Food science fun with Field to Package

Food science-related careers are hot in Ohio, and students need to know about these opportunities! In order to reach them, the Ohio Soybean Council and presented the Experience Food Science: Field to Package workshop, with contributions from CIFT.

Elizabeth Murawski, CIFT Business and Workforce Development Manager, spoke to the teachers about the many career opportunities related to food science. CIFT has developed two recognized food industry credentials for Ohio’s high school students—Food Industry Associate and Food Industry Specialist. Approved by ODE’s Business & Industry Panel, the CIFT Food Industry Certifications provides credentials to verify high school student expertise in the areas of agriculture, food and natural resources, bioscience, food science and safety, bioresearch and food marketing and research. Murawski also informed the teachers of the ways CIFT can provide support for these programs and other educational opportunities.

GrowNextGen teacher leaders Rachel Sanders and Jennifer Foudray presented the labs during the workshop. Activities included a sensory tasting of chocolate samples provided by Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees, considering the samples’ appearance, sound, aroma, flavor, and texture. Amy Snyder, COO of Winan’s, joined the workshop via Zoom to share about the process followed to bring cacao to a useable product in their production facility.

Ready for food science? Participants prepped their work stations to prepare for making chocolate and learned about a GrowNextGen lesson on cleaning vs sanitizing and bio-based cleaners. Then they made soy milk chocolate bars and came up with a label and ‘brand’ for their product.

Cold foam is a popular item in food offerings right now, and participants had the opportunity to write their own Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, for creating one. The key ingredient is soy lecithin, an emulsifier that can convert almost any flavored liquid into a light, airy foam. Then they followed this protocol to produce a cold foam or air product for a cold brew or iced tea beverage.

Other special guests included Halle Redfearn and Rachel Carson from the food science department at Cornell University. Both shared about what they are working on now and how they are part of an outreach committee working to connect with the public to help them understand more about food science.

This is the third year that GrowNextGen has offered this workshop. While the primary focus is teachers in the A3 pathway, the goal is to help all teachers learn more about how to incorporate food science lessons into their science classrooms. Watch our newsletters and social media for upcoming events!