• 37°

Peppermint partnership: N.C. State’s Food Science Club manufactures ice cream toppings at Research Campus

By Susan Shinn Turner

For the Salisbury Post

Bummed that you didn’t get Howling Cow ice cream at the N.C. State Fair this fall? Yeah, me too.

But never fear! The Food Science Club at N.C. State University has developed a line of toppings for your favorite bowl of Howling Cow or any other ice cream.

Scooping Howling Cow was the club’s flagship fundraiser each year, says Katharine Clark, the club’s vice president. “We realized it was likely in May that the fair would not happen. We started brainstorming how we could fundraise alternatively.”

They decided to sell T-shirts, and to host a silent auction in spring 2021. But the idea they thought had the biggest potential, Clark says, was to create a line of ice cream toppings.

They came up with nine products — chocolate sauce, peppermint chocolate sauce, ginger chili chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, bourbon caramel sauce, and cherry compote. In addition, they have hot chocolate and handmade marshmallows (regular and peppermint chocolate). All of the products were manufactured at the Pilot Plant of the N.C. Food Innovation Lab on the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis.

The products are available now as pre-orders on the Food Science Club website, and will be available for shipping after Dec. 6. These make great Christmas gifts, Clark points out.

“When we started in August with just an idea, we had to get the ball rolling very quickly,” Clark says. “The lab has a certified space for manufacturing, so we reached out to them.”

Dr. Bill Aimutis is executive director, while Joe Hildebrand has been pilot plant manager since May.

“Joe and Bill were a huge help,” says Clark, a graduate student working toward a master’s degree in food science. “Joe helped us think through the entirety of the project with us.”

“We work with everybody, from a single person to a multinational corporation,” Hildebrand says. “The food science program is close to my heart.”

Hildebrand graduated from N.C. State and was a Food Science Club president. “We are part of the university, so it all fell together nicely. It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and learn versus putting that knowledge into practice. It was a learning experience for everybody. It was a great experience to be involved with students at the main campus.”

Clark chaired a product development committee which met virtually beginning in August. They proposed recipes and did their own testing.

“It’s not a slow process,” She notes. “We tested our samples and chose recipes based on which were the safest. Because of COVID, packaging is a really big issue right now.”

Along with food safety, the club members learned a lot about labels, and what’s required to be on a label. That includes a name, weight, list of ingredients, the manufacturer’s address, and refrigeration instructions.

“There’s a lot of things you just take for granted as a consumer,” Clark says.

“Food safety is the second-most regulated industry behind the pharmaceutical industry,” Hildebrand says. “Food safety is always a concern. It’s not a constant thing on the consumer’s mind, but it is for manufacturers.”

The labels, designed by senior Ethan Meirow, sport a clean, modern look — plus drawings of some of the chemical compounds included in each product.

“It was a way we could tie in food science to the products that people see in stores every day,” he says. “It was a way we could connect people with food science that they could understand.”

For Meirow, the label design was a way to participate while working from home. Working through the FDA guidance materials, he says, “was an eye-opening process for me.”

Meirow worked with other students during the production process in Kannapolis.

“I’m absolutely stoked with how the labels came out,” he says. “Looking back at where we started to where we ended was amazing. It was a collaborative process to put all our ideas into the labels. Every step of the process has been a collaboration with a lot of club members.”

From the beginning, this was a student-led initiative. Production took place during two full weekends in November with all-student volunteers. Hildebrand was onsite during the process, while Aimutis met with the group during the first day.

“It’s been like launching a business,” Clark says. “We’re going to make some money — not as much as we make at the state fair — but the experience will more than make up for it.”

Clark says the club is already thinking about offering the products next year.

“It’s a great exercise for the product development team,” she says. “We might even offer a special-edition product. We’ve already got some other ideas.”

Sauces are $5.99, the hot chocolate mix is $7.99, and the handmade marshmallows are $3.99. There are also gift boxes available beginning at $30.

To place your order, visit ncsufsc.com and click on Store.

Comments

Local

Human Relations Council honors Martin Luther King Jr. with modified fair

Local

Local lawmakers talk priorities for 2020-21 legislative session

Business

From a home office to a global company, Integro Technologies celebrates 20th anniversary

Lifestyle

‘Quarantine Diaries’ — Jeanie Moore publishes book as ‘foundation of stories for my family’

Business

‘It pays for itself:’ Study shows economic impact of Mid-Carolina Regional Airport

News

Gov. Cooper sending another 100 National Guard members to Washington

Local

Rowan County set rainfall record in 2020

News

Former, current congressmen for Rowan County opposed second impeachment

Business

Biz Roundup: Chamber prepares for January Power in Partnership program

Education

Essie Mae holding COVID-19 testing Monday, recognizes honor Roll

Local

County will have hearing on new ordinance about feeding large animal carcasses to domestic animals

Business

Complaints to BBB up 36% in 2020

Nation/World

Some in GOP talk of chance for coming civil war

Nation/World

More National Guard troops pour into Washington

Kannapolis

Kannapolis native Corey Seager agrees to $13.75 million deal with Dodgers

Nation/World

NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas

Local

Pedestrian safety among concerns in latest public input for Downtown Main Street plan

Kannapolis

Kannapolis resident Dorothy Schmidt Cole was oldest Marine when she died at 107

Coronavirus

UPDATED: County reports 27 COVID-19 deaths this week

Crime

Search warrant produces half-dozen drug charges for Salisbury man

Crime

Crime blotter: Jan. 15

Nation/World

National Guard troops move in as Washington locks down

Nation/World

Biden unveils $1.9 trillion plan to stem virus and steady economy

Business

Paycheck Protection Program opens for community banks, larger lenders next week