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Agribusiness Team Places Third in Puerto Rico Marketing Competition

Thursday, Nov. 08, 2012

USU team at Food Marketing Challenge

USU students took 3rd place at the 2012 Food Distribution Research Society Student Food Marketing Challenge that took place in Puerto Rico. The USU group is seen with its award.

The Department of Applied Economics’ Agribusiness Club sent a team of five agribusiness students to Puerto Rico to compete in the 2012 Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) Student Food Marketing Challenge. Out of the seven participating teams this year, the USU Agribusiness team ranked in the top three after the first round, presented in the second round and placed third overall for the competition. This year’s team was comprised of Lauren Scales, Paul Urzagaste, Trevor Knudsen, Emma Shoaf and Nat Jitwarawong.  

The FDRS Student Food Marketing Challenge gives agribusiness students the opportunity to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations. The competition began with a real client explaining their unique marketing dilemma. The student teams were then given several hours to create a 15-minute oral and visual presentation that synthesized, evaluated and proposed solutions to the problem. All team members were required to participate in the presentation and the ten-minute question and answer session that followed.

“Each competition is a new challenge,” said Trevor Knudsen, a senior majoring in Agribusiness who has participated in several FDRS Challenges. “The neat thing is that you are making a plan [for] a company that they may actually use.”

The marketing challenge this year came from Martex Farms. Martex Farms sells a variety of fruits and is trying to expand to New York and Florida where native Puerto Ricans have migrated. Martex Farms wants to wholesale green bananas to restaurants in those specific states.

The USU Agribusiness team called various locations to note who buys green bananas, how many they buy and why people buy them. The team then created a presentation based on their findings. They proposed that instead of selling to restaurants, Martex Farm should sell green bananas peeled, pre-cooked and ready to eat. The presentation outlined how selling ready-to-eat green bananas would be more beneficial than selling to restaurants, gave a simple marketing plan and even listed a tasty green banana recipe.

Kynda Curtis, the agribusiness club advisor, believes students enjoy the competition and want to keep coming back. 

“The competition gives students skills that have real world application,” said Curtis.

The trip was funded by a variety of sources, including the APEC department, ASUSU and donations solicited by the students for the College of Agriculture silent auction.

Other teams competing included the University of Kentucky, University of Idaho, University of Minnesota, Cal State - Chico, Texas A&M and Cal Poly. Texas A&M and Cal Poly took first and second place at the competition, respectively.

For more information about the Agribusiness Club contact Kynda Curtis,

Contact: Kynda Curtis, Department of Applied Economics, 435-797-0444,

Writer: McCarty Hatfield,

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