Product Development, FSMA, and HACCP
Have you ever wondered where all those new food products are created? Food product development is an exciting field combining food chemistry, processing, microbiology, statistical design, and food regulations. Graduate students at Kansas State University have opportunities to be involved in research projects utilizing their food science knowledge to create new food products that enhance economic development by expanding uses of food commodities and satisfying new consumer demands. Recent projects have included a variety of soy-based drinks and dips, new yogurt with pre-teen appeal, flavor enhancers for snack foods and edible packaging films.
The Kansas Value Added Foods Lab allows undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to develop new food products and work with entrepreneurs to develop their products to sell commercially. Value-added agricultural products are raw commodities whose value has been increased through the addition of ingredients or processes that make them more attractive to the buyer and/or more readily usable by the consumer.
Simple examples would be producing a high fiber breakfast cereal from wheat, or adding a marinade to a cooked beef steak and selling it in a microwaveable package. The process would thus create new jobs and keep more dollars in a community. In addition, the profit margin of a value-added product is generally higher than that of a raw commodity.
Thermal Processing Lab
The Thermal Processing Lab is located in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in Seaton Hall. Its mission is to educate food processors, evaluate larger-scale food formulations, and provide first-hand experience with typical processing equipment. It is also a research and teaching facility for food engineering and related disciplines.
In its role as a pilot plant, the Thermal Processing Lab offers processors an opportunity to:
- Develop new products;
- Test thermal processes;
- Scale up operations; and
- Run market test-size batches.
The Thermal Processing Lab allows operators to process their products from the raw stage through to the packaged, finished stage, and affords them a less-expensive opportunity to test their products and processing methods before making large investments. Additionally, Extension specialists are available to provide technical assistance on value-added products.
Scheduling of the Thermal Processing Lab is on a first come, first served basis. As part of K-State Research and Extension, the Lab does not compete with other processing facilities, and charges a nominal fee to partly cover the costs for processing and equipment use. Facility tours and office consultations are available.