Research Abstract for Texas Triangles Team

Development of a Frozen Tex-Mex Appetizer: Texas Triangles

The importance of Culinology and professional networking in student projects.

C. Carter, J. Gorcesky, M. MacNaughton, N. Quin, and Dr. A Coffee

Category: Product Development    Division: Student Member

Culinology Knowledge Competency: Food Product Development

Justification:  Food product development is an essential competency to be obtained by Food Science, Culinary, and Culinology students.  The RCA product development competition provides students with the unique opportunity to develop a product from ideation to commercialization and have that product evaluated by industry professionals.

Objectives:  The objective of the project was to develop a gold standard Tex-Mex Appetizer recipe, using pork, to be marketed at Club Stores.  This gold standard recipe was then commercialized, through collaboration with educational and industry professionals.

Methods:  The team began by conducting extensive research into the definition of Tex-Mex and visiting the frozen food isles of grocery, and club stores, to determine an ideal product for the concept.  The concept ideation was a green chili pork stuffed nacho, and bench work development began.  Through the development of the product, a number of industry professionals, and RCA members were contacted, along with ingredient suppliers, in order to gain information on technical feasibility.  These networks were essential in the success of the final product.  Meetings were also held with university professors, in order to develop HAACP plans, packaging design, and manufacturing processes.  Detailed lab notebooks, formula spreadsheets, and records of communications were maintained throughout the process.  Modified starches, flavors, and industrially available ingredients were substituted into the gold standard recipe, based on the advice gathered from the connections made.  Through a focus group the concept was finalized and a marketing direction realized.

Results:  The team produced Texas Triangles with Smoky Poblano Cheese Sauce.  The final product had freeze thaw stability, could be reheated from frozen in an oven or deep fryer, and were found to be marketable through feedback from a focus group.  The product and processes were documented in a report submitted to the RCA.

Significance to the Culinology Field:  Students are essential to the future of Culinology.  It is imperative that students have the skills, tools, and networks they need in order to be successful in the field of product development.