Functional Foods and Packaging

Our goals are to improve ingredients, additives, nutrition, and packaging of food products across the supply chain with the expertise to enhance the functionality of food through innovations in nutrition, ingredients, and packaging to improve health, shelf-life, and the consumer experience.


  • Improve the nutritional value of foods through ingredients
  • Consumer acceptability of nutrient-dense foods
  • Enhance shelf-life utilizing novel technologies
  • Utilizing material substrates for packaging that increases shelf-life and improves the consumer experience
  • Utilizing packaging substrates that improve sustainability and do not have a negative impact on the environment

Research Projects

  • Evaluating light intensity, wavelength and display location on product degradation
  • Light and temperature mapping of retail display cases
  • Evaluation of cooling technologies for energy efficiency and improved consumer experience
  • Identifying new packaging materials and recycling technologies to improve sustainability, increase waste stream diversion and improve safety
  • Limiting lactose crystallization in processed cheese and ice cream
  • Enhancing the shelf-life of yogurt and probiotic bacteria
  • Utilizing high voltage atmosphere cold plasma to extend shelf-life of produce
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of thermosonication on extending milk shelf-life

Faculty Interests

Terri Boylston, PhD: ingredient functionality

Stephanie Clark, PhD

Eliseo De Leon, PhD: Polymers, polymers characterization, increasing participation of underserved and underrepresented minority students in STEM fields

Kate Gilbert

Keith Vorst, PhD: Visit the Polymer and Food Protection website.

Wendy White, PhD

Need More Information?

Keith Vorst

1541 Food Sciences Building
536 Farm House Lane
Ames, IA 50011-1054