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April 2007

Purdue Students and Sara Lee Cooking Up Creativity for an 'Innovative' Competition

Three teams of Purdue University students competed for a $10,000 top prize on April 12 at the First Annual Sara Lee Innovation Award competition. The three teams included students from sophomore to graduate level in four departments, including agricultural and biological engineering, foods and nutrition, food science, and hospitality and tourism management. Each team had 45 minutes to present its invention to a panel of judges composed of Sara Lee senior vice president of Research and Development in North America, Heidi Kleinbach-Sauter, as well as two other Sara Lee representatives and four Purdue faculty members.

The qualifying teams have been working on their food inventions since late November, when Sara Lee Food and Beverage announced a partnership with Purdue in what it hopes will be an annual contest.

Products were limited to Sara Lee's current product lines of bakery items, meats, sauces, dressings or coffee. The cooking of each item was completed before the start of the contest and guests were invited to sample the tasty products.

The first team created a Sophisticated Swirl Cheesecake-like item which they described as an all natural, low calorie dessert. The Group Picture of the winning teamteam designed their creation around trends such as health awareness and high quality products with exotic flavors. They were sensitive to health conscious customers looking for convenience products. The cheesecake was compatible with the Sara Lee line, therefore appealing to a great deal of customers from small restaurants to large corporations.

The second team took a much different approach. They targeted kids aged 5-9 years old. Given the growing number of overweight children and the inability to meet daily nutrient needs, the product that was developed was the Twistin’ Tornado Fiber Bread. The goal of the bread was to develop a white and wheat layered bread that provided a good source of fiber. They achieved their goal with 3gm of fiber packed into each serving, at least twice the fiber content of regular white bread.

The final group to present was made up of two students from the Foods and Nutrition department. They designed a bite size, fruit filled, yogurt covered pound cake. Their idea for a shelf stable, convenience food was a good combination of flavor and nutrition. They found that if they used a traditional product base and tapped into the functional foods market, their product could serve as a snack or dessert.

The products were judged based on innovation, originality and potential marketability. The product created by the winning team also could end up on store shelves. Olivia Wood, associate professor of foods and nutrition chaired the Purdue committee overseeing the Innovation Award.

In the end, the Sophisticated Swirl team won the top prize, although all students benefited from this experience. Dr. Heidi Kleinbach from Sara Lee stated, “The presentation of student teams applying for the Sara Lee Innovation Award 2007 was a real highlight in my professional career. It was unbelievably rewarding for me and my Sara Lee colleagues to see how world-class education can result in business applications generated by multifunctional teams showing passion, talent and deep functional excellence in food and food related competencies. What a pleasure to work with these students. The Innovation Award has created tremendous excitement in Sara Lee on future talents and a highly effective partnership with Purdue. Thanks so much for your wonderful support of this initiative.”

2007 Kirksey Lecture

Dr. Avanelle Kirksey, a valued faculty member of the Department of Foods and Nutrition from 1961 to 1994, left a legacy at Purdue University.  Her ground-breaking research, valued teaching, and community outreach efforts are honored every year in the department with the Avanelle Kirksey Lecture series.  The 2007 Avanelle Kirksey Lecture Series was presented by Teresa Ann Davis, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine.  Dr. Davis presentedbaby foot “Insulin and Amino Acids Are Critical Regulators of Neonatal Muscle Growth.”   In order to develop optimal nutrition for growth and development of preemies, Davis’s lab studies the mechanisms by which nutrients, hormones, and growth factors regulate proteins in neonates that ultimately helps improve the outcomes of these very small babies.


New Faces Help Direct
“Indiana’s Food For the Hungry Program”

Dr. Amy Mobley and Purdue Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, Laura Palmer, have recently been awarded a contract from the Lieutenant Governor’s office to continue the activities of Indiana’s Food for the Hungry program. Dr. Mobley is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University and has a keen interest in serving limited resource audiences. She will work with Dr. Carol Boushey (previous director) to oversee the program. Laura Palmer, MS, RD will coordinate the day-to-day operations including production and editing of Indiana’s Food for the Hungry Newsletter, the maintenance of the website, and the maintenance of the Indiana Emergency Food Organizations database. Together, they will provide guidance and expertise for the program.

One of the first things that Dr. Mobley did when taking the reins is change the name of the program from “Safe Food for the Hungry” to “Indiana’s Food for the Hungry”. The change in name will reflect the program’s broad activities, for example, going beyond food safety to promote client choice.  The diversity of the program will help Dr. Mobley and Laura Palmer work with individuals from around the state to provide nutrition and food safety information and promote awareness of the issue of hunger in the state of Indiana.

lady holding bag of foodMore than 25 million Americans rely on food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other emergency feeding programs. The more than 150,000 emergency feeding programs that operate in the United States face many challenges in meeting this goal, including staff and volunteers with little or no training in nutrition or food safety. Often the foods provided may have been salvaged or donated foods, thus greatly increasing the risk of possibly hazardous food reaching the consumer. An uncertain food supply makes providing an appropriate variety of foods difficult and the diversity of the clientele makes some food inappropriate or unacceptable.

The Indiana’s Food for the Hungry program, started as a video teleconference workshop, was designed to teach the basics of food safety and nutrition. From these humble beginnings, the program has grown to include much more. Indiana’s Food for the Hungry addresses the educational needs of those who work to provide emergency food. The program provides practical application-based food safety and nutrition information to volunteers and staff who handle food in not-for-profit emergency food organizations. Indiana’s Food for the Hungry brings together many individuals with a variety of backgrounds in the effort to promote food security and food safety. Using the educational materials provided by Indiana’s Food for the Hungry, more emergency food organizations are prepared to offer their clients better choices while maintaining the safety of the food provided.

Indiana’s Food for the Hungry is a partnership with The Emergency Food Assistance Program of Indiana. This long name is abbreviated as TEFAP. In Indiana, TEFAP is administered from the Lieutenant Governor’s office. More information regarding Indiana’s Food for the Hungry can be obtained by contacting Laura Palmer, MS, RD at lpalmer@purdue.edu.

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Foods & Nutrition Department
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