College of Agriculture

Students Travel to Hawaii to Compete in Food Distribution Marketing Competition

Announced on: Thursday, Jan. 04, 2018

Students at the Food Distribution Marketing Competition

Oct. 20–23 five College of Agriculture students traveled to Waikiki, Hawaii to attend the annual meeting of the Food Distribution Research Society and compete in the Student Food Marketing Challenge. Erick Mauricio Basquez-Reyes, Pedro Cardenas, Jesenia Contreras, Chantal Narez, and Manuel Erick Torres-Zamora attended the meeting alongside agricultural business professor Kishore Joseph. 

The Marketing Challenge provided students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge regarding food distribution, marketing and economics to act as consultants for a real industry client. The competition consists of listening to the client’s case and challenge on the first day and working to formulate a bid for the company over the course of the meeting. They were given the opportunity to discuss the case on a one-on-one basis with the client and present their recommendations to a panel of judges. In the final round, the team’s bid was given to the company’s executive team. Details about the company were not revealed until the morning of the competition, although minor guidance on how to prepare was provided to teams two weeks prior. 

This year the competition challenged students to consider how a tropical fruit grower, Makaha Mangos, and its distributor could link together the cultural traditions of Hawaii and the concept of sustainability in an innovative approach for production expansion and business diversification. In their presentation, the company said their main goal was to “revive the backyard mango.” The teams were challenged to develop a strategic roadmap to penetrate the landscaping industry, create cross-marketing strategies across the company’s multiple business segments and how to market the sustainability and cultural appeal of backyard fruit production to the consumer.

“Our students were very friendly and enthusiastic throughout the competition and were easily getting noticed. It was a great learning opportunity for students and I am sure they enjoyed the Hawaiian experience,” Joseph said.