Erik Furtado

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During the Fall semester of 2022, Symbiotic Creations competed in the Future Food All-Star’s competition and mentorship program with the main goal to create a probiotic snack made from 100% culinary by-products. Our three objectives were to create a hydrocolloid structure within the gummies (properly thickened gummy), use only vegan products, and provide a probiotic benefit to the final product. Most products in the market rely on animal-based thickeners like gelatin. Initially, we experimented with agar agar, tapioca powder, and cornstarch but none of these starches actually formed the hydrocolloid structure. After many trials, we succeeded in forming the hydrocolloid structure by using a formula of carrageenan Kappa (seaweed), standardized sucrose, and vegan calcium. Our initial prototype used SCOBY and kombucha in order to provide the snacks with their probiotic benefits. SCOBY is a byproduct of the Kombucha Brewing process that results in millions of probiotic bacteria that are traditionally wasted. One of the issues we ran into is that many thickeners use heat in order to develop the hydrocolloid structure and nullify the gummy. Heat kills bacteria, and results in a minimal probiotic benefit from the gummies. After many trials, we realized the need to incorporate the probiotic benefit in the coating of the gummy through pressure-reduced kombucha powder. The competition involved developing not only the food-based product, but a business model centered around that product. We conducted complex market research to identify specific competitors like California Gummies, Sugar Sin, and Project 7. We developed financials, identified a clear supply chain, and refined our business model to be as efficient as possible.

Faculty Mentor

Gail McCarthy, MBA

Academic Discipline

BS - Graphic Design

Included in

Engineering Commons



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