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Snappy 'Popples' cracks first place at national food expo

packaging for Popples
The packaging for Popples, an apple-flavored treat with a caramel and peanut butter coating created by Cornell food science students.

It’s goodness you can pop!

Popples, an apple-flavored treat with a caramel and peanut butter coating created by Cornell food science students, earned first place in the national Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Student Association’s Mars product development competition held in New Orleans June 27.

The IFT convention, one of the country’s largest annual scientific conventions, typically attracts more than 20,000 people. Cornell has won the competition three years in a row with Popples, Squashetti (2013) and DoughTEMPtations (2012).

Using pomace, the leftover apple fiber from the juicing process at the Cornell Orchards, the students created the snack that provides an excellent source of fiber and protein, and contains natural apple nutrients in a ready-to-go format.

Popples producers include team leaders Kyle Clark ’14, Shan Huang ’14, and Rebecca Mangona ’14; and team members Rochelle De Loach ’14, Michael Freund ’14, Margaret Geary ’14, Angira Jhaveri ’14, Susana Jimenez ’15, Rebecca Phillips ’14; graduate students Lee Cadesky, Sara Piano and Jade Proulx; and doctoral candidate Charles Lee.

Several other Cornell groups and individuals earned top honors throughout the convention.

“The college is very proud of our student performance at the 2014 IFT annual meeting,” said Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a professor of food science. “In no small measure does the quality of our students contribute to the Cornell food science program’s status as the top program of its kind in the U.S. The performance of our students at this year’s competition highlights not only their dedication to their studies, but also that they are well-prepared for terrific careers upon graduation.”

In other IFT results:

Disney Nutritious Foods for Kids competition: Cornell’s “Finding Dory and Friends” product won first place. The treat is a fruit-based gummy snack with a twist – fruit string wrapped around a fish-shaped center in a yarn ball pattern – concealing Dory or one of her friends. Team members are Delia Hughes ’14, Ben Majkszak ’14, Meagan McKeever ’14, Adam Wolford ’14 and graduate student Jiani Shen.

Another Cornell team received an honorable mention for “Donald Duck’s Quinoa QUACKers,” cocoa-flavored crackers sprinkled with puffed quinoa grain. Team members: Haley Elisa Finnerty ’16, Camille Kapaun ’16, Samuel McDermott ’16, Jake Smith ’16 and Sophia Bella Schertzer ’16.

Undergraduate Research Competition: Robert Divine ’14 placed second for “Isolation of Bacteria From Compost for Potential Use in Biodecaffeination,” and Clint Hervert ’14 placed third for  “Characterization of Toxin Genes Among Bacillus Cereus Group Isolates.”

Undergraduate Technical Writing Competition: Clarice Lin ’15 earned first place for her essay, “3D Food Printing,” and Margaret Geary ’14 won third place.

Developing Solutions for Developing Countries competition: Graduate students Christine Akoh and Neaz Noor for their “So-Sweet,” a shelf-stable, instant porridge intended to help alleviate deficiencies in protein, vitamin A, iron and zinc for young children in sub-Sahara Africa.

Graduate Student Technical Writing Competition: Lee Cadesky won first place for his essay, “Combined Action of Microbial Transglutaminase and High Hydrostatic Pressure in Gels Prepared From Milk Protein Concentrates,” while doctoral candidate Stephanie Masiello won second place for her paper, “Feed Yourself Instead of Your Trash Can: Improving Milk Shelf-Life Starting on the Farm.”

Graduate Paper Competition: Aoctoral candidate Yifan Cheng won first place for his paper, “Physicochemical Predictive Approach to Elucidate the Bacteria-Repelling Behavior of Anodized Aluminum Oxide Surfaces With Nanoscale Topography,” in the Food Engineering Division competition. Doctoral candidate Jinzhou Li earned second place for his paper, “Kaempferol Inhibited Angiogenesis and Metastasis of MDA-MB-231 Human Breast Cancer Cells” in the Nutrition Division competition. Graduate student Claudia Pazlopez received a certificate of merit for her paper, “Extension of Refrigerated Hummus Shelf Life by Natural Antimicrobials and Acid-Combination Systems.”

Tushar Gulati won first place for his paper, “Transport and Deformation During Hot Air Puffing of Rice Kernels” in the American Association of Food Scientists for the Indian Subcontinent Division competition.

Media Contact

Melissa Osgood