Penn State student food science teams excel in national contests

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  — Two student teams representing Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences placed high in recent national food product competitions.

In the Disney-Institute of Food Technologists Student Association Product Development Competition held at the annual Institute of Food Technologists meeting in Chicago, a five-student team from the University's Department of Food Science won first place by creating "Rey’s Rations Jakku Juice Orbs."

The juice-based snack features glittering juice orbs encapsulated in a jelly-like coating. Each snack supplies two full servings of fruits and vegetables.

The team consisted of Drew Elder, of Bellefonte; Gal Kreitman, of Ambler; Marlena Sheridan, of Westfield, New Jersey; Charlene Van Buiten, of Wallingford, Connecticut; and Michelle Reyes, of Orange, California. The team was advised by Daniel Azzara, Alan R. Warehime Professor of Food and Agribusiness, and Jared Smith, teaching laboratory support specialist.

In the National Dairy Council Product Development Competition held during the American Dairy Scientific Association annual meeting in Salt Lake City, a five-student team from Penn State's Department of Food Science finished third with their product "Hearty Heifers."

That competition challenged university teams to create a new dairy or dairy-based product for people who want physical or mental energy. Hearty Heifers are cheese crisps that provide a concentrated source of nourishment pre- or post-workout, or anytime.

The Penn State team consisted of Lingzi Xiaoli, of China; Juan Mogogita, of Surakarta, Indonesia; Mckenzie Gary, of Louisville, Kentucky; Michelle Reyes and Shahar Supun. The team was advised by Azzara and Smith.

"These competitions were an excellent opportunity for our students to apply their knowledge in a more creative environment," according to Azzara. "They get a feel for what it will be like in the food industry, as many concepts are developed, but only a few make it all the way to the marketplace."

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Last Updated August 17, 2016