Imagine shipping Dion’s famous Ranch dressing to anyone in the country. While this longstanding request has been prohibitive in the past due to temperature control challenges and high shipping costs, the wish may soon be a reality.

Dion’s has partnered with The University of New Mexico’s innovationAcademy on a unique contest for students to create a method for shipping its dressings.

The “Keep It Cool” Challenge tasks current students with developing a safe, consistent, and affordable way to send Dion’s salad dressings anywhere in the continental United States. 


The contest will launch on Thursday, Sept. 20, with an informational event at the Lobo Rainforest Collaboration Space at 3 p.m. Interested participants will be provided with a detailed overview of the Challenge and materials to aide in prototype creation.

From there, students, who may enter as individuals or teams, will prepare their shipping prototypes to present and demonstrate at a science fair-type expo at the UNM Student Union Building on Thursday, Oct. 11. Local company, NanoPore, which has created a technology to ship vaccines internationally, has also agreed to provide mentorship and technical support to participants during the process.

“We’re thrilled to incentivize innovation from the young talent within the Albuquerque community,” Dion’s CEO Mark Herman said. “We anticipate outside thinking, creativity, and ingenuity in the projects. This is an exceptional opportunity that we are optimistic will produce a design to provide Great Food outside our markets and also support the innovationAcademy’s goals.”

“We are so excited to partner with Dion’s; they are a local legend,” said UNM innovationAcademy Executive Director Robert DelCampo. “Giving our students the opportunity to solve a problem for a brand they are so familiar with is the ideal partnership to get them excited about building real world skills and applying their knowledge.”

Along with the distinction of creating a technique for shipping the dressings, the grand prize winner will be awarded Dion’s for a year and a $1,000 cash prize, while finalists will receive a $100 Dion’s gift card.