The first objective is advancing the fundamental science and application of technologies to ensure safety and improve quality of food products. <P>
The second objective is to utilize innovative methods to characterize food materials. <P>The third objective is to develop new and improved processing technologies. <P> The fourth objective is to develop mathematical models to enhance understanding of, and, optimize food processes. <P>The fifth objective is to develop pedagogical methodologies for improved learning of food engineering principles.<P> The last objective is to develop outreach programs to disseminate best practices for enhancing food safety and quality to stakeholders.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Ice cream is a highly-desired product even though it contains high levels of fat and sugar. Reducing the fat content in ice cream, while maintaining desirable quality, has proven a challenge to the industry. To improve the quality of reduced-fat frozen desserts, it is necessary to better understand the role fat plays in textural and sensory properties of the finished product. This study aims to quantify the role of fat in frozen desserts by carefully controlling both formulation factors (fat type and content, emulsifier type and content) and processing conditions (type of freezer, operating parameters). This requires developing better methods of characterizing and quantifying the orientation/arrangement of fat globules in the finished product and how this structure affects sensory (creaminess, etc.) and textural (melting rate, etc.) properties. The successful completion of this project will help manufacturers design reduced fat products with improved qualities.
APPROACH: The focus of the Wisconsin aspect of the broader multi-state project goals involves continued study of ice cream structure and the relationship to quality. In particular, understanding and controlling fat destabilization in ice cream is the aim of this work, with the ultimate result being reduced fat products that retain the high quality of a full-fat version. To do this, we need to understand how fat globule structures are formed in the finished product and how that structure influences product characteristics like creaminess and melt-down rate. Specifically, we aim to provide a scientific basis for how fat globules form clusters in ice cream that impart desirable properties (creaminess, dryness, slow melt-down rate, etc.). To meet these goals, we first need to verify methods for quantifying the nature of fat globules in ice cream. Thus, a large focus of the project will be on methods development. Further, we will characterize the interfacial properties of the fat globules, as dependent on composition of the ice cream mix (fat type and content, emulsifier type and content), and correlate these to fat globule structure in finished product. The effects of processing conditions (type of freezer, freezer operations, etc.) on organization of fat globule structures will also be studied. Finally, the quantitative aspects of fat destabilization will be correlated against physical/textural and sensory properties of ice cream.