CLEMSON – The Clemson University Dairy Team placed third in the National Dairy Council’s Dairy Innovation Challenge for its quark-based ice cream product called FROmage.

Clemson dairy students took third place in national competition with FROmage, a quark ice cream project.

Clemson dairy students took third place in the National Dairy Council’s Dairy Innovation Challenge with FROmage, a quark-based ice cream product.
Image Credit: Clemson College of Agriculture Forestry and Life Sciences

The theme for this year’s competition was “snacking.” Lindsay Jenkinson, team captain from Bethel, Connecticut, said entries in the competition were required to comply with regulations set by the Dairy Council.

“Products entered in the contest were required to be excellent sources of protein and contain at least 51 percent dairy ingredients by weight,” said Jenkinson, who graduated from Clemson in May with a degree in food science and human nutrition.

Faculty advisor Sara Cothran of the Clemson Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences Department suggested developing an ice cream as a snack. Jonathan Dillard, a senior food science and human nutrition major from Conway, was fall production lead for the project. Dillard, who had researched quark cheese, pitched the idea of creating an ice cream using a quark base. Quark is a dairy product similar in texture and flavor to Greek yogurt, but with less tartness and more protein depending on the type of milk used.

“From there, the concept grew into FROmage, which is a vanilla quark-based French ice cream,” Jenkinson said.

Quark cheese was included in the product to help meet the high protein requirement, Jenkinson said. Whey protein also was used for additional protein.

To make FROmage consistent in terms of taste and texture with consumers’ idea of ice cream, it still needs whole-fat dairy and sugar.

“Our goal with FROmage was to create an ice cream with benefits other than just tasting delicious,” Jenkinson said. “Having a higher protein content addresses that. In general, protein is important for repairing tissue and encouraging healthy growth and development. Dairy ingredients also build and maintain bone density, which is especially important in women and children.”

In addition to Jenkinson and Dillard, other students on the team include: Melinda Russell, sensory panel lead and a May 2018 graduate of food, nutrition and culinary science from Friendswood, Texas; Alex Thompson, spring production lead and a senior food science and human nutrition major from Greenville; and Delaney Greiner, costing and processing lead and a senior food science and human nutrition major from Cincinnati, Ohio. Supporting members include food science and nutrition majors Adam Schwartz, a junior from Tampa, Florida; Andrew Rast, a senior from Cameron; Bradley Hieronymus, a senior from Greenville and Zachary Whittington, a senior from Taylors.

For the competition, the product was served in individual 105-gram cups. Each serving of FROmage provided 10 grams of protein. For extra convenience, each cup of FROmage came with a miniature spoon.

Ray Cummings, a senior packaging science student from Pendleton, created branding elements for the product, including the logo, color scheme and pattern used. These were combined with a custom-created nutrition label, bar-coding and sample manufacturer information to create a shelf-ready label to wrap around the standard cup size, as well as a top label to fit the insert on the cup lid. Cummings and Wayne Stevenson, a master’s student in packaging science from Mauldin, printed the labels on sticker stock and custom-cut each before attaching a label to each cup.