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‘Choccoli’ team wins gold award in food competition

Nutritional science students develop new food product through science, technology, education

Picture of nutritional science team in food science lab.
L-r: Team members June Gant, Olivia Tzou, Liz Estavillo and Maria Odono prepare their “choccoli” entry in the food science lab of La Kretz Hall.

With their “choccoli” innovation, Cal State L.A. graduate students Liz Estavillo, June Gant, Maria Odono and Olivia Tzou placed first in the recent SCIFTS (Southern California Institute of Food Technologists Section) Student Product Development Competition. They were presented a gold award of $1,500.

The nutritional science team’s “choccoli” creation mixes vegetable powder into chocolate to make nutritious chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate candies.

According to Estavillo, “The judges said they were very impressed with our product, and stated that we had ‘blown-away’ the competition. The Whole Foods Market in Tustin then approached us and offered to carry our ‘product’ in their market, if we choose to manufacture it!”

Harmit Singh, professor of nutritional science at Cal State L.A., said, “Everyone in the competition was really talking about our product and presentation. This team worked really hard and coordinated very well, and we see the results. The idea is to develop new product to increase vegetable consumption among American population.”

 Picture of nutritional science team receiving gold award for its winning entry.
Nutritional science team, pictured at Whole Foods Market in Tustin, receives gold award for winning first place in the SCIFTS competition.

“The chocolate,” Singh explained, “helps mask the smell of the vegetables and hides the taste for people who are resistant to eating their vegetables.” He indicated that vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, such as dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E.

This fall, Cal State L.A.’s School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science will launch a new Bachelor of Science program in food science and technology. There are 15 $3,000 scholarships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture available to students who enroll in the program. For details about the scholarship, call (323) 343-4650.

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Last Update: 01/12/2016