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Mars competition product developers going for a big win in Las Vegas

June 21, 2017

Student product developers

Student product developers from six universities will vie for top honors in the final rounds of the prestigious annual IFTSA & Mars Product Development Competition at IFT17. Still going strong in its 27th year, this annual competition challenges student teams to come up with a concept and take it all the way through the final stages of product development.

Health, convenience, and sometimes a touch of indulgence characterize the products that brought these six teams to the finalist stages of the competition. Here’s a look at the concepts that will be in the spotlight in Las Vegas:

Jack’d Jerky, the entry from the Cornell University team, is a vegan jerky that serves as a better-for-you, on-the-go snack packed with the fresh flavor of a summer garden.

• The Michigan State University team created Bazza Bar, a filled, soft-baked savory bar that delivers great taste and nutrition to consumers in a unique, convenient form.

‘Cado Cakes from the Pennsylvania State University team are plant-based snacks/desserts inspired by the traditional Chinese mooncake. Combining health and indulgence, this treat utilizes avocado pits to enhance creaminess while adding beneficial vitamins and minerals and contributing to the sustainability of the avocado industry.

• Rutgers University team members came up with ‘Q-Wrap, a dripless BBQ sauce film targeted to Millennial consumers as a convenient, low-calorie way to marinate and flavor entrées. Infused curcumin in the film provides health benefits.

Mars logo• Students from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University developed a caffeinated fruit leather called ViaLift, which combines CocoaVia cocoa extract, matcha green tea powder, and strawberries in a healthful, energy-boosting snack for active consumers.

• Designed to give consumers a convenient way to kick-start their day, RiseUp—developed by students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison—is a high-protein blueberry lemon dry muffin mix that contains lentil protein and caffeine infused from Earl Grey tea.

Winners of the competition will be announced at the IFTSA Closing Ceremony on Tuesday evening, June 27, in the Venetian Ballroom. Prizes include $4,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place, and $1,000 for the third-place team. The competition is sponsored by Mars Chocolate North America.