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Student Competition Inspires Next-Generation Almond Snack Products

Participants utilized the benefits of almonds to develop forward-thinking snack products, and the results are in!


The Almond Board of California (ABC) and Drexel University recently announced the winning concepts from their first-ever student competition! Attendees at IFT Expo will have the opportunity to try a sample inspired by elements of the competition’s top concepts and meet this year’s winners at booth #S1111.

This year’s competition challenged participants to develop next-generation almond snack products that cater to younger consumers and meet the taste and nutrition needs of tomorrow. To arrive at their final concepts and product pitches, participants reviewed the evolving market landscape, conducted consumer research, surveyed their target audience, and sampled prototypes to refine their ideas. Students determined what the younger generation of consumers finds valuable about almond attributes, considering evolving lifestyles and dietary needs prompting innovation for gluten-free snacks, plant-based protein sources, bold and global flavor profiles, and more. The final concepts addressed these popular consumer interests, making nostalgic items more healthy or convenient and boosting protein levels. A one-ounce serving of almonds contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, as well as 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fats and just one gram of saturated fat.

This year’s finalists are:

  • 1st place: Almond Cookie Dough Snack Bites
  • 2nd place: Almond Butter Sandwich Crackers 

Ideas receiving honorable mentions included an Almond-Granola Butter Spread, and an Almond Protein Smoothie in flavors like Creamsicle, Chai and Coffee. These concepts utilized a variety of almond ingredients like defatted almond flour (almond protein powder), almond butter, almond flour, almond milk, and more, exploring the best applications for each form.

Culinary Arts and Science majors Grace Mailey and Gabriel Marchiony were selected as this year’s winners by a panel of judges with expertise in food, culinary science and product marketing.

  • Mailey and Marchiony impressed the judges with their creativity of innovation, almond
    usage, target audience and sensory execution.
  • Both students are enrolled in Drexel University’s Certificate in Food Entrepreneurship program and are student researchers in the Drexel Food Lab, where they further refined their products.

If you’re attending IFT this year, don’t forget to visit ABC at booth #S1111. On Tuesday, July 18 from 11:00-1:00 p.m. we’ll have exclusive samples of the student competition-inspired concept. Have a treat, stay to discuss the product development process and meet this year’s winners. Please reach out to if you’d like to schedule an in-person meeting at IFT Expo with ABC experts. 

Click here to read the press release announcing this year’s winners.