KANSAS CITY — Invent a new whole grain bakery product, and you could win the 2015 product development competition sponsored by the American Society of Baking (A.S.B.).

“This contest will encourage innovation and bring new talent into the baking industry and A.S.B.,” said Lin Carson, Ph.D., A.S.B.’s treasurer and founder of BAKERpedia, Portland, Ore. “We are already getting many inquiries from outside the industry. And this will help open up the society to people who don’t traditionally come to our meetings.”

To launch the new event, the A.S.B. chose whole grains as the product theme, requiring that the total formulation of the proposed item contain no less than 50% whole grains.

Chairing the contest is Marvin Goertz, technical manager, Canyon Bakehouse, Loveland, Co., with vice-chair Drew Ladd, production supervisor, Flowers Foods, Oxford, Pa. They selected three judges.

Entries consisting of a proposal for a new product are due Nov. 1. The judges will evaluate the potential success of entries in today’s market and the technical problem-solving skills used in developing the product. Finalists will be announced in early December, with winners named during BakingTech 2015, A.S.B.’s technical conference set for March 1-3 at Chicago.

The A.S.B. listed the purposes for the competition: Encourage innovation and participation in the industry; foster mentoring and networking within the industry; implement new ideas and innovation on existing ideas; introduce novel products and new trends; and encourage outside-the-box thinking to respond to current health trends.

“Competitions are a way to encourage participation in meetings by Gen X and Y, who like to display their talents,” Dr. Carson said. She has been involved in numerous contests, first while attending Ohio State University and being a finalist in an Institute of Food Technologists student competition and later winning the idea category in the 2010 America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board. Dr. Carson also helped inaugurate AACC International’s product development competition.

“The A.S.B. product development competition has already spread awareness outside the usual circle of A.S.B. attendees,” she said, noting that the first application arrived from California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo.

Contest details are explained at www.asbe.org/product-development-competition. It is open to student teams and individual professionals. All three professional finalists will receive an all-expenses-paid trip, while the three student team finalists get travel stipends. The student team winner will receive $2,000, while the first-place professional winner will be awarded $750, with accompanying trophies and plaques.