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Publication:Baking and Snack;Date:May 1, 2007;Section:Front Page;Page Number:59


Educational institutions around the country offer the baking and
snack food industry qualified graduates and so much more.
BY KIMBERLIE CLYMA



  It’s been said time and time again that education is the key, the silver bullet. Educational institutions not only
produce trained professionals who help the baking and snack industry evolve, but they also provide food science,
product development and packaging research essential to the industry’s future success.

   “Our industry continues to struggle with attracting and retaining qualified people; there is truly a lack of trained
people,” said Kirk O’Donnell, Ed.D., vicepresident of education for AIB International, Manhattan, KS. “Our mission
is to address that issue and do our part to educate and advance the industry.”

HITTING THE BOOKS. In the baking and snack industry, a myriad of pertinent degrees from a variety of
educational institutions around the country can help prepare tomorrow’s bakers and snack manufacturers. Even
though the degrees are different and the specifics of each academic program vary from university to university, all
provide the necessary preliminary tools for success in the baking and snack food industry.

  “Our program is unique because we offer three different, very specialized degrees from the Department of
Grain Science and Industry,” said David Krishock, professor of Kansas State University’s Bakers National
Education Foundation in Manhattan, KS. “We offer undergraduate and graduate programs in baking, milling and
feed management and Ph.D. programs in baking and feed management.”

  According to the university’s study guide for bakery science, “The K-State program in bakery science and
management was created at the request of bakers’ organizations.” An advisory board of industry professionals
monitors the program’s curriculum to ensure it continues to provide students with education pertinent to the
changing industry. “As a result, the number of positions available for graduates is greater than the supply. It is not
unusual for students to have multiple job offers when they graduate,” the study guide stated.

   Because of the school’s extensive support from the baking and allied industries, one out of every two bakery
science students at KSU receives a scholarship worth between $1,000 and $6,000 per year. Bakery science
students can choose one of two tracks for their degree: production or cereal chemistry. The track they choose will
direct the students toward jobs in sales, product development, quality control or R&D.

   Each student is required to complete at least one 12-week internship in the industry before graduation. This
allows students to gain real-world experience and helps them to decide which aspect of the business they’d like to
pursue in their career.

   “We really prepare our students for work in the industry,” Mr. Krishock said. “We have 100% job placement.
Most of our graduates who are getting more job offers and higher starting salaries have done two, if not three,
internships; they are extremely prepared for their careers.”

   KSU also features a leadership studies program outside of the grain science and industry department that
prepares students for management roles in various industries. “We encourage our students to take some of the
leadership studies courses as electives because it will help prepare them for the future, when they are trying to
manage people and equipment with the greatest efficiency.”

  Other universities feature programs that are relevant to the baking and snack food industry. Well-known
schools such as University of Nebraska-Lincoln, St. Joseph’s University, University of Illinois, The Ohio State
University, Michigan State University, Texas A&M University and North Dakota State University offer students
undergraduate and graduate degrees such as food science and technology, nutritional sciences, packaging,
cereal and food sciences, food marketing and bakery science and management.




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  “With a degree from our School of Packaging, a student can go into a number of different fields,” said Bruce
Harte, Ph.D., professor at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. “Some might go to work for food
companies to help them develop some of the packaging material structures that the industry might need to
provide extended shelf life to food products. Others could go to work for machinery companies to develop
packaging. We try to give them the tools to be successful in a variety of industries.”

MORE THAN DIPLOMAS. The role of universities goes beyond delivering degrees and sending graduates into
the workforce to become tomorrow’s industry leaders. Universities also have the important task of keeping today’s
industry leaders prepared and educated.

   Each May, the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, hosts a 3-day Ingredients and Ingredient Functionality
Workshop. The workshop, which consists of lectures and hands-on demonstrations, is geared toward ingredient
suppliers, marketing specialists and product development scientists. Ingredient classes discuss proteins, lipids,
carbohydrates and water, in addition to spices, flavors, colors, preservatives and vitamins. Also, hands-on
laboratory sessions demonstrate the functionality of various ingredients, and pilot plant sessions highlight
ingredient functionality in a production environment.

   St. Joseph’s University’s Center for Food Marketing, Philadelphia, PA, offers online courses in food marketing
including Introduction to Food Marketing, Developing a Business Plan, Designing Food Products for International
Markets and Entering International Markets. Snack Food Association (SFA) members receive a discount on these
courses.

   SFA members may also register for online classes in food science and technology from The Ohio State
University’s Department of Food Science. These courses include Food Safety and Quality, Food Chemical Safety,
Introduction to Food Science and Food Biosecurity. Upon completion of all four courses, students earn a
Certificate in Proficiency in Food Science from OSU.

  Industry professionals interested in learning more about extruded snacks need to look no further than College
Station, TX. The Food Protein R&D Center at Texas A&M University offers weeklong short courses on snack food
processing. “There’s no place else to learn about extruded snacks,” said Mian Riaz, Ph.D., director of the Food
Protein R&D Center. “People from all over the world come to Texas A&M to take our courses; that’s what we’re
known for.”

  KSU’s Integrated Grains Program also helps baking and snack food professionals keep up to speed on
pertinent industry topics. The school offers 14- to 16-week courses including a grain purchasing seminar,
extrusion seminar and basic classes in baking and milling science and technology.

  The Northern Crops Institute (NCI) at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, features courses three days to
two weeks in length. The lectures, case histories, laboratory demonstrations and tours offer industry professionals
the chance to refresh their expertise, while being exposed to existing and new technology.

