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The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) with support from the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) recognized the Most Innovative Products developed from the Food Innovation Centers (FIC) technologies: water retort, vacuum fryer, spray dryer, and freeze dryer, during its awarding ceremonies on November 14, 2016.

The activity is part of the development of competence of the Food Innovation Centers’ managers and technical personnel to excel in product development and innovation by providing more detailed training on important aspects of food processing such as product development, food safety and regulations, food packaging, nutrition labeling, product costing, and marketing strategies.

"We have done a project on building up the confidence of our personnel in the FICs. As such, we would like to culminate this project by looking at the competence of our personnel in terms of their development of prototypes which we would find most innovative,” said Dr. Maria Patricia Azanza, Director of the implementing agency, ITDI after the initial screening wherein five food products from each technology were selected.

The finalists were further tested in terms of the innovativeness, market viability, consumer acceptability, and soundness of process. Judges came from the academe, public and private organizations and institutions.

The Winners

For the Most Innovative Products for Water Retort Technology, Tea Tums, developed by students and professors of the University of the Philippines Diliman got the title. These are healthy ready-to-drink juices made from lemongrass, calamansi blend infused with turmeric,and ginger which were identified to have potential health benefits. Cagayan State University-Carig Campus then got 2nd in this category through Uved, a traditional Ivatan food that is made from banana roots, therefore targets the health-conscious consumers and travelers. This product is made to have longer shelf-life so tourists visiting Batanes can buy it as pasalubong.

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Most innovative food product for Water Retort Technology: Tea Tums (left) got first place while Uved (right) placed second.

Region II bagged awards under the freeze drying technology: Gracilaria won as the Most Innovative Product, while Arius got the second place. Gracilaria is a kind of seaweed mass produced in Buguey, Cagayan that can be used as flavoring or processed as seaweed chips. Arius, on the other hand, is a tree that can grow anywhere in the Philippines but can only bear fruit in Batanes due to climate conditions. Its fruit gives off natural food colorants that can be substituted to imported berries. 

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Most innovative food product for Freeze Drying Technology: Gracilaria (left) got first place while Arius (right) placed second.

For the Spray-Dried products, Sea Grapes Powder or Lato of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Science and Technology, Region IX nabbed the Most Innovative Product. It claims to have natural salty, peppery taste which can be used as flavoring for chips, noodles, baked products, and it can also be mixed with beverages. Bukolyte developed by the Philippine Women’s College-Davao, Region XI then got the second place for this category. Bukolyte is powdered form of the coconut water with no artificial flavor and preservatives added made from young coconuts. 

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Most innovative food product for Spray Dried Technology: Sea Grapes Powder or Lato(left) got first place while Bukolyte (right) placed second.

Lastly, the Most Innovative Product for Vacuum Frying technology is the Crispy Sprouted Monggo of Region II which claims to contain more nutrients compared to ordinary monggo. It can provide energy and help strengthen the immune system of lactating or pregnant women. Fried Mayahini or Barinday of Eastern Visayas State University, Region VIII was then awarded as the second Most Innovative Product for this category. In the process of frying, Fried Mayahini retains its natural and nutritional qualities, thus it can be an alternative to unhealthy chips available in the market.

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Most innovative food product for Vacuum Frying Technology: Crispy Sprouted Monggo (left) got first place while Vacuum Fried Barinday (right) placed second.

For the special awards, Region II received the ‘FIC with the Most Number of Qualifying Products’ with their seven food product entries. Another special award, the Industry Choice Award, is given to Regions II and IX for Crispy Sprouted Monggo and Sea Grapes Powder, respectively. This award was given to the product/s that scored high in the following criteria: novelty, consumer appeal, manufacturing feasibility, and can be priced competitively.

The Challenge

Commercialization of these food products poses the biggest challenge after the Awarding Ceremonies. Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development recognized this challenge in her closing message. She acknowledged the judges’ presence and what they can do to help promote these food products since they came from different sectors of the society.

“I believe that we have the products to make the Philippines' food secure and then it will be available, affordable, and accessible. And it will only happen if we have the FICs," said Dr. Guevara.

What are FICs?

Food Innovation Centers were developed in 2015 which houses five DOST-developed technologies, namely: vacuum packaging machine, water retort, vacuum fryer, spray dryer, and freeze dryer. Spray Dryer transforms liquids into powder instantly, while Freeze Dryer produces dried materials but prolongs shelf life and enables a more convenient way of transporting these materials. Water Retort improves shelf-life of food products even in non-refrigerated conditions, and Vacuum Fryer creates crunchy products that are low in fat and high in fiber with minimal changes in color and flavor.

As of 2016, there are already ten FICs distributed nationwide – NCR, Regions 2, 4B, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 with the main FIC located at ITDI, DOST Compound. FICs are open to scientists, technologists, and academicians who are in need of the said technologies.