Edible tape to hold together messy tortillas, non-alcoholic alcohol flavored candies and healthy snack cakes were products developed recently by members of the University of Delaware food science capstone class.
Seniors handed out samples of their food products to members of the University community from 11:30-1 p.m. on Monday, May 13, in the Townsend Hall Commons.
The three student groups — Tortilla Tape, Sober Temptations and Cocoa Jammers — arrived in Townsend to hand out samples and answer any questions visitors had about their semester-long projects.
Putting together the projects was an impressive feat according to Rolf Joerger, associate professor of animal and food sciences, who led the class.
“Three months to develop a new product is a little short but most of the time students manage to complete the task,” explained Joerger. He said each group has to care of all aspects of food product development, including idea generation, recipe development, ingredient acquisition, correct packaging and labeling, and even marketing.
“In the end, it’s supposed to look like a real product,” Joerger said. “For example, on the box, the nutrition label has to be a certain size by law and the package has to have certain pieces of information on it. The students have to look into all of this as far as what they legal requirements are.”
Joerger explained that the three groups had tables set up at Ag Day in order to hand out their products and adjust them according to the feedback they received.
The Tortilla Tape group included food science students Dana Screnci and Lauren Rizzi and Nick Young, a pre-veterinary medicine and animal bioscience major. Their product featured an edible starch-based piece of tape that relies on the adhesive properties of Tylose powder and starch, and is used to bind the tortilla to itself and solve the problem of keeping the actual ingredients inside the tortilla.
Screnci explained that the way the group developed the product was fairly straightforward. “We came up with the idea just by eating a burrito and it falls apart and you need a toothpick, or at the restaurants they have the foil, and we just figured that it would be much easier if there was something they could put on it to keep it together without needing all of the excess materials.”
The group decided — based on the results they got back from surveys — that instead of having flavored or colored tape, most people would prefer to pretend the tape isn’t there.
“As of now, people seem to like that it just blends right in,” said Screnci. She also explained that the group’s idea would be to offer tortilla tape in restaurants as well as in grocery stores.
The Sober Temptations group offered non-alcoholic, alcohol-flavored candy. The flavors they handed out were: amaretto sour, blackberry merlot, Belgian golden ale, strawberry ale, pina colada and mojito. The group — made up of Teresa Brodeur, Alyssa Chircus and Angela Ferelli — discovered at Ag Day that certain flavors, especially the blackberry merlot, were more popular than others.
“We got pretty good feedback overall,” said Chircus. “I think we had about 86 percent who said they would actually buy it, so that really fueled us and we made three new flavors within 24 hours.”
Chircus and Brodeur both work at the UDairy Creamery so they were able to use their knowledge and connections to help with their project. “We had a lot of the flavors at the creamery already,” said Brodeur. “My boss was really helpful in letting us test out stuff, and then through the close relationship with them, we had the flavor company already so we could reach out to them and they were willing to send us samples.”
Ferelli explained that their non-alcoholic treats could be served at different sorts of gatherings. “You go to these formal events and you never have anything very sweet, it’s usually very savory. So, we have a great pairing here for any kind of event. We have a range, from elegant and swanky to casual.”
The Cocoa Jammers group — Amanda Hoffman, Lesley Payonk and Melissa Ehrich — decided to make healthy alternatives to popular snack foods, especially in the wake of uncertainties at Hostess.
“Everyone was really up in arms that they couldn’t get their Twinkies and then we looked up the calories involved in that and how unhealthy that is so our snack cakes have four grams of protein and three grams of fiber,” said Hoffman. “The traditional snack cake has 250 calories while ours only have 90 calories per serving, so it’s less than half. They also have 10 grams of fat while ours have 1.5 grams of fat.”
Hoffman added they had another reason for coming up with a healthy snack cake, as well. “We had a roommate sophomore year who couldn’t eat anything with flour in it so we wanted to come up with a product that tasted good and that was also healthy.”
Article by Adam Thomas
Photos by Christy Mannering
This article can also be viewed on UDaily.