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Hands on at Otago 2017 in the Department of Food Science

Wednesday, 8 February 2017 10:07am

The goal of Hands-On at Otago is to demonstrate, in a friendly and interactive environment, some of the activities that researchers are involved in and to encourage talented young New Zealanders to consider further study as a step in their career pathway. We do this by bringing students to New Zealand’s oldest and most attractive university, an institution having an international reputation for excellence in research and teaching.

Our Department of Food Science hosted eleven, year 12 and year 13, students from across the country to learn about the science of food. Our project this year focused on everyone’s favourite product - ice cream! The challenge set for the visiting students was to design and develop an innovative ice cream sundae product.

                                                                                                                                Hands on Science Food Science 2017

The workshop began with an interactive sensory science talk, this helped the students understand how genetics, physiology and psychology all influence how people use their senses to perceive the taste, aroma, texture and appearance of food, and that we all live in our own sensory world!

Then followed a number of experiments. Firstly, the ice cream formulation experiment, how the use of stabilisers and emulsifiers in ice cream formulations influence the ice cream’s quality properties such as mouthfeel, melt down rate, sweetness and creaminess.

Keeping ice crystals small and undetectable on the tongue is one of the secrets to making a smooth creamy ice cream. In our lab the students used liquid nitrogen to rapidly freeze their homogenised and pasteurized ice cream blends! All aspects of ice cream from composition to how it’s made, it’s microstructure, melting behaviour and sensory qualities were studied. Rapid freezing with liquid nitrogen was ‘hands down’ a hit, it helped create really good ice cream – really fast.

With this background information, students were then able to go into the Bench top formulation trials of their own innovative ice cream product. 

                                                                                                                                                  Hands on Science creating new ice cream productsHands on Science sensory booth testing

Hands on Science sensory panel ready for testing

Samples of their prototypes were then prepared for sensory evaluation using our sensory booth facilities in the labs. 
By carrying out this sensory test to determine the level of liking for each of the new products, the group discovered how scientists objectively measure people’s sensory perceptions and responses to food in order to understand food quality and consumer liking.         

And the winners were.......

Most Liked Product (highest overall liking and flavour scores): Pippa and Roseanna for “Pineapple Lumps”: sweet pineapple ripple ice cream with chocolate sauce swirl and crunchy  pineapple lumps People commented ‘Fun. I would so buy that’, ‘OMG amazing, pitch this idea to TipTop!’

Best Pitch and the Efficiency Award: Hope, Emma and Shontelle for Dairy free coconut banana & berry sorbet - healthy and refreshing – an anytime treat, great for vegans, students and everyone!

Best Vision Award: Emily and Kendall for Delicioso Mischiare (Italian for delicious mix up): Rich chocolate ice cream with crunchy coco-pops, fresh frozen raspberries and waffle cone chips- a masterpiece, amazing!

Highest texture/mouthfeel award and Mint Award for flavour creation: Jemau and Lisa for Berry sorbet and Mint Ice cream: visually stunning combo - so creative, so clever!

Highest appearance liking and Artisan Award: Rhovie and Katie for a Matcha green tea sorbet & White chocolate gelato swirl perfected with hand crafted white chocolate tea leafs - simply awesome!

Hands on at Otago is run every year in January. If you wish to know more then visit the webpage

Please come and see what Undergraduate courses the Department of Food Science have to offer for 2018 at our 'Study with us' webpage