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Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It… A Recap of Mission: ImPULSEible 2014 (PCN Spring 2014) MAY 5 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

What is Mission: ImPULSEible? It is an annual national culinary challenge for post-secondary students. This year teams were given a mission to develop a wholesome & delicious snack food for kids using Canadian pulses AND to promote how the product provides nutritious solutions to consumers and industry. Students checked criteria, recruited a team, developed an awesome food product, and submitted an amazing video.

Peas, beans, lentils and/or chickpeas (whole pulses, flours, starches, fibres, proteins) were required to be major ingredients in the product. Teams also had to include proposed packaging of the product and nutritional information with bonus points awarded for including a majority of Canadian ingredients.

This year, six teams participated for the chance to represent Alberta at the national competition. The teams submitted unique and delicious samples for the judges and guests to try in Ernest’s Dining Room at NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Judges included Jay Han (Food Scientist, Food Processing and Development Centre), Grace Hubert (Registered Dietitian), Kevin Johnson (Grocery Director, Freson Bros.) and Elizabeth Muir (Value-Added Director, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions). Judges evaluated sensory attributes, health and nutrition, product promotion and overall presentation.

In addition to the competition, Landra Hills and Jenn Patrick, highlighted the use of pulses in their work with Alberta Project Promoting active Living and healthy Eating (APPLE) Schools an organization that provides nutritional and physical education information to schools. They look for ways to make healthier eating fun and creative such as using games, gardens and cooking classes. APPLE Schools’ mission is that they will empower school communities to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

The competition was fierce but in the end, Pulse Pops won the first prize of $1,500. Pulse Pops were created by U of A students Stacey Seufert, Anastassia Astrakhantseva, Diana Nguyen, and Christie Cheng. These delicious handy snacks on a stick were made using chickpeas with peanut butter and were coated with a mix of chocolate and black beans. The winning team also is given the opportunity to work with the Food Processing Development Centre to scale up their creation.

Second place went to Besan Bites which were a crispy pretzel-like cracker made with chickpea flour created by NAIT culinary students Emily Berthelot and Kari Marchand. Third place went to Chocofruitter Cookie, a watermelon shaped cookie made with chickpea flour, served by U of A students Kaixing Tang, Aoran Liu, Yao Qian and Qiyun Liang. The People’s Choice Award was voted for online by approximately 60 attendees at the event and was also awarded to the Pulse Pops team.

‘Delicious’ honorable mentions are the Dalroghee (fusion perogy made with chickpea flour), Healthy Pulse Chicken Pot Pie (pea and chickpea flours in the crust and kidney beans, split peas and green lentils in the filling) and Tip Tops Pea Butter Cups (nut free alternative to peanut butter cups with pea flour).

Debra McLennan, the Alberta Pulse Growers Coordinator for the event commented, “I had a great time with Mission ImPULSEible and I felt that the event exceeded my expectations, in my own humble and unbiased opinion as the coordinator! I thought the caliber of products was outstanding this year and I was very pleased that all the products developed by the students tasted really nice and that any product could have been the winner based on just taste and presentation alone.”

McLennan noted that one of the highlights for the event was the presentation from APPLE Schools; “I was really pleased to be able to link the active youth part of Mission ImPULSEible to a program here in Alberta that is also focusing on creating healthy active youth. It was nice to see the positive response from the audience to APPLE Schools and both guest speakers were thrilled to be able to connect with other organizations and develop even more partnerships for the future.”

The event provided a great opportunity to try some interesting foods and network with industry members and students. Thank you to everyone who made this event a success! For more information on Mission ImPULSEible or to view product videos, visit Pulse Canada’s website. Good luck to the 2014 Alberta winning team at the finals!