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Submissions Open for Almond Board of California’s Tastemaker Trials Student Competition

Preview submission criteria for ABC’s national student product development competition.


The Almond Board of California is excited to invite U.S. postsecondary students studying food science, culinary arts or related degree areas to participate in ABC’s Tastemaker Trials, a national student product development competition! This year’s competition calls on students to submit almond product concepts informed by AI-driven insights, and the award for first place will include a trip to experience innovation firsthand at IFT FIRST, as well as professional networking and virtual mentorship opportunities to help students forge new industry connections.

ABC’s Tastemaker Trials prompt asks students to create a delicious almond-based snack product that meets one or more of the ways Gen Z and/or Millennials are redefining the idea of “intentional indulgence.”

Gen Z and Millennials are snacking more in place of meals, making them an increasingly important part of day-to-day eating. But how can the snacking experience go beyond simple satisfaction?

Students are called to draw inspiration from, but are not limited to, AI-informed consumption trends from Tastewise’s real-time social media, recipe and menu data:

  • Sharpening the Lens on Health: Gen Z and Millennials are moving away from "healthy" as a general claim, zooming in on specific and personalized areas like fitness, weight management, energy, gut health, blood sugar, and stress relief.  
  • Eco-Conscious Eating: Top claims among Gen Z and Millennials include natural, organic, local produce, sustainability and food waste. Vegan is a prominent dietary claim as younger generations cite environmental and personal health reasons for going plant-based.
  • Connectivity through Consumption: Younger consumers view food as a form of self-expression and are embracing smaller treats to meet personal needs and values. “Travel” and “friends” are the top two social setting claims among Gen Z and Millennials. How can snacks provide an indulgent escape, represent globalizing palates, or create shareable experiences?

Preliminary Submissions are due February 23rd, 2024. An expert panel of judges will evaluate submissions and select finalist teams who will proceed to round two, which will conclude in May.

Submission Instructions
View Submission Instructions and Official Rules for ABC’s Tastemaker Trials.

Students and educators are encouraged to click here for more food industry resources and trends, or follow ABC’s LinkedIn page for food professionals to stay in the loop with new resources and information from ABC.