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SDSU takes fifth in 2019 Idaho Milk Processors Association

Courtesy of the Idaho Milk Processors Association

SDSU finished fifth in the 2019 Idaho Milk Processors Association
South Dakota State University took fifth place in the 2019 Idaho Milk Processors Association new product competition sponsored by Dairy West. Faculty adviser Lloyd Metzger and teammates Achyut Mishra, Shayanti Minj, Pratishtha Verm and Shouyun Cheng attended the 2019 IMPA annual conference to accept their award from Reed's Dairy president and IMPA new product competition chair Alan Reed (Photo by Connie Scheer of TMN Events for the Idaho Milk Processors Association).

SUN VALLEY, Idaho - A team of food science students from Utah State University won the 2019 Idaho Milk Processors Association new product competition Aug. 10. They not only earned some serious bragging rights, but $10,000, too, at IMPA's annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho, for their grand-prize-winning new product idea—Moogets, a delectable meatless chicken nugget substitute made with breaded, deep-fried paneer cheese. South Dakota State University’s entry finished fifth.

Supported by Dairy West and judged by leading dairy farmers and industry experts, the annual contest challenges universities with strong nutrition and food science programs to create the most promising new food product containing at least 50 percent dairy ingredients. Organizers say it connects bright kids to the dairy industry and provides them with an opportunity to grow and learn and gain leadership skills.

Participating in IMPA's new product competition can be career defining, too. Last year's winning team from BYU recently licensed its Sparkling Scoops carbonated, hard-pack ice cream exclusively to a top U.S.-based multinational consumer foods manufacturer and marketer that's been a Fortune 500 company since the list's inception.

"The growing innovation these students bring to bear each year is incredible, and it's very exciting for our industry," new product competition chair Alan Reed said. "When we launched the competition 10 years ago, the teams were just suggesting basic, traditional dairy products and a few new flavors. Now we're seeing true innovation, and collectively I think this is the best group of new products students have entered since we began the competition."

Eric Bastian, vice president of industry relations for Dairy West and director of the Western Dairy Center at Utah State, said, “We've had some standout product concepts in the past, but every submission this year was a really good product. Even the fourth- and fifth-place teams could have won the competition in prior years."

This year's grand-prize winner, Utah State University, said its Moogets meatless, cheese-based chicken nuggets are 100 percent vegetarian and a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin B-12. The recipe includes vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast to yield a meaty texture. Before being dipped in milk and coated with a breadcrumb/whey isolate powder mixture for frying, the nuggets are boiled in a vegetarian chicken broth to ensure uniform chicken flavor.

Garnering fifth place and $1,000, the South Dakota State University team developed Nutrifusion, a 300-calorie meal-replacement beverage that combines quality protein from milk protein concentrate with sweet whey, soy and 12 essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced meal. Best enjoyed when chilled, Nutrifusion's three flavors—Coffee Dawn, Chocolate Delight and Berry Blast—can be enjoyed by people who are lactose intolerant, because the lactose present is hydrolyzed using lactase in the production process.

"A key focus behind the Nutrifusion product was to develop a new product category that utilizes whey byproduct to extract soy protein," the SDSU team wrote in its final report. "When compared to a milk-based or soy-based product alone, Nutrifusion—a blend of dairy and soy—has increased nutritional profiles, along with a significant reduction in ingredient costs." SDSU's team is comprised of Achyut Mishra, Shayanti Minj, Pratishtha Verma and Shouyun Cheng. Lloyd Metzger serves as faculty adviser.

Brigham Young University-Idaho, which submitted a nonfat, yogurt-based marshmallow called Yo-Mallow made with natural colors in a variety of popular flavors, captured second place and $5,000.

The team from the main Brigham Young University campus in Provo, Utah, took third place and received $3,000 with its Moo-Ribbons dehydrated dairy roll-ups.

Palouse Power Soup, a collaborative effort by the University of Idaho and Washington State University that created a whey-based lentil and rice soup, took fourth place and earned $2,000.

IMPA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote the Idaho dairy industry, cooperate with all organizations that work to advance and develop it, hold annual conferences focusing on subjects relative to the processing of milk and milk products, and act in unison in matters affecting the welfare of all dairy interests. Now in its 93rd year, IMPA amended its bylaws at its 2019 annual conference to bring Utah processors into the fold. Visit for more details.

Dairy West is a regional dairy promotion organization established in 2017 to represent dairy farmers, processors and supply chain partners in Idaho and Utah. A Qualified Program regulated by the USDA National Dairy Promotion & Research Board, the 501(c)(6) organization raises awareness of the importance of dairy farming, promotes the health and nutritional benefits of dairy foods, and encourages global demand for Idaho and Western U.S. dairy foods through coordinated marketing and communications efforts, nutrition counseling and research programs. Visit for more details.