UltiFood Competition

Once a decade in the NoCoZo, dietitians and nanofacture researchers team up with gourmets and cordon-bleu chefs and gather at the UltiFood Competition, traditionally hosted by the last winning corporation.

The UltiFood competition is just that — a competitive judging of various 'ultimate' foods on a plethora of criteria. The broad range of possible entries is somewhat limited, in that each 'serving' must:

1) be easily prepared (no more than one utensil and/or container beyond the packaging),

2) be prepared within 5 minutes' time,

3) contain between 1/2 and 2/3 of the nutrition needed for a baseline human's active 24-hour period (there are complex formulae utilized to determine specific nutrient ranges and the like), and

4) lack carcinogenic, addictive, or other 'detrimental' materials

Contestants submit 1,440 'servings' in carefully regulated packaging for judging. Fourteen hundred of these are randomly distributed in batches of 3 different entries to baseline judges in a pseudorandom sequence. (The remaining 40 are analyzed for safety constraints prior to administration to the judges.)

As each judge 'enjoys' an entry, careful readings are kept with regards to sensory impressions, satiation, digestive distress levels, nutritive waste, and several other categories. The judges are sequestered for three days, with only water available during this time other than their allotted servings.

Up to three submissions (those gaining the best overall rating via mean, median, and mode sampling of reported data) are invited to resubmit an additional 1024 servings. These are passed to a second group of judges, who are invited based on their reputation as gourmets. Similar records are kept, and the winner is adjudicated from these scores.

The winner disburses some tens or hundreds of thousands of single servings to any comer immediately after the announcement of the winner. (The other finalists tend to follow this tradition as well, but it is not a requirement of the contest.) This, along with the requirement to serve as the host at the next event, helps balance out the cachet earned by winning the event, or being a finalist.

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Development Notes
Text by John B
Initially published on 17 September 2004.