Today’s baby boomers aren’t sitting still. They are taking steps to create an active, health-conscious lifestyle filled with travel, exercise and hobbies. We’re likely to find today’s parents and grandparents training for a 5K, biking with their grandchildren or improving their golf game.
To help nourish this active generation of consumers, the Dairy Research Institute, established under the leadership of America’s dairy farmers, announces the third annual New Product Competition, open to undergraduate and graduate students in the United States and Canada. This year’s competition focuses on developing a new dairy or dairy-based product that appeals to the baby boomer population, a consumer group poised to control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S. over the next five years.
The winning new product ideas should meet the needs of active adults who are increasingly motivated by goals of independence, longevity and prevention of chronic diseases associated with aging. As a result of these changing views of aging, diets that are higher in protein to help maintain strong bones and preserve lean muscle mass have gained importance. As many as 13 percent of 60- to 70-year-olds and 50 percent of adults over age 80 may experience a loss of muscle mass and strength. Diets that are higher in protein, such as those that include dairy (e.g., milk, cheese, yogurt or dairy ingredients like whey), can help maintain muscle mass.
As the U.S. population continues to age, the dairy industry has a significant opportunity to help this sizeable demographic meet nutrient recommendations. Predictions are that by 2020, those ages 55 and older will represent approximately one-third of the total U.S. population.
“Today’s older adults can benefit from increased protein consumption for their active lifestyles, yet many are getting far less than the recommended daily intake of protein,” said Bill Graves, senior vice president, Dairy Research Institute. “Dairy foods contain a unique nutrient package, including high-quality proteins, which provide energy and aid healthy aging.”
Through this dairy innovation competition, the Dairy Research Institute is encouraging the product developers of tomorrow to showcase novel ways to use dairy proteins, calcium and other dairy nutrients in products that help meet healthy aging needs.
“We’re inspiring the next generation of food scientists to choose dairy as a career,” Graves says.
A judging panel, including experts from across the dairy industry, will evaluate entries and select three winning teams. The teams will be recognized at the annual American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Joint Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Mo., July 20 to 24, 2014. A combined $16,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winning teams: $8,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $3,000 for third place. Full contest details are available at USDairy.com/NewProductCompetition.
For the 2013 competition, students were tasked with developing a novel dairy product for the morning meal occasion. “Working with dairy foods and ingredients is always unique because it is so versatile, and there are so many ways that dairy can be incorporated into products,” said Megan Woo, a Pennsylvania State University student on one of the winning teams announced this year. “The most interesting part of the New Product Competition was how it incorporated all facets of food science as well as marketing, sales and packaging.”
The deadline for 2014 contest submissions is Jan. 15, 2014.