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Dairy competition seeks innovative, calming, dairy-based products


With an increased interest in mental and emotional health, Dairy Management Inc. is looking for innovative, dairy-based products for calming. The Dairy Management Inc New Product Competition is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students in the United States to develop new products in line with current industry and consumer insights.

Currently, consumers look to snacks with peppermint, lavender, and rose for calming effects. In the beverage form, chamomile, jasmine, and L-theanine are associated with calming. However, the top dairy choice for calming is still ice cream. A protein-packed, calming treat may be just the ticket consumers are looking for. 

»Related: For the love of butter: The story of the oldest family-owned creamery

Image by Michael O’Keene, Shutterstock

After all, dairy does more than taste good, the protein it contains is more satisfying than the same amount of carbs or fat, helping consumers to feel fuller, and potentially sleep better. For those who exercise heavily, protein also helps with muscle repair while you sleep. 

The competition provides a platform for students to bring their knowledge and expertise to dairy product innovation. Students can integrate their work on product formulation with packaging, pricing, and marketing to create a product that meets consumer needs. 

Students can submit their claiming, dairy products before the deadline of January 16 here. New products must follow these guidelines:

  • Must content greater than 51 percent dairy ingredients by weight of the finished product
  • Use any form of fresh or dry milk, whey, milk fat, milk proteins, cheese, lactose fractions, or other dairy ingredients
  • Must provide a good source of dairy protein (10 percent or more of the Daily Value) per reference amount
  • Meet food labeling and regulatory criteria as specified by the Code of Federal Regulations
  • Be fit for human consumption 

The competition will include three phases

Phase One: preliminary report and cover letter

The cover letter must include school affiliation, student names, adviser names, and ingredient supplier names. The cover letter must also include the email and contact number of the team captain or the designated team contact.

The five-page preliminary report must follow these guidelines:

  • Must not indicate school affiliation, names, or ingredient supplier names
  • Should not exceed five pages, double-spaced, font size minimum 11
  • Should include, but is not limited to
    • Title page 
    • Product description 
    • Feasibility of production and/or process description 
    • Marketability/target market 
    • Preliminary sensory data 
    • Dairy ingredient functionality in product 
    • Demonstrate how the product is linked to DMI consumer insights 
    • List of citations
    • Process flow diagram 
    • Photograph of product 
    • Any other tables and figures to support the text 

The preliminary report will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Innovativeness of concept
  • Link to DMI consumer insights
  • Product description
  • Process description
  • Use of dairy ingredients (>51% dairy by weight is required)
  • Commercial feasibility/problem solving
  • Marketing/potential
  • Safety/shelf life

Phase two: full report and product/webinar presentation

The top six entrants will submit a full project report which will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected by DMI. 

These entrants will also submit the product for sampling and present at a webinar at the end of April for final judging. Three student team members will complete the presentation. Judges can ask questions of any team member. 

Phase three: Institute of Food Technologies Annual Meeting

The top three teams will be invited to and honored at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting in Chicago in July. A judging panel will make the final assessment and selection. 

First prize: $8,000, second price: $5,000, third prize, $3,000.

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