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Cornell graduate students and their faculty advisor put their food science skills to the test and earned fifth place with their Whey2Go dairy-based snack.

August 22, 2018

Cornell Team Wins Fifth Place at Dairy Products Competition

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A team of three Cornell graduate students won fifth place and $1,000 at the 2018 Idaho Milk Processors Association Conference Dairy Products Innovation Competition on Aug. 11 in Sun Valley, Idaho, with a self-developed savory pancake and dipping sauce snack.

The competition compared and judged new dairy-based products developed by teams from colleges across the country. Among the products presented were spreadable dairy jam substitutes, carbonated ice creams and savory snacks. Many made use of dairy byproducts usually thought of as waste.   

The team from Brigham Young University won the competition and a $10,000 prize with Sparkling Scoops, a hard-pack ice cream sold in single-serve, pull-top cans. Second place was awarded to Utah State University for a high-protein ice cream made with the byproduct whey phospholipid protein concentrate.

The Cornell team’s snack, called Whey2Go, is made of Yogurt Acid Whey, a byproduct of the dairy industry that has drawn interest from scientists in recent years as an untapped resource for anything from food to fuel, according to DairyReporter.

The team members, Julie Flinois grad, Pedro Menchik grad and Ashton Yoon grad have a combined total of six years experience working with YAW, according to Flinois, and work with faculty advisor Prof. Carmen Moraru, food science.

YAW mainly comes of Greek yogurt, which has seen a 20-fold increase in consumption in the past 10 years, the team remarks in a report provided to The Sun. This sharp growth has “resulted in the production of vast amounts of YAW, which can present a huge environmental impact if disposed improperly,” the team writes.

Flinois focuses on product development and sensory and consumer science in the food science department, and decided to reach out to Menchik and Yoon to collaborate based on their common experience with YAW. 

“We decided to apply all our personal work and knowledge on preparing a product for the competition to showcase what we have each been working on in the lab,” Flinois said in an email to The Sun.

According to the report, the current use of YAW is limited to “irrigation, animal feed, and energy production in wastewater treatment,” which inspired the team to explore new and “delicious” ways to utilize YAW.

“As a good source of protein and lower in fat, sodium, and calories per gram than its competitors, Whey2Go is a dairy -based snack that can deliver flavor, nutrition, and satiety,” according to the report.

When asked about the future of YAW and other opportunities for application, Flinois cited ongoing research at Cornell to further investigate its use in food.

“Implementation of using acid whey in products is being worked on … Julie is also still working on the use of acid whey as an ingredient in value added food products,” Flinois said in an email to The Sun.