President's Oct. 31 tailgate to serve student-developed Mooofins, Chilk-Out

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two award-winning products developed by food science students in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will be served to hundreds of guests at University President Eric Barron's tailgate before the Nittany Lions' football game Oct. 31.

Both Mooofins and Chilk-Out were selected by the American Dairy Research Institute as top concoctions among foods entered in its recent collegiate food-product competitions. Mooofins won the national title in 2013, and Chilk-Out placed second this year. Students on the product-development teams will attend the tailgate.

In addition to honoring the students' achievements and showcasing their innovative products, the president's tailgate recognition highlights the role the Penn State Creamery — which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year — plays in consulting on and developing new products. Both Mooofins and Chilk-out benefitted from the dairy-related expertise provided by Creamery staff, including ingredient procurement, processing and distribution.

student developed muffins

Mooofins — quiche-like muffins that "reinvent" the underutilized dairy product cottage cheese — have cottage cheese curds dispersed throughout, paired with signature flavors, such as blueberry sausage, maple bacon and bell pepper mushroom.

Image: Penn State

"The Creamery has been a tremendous resource for students as they participate in these product-development contests," said Dan Azzara, the teams' faculty advisor. "Production has been at a small scale in a food-science pilot plant, where experience from the Creamery is tapped. The Creamery's staff is always very positive and works with the students on every project that comes along."

Recognition of the product-development teams at the president's tailgate also will occur because of the entrepreneurial aspect of their successes. The University and the College of Agricultural Sciences are making a concerted effort to teach students the benefits of undertaking innovative business ventures based on their creative ideas, according to Azzara, the Alan R. Warehime Professor of Agribusiness.

"The rights to Mooofins were sold to a major food company for $25,000, and that company is evaluating the commercial viability," he said. "This demonstrates the understanding these students have of the marketplace, particularly the needs of the consumer."

Part of the money obtained for the rights to Mooofins was given to the Department of Food Science to start an endowment for product-development activities in the future. "These students recognize the role of the Creamery and Food Science Department in their success and wanted to give back so that future students also would benefit," said Azzara.

Mooofins and Chilk-Out are truly innovative foods resulting from students' creative thinking spurred by the American Dairy Research Institute's New Product Competition. That contest provides a platform for students to showcase their knowledge and expertise by coming up with novel ways to use dairy proteins, calcium and other dairy nutrients in products.

Mooofins — quiche-like muffins that "reinvent" the underutilized dairy product cottage cheese — have cottage cheese curds dispersed throughout, paired with signature flavors, such as blueberry sausage, maple bacon and bell pepper mushroom. Chilk-Out, a dairy-based beverage created to appeal to millennials' sense of adventure and independence, incorporates potential benefits from chia seed, a source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Chilk-Out is manufactured in original and chocolate flavors. 

Penn State food science students are uniquely qualified and well prepared to excel in the product-development competitions, Azzara noted. "They are well trained in the fundamentals of food science and they also are working in classes where they actually handle and process ingredients, so they understand the chemistry and have hands-on experience," he said.

"That combination of knowing the chemistry and also knowing the way you work in a pilot plant to produce a product is a combination that makes them very strong competitors in these contests. They also have the ability to communicate well with the judges. And now they have a history of winning year after year."

Chilk-Out is a product that may be on store shelves in the future. The student team that developed it is applying for a patent. With encouragement from Azzara and other leaders in the College of Agricultural Sciences' Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, they are exploring ways to commercialize their invention and perhaps have the Penn State Berkey Creamery produce and sell the beverage.

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Last Updated October 14, 2015