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Whether it’s sugar melting and breaking down, the browning effects of the Maillard reaction, or monitoring pH and water activity, chemistry is at the core of candymaking. Michelle Frame of Victus Ars shares tips and tricks from her confectionery career.
November 30, 2023
Early in her career, while interning at M&M/Mars, Michelle Frame and several fellow scientists were frustrated as they tried to resolve a product issue. Sensing their tension, the R&D director said something that would deeply impact Frame’s career path: “Candy is a fun product! If you are not having fun making it, you cannot possibly be successful!”
The next day, the team took a fresh—and more lighthearted—look at the problem, and swiftly found the solution. From then on, Frame determined to always work in the industry where her success was contingent on having fun.
Today, as founder and president of Victus Ars and a 2021 inductee into the Candy Hall of Fame, Frame continues to find joy at her boutique food development lab and small-volume production facility focused on confectionery and related products.
Putting fun on full display, Frame sat down at SupplySide West/Food ingredients North America to chat with Karen Butler, Food & Beverage Insider’s senior managing editor.
The decked-out duo discussed that although candy goes hand in hand with fun and speaks an approachable, universal language, the chemistry involved can be complex. From the Maillard reaction to pH and water activity, understanding the science is key to perfecting a manufacturing process.
Food safety is another variable, especially when crafting candy that’s expected to remain shelf stable at ambient temperatures for months on end without special packaging.
And although traditional confectionery may champion familiar tastes and textures, today’s consumers are increasingly gravitating toward functional ingredients in the types of food and beverage products they already enjoy consuming. For beloved sweets, that could signal an influx of healthy halo ingredients such as mushrooms and green tea.
Frame explains how different ingredients can be incorporated via various methodologies while still maintaining the right properties in a finished product. When it comes to confectionery, that can mean using sweeteners and fiber systems up front to combat off-notes, thereby maximizing the positive effects of flavor maskers.
Senior managing editor, Informa Markets
Karen Butler is a senior managing editor at Informa Markets. For nearly 25 years, she’s worked in a variety of editorial roles, covering topics such as animal nutrition, functional food & beverage, and dietary supplement ingredients and trends. She most enjoys working behind the scenes as a copyeditor, as well as building community and supporting a team. Reach her at [email protected].
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