Student Competition Could Yield Next New Food Craze


Finals week at UC Davis begins on stage for 80 food science students, who for a senior project have created a slate of wild new food products ranging from savory vegetable leathers to spoon-shaped, chai-laden cookies for stirring tea. Twenty teams will pitch their new food concepts and offer them for tasting as they compete for $20,000 in prizes, provided by Nugget Markets; the Culinary Institute of America’s Food Business School; and KitchenTown, a Bay Area food startup incubator. 


Monday, June 6, 3:30- 7:30 p.m.

  • 3:30 – introduction of judges
  • 3:40 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. – three-minute team pitches
  • 7:10 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – awards ceremony


 Sensory Theater of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, UC Davis


Participants will include the 80 food science students competing in 20 teams, a judging panel of food and venture-capital executives, and Matthew Lange, course instructor. “The first thing I tell students is that they can impact millions of lives by creating delicious new food products that also happen to be healthier and more sustainably produced,” Lange says.


  • Teams pitching their products and offering tastings
  • Presentation of awards in Best Package, Most Delicious, Most Sustainable, Healthiest and Grand Prize categories
  • A brief B-roll video clip of students working on their new food products in the kitchen laboratory is available in an online press kit.


“Food Product Innovation and Development” is a capstone-level course that introduces upper-division food-science students to the entire process of creating new food products.  In just seven weeks, the students brainstorm ideas for a line of three new food products; develop the food items in a kitchen laboratory; and design packaging and labels that meet all federal guidelines, including health claims. The student teams also create a business plan that addresses sustainable production practices, marketing, pricing and profit margins, scale-up for commercialization, and potential return on investment. They can also earn credit by developing social-media campaigns about the creation of their products, which can be seen at #foodprodpro and #fst160.

Driving and parking directions:

  • Take Interstate 80 to the UC Davis exit.
  • At the end of the off-ramp, turn north onto Old Davis Road and drive toward the main UC Davis campus.
  • Pass the information booth on your left and continue straight ahead through the traffic circle.
  • Immediately turn right onto Hilgard Lane.
  • You can park in the parking structure on your left or in the adjacent parking lots.
  • To park free, place a news media business card on the driver’s side of the dashboard.
  • Walk from your vehicle back across Hilgard Lane to the complex of orange buildings, which is home to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
  • The sensory theater is located in the two-story building at the northwest corner of the complex, next to Old Davis Road and the adjacent vineyard.

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, News and Media Relations, 530-219-9640,

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