Snack Food 101

by Aaysuhi S., Vidushi S., Kristian T., Kamrin S., and Genevieve O. of the Delaware Teen Science Café Teen Leadership TeamThe Delaware Teen Science Café at the Delaware Museum of Natural History hosted speaker Peter Graziano, who is the Research and Development Manager at Herr Foods Inc. He works on new product development, packaging, certification programs, as well as regulations, quality, and safety.

The subject of the presentation was “Snack Food 101.” Mr. Graziano described how chips and other types of snack food are made. Graziano explained how different types of flour and oils are used to produce different types of snacks. He then talked about how the resources are transported to the factory, and how snack foods are processed and packaged. The main ideas were the production, packaging, equipment, jobs, and resources needed to produce good chips and other snack products. One of the most interesting things Graziano talked about was how chips are mass produced and have to be tested for food safety and taste.

Hands on Activity

In this food science-themed café, teens learned about some of the ingredients used to create some of their favorite foods. They also engaged in a hands-on activity: smell testing different flavors in the food industry. Seven flavors were placed into separate cups and passed around the room. The scents were unknown to the teens, and they had to guess the flavors. Some flavors were exceptionally strong!

In addition to learning about ingredients in the industry, teens learned about rancidity. Rancidity is when the fats in food oxidize and give it a peculiar flavor. Teens also performed a rancidity test with potato chips called the triangle test. In the test, there were three trays of chips. Two were fresh, while one was rancid. Teens had to guess which chips were different.