Manufacturing An Engaged Mind

The face of food production has drastically changed over the course of the last fifty years. Foods that would traditionally perish after one week are now being processed and packaged to be shelf stable not for one or two months, but for years!  Some processes include preservatives and refrigeration, while others involve thermal processes such as Aseptic and Hot-Fill. Prior to any mass production of a marketable product, product innovators must develop the product, using a system for recipe development and custom product formulations. It is the job of product innovators and food scientists to help take the customer’s product from concept to a finished good.  Throughout the initial formula development, comprehensive testing is conducted to ensure the quality of the product meets the standards of both the customer and any state and federal regulations.

In this lesson, students will be transported in to a manufacturing setting within the walls of their classroom where they will act as product innovators, food scientists, and quality assurance lab technicians! Students will collaborate to determine specifics about the product and the required quality specifications.  Students will then produce sample applesauce puree prototypes, and conduct quality testing on each.  Within this lesson, much of the learning responsibility is placed on the student, and students will be expected to conduct their research and formulations within small groups. The majority of the classroom sessions will be structured around discussions, brainstorming ideas and processes, and conducting hands-on trial-and-error experiments.  This lesson is designed for students who have already completed or are taking Chemistry.  However, this lesson can be easily modified to accommodate other courses.

Author: Mollie Williams

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