No chocolate rivers here!: A look at the science behind your food

January 22, 2019
A FONA, we make flavors!

Many visitors compare the world of flavor creation & manufacturing to the famous book/movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.  The sights and smells of scientists working on their latest flavor & product creations reminds them of that movie, and its chocolate rivers and creations like a piece of '3-course meal chewing gum.'  Some days, working in the flavor industry can feel that magical! Sometimes it does feels like a scene from the famous movie, but most days, working in the flavor industry is work!  The work is fun, don't get me wrong.  We smell, taste, create and try new things all the time.

Working with students and teachers each day, I know firsthand that the science behind the food we consume is something many of us take for granted.  Even before FONA (or other flavor suppliers) are involved in the creation of a food... think about the different arms of science and technology that are involved in food production.

Think about the scientist who developed a seed variety, or the science at play when a farmer prepares the soil; fertilizes the crops, rotates crops, etc. When a food company wants to take that final ingredient and create a great-tasting, consumer-facing product -- that's where we come in. Say hello to even more facets of science and technology. That's well before any marketing, quality testing, taste testing or retail selling!

There is a lot of science and years of research & development behind all the food and each ingredient in our food to ensure safe, quality foods are available for purchase 24-7, 365 days a year, at stores near you.

The students that visit on field trips to FONA are amazed at how hands-on, delicious-smelling, creative and logical flavor chemistry and food science is.

While hearing about a place where flavors are made seems like some magical science in a scene from your favorite's actually  physics, biology, chemistry, statistics, marketing and business at work. Creating new flavors for delicious products you have yet to buy and try - It's like getting paid to play with your food (my childhood dream come true!)

Do you have any questions about what goes on in the food industry? Are you a teacher or student exploring or researching food or flavor science? I'd love to hear from you!, 630-578-8600.

By Katie Sudler, Community Education Director