The Darker Side of Jelly Beans

Investigating the Future of Candy was a trip for us. We got to visit the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California, named the "Best Factory Tour in America" by Readers Digest in 2005.

Jelly Belly President Bob Simpson showed us the portraits of Ronald and Nancy Reagan made out of jelly beans. He showed us how to mix and match beans to create even more flavors than they already have — e.g., one coconut and one lemon equal lemon meringue. And he talked about flavors that never made it, like spaghetti sauce jelly beans.

On a darker note, he brought us to the area of the floor reserved for "Belly Flops," the sad, deformed jelly beans that will never make it to consumers. I felt terrible staring at the mutant beans, some bloated or scarred, others discolored or sickly pale. I tugged at Bob's sleeve. Maybe the "Belly Flops" could be rehabbed, I chirped. You know, melted and reshaped into beans people would welcome into their mouths!

Bob bowed his head and said nothing. He didn't need to.

At Harvard things got especially future-y … and personal. It was here that Professor David Edwards showed us his invention of inhalable chocolate, called Le Whif.

As someone who has never smoked pot (and my mother is Colombian!) I couldn't wait to take a hit of Le Whif. It just felt so illicit … for a person who's never been baked. I found it pretty darn satisfying. (In the video you'll hear former NY Times Dining Critic Frank Bruni's take on Le Whif after we toke up.)

If you any thoughts or speculations on the Future of Candy, let us know. Enjoy.

Watch this week's "Tomorrow Show."

For more info:

The Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of the European Union (Caobisco)
Dylan's Candy Bar
International Confectionary Association
Jelly Belly
Le Whiff
Mother Murphy's Laboratories
National Confectioners Association