It’s a cool lesson for high school students: how to create an ice cream flavor and commercialize it into a product for sale.
Alicia Orta-Ramirez, a lecturer in the Department of Food Science, has taken one of the most popular parts of her Science and Technology of Foods course to 17 students in Maryland as part of a partnership with TIC Gums, a Baltimore-based company that supplies ingredients used as texture in many foods, including ice cream.
The outreach effort is designed to entice teens into food science and encourage their entrepreneurial endeavors. “Ice Cream University” was hosted by TIC Gums at the TIC Gums Texture Innovation Center in White Marsh, MD.
Tim Andon, business development manager at TIC Gums and Cornell alumnus, led the six-week course. The first weeks of study focused on scientific principles such as emulsions, overrun calculation, ice crystal formation and statistical know-how for tracking and maintaining quality. The attention then turned to flavor selection and inclusions like nuts, chocolate or fruit, before finalizing the product packaging and marketing.
The winning flavor: Campfire Delight, the creation of Sarah Ermatinger, Bel Air High School; Shayla Graves, Bel Air High School; Rebecca Jones, Bel Air High School; Monica Richmond, Eastern Technical High School; and Kevin Vickery, Havre de Grace High School.
“Our ice cream is a modern interpretation of a s’more. Since it is a classic treat, we think this is a good flavor for any demographic,” said a team representative.
Campfire Delight will be produced and sold in early May at Broom’s Bloom Dairy store located in Harford County.
“This is a great opportunity to expose students to the field of food science and possible career paths within the industry,” Andon said. “Students not only created the ice cream but they worked together to develop a winning marketing campaign.”
Orta-Ramirez hopes it will also attract students to Cornell when it comes time for them to apply to colleges. In that way, it’s already been a success - a student who participated in a similar program last year will be joining the Cornell freshman class next Fall.
"It is an excellent preview of team collaboration and group work at the college level since it was modeled after the 101 course," Orta-Ramirez added.
Orta-Ramirez is also helping to coach current students as they prepare to head to New Orleans in June and Kansas City, MO in July to compete at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists and the joint meeting of The American Dairy Science Association®, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Canadian Society of Animal Science. Five Cornell University Product Development Teams will be going to the finals:
Dairy Research Institute
Product: Cranberry Mookies
Co-leaders: Chris Aurand and Dongjun Zhao
IFTSA Disney Team
Product: Finding Dori
Team leader: Meagan McKeever
Team members: Delia Hughes, Benjamin Majkszak, Jiani Shen, Adam Wolford
IFTSA Disney Team
Product: Donald Duck Quinoa Quackers
Co-leaders: Camille Kapaun and Sam McDermott
Team members: Haley Finnerty, Sophia Schertzer, Jake Smith
IFTSA Discovering Solutions for Developing Countries
Co-leaders: Neaz Noor and Christine Akoh
IFTSA Mars Product Development Competition
Co-leaders: Kyle Clark, Shan Huang, and Rebecca Mangona
Team members: Lee Cadesky, Rochelle De Loach, Michael Freund, Margaret Geary, Angira Jhaveri, Susana Jimenez, Charles Lee, Sara Piano, Rebecca Phillips, Jade Proulx
One of last year’s teams took top prize - for the second year in a row - for its product, Squashetti.