How a campus partnership created a tasty dividend

Two departments at Purdue University have collaborated to churn out a special flavor of ice cream to commemorate the institution's 150th anniversary.

A partnership between Purdue University Dining & Culinary and the Indiana institution’s Department of Food Science produced a special flavor of ice cream to commemorate the school’s 150th anniversary. Boiler Tracks, a vanilla ice cream with a mix of chocolate pieces, toffee and caramel, debuted on campus and in the local community this past semester—and was an instant hit, says Kathleen Manwaring, director of business systems for the dining office.

“Initial projections escalated once we started serving and selling the ice cream,” says Manwaring. “We’ve sold 2,970 half pints and served 1,308 gallons of ice cream, primarily through dipped ice cream and milkshakes.”

The project started last year when seven food product-design class teams developed 21 flavor concepts. Each flavor went through product and sensory testing before Boiler Tracks emerged as tops. Round Barn Creamery, a local alumni-owned ice cream maker, then produced it.

“The capacity of the operation we selected to produce the ice cream is small, which worked great for us to get a custom product produced,” says Manwaring.

Packaging sizes, delivery days and product licensing all had to be negotiated, and plans have been put in place, in case production continues beyond the initial contract.

Because Boiler Tracks is a higher fat content ice cream than what is normally served on campus, a higher price point also needed to be set, says Manwaring.

Purdue University Dining & Culinary and the institution’s Department  of Food Science previously partnered to develop an apple bratwurst that is now served on campus. Other collaborations include an ongoing internship program and a food storage project.

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