Three Kansas State University food science students took first place in a National Dairy Council product competition for an original creation - Quick-Quark, a dairy drink based on German-style quark cheese. (K-State)
Photo: K-State/TNS
Photo: K-State/TNS

‘The next Greek yogurt’: Kansas State students win national contest with a cheesy drink

Would you consume a tart protein drink made with fermented cheese?

Three Kansas State University food science graduate students hope so.

The students — Yuda Ou of China, and Priyamvada Thorakkattu and Karthik Sajith Babu, both of India — won first place and $8,000 in a National Dairy Council product competition for a creation using German-style quark cheese.

Called Quick-Quark, the product has been described by one of its creators as “very smooth and creamy … with a rich mouthfeel comparable to a full-fat yogurt.”

“Our product has 14 grams of protein in a 150-gram serving, which is almost double the amount of popular Greek yogurt drinks and more than double the number of popular yogurts targeted toward children,” Ou told K-State News.

Quark is popular in parts of eastern and northern Europe and, depending on the country, is similar to cottage cheese or cream cheese. The Kansas State team fermented whole milk, cream, milk protein concentrate and sweetened condensed milk at the university’s Food Science Institute.

To create more flavor, they added fruit. Quick-Quark comes in pina colada and acai blueberry, flavors that consumers rated 7.3 and 7.5 on a 9-point scale when surveyed by the K-State team.

They decided to present their product in a resealable pouch and plan to market and sell it in the future.

The country’s rapid embrace of Greek yogurt in recent years could bode well for demand, Jayendra Amamcharla, associate professor of animal sciences and industry and team co-adviser at K-State, said in a university interview.

“The students wanted to develop a product that was not too familiar to consumers but has an appeal that will give it more visibility,” she said. “I think Quick-Quark will be the next Greek yogurt.”

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