Creating Value for China's Snack Industry: Chinese Food Science Students Innovate with California Almonds

Chinese student winner Yubing He presents her team’s new almond product concept to members of the IFT Student Association.For the third year in a row, the grand-prize–winning teams of the Almond Snack Competition for Chinese food science students visited California to learn more about the California Almond industry, which helped stimulate their innovative almond snack product ideas. During this trip, the winning teams also visited the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) annual conference to showcase their almond snack products,   ‘Almond Lover’ and ‘Malt Cracker with Almond and Brown Sugar,’ respectively, both utilizing multiple almond forms to contrast texture and provide a health halo on fun snacks for Chinese consumers. The experience gave the Chinese students the chance to speak with and sample their almond products to U.S. food companies with interest and investment in China. As the Chinese food manufacturing sector continuously improves and grows, the Almond Board of California is working to ensure California Almonds stay top of mind for the development of new consumer packaged snack foods.The two winning teams of the Almond Snack Competition meet with ABC’s research chef, John Csukor, at the Almond  Board booth during the IFT Annual Conference. The students  are, from left, Sumiao Guo, Yubing He, Yang Yu and Sheng Zhou.

At IFT, the Chinese students were honored in the opening ceremony with special recognition by the IFT president, Roger Clemens, for the high quality, innovative food products they developed. They also presented their product concepts to the members of the IFT Student Association, their peers in U.S. universities, as well as faculty and leadership of IFT. Finally, they were also honored as special guests at the VIP reception in the president’s suite after the opening ceremony.

The Almond Snack Product Contest is an annual competition organized by the Almond Board of California. The Board aims to develop key relationships with food science universities and food manufacturers to build long-lasting awareness and preference for using California Almonds in new snack products in China. It’s the innovation of the Chinese students of food technology which demonstrates the versatility of almonds as well as how almonds’ health benefits can make a positive difference in a product that makes this goal possible.