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Melchers forms product development alliance with university.

C. Melchers & Co. America Inc. has formed a relationship with the College of Food Science at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. Michael Abrams, vice president of sales & marketing, pioneered the program as he noticed a common weakness among many new product development technologists working for large food company research centers, and hoped to assist upcoming food science entrants in this occupation.

Many entry level research scientists have only to rely on the learned technical expertise of their managers and fellow senior scientists for successful formulation of acceptable food products. Abrams felt there are a combination of reasons why this lack of experience exists. One reason is that most universities teach very specific food science topics, such as food chemistry, food microbiology, poultry science and dairy science to name a few. While these separate subjects are essential to promoting a good well-rounded understanding of food science & technology from a broader perspective, they do not prepare one to develop food products as part of a team effort.

"I remember when I first started making sales visits to large research centers," says Abrams. "Many of the scientists always asked the ingredient supplier to come up with the optimal formula which would produce the best tasting food product. Who could blame these technologists when all day long they are flooded by sales representatives who delivered stacks of technical literature about multitudes of wild ingredients which were in most cases never even studied while in school." Some of these ingredients even produce synergistic helpful reactions if combined at correct ratios using the correct mixing techniques. These ingredients include substances which most people only read about on food labels. A brief sampling includes, gums, starches, isolated soy proteins, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, free flow agents, maltodextrins, preservatives, emulsifiers colorings, and flavorings.

Because of these experiences, Abrams made it a professional goal to someday start a product development program with a University College of Food Science. "I've always wanted to give something back to the students ever since my graduation from Ohio State's College of Food Science," said Michael. After talking with many friends and business associates, he selected to pursue his goal with Oregon State University because of their excellent reputation and their expertise in the field of sensory evaluation, which provides a perfect match for a flavor company. A few letters and visits with the faculty, students, and dean, Dr. Daniel Farkas, was enough to create so much excitement, that it resulted in the rounding of a new product development course, offered for three credit hours.

This course is being led by Dr. Mina McDaniel, professor of sensory evaluation, and Dr. Ron Wrolstad, professor of food science and technology. Before the start of each quarter, C. Melchers & Co. aids the faculty in setting up new objectives and student goals for the coming term. One of the long term objectives of C. Melchers & Co. is to help generate more interest in the coffee and tea market. Two of the four projects just completed at the end of the last term involved coffee related products. On March 4th, 1992, the first four students to initiate the program gave their final project presentations. All products were evaluated by a round table panel. All products tasted were judged very acceptable by everyone on the panel. It should be stated that all food products had been thoroughly screened, researched and refined before the final demonstrations. Thus, all the formulas and procedures may be of real important value to any product development scientists working currently, and in the future, to create similar end products. Melchers plans to make these formulas and procedures a permanent part of their product literature to be disseminated on a national basis.

One of the great advantages for the students is that they will have their names printed on each corresponding formula and procedure document, which should help them in building a portfolio before interviewing for their first employment opportunities. Each successful formula will always be available through the Melchers flavor application literature. Said Abrams, "In this manner we have created a collective winning situation where everyone benefits; the students, the university, and the industry.

The four students included work on flavored non-dairy coffee creamers, coffee-flavored carbonated soft drinks, natural Black Currant flavored soft drinks, and blended tropical flavored non-carbonated drinks.

Abrams said that many more interesting studies on coffee and tea products are being planned for the near future. He assures that all new information gained from research projects will be shared with the readers of Tea & Coffee Trade Journal. It is Abrams' hope that this work will act as a spark to kindle the start of more mutually beneficial corporate academic interactions.

As stated earlier, all of the above food product formulas will be available to any coffee product development scientist wishing to obtain general flavor application information. Melchers & Co. hopes that the students' diligent and dedicated efforts will be of valuable assistance to anyone in our industry trying to establish general guidelines on related project assignments. For .further information, contact the company at: 55 New Montgomery Street, Suite 888, San Francisco, CA 94105, Te1:(415) 9746210,, 800-2-FLAVOR, Telex: 330 447 melaminc sfo Fax: (415) 974-1640
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Title Annotation:C. Melchers and Company America Inc. in agreement with College of Food Science at Oregon State University in effort to inculcate students with better understanding of team effort required in developing food products
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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