Garbanzo Beans Lead to Two Product Development Wins for Senior

Garbanzo beans helped make Sarah Steinbrunner a winner.

The senior in the Department of Food Science and Technology won two food development awards recently, both based on the bean.

Her Bean Nut Butter, developed with Taylor Crooks from Sandusky, won the Ohio Signature Food Contest put on by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Bean Nut Butter is a non-GMO and vegan nut butter that is free of the top eight allergens. It uniquely incorporates garbanzo beans, which are high in protein and fiber, but lower in calorie and fat content associated with regular nuts.

According to a CIFT press release, the contest showcases new, innovative products ready to take that next step into actual product development.

Following a review of written applications and presentations by food entrepreneurs and chefs to a panel of judges, the highest scoring concepts were selected based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, and overall appeal to the marketplace.

As a result of the award, technical assistance from CIFT will be provided to the startup businesses ranging from business planning, product/process development, shelf stability testing, labeling review, regulatory assistance, and batch product preparations for sampling. Later, production will take place at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) in Bowling Green, Ohio. The NOCK is a commercially-licensed kitchen that educates and provides technical assistance to new and growing food businesses.

The FST product development team, which includes Steinbrunner, also placed first in the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association MARS competition with their product “Banzo Bites,” made of two wafers held together by a Nutella-like center. Team members also included CFAES students Amy Andes, Ayna Arora, Megan Hoehn, Jing-Wei Lee, Megan Lu, Anna Schmenk, and Tara Vorst.

As finalists, the team received a $1,000 travel grant, and as first place winners, received $4,000.