School of Food Science

Food ingredient short course helps companies make better food products

SEATTLE, WA – Food Industry employees are raving about the new food science short course that taught them how to make their company’s food products better. The inaugural extension class was filled to capacity and had been developed in response to needs voiced by food companies.

Employees from across the Northwest were represented at the event.

Employees from across the Northwest were represented at the event.

The Food Ingredient Technology (FIT) short course was held at the DoubleTree Hilton Airport Hotel in Seattle on February 26th and provided an overview of major food ingredients that are used in processed foods. Seven different industry experts taught ten lectures that explained various functions of ingredients and how to use them to make foods that meet customer desires. The importance of monitoring the quality of raw ingredients, their impact on the processing and final product was emphasized.


FIT course pie chartBased on the post conference course survey, ninety-six percent (96%) of those who attended this year’s workshop said that the technical information they gained and the networking opportunities that the short course provided will help them in their jobs.  The attendees also highly recommended that the course continue to be offered to others within the food industry. Speakers at the event represented national companies including Tate & Lyle, Ingredion Incorporated, Bunge North America, TIC Gums, Inc., J. Rettenmaier USA LP (JRS) and Mead Johnson & Company LLC.

Attendees gave overwhelmingly positive feedback for what they learned in the course.

Attendees gave overwhelmingly positive feedback for what they learned in the course.

“The economic benefit my company will see as a result of my attending this course is that we will save time. It will also help trouble shoot processing issues that relate to ingredient properties.” — Course Attendee

The attendees represented a wide range of food companies of different types and sizes, from the state of Washington and the nation. A total of 68 industry professionals attended who are employed as new product development professionals, research and development, engineering, sales & marketing, regulatory, production and quality personnel. The government agencies including the WSDA and USDA were also represented in the course.


Those in attendance learned:

  • Methods for reducing product development times
  • How to develop products with differentiation in markets to be competitive
  • Information for reducing losses while maintaining efficient production
  • Ideas for developing unique products

    G Ganjyal teaching

    Course director Dr. Girish Ganjyal speaking at this year’s event.

This course was sponsored by The Puget Sound Institute of Food Technologists (PSIFT) and the course director was Dr. Girish Ganjyal of the Washington State University/University of Idaho School of Food Science. It was developed based on an industry wide needs assessments conducted by Dr. Ganjyal during his initial months at WSU in the Spring of 2013.

Dr. Ganjyal worked with the PSIFT officers and the regional food companies to develop the technical content of this program to align with the needs of the food manufacturing industry. For this first course Pam Vaillancourt with Tate &Lyle Co. and Ms. Megan Leifson with Luck’s Decorating Company served as an informal advisory board and assisted in the organization of the course. For the program to continue to serve industry needs, Dr. Ganjyal formed a formal advisory board with four members representing the food industry in the Pacific Northwest. The members include Pam Vaillancourt with Tate & Lyle Co., Megan Leifson with Luck’s Food Decorating Company., Dr. Richard Meyer with Oberto Brands, Inc., and Kristen Yaney from Starbucks, Inc.  This advisory board will provide input as the course grows to meet the needs of the food industry in the region.

FIT course bar graph

Dr. Rob McDaniel was the first of seven industry experts who spoke at the event.

Dr. Rob McDaniel delivering welcome remarks for the FIT course.

As a result of the vast amount of positive feedback from the attendees, this course will be sponsored by PSIFT and is to be offered again on February 25-26, 2015 in Seattle, WA. Registration will be open on November 1, 2014 and you will be able to register here.

“This course was very practical and applicable. It taught the specifics of ingredients used in foods. I now have a better understanding of the issues that food processors encounter when dealing with foods and their ingredients.” — Course Attendee

The Food Processing Extension program is housed in the School of Food Science in Pullman, WA. The program is focused on providing extension programs to manufacturers and value-added food businesses of all types and sizes in the state of Washington, the region and the nation. The extension program includes services in the areas of food product development, food process development and multiple training programs in these areas. Dr. Ganjyal, a faculty member in the School of Food Science as well as the Community and Economic Development wing of the Extension program at WSU, leads this program. To learn more about the program or future course offerings please visit

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