ARE Students Win National Food Marketing Challenge

3 students with award placard

UConn students placed first in the national Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS) Student Food Marketing Challenge. The winning team included John Daly ’23 ’24 (CAHNR), William Hiers ’24, and Jacob Timchak ’25 and was organized by Cristina Connolly, ARE Assistant Professor.
All teams were given a real-world problem and one week to develop strategies to address the issue at hand. The UConn team was assigned an Uzbekistani company, Metin LLC, looking to expand into international markets beyond Russia. They looked at various food products, namely fresh and dried fruits, and identified which foreign markets would be the best fit for those products. After many iterations and a few late nights, the team decided to recommend the company sell fresh fruit to China and dried fruit to the United Kingdom.
“Because these are real clients, the solutions that all three teams came up with are all getting sent to Metin,” Connolly says. “So, there could potentially be real impacts from the results of this competition, it’s not just theoretical.”

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ARE undergrad studies importance of local food procurement

Karina Cangas

Karina Cangas, Zwick Center Student Intern and ARE Undergraduate student, works with Professor Cristina Connolly and Zwick researcher and PhD student Alyssa McDonnell on an initiative led by New England Feeding New England. The program’s goal is to have 30% of food in New England procured locally by the year 2030. As part of this effort, the organization is engaging a team of researchers in each state to gather data. Cangas and Connolly are part of the Connecticut branch of this regional study.

Cangas has been working with UConn’s Zwick Center since January and has supported other studies on topics including composting programs in major U.S. cities and the status of Farm to School programs in Connecticut. The Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy was established in 2010 after a generous gift from alumnus Charles J. Zwick.

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Best Paper Award by AAEA

Dr. Xi He

Dr. Xi He, now an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, and Dr. Rigoberto Lopez have been awarded "BEST PAPER" by the Food Safety and Nutrition Section of AAEA.

The citation:   He, X., R.A. Lopez, and R. Boehm. 2020. “The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Non-Alcoholic Beverage Choices by Low-Income Households.” Health Economics, 29(11): 1327-1342. November.  

Dr. He completed her PhD in 2019 in the Department of Agricultural Economics at UConn under the supervision of Dr. Rigoberto Lopez.


PhD Candidate Binod Khanal on Plant-Based Milk

PhD Candidate Binod Khanal was recently quoted in an article in The Guardian, “Paying extra for milk alternatives: unfair, illogical- and a little bit racist?”.

““In the long term, the prices for plant-based milk might go down as the size of the industry increases, allowing for more competition in the market,” said Binod Khanal, who researches agricultural economics and consumer behavior at the University of Connecticut. He said the preference for plant-based milk among consumers is largely due to concerns for climate change as well as lactose intolerance, predominantly among the non-white demographic. “