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Cornell food science team wins 2016 IMPA new dairy product award

Idaho Milk Processors Association also announces annual cheese contest results

SUN VALLEY, Idaho (Aug. 16, 2016) — A team of food science students from Cornell University won the 2016 Idaho Milk Processors Association new product development competition Saturday. The innovative students 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 — Yojito drinkable yogurt.

Cornell University Food Science Team poses with IMPA new product competition committee chair, Alan Reed.

Cornell University Food Science Team poses with IMPA new product competition committee chair, Alan Reed.

A new twist on a typical drinkable yogurt, Cornell’s Yojito is a nutritious and convenient snack high in protein and probiotics boasting a unique fun factor: delicious mint-flavored popping boba. These small, popable spheres can be made from a variety of fruit juices and flavors, and they remain sturdy until you decide to pop them in your mouth like a pocket of air on a sheet of bubble wrap. The popping boba are formed via a molecular gastronomy technique called spherification that’s more common to upscale restaurants than grocery aisles and transforms fruit-juice concentrate into caviar-like pearls.

Utah State University’s team earned first prize with its PRO2GO high-protein frozen dessert. Formulated with 63 percent dairy ingredients, PRO2GO is a delicious treat that’s perfect to enjoy after a workout, between meals, or whenever you crave a cool, refreshing snack. Packed with 11 grams of protein, PRO2GO has a relatively low caloric load — 110 calories per 65-gram serving — and only 13 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fat, making it a great alternative to protein shakes and bars.

A collaborative effort by the University of Idaho and Washington State University took second prize with Custard Delights, a quick refrigerated crème brûlée custard that’s a convenient, healthier alternative to a traditionally decadent dessert. Comprised of 75 percent dairy, a third of which is mascarpone cheese, the all-natural dessert is lower in fat and calories than traditional custard, ice cream, and cheesecake yet doesn’t sacrifice flavor or texture. Containing just six ingredients and nestled within a foil wrapper, the delicious dessert can be eaten straight from the refrigerator or broiled for a few minutes to caramelize its light, sugary topping.

Garnering third prize, Brigham Young University’s team developed a new style of gnocchi, Gnocchi di Latte, which incorporates skim milk and milk protein isolate. As a result, the dairy-based gnocchi has substantially more protein, vitamins, and minerals than traditional gnocchi made with potato flour — including 31 grams of protein per serving — in keeping with recent food-industry trends. BYU’s new gnocchi also has a quicker prep time than traditional pasta, requiring only three minutes to cook once placed in boiling water. The new gnocchi’s formulation also boasts a shelf life of 12 months, a significant improvement upon other options currently on the market.

Supported by the United Dairymen of Idaho 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 dairy ingredients.

“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 says. “When we launched the competition nine years ago, the teams were just suggesting basic, traditional dairy products and a few new flavors. Now we’re seeing true innovation where the students are developing revolutionary new food product concepts that contain at least 51 percent dairy ingredients.”

Many varieties of cheese were featured at the IMPA cheese competition

Many varieties of cheese were featured at the IMPA cheese competition

IMPA also conducted its 21st annual dairy product contest at the conference. Burley, Idaho-based High Desert Milk’s 80% Salted Sweet-Cream Butter was named grand champion. Ray Cisneroz, a cheesemaker at the Nampa, Idaho, Lactalis American Group plant, was named first runner up for his Fresh Mozzarella Bocconocini. And Promotory Rich Creamy Utah Original Cheese by Uintah, Utah-based Beehive Cheese Co.’s Steffan Christensen earned second runner up status.

According to dairy product contest coordinator Julie Winans, cultures and enzymes technical account manager for event sponsor Chr. Hansen, milk processors submitted 149 entries this year that collectively weighed 3,664 pounds. The contest’s 18 categories include 16 classes of cheese plus butter and cultured dairy products.

“The contest is a great opportunity for the area processors to get feedback from impartial judges about their products,” Winans says. “Moreover, processors consistently submit entries in both the flavored and spiced categories from year to year, which demonstrates and hopefully stimulates their creativity.”

She says participants also contributed cheese for an annual auction, which netted $21,800 to help fund student dairy management and food science scholarships this year.

About the Idaho Milk Processors Association
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. Visit for more details.
About United Dairymen of Idaho
The United Dairymen of Idaho protects and promotes the Idaho dairy industry and dairy farm families through outreach, nutrition counseling, and partnerships with consumers, dairy processors, retail outlets, and farmers and their families. It is the parent organization of both the Idaho Dairy Council and the Idaho Dairymen’s Association. Visit for updates and additional information.