Ice Cream Innovation
Article by Elise Bell
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! The tasty treat is made so much sweeter knowing that new flavors are being created on Clemson’s campus. Led by Dr. Johnny McGregor from the Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences, the Ice Cream Innovation Creative Inquiry allows students to put their heads together to concoct novel ice cream flavors. For this team, the sky is the limit and creativity is the standard.
“Trial and error is central to this project. Sometimes it takes eight different ice creams until we find one that tastes good.” – Kinsey MacDonald, a senior food science major
The team invents new flavors every year, with some of their products finding their way into the student operated ’55 Exchange store on campus. “Trial and error is central to this project. Sometimes it takes eight different ice creams until we find one that tastes good,” Kinsey MacDonald, a senior food science major, said. Delicious taste is not the only factor the team members have to take into consideration. As the team gets imaginative, it is imperative for them to consider the practicality of the product and the marketability of the flavor.
In addition to investigating ice cream flavors, the team is using 3D models to design their very own new and improved Ice Cream Innovation Research Lab on campus. After modeling, they were able to oversee the renovation process and ensure that they obtained all the equipment they needed. The innovation laboratory is designed to engage people on Clemson’s campus as well as in the surrounding community. This enables the team to provide an “Ice Cream Experience” for visiting groups. While students learn from this project, they simultaneously teach others about food science.
This project collaborates with the food processing industry as well as a regional farm in their research projects. The team places an emphasis on increasing the quantity of products produced in South Carolina in the manufacturing of frozen desserts so they work with South Carolina’s own Titan Farms, the largest peach grower on the east coast. This project received the designation of the Carr Family Endowed Creative Inquiry, which provided additional support to the team. The support allowed them to conduct applied research that concentrated on the use of low-grade peaches that do not have a viable market and would otherwise be wasted. The team works to incorporate these peaches into their desserts and investigates the use of the farm’s peach purees in new products, constantly improving the ice cream experience.
Barbara J. Speziale