If at first you don’t succeed…try s’more!

January 4, 2013
Flavor Ingredients
As a Jr. Food Scientist working in Confections, I get to make and eat gum, gummies, lollipops and chocolates all day long. Best job ever, right? But it actually has its challenges! The difficult part is truly understanding and meeting consumers’ expectations of how candy should taste. And this pertains to not only flavors but texture as well!

Think about a piece of chocolate.  You have the creaminess aspect, the sweetness, the fatty mouthcoating sensation, etc.  Now think about a chocolate flavored piece of gum.  You may have the flavor and sweetness, but you would be most likely missing the fatty mouthcoating.  It’s more important than you may think, and it’s good to keep in mind when creating the next indulgent type gum.

Recently, I took on this challenge.  After narrowing down the flavor options through a consumer survey (FONA has an awesome Consumer Insights group!) I had a vision for a s’more flavored gum.   Who doesn’t love the campfire treat of crunchy graham crackers, creamy milk chocolate, and gooey marshmallows?  In order to create a unique chewing gum experience, I knew I needed to include both the textural elements (crunch, creaminess, sweetness, texture) and the flavor components.

First, I incorporated mini hard marshmallows (or marbits) into the flavored gum and molded it into a mini marshmallow shape.  After the gum firmed, I dipped this into a chocolate flavored compound coating and then rolled it in crushed graham crackers.

Crunchy, gritty texture from the graham cracker? Check.  Smooth milk chocolate? Check.  Super sweet marshmallow filling? Check.  New innovative confectionery indulgence?  Fail.  Theoretically, the concept sounds amazing, but in reality the pieces just don’t fit.

But that’s ok. It’s all part of the job – create, experiment, learn, and create s’more!

We are presented with new creative challenges like that every day. And fortunately, not all of them fail.  My job may not be to solve the world’s problems, but keeping candy consumers happy is more elaborate that you would think!