Show us what you can bake.

The purpose of ASB’s Product Development Competition is to facilitate the development of innovative bakery products for the wholesale manufacturing industry.

Entries are due each November.  Visit the following tabs for complete details.

General Competition Rules

Entries must consist of a proposal for a new bakery food product. For the 2024 competition, the category is “Baking Something Old New Again” to tie in with the 100-year anniversary of ASB this year. We are looking for a reinvention of a “traditional” bakery item that was popular around 100 years ago so get creative and put your own innovative spin on the product of your choice. The twist on this year’s products is that to bring them into the 21st century, they should be reduced sodium as per the FDA’s sodium reduction guidelines released in March of 2023. Entries must consist of a proposal for a new, innovative, and reduced sodium bakery food product.  

The product should have the following: 

  • Commercially available ingredients 
  • Product was invented and popular at least 100 years ago 
  • Product must traditionally have been above the reduced sodium guidelines OR your product achieves a 35% sodium reduction compared to the traditional product 

Guidance for Industry on Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Explanation of Appendix Table 1 (fda.gov) 

The product must have a minimum shelf life of 14 days with storage conditions following similar products on the market (e.x. cookies, hard pretzels, hotdog buns are shelf stable at room temperature, but soft pretzels are sold frozen).  All serving sizes, claims and labeling must be in line with the current FDA regulations.  

Judges will be evaluating the potential success of product entries in today’s market, scalability and technical problem-solving skills used in product development.  

In order to control the emphasis and fairness of the product development competition, the following limitations will be enforced: 

  • Competitors must be student teams consisting of between two and four students.  
  • Competitors must be full-time degree seeking students with less than three years of industry experience 
  • Competitors can participate in multiple years. 
  • No team members can have been PDC finalists more than once 
  • Judges will not award extra points for the size of sensory panels or source of panelists. The purpose of this rule is to eliminate the possibility of teams earning extra points for their ability to collect more sensory data due to a larger number of team members. 
  • Since the focus of this competition is on baking skills in product development, judges will not give points for the quality of package graphics or other advertising material. However, student teams are encouraged to be creative and encompass modern packaging technology. 
  • Penalties for violations will be determined by the judges. Judges will communicate their decision, which will be considered final, in a prompt fashion to both the chair and the team captain at the end of the competition. 


Each student team member must be registered as a full-time student at the university he or she is representing at the time of the competition and through the Finals on February 29, 2024. Each student on the team must provide a letter from their advisor stating that they are currently enrolled and taking classes.   

All students entering the competition must be a registered ASB member (student membership is $25). Student registration can be completed on the ASB website (www.asbe.org).  For more information regarding membership, please contact membership@asbe.org.  

Entries must be the student’s original work. Professors may be consulted and referenced but may not be a major contributor to the actual work. 

Projects from product development classes are eligible in the competition. 

MS, Ph.D., or summer internship related projects are NOT eligible in the competition. 

Preliminary Proposals

Only email submissions will be accepted.  Please submit all emails to ASB Director of Education Sarah Day (sday@asbe.org).  When submitting the preliminary proposal, entrants must include the following information in the same email: 

  • Team members’ names and ASB membership numbers in the document provided on ASB’s website. In addition, the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of the team leader to whom all correspondence should be directed must also be provided. 
  • Sponsor companies, donors of goods, services, or money (if applicable) 
  • Name of the school, name of entry, and advisor’s name and contact information 

Failure to forward the above information will result in ineligibility. An acknowledgement email will be sent. 

Teams must submit their preliminary proposal in a PDF format by email to Sarah Day (sday@asbe.org) by November 13th at 11:59pm CST. Proposals received after November 13th will not be accepted. 

The preliminary proposal  
1. Title page  
  • There is no specific required format for the title page (not included in the five (5) page limit), though it should include the title of report and date.  Do not include the name of the university or the team names on the title page 
2. Supporting pages  
  • may not exceed five (5) pages, not including the title page, the page for single photograph, and the appendix.  The report must be typed, double-spaced 12-point Garamond font with 1” margins. Must be submitted electronically.   
3. Image  
  • Include a 5” × 7” color photograph of the proposed product in the preliminary proposal (printed on a single sheet 8.5 × 11.0” white paper). 
4. Appendix 
  • Process flow diagram 
5. References 
  • All references cited within the proposal will be referred to with a number in or at the end of the sentence in which the reference was used. The list of references (which are not included in the five (5) page limit) must be submitted as a separate PDF document with the preliminary proposal. If a problem arises with reference credibility a judge may contact the Product Development Chair for verification. 
6. Cover Letter
  • A separate cover letter from the Department Head or a professor, verifying originality of work and the  team’s compliance with the competition rules is to be submitted as a separate PDF document with the preliminary proposal. 

