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Student Team Wins Heart-Healthy Product Development Competition with Pre-Packaged, Fruit-Flavored Bubble Tea

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and CanolaInfo announced on March 25 the winner of the inaugural Heart-Healthy Product Development Competition at Wellness 11 held in Rosemont, Ill. The winning student team from the food...

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The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and CanolaInfo announced on March 25  the winner of the inaugural Heart-Healthy Product Development Competition at Wellness 11 held in Rosemont, Ill. The winning student team from the food science program at Louisiana State University (LSU) developed Ze-Ti, a shelf-stable bubble tea designed for the grab-and-go lifestyle.

“Ze-ti is innovative, heart healthy and fun,” said IFT President-Elect Roger Clemens Dr.Ph., who was one of the competition judges. “I was particularly impressed with how the team created a product from inception to market rollout. An added challenge was that this product typically isn’t associated with heart health.”

The goal of this competition was to showcase how the food industry can position itself to help consumers comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommendation of saturated fat comprising less than 10 percent of total calories. Students were asked to create new, heart-healthy food products that are low in saturated fat and free of trans fat. Products could be for any of meal of the day or a healthy snack and had to include canola oil, which is low in saturated fat.

Bubble tea, originally invented in Taiwan, is a sweet tea drink with tapioca pearls. Ze-Ti is low in fat and sodium; a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C; and free of cholesterol, trans fat and added sugars. In addition, the manufacturing process for making Ze-Ti is energy efficient and the cups it comes in are made from recyclable materials.

“We wanted to show that a fun beverage can also be good for you,” said Adriana Soto, LSU student team captain. Soto and the other members of the team, Alisa Todd, and Darryl Holliday received a check for $3,500, complimentary registration to the 2011 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans and a trophy.

“This competition fostered the students’ creativity, who proved that food products can be both nutritious and delicious,” said Angela Dansby, Communications Manager for Canolainfo who was also a competition judge. “Their products could actually succeed in the marketplace.”

The second place team from Rutgers University received a check for $2,500 for their product, HeartVest—a heart-healthy frozen chicken patty blended with vegetables and fruit. Third place went to the Texas Tech University team for FruiTeeze—a healthy alternative to ice cream made from frozen banana purée. They received a check for $1,000.