WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- For those who prefer that their fluorescent foodstuffs be vegetarian, two Purdue University students have invented a new gelatin dessert.
Junior Ryan Howard and sophomore Faye Mulvaney, both of Indianapolis, developed "NuSoy Gel," a gelatin soy protein dessert that can replace Jell-O, that quivering dessert that is a staple at potluck suppers and family gatherings.
The students created the new product for the fifth annual "Innovative Uses for Soybeans Contest," which was sponsored by the Purdue Agronomy Department and the Indiana Soybean Board. The two received $4,500 for their effort.
Gelatin is typically made from the animal protein collagen, which is extracted from skin, bone and connective tissue of food animals. The new vegetarian dessert is made from a gel base made of water, fructose, high-gelling soy protein and carrageenan, which is made from seaweed. The students prepared cherry, orange and lemon flavors of their gelatin for the contest.
Mulvaney says she and Howard developed the product after thinking about the dietary needs of patients in hospitals. "Many sick people can only have a clear liquid diet while they are in the hospital, but the current gelatin dessert served in hospitals doesn't offer many nutrients. Our gelatin provides important nutrients," she says.
In addition to creating the product, Howard and Mulvaney also developed packaging and a marketing plan, and even created a Web site that promotes their new food (http://www.welovesoy.com).
Howard is majoring in agricultural and biological engineering, and Mulvaney is majoring in pharmacy. They were advised by Martin Okos, professor of biochemical and food process engineering. Howard and Mulvaney also won last year's contest, which called for students to create a new industrial product. For that contest they developed a soybean-based ski wax.