The Winans Candies virtual field trip showcased a whole new side of soybeans! Grow Next Gen industry leader and company director of operations, Amy Snyder, took participants on a tour of the company’s production areas and explained the soybean connection. Soy lecithin is added to chocolate to lower its viscosity. This gives a more workable consistency to the chocolate, which becomes easier to temper and to mold.
Winans has been around since 1961, and is now in its 60th year of business. It is expanding rapidly and now has 20 retail locations. In 2021, Max’s oldest grandson, Wilson Reiser, took over as Winans’ CEO.
The tour began in the candy kitchen. Snyder explained the process of adding invertase to chocolate-covered cherries to break down the sugar, making the cherry more sweet and “liquidy” as time goes by. “This is one of the few candies you don’t want to eat right off the enrobing line!” Snyder explained.
While watching the enrobing line in action, Snyder explained the use of lecithin and the tempering process. Food science at its best! “Lecithin is used an emulsifier to keep the butter from separating, to allow the product to be poured and keep shape on our tables. Each morning we go through a process of lowering the temperature of the chocolate quickly, then raising it back up to the correct temperature to work with. We have to maintain the temperature throughout the day. We run about 500 pounds of finished product per line each day, so we are constantly adding in untempered warm chocolate to the enrobing lines. We want to align the crystals in the chocolate so it is glossy and not out of temper.”
Snyder also pointed out the chocolate wheel that moves each type of candy past a worker who is filling boxes of assorted chocolates. She explained that the company orders their packaging from a Cleveland manufacturer and talked about the jobs involved in the packaging and design side of the business.