   Some of the course titles include Basics of Wheat and Flour Quality, Baking with Whole Grain Foods, Baking
with Soy and Flax Seed: Adding Functional Food Value. The flax seed course highlights nutritional benefits of
flaxseed; flaxseed quality; milling of flaxseed; storage stability; utilization of milled flaxseed in bread, pasta,
noodles and extruded snack products; and sensory properties of flaxseed in food systems. Course lectures are
supplemented by hands-on experience in NCI’s grain grading, analytical, baking and processing laboratories.

INSIDE THE INDUSTRY. Universities aren’t the only institutions taking on the responsibility of continued
education in the baking and snack food industry. Leading the charge is AIB International. The organization’s 11-
week maintenance and 18-week baking science and technology resident courses are known around the globe.
“Our programs are respected by the industry,” Dr. O’Donnell said. “Our resident courses provide a meaningful
certification that’s recognized all over the industry.”

   In addition to its longer resident courses, AIB also offers shorter seminars and off-site customized training. AIB
staff travels around the country, as well as around the world, conducting a variety of seminars on subjects such as
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs, bread and roll production, cookie processing
technology, developing and implementing allergen control programs and engineering for food safety.

   Industry professionals can also enroll in AIB’s All About Baking course (formerly called Baking Basics for the
Allied Industries) to get an introduction to baking. A number of Baking & Snack editors have attended this
weeklong course.




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   AIB’s reputation for offering a wide array of courses to educate and advance the industry is well known, and it’s
always trying to improve the content of those courses, according to Dr. O’Donnell. “Our biggest challenge today
isn’t the content, though, it’s finding time for people to devote to learning. We are asking ourselves,‘How do we
build the knowledge of the trade with less time to work with?’

   “To answer this question, we’ve taken a step back to try to figure out how people learn best.” AIB has hired
instructional designers to help figure out how to package and deliver the content of its courses. “Should we
present it in smaller pieces? Possibly different languages? We’re trying to consider all the options so we can best
serve the industry,” Dr. O’Donnell said.

TRACKING TRENDS. Food companies cannot only credit universities with providing qualified job applicants but
also with filling a research and development void. “We are basically the R&D department for the industry,” Texas
A&M’s Dr. Riaz said. The university uses its pilot plant and research laboratories to work on new ideas pertaining
to extruded snacks.

  A lot of the new ideas come from the latest industry trends. Back when the low-carb craze hit, the Food Protein
R&D Center at Texas A&M worked on developing new proteins for snack foods. “When a new trend comes up in
the industry, we are always asked to start working on it,” Dr. Riaz said. “For low-carb, everyone wanted to make
protein-based items. Now we’re working on eliminating trans fats.

  “When a new trend hits, companies have to modify their formulations and come up with a solution to the
problem, and they have to continue their original production and manufacturing on the side,” he added. “So they
come to us because we have a pilot plant, and we have the necessary expertise available to do the research.

   “At KSU, the hot research topic is whole grains. Several companies have approached the university about
researching new milling technologies for whole grains. On the baking side, the research departments are
investigating ways to incorporate more nutrition into baked foods using whole grains, while maintaining a
consumerfriendly taste,” Mr. Krishock said.

  While some of the research starts on the university side, most is in response to direct requests from industry
companies. “With all the consolidation in the industry, there aren’t as many R&D and product development people
out there any more, so the companies come directly to us and other universities to get their research done,” he
said.

  “Some companies don’t have their own pilot plants and don’t want to use their production facilities to produce
prototypes. Others have pilot plants, but they don’t have the knowledge to develop the ideas they want to look at,”
Dr. Riaz said. “One company came to us and wanted to put almond protein in a snack. They wanted us to remove
the oil and keep the protein. After we experimented, we found out it wouldn’t work.

  “Companies can come to us and test some of their ideas, and if it works, they can take what was developed
and set up the process in their own facility,” he continued. “If it doesn’t work, they’ve only invested $4,000 to
$5,000 instead of $4 million to $5 million. That’s why companies truly value what we do here.”

  MSU’s School of Packaging also does contractual laboratory work for food companies. “We might look at the
shock and vibration impact in bread packaging or antimicrobial packaging to help control mold in the final
product,” Dr. Harte said. “We work closely with the food science department so we can create the best food
packaging possible for the companies we work with.”

  The universities also get many requests for product prototypes before industry trade shows. Prior to this year’s
Snaxpo in early May, Texas A&M fielded a number of requests to develop prototypes for companies to display at
the show.

UNIVERSAL BENEFITS. Partnering with educational institutions offers a win-win situation for everyone involved.
University students get the opportunity to work on real-world projects in operational laboratories and pilot
production plants to give them a true feel for their upcoming careers. Industry professionals can further their
education to keep abreast of changes in the baking and snack foods markets. And, manufacturers are able to
research and develop some of their new product ideas at a fraction of the cost of what they could do in their in-
house operations.

  When the next food innovation or trend comes down the pike, industry educators will once again lead the




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charge in providing the necessary food science and product research and development essential to meeting
today and tomorrow’s changing consumer needs.




AIB International offers industry professionals a number of courses about cakes including Cake Baking
Technology,Batter Cake Production and the all-encompassing All About Baking. AIB INTERNATIONAL




The University of Nebraska-Lincoln hosts a 3-day Ingredients and Ingredient Functionality Workshop every May at
its Food Processing Center. UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA




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The Food Protein R&D Center at Texas A&M University offers weeklong short courses on snack food processing
specializing in extrusion. TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY




Students in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University work closely with the food science department
to better understand the nuances of creating packaging for different types of food. MICHIGAN STATE
UNIVERSITY




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