Do not include the name of the university or the team names on the title page. Names of sponsor companies, any university, students, or other indication of team location are NOT acceptable on the other five pages in the report, or on the product picture as these will be seen by the judges. VIOLATION WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION OF SUBMITTED PROPOSALS. 

Additional images throughout the report are optional. Images will count in the total page count.  

Evaluation of Preliminary Proposals

Scoring will be determined by the Product Development Committee. Each entry will be scored on a basis of 100 points, with the points to be distributed as shown here: 

Preliminary Proposal Evaluations

Product Description                                      10 points

Process Description including scale up     15 points

Technical Problem Solving                          20 points

Food Safety/Shelf Life                                   15 points

Originality                                                       20 points

Literature/trend data                                    10 points

Marketing                                                        10 points

100 points total

The Product Development Competition Committee will select a maximum of three (3) finalists.
All competing teams will be informed of only their respective scores and any Product Development Committee’s comments.

Finalist Timeline

Finalists will be announced on December 4th. Responsibilities of finalists include the preparation of the following, with details below: 

  • Final written proposal 
  • 10-minute video (pre-recorded) presentation by the team which includes a power point presentation 
  • 10 minute team presentation on stage in format similar to Shark Tank (Baker’s Oven), may include presentation slides 
  • Display of their entry for a poster session at the Annual Meeting 
  • Samples of their product for the three (3) judges and Executive Director to taste

Finalist Evaluation

Final proposals will be scored on a basis of 300 points, distributed as follows:

Final Written Proposal                           50 points
Video Presentation                                50 points
Live Presentation (Baker’s Oven)         75 points
Poster Display                                         25 points
Product Sample                                     100 points

Final Written Proposal

The maximum number of pages for the final written proposal is ten (10). This number DOES include proposal body text, process flow diagram, references and appendices. It does NOT include the one (1) title page and the one (1) photograph page. 

The report must be typed, double-spaced, 12-point Garamond font with 1” margins on white paper. Must be submitted electronically. 

The title page, for which there is no specific required format, must include the title of the proposal and date. A list of donors, and other contributors that assisted the team should be listed ONLY on the title page. 

Include a 5″ × 7″ color photograph of the product mounted on a single sheet 8.5” × 11.0″ white paper. Additional images throughout the report are optional. 

References should be added at the end of the proposal. The teams’ anonymity is no longer required.  

Product Description                            10 points
Originality                                             15 points
Process Description                             10 points
Safety/Shelf Life                                     5 points
Profitability                                             5 points
Marketing                                                5 points

Final Written Proposal Evaluation:  50 points total

Areas that may be covered in the final proposal are listed below. These are only suggestions. You may include other areas. Remember, thoroughness is important, but originality is highly encouraged! Be sure to cover all areas according to the allotted written proposal points above.

Product description

Product description/use
Product formulation and ingredient functionality
Market potential
Competitive framework
Sensory/ Consumer tests
Shelf-life estimation
Price/cost evaluation
Package selection and basis for selection
Nutrition Label 

Process description

Process description and basis for selection
How product would be scaled for industrial production
Process flow diagram
Process limits
Operating cost
Capital investment estimate
Patent status (apply, infringe, license)

Food safety

Food Safety evaluation with respect to formulations, functionality, and processing
Legal implications of the product (ingredient labeling)
Hazard Analysis – Critical Control Points (HACCP)
Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs)
Home use – safety hazard?
State Regulations
Federal Regulations
FDA, USDA, OSHA, EPA, etc. regulations 

Team Video Presentation

Finalists will develop a ten (10) minute video presentation that will be part of the BakingTECH 2024 conference and posted on the ASB website.

  • A PowerPoint computer presentation must be part of the video utilizing a template provided by the Committee. The Committee will provide finalists with details concerning the PowerPoint computer presentation (format, version, file size, etc.).
  • Video presentation must be uploaded by January 29th deadline.
  • The whole team may be part of the video presentation but is not required. Minimum of 2 members must present.
  • This time should be a balance between introducing your school, team members, and products.

