Student Team Wins First Place
Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition – IFT 2012
GOAL: develop new products or processes designed to improve the quality of life for people in developing nations.
Student competitors were tasked with creating a mango-based product that addresses nutrient deficiencies common in Kenya. Mangoes grow abundantly in Kenya, but the harvesting season is short so the competition guidelines emphasize that product concepts must be something that can be produced rapidly. The irregular size, shape, and color of mangoes can also present a challenge to growers.
The team from The School of Food Science has a variety of graduate and undergraduate students, enrolled at University of Idaho or Washington State University, and even one member is a WSU Biological Systems Engineering student. They worked as a group for several months using their unique skills and education to create the in-depth, comprehensive proposal.
The initial competition proposal was submitted in February and received the highest preliminary score. That qualified the group to compete at nationals during this week’s Institute of Food Technology annual meeting in Las Vegas.
The “Developing Solutions for Developing Countries” competition promotes the application of food science and technology and the development of new products and processes that are targeted at improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. Their charge: develop a mango-based food product that addresses common Kenyan nutrient deficiencies and can be produced rapidly in order to realize the full potential of this crop during its short harvesting season.
The team’s unique approach to the project helped boost their proposal to the top spot among the competing schools. Their food product is the Mango Maandazi, a Kenyan fried doughnut that is a popular native snack. The project is a comprehensive approach to improve mango utilization in Kenya, reducing post-harvest losses and creating opportunities for greater farm and rural income by processing dehydrated mangos and including these into a profit product. Mangos would be purchased from farms and transported to Regional Processing Centers, cleaned, sliced, and dehydrated for retail/wholesale distribution or incorporation into a dry mix product for maandazis. Using community appropriate technologies, their safe, high quality product would require minimal capital expenditure or energy costs. The project would create local jobs in economically deprived communities and would increase utilization of an important fruit crop, mangos.