Challenge your limit, but not limit your challenges!
That quote above describes how my friends and I started the journey of joining the competition this year. I and two other LTH students (Ashri Nugrahini from Food Innovation and Product Design M.Sc. program, and Mushonnifun Faiz Sugihartanto from Logistics and Supply Chain Management M.Sc. program) agreed to join the food product development competition by the end of January 2019, called DSDC. DSDC or Developing Solution for Developing Countries is an annual student competition held by the International Food Technologist (IFT) Student Association with the main focus to promote the food science and technology application through new product or process development by improving quality of life in developing countries.
As an international competition, we need to compete with applicants from other countries around the world. In the beginning, we were required to write a preliminary proposal about our proposed idea and submit through an online platform. After that, the judges selected six finalists (3 from USA and 3 from non-US countries) to be invited to the final round presentation. On April 1, we are announced as one of DSDC finalists together with the team from IPB University (Indonesia), Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus (Malaysia), Cornell University (USA), University of Costa Rica (USA), and Washington State University (USA). Interestingly, each finalist received USD 1,500 of a travel grant and we did not need to pay for the IFT 19 registration fee. In only one month, we needed to write a full proposal for our project, including the laboratory trial and product analysis. The next month was spent on presentation preparation coached by LTH teachers and the departure preparation (visa, ticket, accommodation, registration, etc.). The final round was held on June 4-6 in New Orleans where we delivered the final presentation. Within 15 minutes, we had to deliver the whole idea followed by questions and answers session with 8 judges from different backgrounds.
The theme of this year’s challenge was creating a nutritious food product by targeting developing countries and addressing at least two out of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our proposed idea was developing instant ‘xima’ called MORINGAU to alleviate children’s malnutrition-related problem in Mozambique. This product was adapted from Mozambican traditional stiff porridge as a staple food, made from maize, groundnut, cassava, sorghum, cowpeas, moringa leaves, seasoning, and fortificant. As a “ready to cook” porridge, MORINGAU was expected to work as a vehicle that meets daily children’s needs in Mozambique by considering nutrient, processing-technology, consumer/market acceptance, economics, and feasibility aspects.
And finally, our team was announced to be the first winner of DSDC 2019 with a 3,000 USD award. From the whole journey, I could summarize that being a student is a privilege. When you could challenge your limit in the middle of a hectic school schedule, assignment, and activities, you will deserve something beyond your expectations. Working with people from different backgrounds could be a challenge, but also the resource to see and solve a problem from different perspectives. Joining this competition is not to get the title or award, but more to break your limit, obtain more life experience, and broaden the network. Therefore, I suggest you join this year’s DSDC competition that the final will be held in Chicago in 2020. The application for DSDC 2020 is now opened. Additionally, you will not just attend the final competition round, but you will be a part of the biggest annual food expo and conference in the US, called IFT.
PS: please visit the link below for further information about this year’s competition