Obviously this is not enough time to go over everything included in the written summary, so use the video presentation as a way to succinctly sell your product’s key attributes. It will be judged on quality, organization, communication, interest generated, and overall presentation skills.

Video Presentation Evaluation:  50 points

Presentations – Baker’s Oven

  • Finalists will present a 10-minute (10) minute presentation during the ASB Annual Conference BakingTech24. The conference is being held at the Hilton Chicago February 27 – 29, 2024. This presentation will be given on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 in the morning.
  • Presentation by a maximum of two (2) student team members.
  • A PowerPoint computer presentation is required utilizing a template provided by the Committee. The Competition Chair is responsible for bringing/acquiring a laptop computer for competition finals at the meeting. The Chair will provide finalists with details concerning the PowerPoint computer presentation (format, version, file size, etc.)
  • Expect questions from Judges.
  • Obviously this is not enough time to go over everything included in the written summary, so use the oral presentation as a way to succinctly sell your product’s key attributes. It will be judged on quality, organization, communication, interest generated, and overall presentation skills.

Oral Presentation Evaluation:  75 points

Poster Displays

Finalists will also present their product development ideas in a poster session during the MarketPlace exhibits at the Annual Meeting.  The content rules for the written report also apply for the poster display.

An 8 ft. wide by 4ft. high (32 sq. ft. display area) poster board will be available for you to display your product information. The panels can be divided up however a team chooses as long as it fits the allotted poster space (4′ high × 8′ wide).

Judges will visit booths in a random order determined by the competition Chair. Judges may ask questions to any or all of the team members present during this time period.

Note: Product development teams are not allowed to provide food samples to the general public at the poster session, or at any time during the Annual Meeting. Teams are encouraged to have display samples for viewing. A table-top is provided for display purposes only.

The poster display will be graded on effectiveness of product presentation, neatness and organization. The poster presentation evaluations will be based on the quality of content, organization and ability to communicate, stimulate interest, and sell the product idea to your fellow bakers.

Poster Display Evaluation:  25 points

Product Sampling

Each team will send each judge (3 judges total) one sample of their product shipped by January 29, 2024 The names and addresses of the judges will be provided mid-December.  Feedback on the samples will be included as part of the final rubric 

Product Sample Evaluation:  100 Points

Q&A with Judges

Each team will have a live Q&A session with the judges in January.  The exact time will be communicate in mid-December.  Each member of the team is required to participate.  Each team will be allocated 15 minutes.

BakingTECH 2024 Schedule

BakingTECH 2024 is February 27 -29 at the Hilton Chicago.  All expenses will be paid for the Finalists.

  • Teams will receive a schedule of PDC meetings and events to attend during BakingTECH 2024.
  • Teams are encouraged to attend as many General Session and Technical Sessions as their schedule permits.
  • Teams are required to attend the ATBI breakfast on Thursday morning, February 29, 2024.

Items to be completed for entry in PD competition:

  • Check ASB student member status for team. (It takes several weeks to complete the membership process, so begin early if not a current member.)
  • Check preliminary proposal format
  • Submit a preliminary proposal (PDF document) to to sday@asbe.org via email by November 13th at 11:59 pm CST 

Items to be completed for PD competition Finalist:

  • Check final written proposal format
  • Submit a final written proposal (in .doc and converted to PDF document) and the 10-minute video presentation to sday@asbe.org by January 29, 2024
  • Prepare and ship product samples by January 29, 2024
  • Prepare poster for MarketPlace and live presentation for Baker’s Oven at BakingTech 2024

Failure to comply with any of the rules of the competition may result in penalization of teams, including disqualification at the discretion of the judges and the competition Chair.

Awards – $20,000 in total

1st prize: $2,500 scholarship for each team member
2nd prize: $1,500 scholarship for each team member
3rd prize: $1,000 scholarship for each team member

Winners will be announced during the BakingTECH Closing Session on Thursday, February 29, 2024.  All Finalist team members must be present.

Questions can be sent to ASB Director of Education Sarah Day (sday@asbe.org).

They will then be forwarded to the Product Development Committee for a response. 

Student Teams share what they learned participating in ASB’s Product Development Competition!