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Food Science Students Address Global Hunger and Bring Home the Gold

Posted by | July 12, 2012

Today’s student experience is so much more than what happens in the classroom. One of our points of pride in CAHNRS is our outstanding student organizations such as Cougar Cattle Feeders, Cooperative University Dairy Students (or CUDS, winner for best acronym!), and the Horticulture Club. Students in each of these groups obtain real-world entrepreneurial experience producing and marketing agricultural products at a commercial scale.

If I were a student, one of the activities that I would want to get involved in is the Food Product Development Team. This group of students competes in regional and national competitions by developing and presenting food products conceived to meet unique criteria specified for each competition. A couple of years ago, they concocted one of the coolest products I have seen called the Erupt-a-Cake. This product was essentially a bundt cake with a pourable frosting that tastily riffs on the acid-meets-base reaction (check out this video to see for yourself how cool this is). When you pour on the orange frosting, the cake froths and self-frosts similar to a volcano spewing lava down a mountain. Great idea for kids b-day parties. Somehow, we did not win, but did finish in the top three.

This year, the Food Product Development Team brought home the Gold! The team, comprised of students from the Washington State University and University of Idaho Bi-State School of Food Science, won first place at the Institute of Food Technology Annual Meeting. The team’s challenge was to develop a mango-based food product that addresses common Kenyan nutrient deficiencies and that can be produced rapidly in order to realize the full potential of this crop during its short harvest season.

The food product solution: “Mango Maandazi.” Maandazi is a fried bread product that is a popular snack in Kenya. (There are photos of both finished maandazis and the team on the CAHNRS News site.)

The “Developing Solutions for Developing Countries” competition promoted the application of food science and technology and the development of new products and processes that are targeted at improving the quality of life for people in developing countries.  It would be difficult to find a better use of the creative minds of our students than to address food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. Kudos to our team for their fine work!