Current Research Studies
Our researchers are currently working on several projects focusing on using healthier and locally produced ingredients to create products that are comparable to common staples. Current projects include:
- Lower-Glycemic Lentil Cracker
- Branding Montana Value-Added Pulses
- Developing a Culturally-Sensitive Product with Senegalese
- Strengthening the MSU Farm to Campus Initiative
- Developing Native American Food Products
As a leading pulse producer, Montana ships out 90% of produce without any processing. Along with our partners at Fish Technology Center, we will use extrusion to develop pasta, breakfast cereals, snacks, and meat analogs using Montana specialty crops such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans to encourage value-added agriculture. We will also study the carbon footprint of our products to explore a more sustainable model of the food industry.
Lower-Glycemic Lentil Cracker
One in every 12 Americans lives with type two diabetes which is linked to consumption of refined carbohydrates. We developed an organic cracker using Timeless Seeds Lentils and Wheat Montana wheat to offer a lower-glycemic, healthier snack option. Students can study the Glycemic properties in a simulated gastrointestinal digestion lab with our research partner Dr. Mary Miles or study the product microstructure using material science instrumentation at ICAL.
Branding Montana Value-Added Pulses
Millennials have become the largest spending power and 75% of them are willing to pay more for sustainability. We are studying how low carbon footprint, organic, and Made-in-Montana labels can influence the purchase intent for pulse products.
Developing a Culturally-Sensitive Product with Senegalese
Three in five Senegal rural farmers live below the poverty line with compromised food security. Instead of shipping nutrition supplements to the communities, along with our partner, Bountifield, we will use community-based participatory research to develop a value-added peanut product with small holder farmers in Kaffrine, Senegal to address their economic and nutrition needs.
Strengthening the MSU Farm to Campus Initiative
One of the biggest challenges that the MSU Culinary Services face is to find local products with good and consistent quality for the university dining. Our lab partners with Montana food business Cream of the West and Gluten Free Prairie so that product quality meets MSU's procurement standard.
Developing Native American Food Products
We are working with Native American Development Corporation to establish research and education works for creating tribally developed and owned food products.