Mizzou Crunch is the new chocolate bar of MU, designed by MU food science students collaborating with local chocolate company Patric Chocolate.
The 2.3-ounce bar, which costs $7.99 online, went on sale last week in stores such as Hy-Vee and Open Harvest. The product is also available online on the Patric Chocolate website in seven-bar packages priced at $49.99 each.
Azlin Mustapha, associate professor of food science at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU, formed a team of five food science undergraduates toward the end of finals week during the spring semester. They spent the whole summer developing and making the chocolate bar, along with the expert assistance of Alan “Patric” McClure, who founded Patric Chocolate.
“The project was unique for the undergraduates, who are not exposed to many opportunities compared to graduate students," Mustapha said. "It allowed them to apply what they learned in the classroom to real-life experiences and see how a food product gets sold on the market.”
The five junior and senior food science undergraduates on the team were Lindsey Brock, Kayla Hauck, Zico Jap, Lana Merrick and Alex Stokowski. Mustapha said they all enthusiastically agreed to participate in the project. She also said she picked these individuals based on her first-hand interactions with them in the classroom, knowledge of their motivation and interest level in learning new things.
Mizzou Crunch consists of only five ingredients: organic cane sugar, cocoa beans, whole milk powder, roasted peanuts and sea salt. It is handmade, just like the rest of Patric Chocolates, and contains no chemicals or artificial ingredients. The chocolate and the peanuts resemble MU colors: black and gold.
“Mizzou Crunch has a sophisticated taste,” Mustapha said. "It has a mix of milk and dark chocolate, but not overly dark, like a bitter rich dark taste. It tastes smooth and a bite of it gives you a layering sensation with the sea salt and a crunchy feeling with the grounded peanuts and cocoa nibs."
She teamed up with McClure after discovering that he uses carefully selected cacao beans and minimum ingredients to create delicious, high quality, artisan chocolate bars using scientific know-hows. Plus, McClure was a MU graduate, and his company has a factory in east Columbia. McClure opened up his company in 2006 and sells his products nationwide and in Europe. His chocolates have won national awards, such as the 2011 Good Food Award for their In-NIB-itable bar.
“For Columbia, it’s the first chocolate bar," McClure said. "It’s local and it’s delicious.”
He also said he teamed up with the food science students because he thought the project was interesting. For Mustapha, Mizzou Crunch is a special addition to MU.
“What school has its own wine, own ice cream and, now, own gourmet chocolate bar?" Mustapha said. "We have the bragging rights to say this now.”
Hauck, a junior, said she appreciated the full-scale experience she gained through this project.
“It appeared to be a great opportunity to learn a lot about product development and also gain experience working alongside my professor and peers," Hauck said.
From McClure, Hauck learned how to make chocolate and what separates a high-quality chocolate from other types.
“He was extremely knowledgeable about the chemistry of the chocolate and (gave me) an education I wouldn't have received in a classroom," Hauck said.
Both McClure and Mustapha said they are confident Mizzou Crunch will be a success on the market.