Food Entrepreneurship Club Takes Second at New Product Competition

Student News

The Iowa State University Food Entrepreneurship Club Team (FEC) took second place at the National Dairy Council’s New Product Competition with their product “Combo Puffs.”

The FEC was one of six teams competing in the National Dairy Council’s (NDC) New Product Semi-Finals Competition this past March, and was named a finalist to be awarded at the inaugural Institute of Food Technologies expo this past July. Still in the process of being formally recognized by the Student Organization Recognition Board (SORB), the small, four-member team already has a storied beginning and a bright future ahead of it, taking home the second place prize of $5,000.

“The project was tougher than we expected, but we gave it our best and learned a lot throughout the process. Despite it being the team’s first product development challenge, our teamwork, creativity, and grit brought us to second place,” said Club Treasurer and team member Karin Cho.

“Combo Puffs” are a bite-sized, gluten-free, high-protein ready-to-eat snack. Inspired by the savory French gougère pastry, these treats come in two flavors: savory and sweet. The savory puffs are small dough bites stuffed with a dill and garlic flavored cheddar cheese, while the sweet flavor features a similar exterior, except stuffed with a young Swiss cheese mixed with condensed and caramelized milk.

This year’s competition asked each group to develop a unique product to match the theme of “Innovative Dairy-Based Products for Gamers.” Guidelines included:

  • Must contain greater than 51% dairy ingredients by weight of the finished product
  • Use any form of the fresh or dry milk, whey, milk fat, milk proteins, cheese, lactose fractions or other dairy ingredients
  • Provide an excellent source of dairy protein (the product should contain 20% 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

“We will use this award and funds received to continue the clubs momentum and go for gold in the next competition. Hopefully we can use the award to draw in new members with fresh ideas to bolster our club and create a second competition team.” Club President Peter Serrot.