Penford, City Kidz inspire next generation of food scientists

Penford, City Kidz inspire next generation of food scientists

City Kidz works with Penford and other industry leaders to educate teens about food science, technology and marketing and help them formulate new products that can be sold to offset college tuition.

Penford Food Ingredients, a leader in innovative carbohydrate systems and technologies, is helping inspire the next generation of food scientists by teaming up with City Kidz Food Science Educational Lab “From Classroom to Supermarket Shelves.”

City Kidz is an award-winning program that educates middle and high-school students about food science, technology, marketing and equipment engineering, as well as agri-business. Working with industry leaders and college professors from top universities, students formulate new products that can be commercialized for sale. Sales proceeds go back to the students to help offset the cost of college.

One recent example of a successful City Kidz project is Viva Vanilla ice cream, which was developed by a team of 15 students. Viva Vanilla went on to win a prestigious industry competition and will soon be available for purchase in Sam’s Club stores.

Penford’s Senior R&D Manager, Dr. Ibrahim Abbas, worked with a City Kidz group in Jacksonville, Florida. The class, called “Starch Ingredient Technologies for Dairy Products,” focused on how starches can improve the texture and health of dairy products.

Abbas demonstrated how Penford's PenBind 850 is used to reduce casein from 23 to 15 percent in imitation cheeses. He also discussed ingredient alternatives that reduce the calories and fat content of food products, including PenBind 1550 and PenPlus 2510 tapioca starches which are used for fat reduction in cheese sauces.

For yogurt, Dr. Abbas highlighted Penford’s PenCook 37 and PenCook 30 natural rice starches which impart smooth, creamy and thick texture with a fraction of the fat. PenCook 37 can also be used to reduce the fat in ice cream. The small granules in PenCook 37 help cut down on fat while maintaining the full-fat and creamy mouth feel.

“City Kidz is a great program to educate students on what an interesting and rewarding career is ahead of them in the field of food science,” said Penford’s President John Randall. “Those of us in the industry are aware of statistics showing a downturn in the number of students pursuing careers in food science and – through City Kidz – Penford is committed to helping reverse that trend.”

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