'Mooofins' carry food product-development team into national finals

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Product Development team, a group of students in the food science department, recently was named one of three finalists in the Dairy Research Institute New Product Competition.

Team members, representing the College of Agricultural Sciences, will travel to Indianapolis for the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting in July. There they will showcase the product -- Mooofins -- that they developed over the last year.

Mooofins will be awarded either first, second or third place.

The competition tasked students with developing a high-protein, dairy-based product for the morning meal containing at least 51 percent dairy ingredients. The Penn State team created quiche-like muffins that "reinvent" an underutilized dairy product -- cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese curds are dispersed throughout the Mooofin base and are paired with signature flavors, such as blueberry sausage, maple bacon and bell pepper mushroom.

For the competition, the team had to submit a product proposal, send samples to the judges and present their product through a webinar.

Team members are Megan Woo, a senior from San Francisco; Jared Smith, a senior from Lebanon; Kelsey Rogers, a senior from Howard; Anthony Herdzik, a senior from Rochester, N.Y.; Kenny Vogel, a junior from Topsfield, Mass.; Shaina Melnick, a junior from Mount Joy; and Andrew Elder, a junior from Bellefonte. All team members are Food Science majors.

"The team has spent the last year working together to develop this product and is very excited to be able to attend the ADSA conference to share our idea with others in the dairy industry," said Woo.

The team was advised by Daniel Azzara, Alan R. Warehime Professor of Agribusiness. He explained the rationale behind the competition's choice of morning meal products.

"The Dairy Research Institute is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of product development to drive innovation and demand for dairy products and ingredients," he said. "The second annual New Product Competition challenges student teams to develop a new dairy product for the morning meal occasion.

"That includes any meal eaten before breakfast, for breakfast, as a morning meal replacement or morning snack."

The morning meal occasion is big and growing, representing more than 100 billion food or beverage occasions and an estimated $200 billion in sales, according to the Dairy Research Institute.

"Research conducted by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy demonstrates the gap for the dairy industry to develop new products and gain a greater share of these eating occasions, where dairy is presently underperforming," states the group's website.

"That's why the Dairy Research Institute, established by America's dairy farmers, is providing a platform for students to bring their knowledge and expertise to create new products for morning occasion."

Bob Roberts, professor and head of food science, expressed satisfaction at how Penn State's product development team fared in the competition and confidence its student members will perform admirably at the upcoming national championship.

"They are a very poised group, so I expect them to excel in Indianapolis," he said. "Also -- and I can say this from personal experience -- Mooofins are very tasty. I won't be surprised if this innovative product wins first place."

More information on the competition can be found on the Dairy Research Institute website. For more information about Mooofins.

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Last Updated May 20, 2013