DuPont NutriScholars Awards – Fuelling Innovation in the Indian Bakery Industry

The Indian bakery industry is expanding exponentially along with the evolving Indian consumer interests. Indian consumers are looking for baked foods with increased health and wellness quotient. The bakery industry is responding with new products that are low in fat and sugar; free from sugar; and enriched with protein and fibre. Bakery and snack manufacturers are striving to develop healthier snack alternatives with multi-grains, whole grains and even millets. These product developments require extensive cost and time investments, to redesign the existing products as well as to develop a new range.

The Indian bakery market poses challenges across two distinct categories; one is cost-effective baked goods for mass consumption, and the second is the premium range of products incorporated with novel ingredients and improved sensory attributes. The key problem faced by the industry is to balance the cost and taste of the baked foods.

The Specialty Products Division of DowDuPont combines in-depth knowledge of food and nutrition with current science and research. This helps add value to the food, beverage, and dietary supplement industries.

DuPont Nutrition & Health has been actively involved in bringing innovative solutions to the Indian food industry using functional and nutritional ingredients. It has taken initiatives to bring in-depth knowledge from academia and expertise from industry to a common platform through its program named ‘DuPont NutriScholars Awards’.

The second edition of DuPont NutriScholars Awards for the academic year 2018 was based on to solve the bakery challenges. It started in 2017 and continued to drive commercially viable innovations from academia by engaging students at advanced research levels. DuPont Nutrition & Health and its execution partner, F1rst, reached out to over 250 academic universities and institutions all over the country, and connected with more than 10,000 students for the contest.

The program intends to ideate, facilitate platform and hands-on product development experience for students across food science and relevant interdisciplinary. Students were asked to solve challenges in the selected bakery products such as cake, bread, muffin/cupcake, biscuit, and baked snack under five award categories.

The aim of the contest was to create baked products with better taste and texture while enhancing health, using DuPont Danisco range of functional and health-promoting ingredients. This competition was conducted in two phases. The initial phase gathered proposals of the product ideas and solutions, followed by the development of selected products in the final phase with technical support from DuPont experts.

Interest from academia was encouraged by road shows and continuous interaction with the experts. Technical experts from DuPont reached out to 11 academic institutions across 8 different states through road shows. These interactions help in bridging the knowledge gap and communication between learners and pioneers from industry on a continuous basis.

The program witnessed immense response and received 215 proposals from 75 universities across the country. Ten top scored projects were shortlisted for each award category after scrutinizing project’s commercial viability and feasibility. DuPont Danisco provided an experimental fund and technical support in the form of functional and nutritional ingredients to the 50 finalist teams.

Finished products developed from scratch were evaluated by a sensory and expert panel from academia and the food industry. Winning ideas were selected under each award category such as; protein-rich herbal multigrain Kera cake; beetroot lemon muffins; 100 percent chakki atta bread; savoury veggie gluten free cookies; and trios (multigrain vegetable nachos). The teams were awarded a cash prize of INR 50,000 and an opportunity to intern with DuPont Nutrition & Health for a period of four weeks. Award ceremony felicitating winners of the second season was conducted in New Delhi on December 10, 2018.

The program has been successful in giving exposure to students in industrial challenges and directing them towards the solutions using ingredients, processing and packaging. In addition, it helped students to understand the expectations of the industry so that they can develop in-depth knowledge and insights to match their ability to the food industry standards.

These types of programs also inculcate innovativeness and motivate students to develop research capabilities. The Indian food industry needs to leverage academia-industry collaborations to bring the innovation and new technological developments for the betterment of everyday human health and nourishment.

Source: Dupont Nutrition & Health and F1rst

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