Last weekend I was involved in an extremely fun project through the Drexel Food Lab with the Hershey Company!
Hershey representatives came to Drexel and gave us specific guidelines for a new product challenge. This new product needed to be indulgent, but light. Therefore, you could eat a lot of it and not feel guilty for doing so. Simple enough. Hershey also wanted this product to be able to be eaten for 30 minutes (the length of a television show). And, the product shouldn’t be high in calories. It also needs to have a Hersheys product in it too! Challenge accepted! (by the way, Hershey did say we can post about this event on social media)
On a Friday afternoon, 24 Drexel students divided up into groups of 4, and started the “ideation” process for the product. We discussed the types of desserts we could make to fulfill what Hershey wanted. We also sampled other chocolate snacks and products to give us ideas on flavors, packaging, and the overall indulgent snack we wanted to make.
Each group of four was interdisciplinary. In my group, there were two food science students, a nutrition student, and a design student with a focus on product design. Each group needed to decide on two ideas that they were going to make and present to the Hershey representatives the following day after the four hour competition.
The first idea my group settled on was a light snack, made of chocolate balls, rice puffs, and popcorn. We were going to make different flavors using numerous spices and bind it together slightly with Hershey’s chocolate. The four flavors we made were spicy chocolate, turmeric ginger, chocolate peanut butter ( my personal favorite), and finally a chocolate pretzel popcorn mixture.
The second idea my group decided on was named “Air Kiss”. They are named this because they are meringue cookies the same size and shape of a Hershey’s kiss. Meringues are made from the manipulation of egg whites and sugar, so these “Air Kisses” were much lighter and less caloric than an actual chocolate Hershey’s kiss. We made six different flavors of these meringues, and each one was dipped in either dark, white, or milk chocolate. They also had a small amount of the same flavor ganache inside each one. The flavors were blueberry-milk chocolate, chocolate almond-milk chocolate, peppermint-white chocolate, pumpkin spice-white chocolate, vanilla-dark chocolate, and expresso-dark chocolate.
The “Air Kisses” were a hit! I was extremely proud of how they turned out, and the simplicity, yet indulgent characteristics they had.
After the second four-hour competition day and presentation to the Hershey representatives, we found out who the top three teams were. My team ended up placing second overall, and we received a prize! Overall, it was a wonderful experience to hear from actual Hershey employees about product development and to work together with other students to come up with and execute new product ideas in one weekend.