University Fund Wageningen made it possible for Saffiera Karleen and Max Wijkamp to join the IFT 2017 in Las Vegas. The IFT (Institute of Food Technology) organises an annual conference that focuses on food themes. The theme of 2017 was ‘Developing Solutions for Developing Countries (DSDC)’. The IFT DSDC is a competition that is part of the annual food ingredients exhibition (food expo) in the United States of America.
Saffiera and Max joined this contest by submitting their paper to the IFT. They managed to be one of the six finalist to present at this international conference. Joining the IFT event gave Max and Saffiera a great experience in the field of international food solutions in developing countries. They developed a product called PeRoti, a roti instant mix that is designed to combat the malnutrition in India by using rest products of the peanut industry.
Saffiera: ‘In the final competition, we had to do the presentation of our product and persuade the jury that our product is the best fit for the chosen area’. Max and Saffiera learned by experience that there is a fundamental difference between the American and Dutch way of presenting a product case. Saffiera: ‘Our presentation was focused on reporting our product and presenting its impact, similar like a scientific thesis presentation at the university’. ‘Even though we presented in the most interesting way, we missed the marketing/business aspect in the presentation’. ‘The winning team made an attractive movie about how bad the situation in the targeted area was and this persuaded the jury.’ ‘We learned that in the USA being scientific is not enough in a science competition, the marketing touch is still necessary to influence the audience’. At the end of the conference Max and Saffiera however received the Honorary Award for their PeRoti product!
‘Overall, presenting in the USA and having this wonderful experience was not possible wihout the help of the University Fund Wageningen!’