UD students unveil new food products as part of senior capstone class

May 21, 2013 under CANR News

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.

CANR Food Science Capstone class display their products“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.

Tortilla Tape

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.

Sober Temptations

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.”

Cocoa Jammers

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.


A UDairy farewell

June 13, 2011 under CANR News

Graduation day was a bittersweet ending for Rachael Dubinsky and Amanda Prudente. The day marked a great milestone in their academic careers, but also meant that their time as student managers at the UDairy Creamery was coming to a close.

Both Dubinsky and Prudente played a pivotal role in the plans for and development of the creamery. Now, as graduates of the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), they have positions that fall directly in line with what they learned as student managers.

Dubinsky, who served as the creamery’s communications manager, graduated with a dual degree in agriculture and natural resources and interpersonal communication, with minors in food science and food and agribusiness marketing and management. In her time at UD, she was a member of the UD Color Guard, the Food Science Club, Sigma Alpha (the professional agriculture sorority), and gave tours to prospective students and families as an Ag Ambassador.

In her role as the communications manager, Dubinsky was responsible for promoting the creamery to the University and Newark community, as well as developing marketing plans for the future of the business.

Using her skills and knowledge in both agriculture and communications to educate others about the “cow to cone” process, Dubinsky stated, “Not only was it exciting to see this project come to fruition but by being on the management team, I really do feel as though I have left my mark here at UD”.

Dubinsky is staying on at CANR as the special assistant to the deputy dean. In this position, she will continue to work on public relations and advertising ventures for the creamery.

Prudente served as the dairy and food science manager for the creamery and is now pursuing a career as a flavor technician at David Michael and Co. in Philadelphia. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in food science, with minors in chemistry and food and agribusiness marketing and management. In addition, she served as the vice president of the Food Science Club, was a member of the Delaware Repertory Dance Company and was an Ag Ambassador.

As the dairy and food science manager, Prudente was responsible for securing health permits for events and ordering supplies for the store. Prudente was integral in making the creamery’s first batch of ice cream with the new equipment and also used her food science knowledge to create herb-themed ice cream toppings for the annual “Spring Fling” event in March, which celebrates the Garden for the Community, a partnership between the CANR and the Food Bank of Delaware. Prudente’s unique background in both food science and business management has prepared her for a successful career in the flavor industry.

She said, “I really think this position helped merge both my science and business interests.  Ultimately, I was able to apply the things I learned in the classroom to a real world business setting.”

The creamery had many milestones this past year, including the construction of the storefront and the ribbon cutting ceremony on Ag Day. Dubinsky and Prudente were able to use their internship experience to hone in on their individual strengths and ultimately play an integral role in the development and success of the creamery.

To learn more about the creamery student managers, visit the UDairy Creamery website.

This summer, the creamery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. And, don’t forget to “like” UDairy Creamery on Facebook for information on upcoming events and special promotions.

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily.

Article by Jenna Byers

Photo by Danielle Quigley



Food science program to host College Bowl Competition

March 21, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Since 1985, the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) College Bowl Competition (CBC) has been quizzing student teams across the nation in the areas of food science and technology.

This year, the University of Delaware will be hosting the 2011 Central Atlantic Area CBC meeting, which will be held during the first weekend of April in Townsend Hall, at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Last year, the UD College Bowl team was the Central Atlantic College Bowl champion and went on to take second place at the national level.

There are currently eight recognized IFTSA areas and 55 recognized student chapters. UD, North Carolina State University, University of Maryland and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are located within the Central Atlantic Area of IFTSA.

During the area meeting, a group of approximately 75 students and professors will partake in various team building exercises and social activities. On Saturday, students will participate in an “ice breaker” event during which time they will also receive a tour of the UD farm facilities.

In addition, students will get the chance to hear a lecture by UD alumna Jennifer McEntire, who currently works for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). McEntire will talk to students about what it is like to work in the food industry and how students should prepare themselves for the job seeking process.

For some students, this will be their first contact with industry and a way to get firsthand learning opportunity about how food science and technology are actually used in industry.

The main event of the area meeting, the CBC, will take place on Saturday, April 2, at 1 p.m. in the Townsend Hall Commons.

The winning team from the area meeting will receive a $1,000 travel award in order to compete for the national championship at the IFT Annual Meeting to be held in June in New Orleans.

For more information, contact Hudaa Neeto at [hudaa@udel.edu].

To learn more about food science programs at UD, visit the Department of Animal and Food Sciences website.