While M&Ms have famously claimed that a thin candy shell ensures they melt in your mouth rather than your hand, the same can’t be said for chocolate bars, which seem to melt easily within their own packaging. But if Kraft Foods gets its way, the soft, melted candy bar will soon be a distant memory. The company is actively searching for high-tech packaging that will prevent chocolate bars from melting even at temperatures up to 104 degrees.
How? Well, Kraft isn’t exactly sure. The company has put out a DARPA-like call for ideas from packaging companies for methods to produce chocolate bar wrappers that are neither cost-prohibitive or bulky. Specifically, ““Kraft Foods seeks novel materials or approaches to packaging that can protect single serve chocolate bars from medium term exposure to warm ambient conditions. These products frequently experience multiple cycles of exposure to controlled and uncontrolled climates.”Essentially, Kraft wants a thin-film wonder-material that doesn’t cost much more than conventional packaging but that minimizes the onset of natural processes even at really high temperatures. Such a material would not only keep chocolate from being a hard-to-consume mess, but could also discourage white “bloom,” that unappetizing discoloration that occurs when chocolate is stored in sunlight.
It sounds like a lofty goal – perhaps even too much so – but it’s one we can get behind. Aside from trimming costs for Kraft, such novel packaging could cut down on waste across the food packaging industry, which is good for everyone. And given the fact that science suggests it may or may not be (but probably is) getting warmer out there, we’ll need something to keep our future post-lunch Milka bars from liquefying before we can get back to our desks.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.