Date of Graduation

5-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor/Mentor

Kwofie, Ebenezer Miezah

Committee Member/Reader

Baum, Jamie

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ubeyitogullari, Ali

Abstract

Potatoes are the world's fourth most consumed crop. Their versatility and long shelf-life make them a staple food for millions of people worldwide. Still, the increasing consumption of highly processed potato products in developed countries has damaged the public's appreciation of potatoes as a valuable source of essential nutrients. Additionally, as public awareness of environmental sustainability increases, the average consumer is more likely to value processing methods that mitigate environmental damage.

Researchers simulated several home storage and processing conditions to find out how nutrition and environmental impact are affected by the home processing timeline. Then, a nutrient analysis, life cycle analysis, and cost analysis were conducted to determine the optimal combination of storage and processing that will provide consumers with the most favorable combination of cost, environmental impact, and nutritional quality. The storage analysis indicated that shorter storage times in less refrigeration-intensive conditions were optimal for maintaining moisture content and minimizing environmental impact. The cooking analysis indicated that baking potatoes leads to the highest nutrient retention and is nearly tied with boiling potatoes for the lowest environmental impact and cost. On the other hand, frying has the highest values for calorie and fat content, and it has the highest overall cost and environmental impact of any of the processes due to the input of vegetable oil. Based on these results of a data envelopment analysis, which normalized the values for cost, sustainability, and nutrition into a single score, a consumer recommendation graphic was created to show the comparative consequences of choosing between different processing methods. A consumer survey was written to gauge the values and practices of consumers and consumer response to the recommendation graphic. The testing for the survey is still in progress at the time of writing.

Keywords

Potatoes, Food Science, Biological Engineering, Food Processing

Available for download on Friday, April 28, 2023

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