rime, Greyden Clark, Courtney Marshall and Alisa Larsen. Mike Dunn, Laura Jefferies and Brad Taylor serve as faculty advisers.
Students from Utah State University took first place, winning $5,000 with a frozen dessert called SCOOPs. The product has twice the protein of conventional ice cream and contains polar lipids that can be beneficial to gut and brain health.
The team from South Dakota State University claimed second place and $3,000 with Over the Moon dairy spreads in both sugary and savory dairy flavors. The spreads are smooth and creamy with a spreadable texture at refrigerated temperatures.
Students from Brigham Young University-Idaho earned third place and $2,000 with SPARKS, another carbonated ice cream.
Runners-up in the competition, winning $1,000 each, were the Cornell University with its Whey2Go single-serve snack of pancake dippers and ranch-flavored dipping sauce and the University of Idaho/Washington State University team with its All Things Artisanal Kefir Dip.
Idaho’s dairy farmers provide the prize money through Dairy West as well as a $1,000 stipend to each team to help with travel expenses to the annual convention to present their products, said Karl Nelson, president of Innovative Food Solutions and competition committee member.
The competition is fueled by the need for new products, and hopefully one of the student products will take root and processors can take it to market. Telling people to drink milk is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, he said.
The industry needs new products, ones that can generate sensational success similar to Greek yogurt, he said.
“We just think research is critical,” he said.
The contest also gives industry an opportunity to get acquainted with up-and-coming dairy food scientists. Hopefully when they’re through with their studies, they’ll come to Idaho to work, Nelson said.
Alan Reed, new product competition chairman, said the students are becoming more innovative as time goes on, and that’s exciting to the industry.
“When we launched the competition nine years ago, the teams were just suggesting basic, traditional dairy products and a few new flavors. Now we’re seeing true innovation where the students are developing revolutionary new food product concepts,” he said.