How Jelly Bellys Are Made

by Patrick Appel

Veronique Greenwood explains:

With the precision of chemists, they mix batches with slightly different amounts of each component, adding compounds like aldehydes for a fresh green flavor, or esters for a fruity note. Sometimes the effects are not what they expect. "In the flavor industry, we sometimes say one plus one equals three," reflects Lee: mix pear with orange, for example, and what you get is peach. In addition, special compounds must be deployed to make flavors meld with the properties of their "vehicle," as the vessel for the flavor is known. Jelly Belly even has a secret ingredient that suppresses the sweetness of the bean so that savory flavors, like buttered popcorn, can show through.