Product development is sweet

Food science and nutrition students spent the fall semester developing other UM System universities’ answer to Tiger Stripe ice cream.

People tasting ice cream samples while students look on

A capstone course within the food science and nutrition degree program, the Food Product Development (F_S 4970) class allows students to integrate the various aspects of food science to create new food products.

Andrew Clarke, associate professor in FNES, has taught the writing-intensive course for more than two decades – helping to lead students on a journey that begins with developing a concept and ends with creating a new food product.

Students present their ice cream projects

“As a capstone course, it’s an opportunity for students to develop a prototype food product to experience some of the activity that takes place routinely in the food industry,” said Clarke. “In this semester, we tackled a theme of creating some new ice cream varieties which could be produced at Buck’s Ice Cream but with a theme to feature colors and flavors reminiscent of our sister institutions at UMSL, UMKC or MUST. The varieties created paid homage to the Tritons of UMSL and the Kangaroos of UMKC.”

In addition to developing the signature flavor through trial-and-error lab time, students also presented information on food safety, marketing and large-scale product development.

Students developed ice creams with flavor profiles, colors or themes that fit the different universities they were assigned. For example, one group created a cranberry lemon sherbet for the University of Missouri-St. Louis, in which they layered cranberry sherbet and lemon curd to mirror the university’s colors. The group also learned that mass production of the sherbet would result in better ice crystal formation in the product due to access to different food production equipment and aging time.

Ice cream tasting in progress with CAFNR Executive in Residence and FNES alum Wamwari Waichungo
Executive in Residence and FNES alum Wamwari Waichungo helped judge the ice cream flavors.

“The product development course has given me the ability to apply all the skills I’ve learned throughout my undergraduate degree,” said Brady Chung, senior food science and nutrition student and sherbet-making team member. “Throughout the process, I took skills from economics courses, my job on campus, and much more. By taking this course, I feel confident in applying the concepts learned to any field that I enter.”

Other flavors included coffee with walnut, espresso with blondie ice cream, gooey butter cake, and gooey butter cake with raspberry swirl,. A group of CAFNR faculty and staff members helped taste test each flavor and give students feedback. The winning flavor was Gooey Gold, a cream cheese- based vanilla ice cream with caramel swirl and authentic gooey butter cake inclusions.

“All groups gave well-constructed presentations covering both technical/scientific and management/budgetary aspects that can be applied in the food industry or their future job,” said Dojin Ryu, Food, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences’ division director. “Like in other success stories, students in the class learned not only ‘what’ but ‘how’ to complete the picture.”