This year, Ocean Spray invited students from fifteen food science and culinary programs to participate in its first annual product development competition.
The competition posed a single cranberry challenge to participants: use cranberry concentrate to develop a new shelf-stable food or beverage targeted towards millennials, the generation of consumers born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s. The teams were given six months to come up with the formulation, presentation and some marketing elements for a new cranberry product.
Cornell student Vanessa Moncayo and her team produced the winning product – a cranberry mochi with chocolate-cinnamon filling. That may not sound healthy on the surface, but the Cornell team built their product based on extensive and convincing market research. The team showcased the advantages they would have on the snack shelf, comparing it to less expensive options with no health benefits and more expensive options with similar benefits. As was the case for all three finalists, they did their homework.
Image credit: New Jersey cranberry harvest photo courtesy of USDA ARS Image Gallery