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Cornell University team wins Mars Wrigley Product Development Competition with innovative CaféNana

The competition, which required student teams to develop a new food idea and carry the concept through to marketing and production, was held last month at IFT FIRST, the annual event for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organization committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system

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CHICAGO, USA – Cornell University claimed top honors in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) and Mars Wrigley Product Development Competition for its new food product CaféNana, an upcycled, innovative caffeinated coffee-banana sandwich bite consisting of two chewy banana leather pieces and a creamy sunflower butter coffee filling.

The competition, which required student teams to develop a new food idea and carry the concept through to marketing and production, was held last month at IFT FIRST, the annual event for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organization committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system.

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The Cornell team consisted of seven undergraduate and two graduate students with prospective careers ranging from R&D and academia to strategy consulting. Helping the Cornell team reach its 15th straight finals in this competition were:

  • Hanyu Chen of Anhui, China
  • Sofia Morales Rico of Saltillo, Mexico
  • Melanie Marshall of Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jun Li of Brooklyn, New York
  • Parker Venator of Williamsville, New York
  • Jessica Hensel of Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Christian Binks of Wilson, New York
  • Phillip Teixeira DaSilva (Co-captain) of Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Justin Samovar (Co-captain) of Encino, California

“We could not have asked for better teammates who worked so hard and made this year one we will remember forever. We are so proud of our team and competitors, and we are thrilled that the judges recognized the love and effort we poured into CaféNana!” said Teixeira DaSilva.

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The IFTSA Achievement Award and Competition winners were recognized during the IFTSA Closing Ceremony, which was held on July 18 at McCormick Place in Chicago. IFTSA is a student-governed community of IFT members and the mission-driven organization executes programming and competitions throughout the year, supports student members and chapters, and aims to develop the leaders in the future of the science of food.

“We were all brought together by our shared passion for food industry innovation. This competition allowed us to experience the technical and business sides of food product development as we strive to participate in the sustainable redefinition of the food industry within our chosen career fields,” added Samovar.

The Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) is a student-governed community of more than 2,000 IFT members spanning 60 Chapters in 59 countries. IFTSA’s vision of a global community of inspired and informed students who are prepared for a future in food drives its mission to enrich the academic experience and empower students to thrive individually and together.

To prepare the future and celebrate the community, IFTSA provides opportunities beyond the classroom and lab, grows student networks to facilitate meaningful and lasting connections, as well as includes and promotes diverse perspectives and backgrounds to foster a culture of belonging. For more information, visit ift.org/community/students.

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from more than 100 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world’s greatest food challenges. IFT works to ensure that its members have the resources they need to learn, grow, and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. IFT believes that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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