News Release| CSULA; Cal State L.A.; Los Angeles; CSU; Food Competition; Nutritional Science team

Note to editors and news directors: Faculty advisor Harmit Singh, professor of nutritional science at Cal State L.A., may be reached at (323) 343-5334,


Cal State L.A.’s ‘choccoli’ wins gold award in food competition

San Gabriel Valley quartet makes up nutritional science team

Los Angeles, CA – Have children who won’t eat their vegetables? Maybe you should try “choccoli.”

Developed by a team of graduate students at Cal State L.A., the “choccoli” creation mixes vegetable powder into chocolate to make nutritious chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate candies.  The innovation earned Cal State L.A. first place in the recent SCIFTS (Southern California Institute of Food Technologists Section) Student Product Development Competition.

The CSULA team, presented a gold award of $1,500, includes nutritional science majors Liz Estavillo (Duarte resident), June Gant (Covina resident), Maria Odono (Monterey Park resident) and Olivia Tzou (Alhambra resident).

According to Estavillo, “The judges said they were very impressed with our product, and stated that we had ‘blown-away’ the competition. The Whole Foods Market in Tustin then approached us and offered to carry our ‘product’ in their market, if we choose to manufacture it!”

Harmit Singh, professor of nutritional science at Cal State L.A., said, “Everyone in the competition was really talking about our product and presentation. This team worked really hard and coordinated very well, and we see the results. The idea is to develop new product to increase vegetable consumption among American population.”

“The chocolate,” Singh explained, “helps mask the smell of the vegetables and hides the taste for people who are resistant to eating their vegetables.” He indicated that vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, such as dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E.

Cal State L.A. competed against three other universities—Chapman University, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo—which have well-established food science departments.

Sponsored by Whole Foods and Disney, the competition sought proposals for new food products. Judges evaluated the potential success of the entries in today’s market and the technical problem- solving skills used in product development.

This fall, Cal State L.A.’s School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science will launch a new Bachelor of Science program in food science and technology. It will prepare students for careers in the food science and technology industry.  There are 15 $3,000 scholarships from the U.S. Department of Agriculture available to students who enroll in the program. For more details about the food science and technology program at Cal State L.A., go to /academic/hhs/kns/.

For more about the “choccoli” entry and the competition, contact Singh at (323) 343-5334.

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