Leave it to college students to come up with innovative ways to use corn and soybeans. And while their efforts may not affect your profit margin in a positive way this year, who knows down the road? If nothing else, their creativity reassures manufacturing companies in the industry that innovation when it comes to corn and soybeans and using products made from them is still alive and well.
New this year those who attended an awards ceremony to honor the winners of the Purdue university student competition picked out a student innovation they found most interesting. More than 150 people attending the event participated. In the end, the new 'People's Choice' award went to a group of four students who devised 'Melt-a-Way' cupcake liners.
The idea behind the cupcake liners is simple. Instead of having a paper lining to dispose of, come up with a liner that holds the batter until the cupcake bakes, yet disappears and is no longer there to dispose of once baking is finished. The student's innovation fit the bill. Composed of grain products, the liner is solid enough to do the job at the beginning of the baking process, then dissolves into the cupcake during baking. It's like, 'Look mom, no liner!' when cupcakes are removed from the oven.
A team of four students collaborated on the innovation. They were one of 12 teams competing in this year's competition. It is the 15th year for the soybean competition, which was again sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance. However, it was the first year for the newly created corn competition. Funding from the relatively recent checkoff now make sit possible for corn groups to sponsor development contests for products made form corn as well. Sponsoring awards for teams devising new uses for corn was the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. That's the organization created by state law when the corn checkoff was passed. Its' purpose is to oversee the mandatory, first-point-of-sale with refund privileges checkoff, and to decide how to best use funds collected in the effort.
Three of the students, Victoria Horton, Marcianne Colglazier, and Erin Rosswurm, major in various aspects of food science and engineering in Purdue's Food Science Department. The fourth, Anne Verseman, is a biochemistry major at Purdue.
Watch for future updates on other innovations coming out of the competition.