NC State alumni, researchers partner to create protein-packed fruit gummies

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The idea was born out of necessity: Will Kornegay, a North Carolina State University alumnus from the Poole College of Management, struggled to find processed snacks, or really any processed food, that his food intolerance and severe allergy would allow him to eat.

Fueled by their agriculture background, Kornegay and his fellow Poole College alum sister, Laura Hearn, set out to create a product missing from the market: a high-protein snack that could cater to those with food allergies, all while helping reduce food waste.

“With Ripe Revival, there’s a lot of passion behind why we commit to having clean, safe and transparent foods. We want our consumers to know exactly what they’re putting in their bodies,” said Kornegay.

Together the siblings partnered with N.C. State food science graduate Nathalie Plundrich, who became the bridge between the idea and the science to make it a reality.

According to N.C. State, Ripe Revival’s gummies evolved from the research and technology of two College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty members: Mary Ann Lila, the director of the Plants for Human Health Institute in Kannapolis, and Josip Simunovic, a research professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences.

Plundrich studied the ingredient technology when she was a master’s and Ph.D. student in Lila’s lab. Now a food technologist as SinnoVita, a subsidiary of SinnovaTek, Plundrich applied her decades of research to the Ripe Revival gummies.

From there, the partnership formed between SinnoVita and Ripe Revival, bringing the protein-packed gummies to fruition.

“We’re giving people a healthy alternative to something they would eat anyways, like high-sugar gummies, but getting more nutrition in,” explained Plundrich.

And the benefits don’t stop there. They’ve created a way to utilize some of the estimated 40 percent of fruit and vegetable crops that don’t make it to market because they are oddly shaped or have some superficial imperfections.

In fact, Ripe Revival was recently selected as one of seven winners of Kroger Co.’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation.

Right now, the gummies are exclusively available online, with plans to launch on Amazon in the near future as well as some local retail stores around the Triangle.

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