How does Nestlé get the bubbles into an Aero chocolate bar, why is food engineering dominated by men and what high tech kit produces instant coffee?
These were some of the questions thrown at Nestlè UK engineering graduates during a live Twitter Q&A this week.
The two-hour online event was held in association with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and its industry-led campaign Taste Success at @FDFTasteSuccess using the hashtag #askNestle on Thursday (March 6).
Big Bang Fair
Hannah Whall, and James Cheema, project engineers on Nestlé UK’s Engineering Graduate Programme chaired the session and will sit in on the Taste Success booth at the Big Bang Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, from March 13-16, at Birmingham NEC in the UK.
One of the burning questions from @Tomorrows_Eng a one-stop shop for careers in engineering was how Nestlé got the bubbles into its chocolate bars.
“What's the most complex chocolate to create, engineering-wise? We were wondering about the Aero air bubbles! How do engineers get those in?” it asked.
Cheema said each chocolate presents challenges to engineers and would only direct users to the MEng Food Engineering degree website page at Sheffield Hallam University adding ‘not all can be revealed unfortunately’.
However, FoodProductionDaily.com can reveal aerated chocolate is made from vacuuming and gas models and Nestlé is working with the European Space Agency to create better chocolate air bubbles under zero-gravity and will move the experiment to space by 2015.
Also, a team of Chinese researchers claim to have discovered a way to create bubbles in chocolate using a whipping method as published in the Journal of Food Process Engineering.
In other Tweets, Martec UK, Martec UK, a product recovery system specialist to the food and pharma industries asked: “Are there many female staff other than in engineering or is it totally male dominated?”
Whall admitted the engineering division was ‘very male dominated’ and said: “There are female staff especially in the quality and HR departments (but) It is very male dominated. I am the only female engineer in the factory.”
Nestlè then added it was ‘committed to working to empower more women in the marketplace and community’ and posted two links to its site showing how it supports female entrepreneurs around the world.
Fiona Ferguson, media and public affairs manager, FDF, not technically a graduate, posted the question: “How much of your time is office based and how much is time is spent working hands-on with high tech kit?”
Followed by: “What sort of high tech kit are you working on that people would not expect to be involved in food production?”
Cheema said even though his role is office based, he spends a lot of time in the factory and said he was able to get his hands on high tech kit to produce instant coffee, such as evaporators, centrifuges and spray driers.
Whall added hygienic engineering was the biggest challenge for people working in the industry.
FPD has posted some of the best comments from the live chat below.