Fresno State students will test marketing and business skills at the Western Collegiate Food Marketing Competition at the second annual Fresno Food Expo on Thursday, March 8, at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center.

More than 85 food and beverage exhibitors from the San Joaquin Valley registered to participate at the event in downtown Fresno that begins with a buyers session 8 a.m.-2 p.m., followed by competition noon-5 p.m. Both are closed to the public.

At the 5 p.m. public session, food enthusiasts can sample locally made peppered salami, apricot-habanero jam, biscotti, Armenian cracker bread, fresh stone and tree fruit, gourmet stuffed olives, a variety of spirits and craft beer.

The Jordan College of Agricultural Science and Technology will represent Fresno State with a booth that shares research and innovations of its faculty and students.

Culinology® students led by Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, a food science and nutrition professor, will conduct cooking demonstrations using expo exhibitors’ products on the featured stage. After the expo, Culinology students will collect food products for donation to the Poverello House.

The Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market at Fresno State also will display popular student-produced foods from the university farm that are sold at the market.

In the afternoon, nine Fresno State students will compete against students from Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in domestic and international divisions.

In domestic competition, students must develop a plan to increase returns on a food product from the United States and prepare to market west of the Mississippi River. On Fresno State’s team are agricultural business majors Brittany Yero and Tyler Espinosa and business major Anmmar Alsaggaf.

Agricultural business students Cesar Soto, Heather Hoffman and Eric Thomsen and undeclared major Scott Castro will compete in the international division, developing a marketing plan for a domestic product to be sold abroad.

The fast-paced individual Pecha Kucha contest will challenge agricultural business majors Benjamin Granholm and Tino Rossi to deliver seven-minute sales pitches for a food product using 20 slides at 20 seconds each.

The Western Collegiate Food Marketing Competition promotes leadership development in food marketing at the collegiate level, said Dr. Srini Konduru, professor of agricultural business.“It capitalizes on the principle that students learn the most by putting to use methods taught in the classroom and observed in the boardroom,” added Konduru.

For more information about the competition, contact Konduru at 559.278.4434 or

Admission is $40 in advance at; $45 at the door.

(Copy by University Communications student news assistant Nicole Maul.)

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