Winners of Mission ImPULSEible showcase their new food

The Curry-in-a-Hurry snack bar, developed by students Jeffery Duong, Andrea Dacko, Philip Elson and Aleksandra Tymczak, is just one of the new foods to taste on the afternoon of April 11, on the main floor of Ag-For.

When their first food invention flopped, yet they still needed to whip up something wonderful for a tight contest deadline, four food product development students learned a lesson certain to prove vital in their future careers.

“Collaborate and be open to everyone’s ideas,” said Aleksandra Tymczak, one of the group of students that went on to win first place in the provincial division at this year’s Mission ImPULSEible competition.

After abandoning their first try—an ambitious green-pea jelly pie filling that wasn’t stable enough to work with—they reverted to a basic product they could reinvent. Their winning entry is a granola bar made from a pleasingly crunchy/soft blend of chickpeas, red and green lentils, but audaciously flavoured with curry. Team leader Andrea Dacko suggested the flavour for Lentola’s Curry-in-a-Hurry snack bar and fellow student Jeffery Duong refined it, guided by his analysis of Asian curries common in his family’s kitchen.

Abandoning their initial idea and being fully committed to something utterly different simulated the kinds of challenges they are sure to encounter in the future, said Dacko.

“This gives you hands-on experience in terms of the equipment, playing around with textures and flavours, and constantly problem-solving,” added team member Philip Elson.

To fulfil the criteria of the competition, which is sponsored by Alberta Pulse Growers, Pulse Canada and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, their product had to consist of at least five per cent pulses and also intrigue the millennial market.

“We focused on three categories within millennials, athletes, students and business entrepreneurs—all people who don’t have time to sit down and have a proper meal,” said Duong, who also filmed and edited a cheeky 45-second video commercial to promote the product.

Second place in the competition was also scooped up by students from the Nutrition and Food Science 450 course.

PeaCoPudding is a baked coconut-flavoured pudding made with chickpea milk on a red bean paste and topped with a strawberry jam, that was developed by Yun Yan, Suejuan Ding and Beivi Shen.

If every one of those items sounds delicious, then happily there’s a chance to taste these foods, plus two other clever snack products that were not aimed at the pulse-ingredient competition, but were developed by fellow classmates.

Sproutcha Cake is a mini matcha cake that uses sprouted spelt flour, matcha green tea powder and fluffy white vanilla icing to produce an on-the-go snack rich in antioxidants.

Omega 3 Vegan Tart is an egg- and dairy-free dessert that replaces eggs and butter with flaxseed and canola oil, and cow’s milk with soy milk.

Samples of all these products will be available Tuesday, April 11 in The Pit on the main floor of the Agriculture Forestry Building between 2 and 4 p.m.

The next day, Wednesday April 12, students from the NUFS 425 class in New Product Development will showcase an array of projects, including gluten-free perogies and low sodium teriyaki-umami sauce, in a poster presentation at the same location.