by: Edgilyn R. Alcasid
“Tea-tums”, a turmeric-ginger-lemongrass infused citrus juice drink made from the University of the Philippines Diliman- Department of Science and Technology Food Innovation Facility (UPD-DOST FIF), was named as the most innovative water retort product during the recognition of top FIF products held last November 14, 2016 at the ADMATEL Conference Room, DOST-ITDI building, Bicutan, Taguig City. The event was organized by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).
Tea-tums bested five pre-screened entries from other Food Innovation Centers (FICs) nationwide under the aforementioned category. A cash prize amounting to 100,000 pesos was granted for the top water retort product winner.
Winners were selected by a panel headed by DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara; PCIEERD Executive Director, Dr. Carlos Primo C. David; and ITDI Director, Dr. Maria Patricia V. Azanza.
Prior to the awarding of the top innovative food products from DOST’s Regional FICs, FIC products from Regions II, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, IV-B and NCR were presented to the panel composed of key officials from DOST. The recognition was held at the Food Processing Division of ITDI-DOST on September 22-23, 2016.
The judges selected top product entries for the most innovative products according to the following categories: water retort products, spray dried products, vacuum fried products, and freeze dried products. The submitted prototypes were then judged based on innovativeness, market viability, consumer acceptability and soundness of process.
Among the top five water retort products recognized was “Tea-tums”. The product is a refreshing healthy alternative to popular artificially flavored beverages in the market and was made through a water retort equipment. The tasty beverage tea is a great source of vitamins and pro-vitamins from fruit and vegetable servings.
Meanwhile, NCR’s “kamias powder” or “Kam-pow” was selected as one of the top spray dried products from the Regional FICs. Other spray dried products that were recognized include lemongrass, lato, buko and pomelo pectin powder. Kamias is seen as an abundant fruit in the Philippines but is often not commercially utilized because of the likelihood of early spoilage. With this, researchers from UP Diliman used a vacuum spray dryer to process the fruit in powdered form to prolong its shelf-life while retaining its nutritive benefits.
The finalists for the most innovative products were given 25,000 pesos each and were made eligible to compete for the final recognition of DOST’s top FIC products.
UP Diliman- DOST-NCR collaboration
In December 2013, DOST-NCR signed a memorandum with UP Diliman to establish the UP Diliman- DOST Food Innovation Facility (UPD DOST FIF). The collaboration seeks to strengthen UP’s Pilot Food Plant and develop a facility that will serve as a hub for innovation, technical education and support services for the development of processed foods using viable state-of-the-art DOST-fabricated equipment.
The FIF aims to provide technical support in developing innovative food products through research and development (R&D) assistance and consultancy services to clients who are based in Metro Manila. The facility is meant to assist other researchers, local entrepreneurs, government regulatory agencies and higher education institutions (HEIs) to use the high impact technology solutions (HITS) equipment provided by DOST.
At present, DOST has already provided a spray dryer, vacuum fryer and counter pressure water retort to the FIF.
Tea-tums and more
The ingenuity of Filipinos in coming up with unique ways to serve underutilized yet endemic commodities is indeed remarkable. In fact, the above-mentioned treats are just some of the products currently produced through the partnership between UP Diliman and DOST.
In sum, the UPD-DOST FIF is now able to produce 47 products. Other prototypes currently produced in the facility include the adobo spread, preserved mango halves, milkfish in oil, labahita in tomato sauce and squash chips with dragon fruit flavor.
The big win of “Tea-tums” and recognition of “Kam-pow” further intensify the anticipation for the formal launching of the UP-DOST FIF on December 15, 2016. Aside from these early favorites, researchers and food technology experts from UP Diliman are hoping to develop a total of 500 other product prototypes in the facility for MSME adoption upon the facility’s inauguration.