Thursday, July 31, 2014

Culinary Research and Development Final Project


The food product development environment is dynamic and challenging and has become increasingly cross-disciplinary, technical, and global in scope. Research and Development teams need to follow a logical, structured, and evidence-based process while remaining adaptable and creative. Understanding how to work with and effectively articulate solutions to chefs, scientists, marketing experts, pilot plant managers/technicians, operators, and upper level management is part of being an effective and successful product developer. This Culinary R&D class project provides students with an opportunity to work in a team, on a real world challenge, through the product development process from ideation to prototype development.

Student teams were given “real world project briefs” that provide an R&D scenario as the context to explore principles of product development. Teams were given specific calorie, sodium, cost, consumer segments and other parameters and asked to address the following challenges and opportunities as part of the product development process:

·         People undergoing cancer treatments have significant dietary challenges and often find it difficult to maintain their necessary caloric intake during treatment. They often feel an aversion to certain aromas from ingredients such as garlic, onions, etc. Develop a product that meets their nutritional and sensory needs.
·         A food pantry would like to offer patrons more gluten-free options. Develop a gluten-free muffin that contains a half serving of fruit, and includes nuts/whole grains. The product will be par-baked in an off-site facility, frozen, distributed, and then finished baking in the regional food pantries.
·         Develop a vegetable and/or fruit based snack food that is savory, low in sodium, and low in calories from fat for school vending machines. The school district wants your team to develop two savory prototypes that have distinctly different flavor profiles and utilizes crops grown in New York State.
·         Create a healthy entrée school lunch item. It should be a “one pot dish” that can be frozen or thawed without negatively impacting quality. You should be able to serve it hot or cold.
·         Health-conscious consumers are looking to decrease their animal protein and sodium intake without sacrificing those savory flavors. You must develop a mushroom-based condiment that is stable at refrigeration temperatures for two weeks. The spread will be primarily used on sandwiches and with crackers.
·         An ice cream company wishes to revitalize its sales by offering a lower calorie option. Develop an ice cream that contains 15% less fat than the standard base composition for this company.

At the conclusion of this project, two prominent CIA alumni and CIA’s Director of Consulting kindly volunteered their time to serve as judges for the projects. Thank you to Jorge Collazo ’82, Head Chef for the NYC Department of Education, Kyle Shadix ’97, Corporate Executive Research Chef for PepsiCo Global R&D Beverage, and Ted Russin, MSc, Director of CIA Consulting.


Students who completed this project are pursuing their Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Science. Learn more about this program.

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