Students on the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Marketing team at the University of Delaware presented their “Earth Based Superfood Spreads” idea at the 2017 NAMA Student Competition held recently in Dallas, Texas, with a total of 30 universities competing.
The NAMA Marketing Team is sponsored by the NAMA Marketing Club, which was established by Ulrich Toensmeyer, professor of agricultural marketing in the Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, in the fall of 1993. The team went to their first competition in April 1994 and 2017 was the team’s 24th competition.
Toensmeyer was unable to travel this year and he recruited Patrick Correale, a UD alumnus who graduated in 2016, to take the team to Dallas and also to participate to get the team ready for the competition. Correale, who majored in food and agribusiness marketing and management (FABM), participated on the team for three years and was team leader in 2015-16. This year’s team was led by Aubrey Aranowicz, who recently graduated from UD with a major in FABM and minors in resource economics and statistical data analytics and the three of them prepared the team for the competition.
The team’s expenses have been fully funded by generous donors since the creation of the team and this year was no exception.
Correale said that from the moment the team got back from last year’s competition, they began brainstorming product ideas for this year’s competition.
“Usually by September, the idea starts to come to fruition and you start to build a plan around it and then the trip is in April every year so toward the second semester, you start working on the speeches and you start working on the actual presentation,” said Correale.
The team developed an executive plan for their product and presented that plan to a team of professional judges at the Dallas competition, where they not only got to present their product but also to network with industry professionals.
Aranowicz said that being able to participate in the NAMA competition was a huge bonus in her college experience.
“Not many students have the opportunity to create and determine the logistics of a product, and pitch the idea to a panel of respected judges,” said Aranowicz.
According to the executive plan, Earth Based is a fresh superfood spread that would be found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets, near the produce section.
Earth Based would target consumers who enjoy hummus spreads, like those produced by Sabra, and other popular shelf spreads such as mayonnaise and pesto.
Flavors would include:
• Zesta, aimed to add flavors of lime zest, chili powder and cilantro;
• Cocoa turmeric, a savory spread with spices that have a long history in improving a person’s health and well-being;
• Beet, a slightly sweet yet earthly and crunchy flavor that is full of antioxidants and fiber; and
• Herba, a hearty and peppery spread that provides Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
“Each of our unique, flavorful spreads, was created with a common goal in mind – utilize nature’s goodness by providing consumers with a delicious food that will enable them to feel better, perform better, and live better,” said Aranowicz.
The team brainstormed numerous ideas and finally decided on the spreads after teammate Erin Mullen, who recently graduated as an FABM major, prepared a taste test of six different varieties.
The product would be marketed at $3.50, putting the spreads into the high quality, low price category that consumers desire.
While the team didn’t make it out of the preliminary round this year — no easy feat with roughly 30 university teams represented at the competition — Correale said that overall it was a great experience.
“We never let stuff like that get us down. Just being there in general and being surrounded by all these industry professionals, it’s a great experience to jump start a career because it’s a lot of real world stuff,” said Correale. “The judges that you present your product to with your team are all industry professionals and they’re supposed to be your company’s board of directors. We’ve had professionals come in the past and talk to us before the competition and basically, they were all saying that this is what you would do for a sales presentation if you’re on a team like this. So, it’s all really good experience.”
Toensmeyer added, “There was a lot of final preparation work to be done once the team reached Dallas in order to be ready for the competition. Patrick and Aubrey did an excellent job in guiding the team in Dallas.”
Article by Adam Thomas
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