What do you like most about being a food scientist?
I think it’s one of the coolest jobs ever, because we’re the people that come up with new food products. When you’re in the grocery store or a coffee shop and you see a new product or new flavor of chocolate, it’s because food scientists helped turn an idea into a reality.
How do you come up with new food products?
We work closely with our marketing partners to see what kind of products consumers might want. Sometimes we go on what we call “trend walks” to see what flavors are new and trending.
Then scientists work with ingredient suppliers and serve as the magic behind the development of a product. We’ll mix different ingredients in different amounts. For example, when we launched a blood-orange flavored, dark-chocolate bar, we had to think about whether we wanted any crunchy inclusions, pieces of freeze-dried fruit, flavored candy pieces, or no inclusions at all.
We get to try all these recipes, and we taste the product. When we think we’ve gotten the best product, a team tests it with consumers.
We also work with our manufacturing facility to make sure we can expand production.
Among the products that you’ve helped develop, what’s your favorite?
It would have to be Lancaster Caramel from The Hershey Company. When I started working there, I didn’t know much about sugar chemistry. A lot of sugar-based candy—like hard-candy, gummies, and caramel—start with similar ingredients, but the way you formulate and process them allows you to get different outcomes. I learned so much by developing this caramel, and it was great to see the product come to life. In the end, we launched the product in the United States and China.