Food Innovation Center

Collaborating for a healthier, hunger-free world.

FIC Food Fight

food fight

The Impact of Hunger

Food insecurity exists when individuals and families lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life. The most recent data from the USDA Economic Research Service on household food insecurity in America says that 14.3% of all households experience food insecurity at some point during the year. Hunger impacts almost 20 million households – or 49.1 million individuals nationwide.

Hunger in Ohio

Hunger is a pervasive reality in Ohio. The 2014 Hunger in Ohio report prepared by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks states that 668,000 households – about 2 million people – receive assistance through the foodbank system. That amounts to 17.8% of our total state population. Ohioans made over 9 million visits to local food pantries in 2014 in order to meet basic food necessities. Our state ranks 8th nationally in prevalence of food insecurity, a position fueled by unemployment, low wage jobs, and food stamp cuts. Many Ohioans living in hunger often make tough choices between food and other essentials like medical care, housing, utilities, and transportation - making a difficult situation even worse.

The Mid-Ohio Foodbank (MOF) annually provides food to over half a million people living in central and eastern Ohio. Traditionally, food is donated from manufactures, grocery stores, distributers and through community events such as food drives. In recent years, the MOF has targeted the 3 billion pounds of fresh produce left in the fields so that foodbank clients can have increased access to fruits and vegetables. In 2014, the MOF delivered 21 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from “farm to “fork”, making fresh food an option for many Ohioans while decreasing the amount of food waste. Innovation can present new challenges in the fight to end hunger. Fresh produce has a shorter shelf life than shelf stable dry and canned goods. The MOF seeks creative solutions in the form of new food products that incorporate the fresh supply of fruits and vegetables and the basic needs of food pantry clients.

About the Competition

The FIC Food Fight competition was developed through an alliance with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Our mission is to inspire innovative food products that satisfy MOF clients. Ohio State student teams are invited to propose new products that make underutilized foods more appealing, affordable, longer lasting and nutritious. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with like-minded, innovative individuals who share an interest in combining good food science and social responsibility.




Savory Square Crackers

Katie Williamson - Food Science and Technology
Grace Guo - Food Science and Technology
Cathy Heil - Food Business Management
Sarah Gray - Food Science and Technology

Savory Squares Vegetable Crackers are a tasty snack made with real vegetables and whole grains for a healthy daily diet. They boast a low saturated fat content, no cholesterol, and are a good source of vitamin A and dietary fiber. Pantry clients can stay health conscious and make better decisions when it comes to snacking. 


Garden-to-Go Bars


Jennifer Marten - Food Business Management
Taylor Harsanye - Food Business Management

Garden-to-Go bars are an on-the-go snack bar made of apples and sweet potatoes that is a convenient, filling and tasty treat.  The goal of this product is to maximize the use of excess produce to stop it from going to waste while providing a delicious product that will last longer than fresh vegetables but still provide good nutrition that consumers might otherwise be lacking.

 oss  Ohio Sourced and Sauced


Jacob Farr - Food Science and Technology
Gregory Sigurdson - Food Science and Technology
Peipei Tang - Food Science and Technology

Ohio Sourced and Saucedintegrates fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables with familiar spices while adding shelf-stable sauce formulations and legume based balls and shelf-stable cooked brown rice. Ohio Sourced and Sauced products currently include a savory-spicy tomato based sauce and a sweeter squash sauce each with different legume based balls. 
 kitchentruck  Mobile Kitchen Truck


Rachel M. Smith - Epidemiology 
Holly Wolfe - Epidemiology 

The Mobile Kitchen Truck concept transports underutilized foods from both the field and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank into areas that are food insecure. More than just a mobile pantry, the mobile kitchen will be a full kitchen capable of holding approximately 12 adults at a time and will serve as a community resource. Providing kitchen appliances such as food processors, steamers, scales, and juicers, as well as recipes and hands-on education, to those in need could improve the utilization of foods that currently go to waste. 

 cookbook  Why Waste It When You Can Taste It


Eliese Kendrick - Public Affairs
Olivia Kendrick - Human Nutrition

The Why Waste It When You Can Taste It Cookbook is more than just a cookbook. It also includes an online recipe database and smartphone application featuring produce and food available at food banks and food pantries. Recipes would include foods seasonally distributed in the food bank system focusing on healthy, accessible and easily made dishes.

 garden express


Garden Express Meal Starters


Vanessa Egbo - Food Science and Technology
Kylie Thompson - Human Nutrition
Allison Webster - Human Nutrition

Garden Express Meal Starters are packets of dehydrated vegetable medleys and spice packets that create a sauce when combined with hot water. One variety of the Garden Express Meal Starters is the Vegetable Primavera which contains broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, yellow squash and peas with a parmesan cheese sauce. The Meal Starter is intended to be the base of a client customized meal that can be paired with other MOF products such as noodles, rice, meats, broths or breads. 



Teams were scored on the quality of their final written proposals, the application and relevance to foodbank clients, as well as their oral presentation. Staff from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the Near Northside Emergency Materials Assistance Program (NNEMAP), Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio, and RPM Solutions volunteered their time to serve as competition judges. A big THANK YOU to all of our judges!

GRAND PRIZE ($3,000.00)

Ohio Sourced and Sauced  



 FIRST PLACE ($1250.00)


Garden Express Meal Starters 



SECOND PLACE ($750.00)


Mobile Kitchen Truck 



Competition Rules

For a complete list of competition rules and dates, please click here.