The Aggie Chocolate Factory opened in November 2018 and is appropriately named after the students at Utah State University (Aggies). The College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at the university felt that the students needed an operating facility that would allow them to explore the industry in the best way possible so that students could get hands-on experience and develop expertise that they can only achieve from working in the field. This way, students have been able to understand the benefits and rewards of the industry whilst also identifying and working through challenges they may face.
“The mission of the Aggie Chocolate Factory is to provide teaching, research, and outreach opportunities to students, faculty, the community, and chocolate producers. We strive to provide exceptional opportunities for all to learn about chocolate and its production with attention to quality, safety, sustainability, and efficiency in a professional and collaborative working environment.”
– Aggie Chocolate Factory
The chocolate factory takes a bean to bar approach which means that students work throughout the value chain, allowing students from a variety of disciplines to work with the factory. This includes students from subject such as agriculture, food science, sustainability, business management and marketing. Dr Silvana Martini is the Food Science professor that directs the program, using it to teach students about the history of chocolate, and the social and ethical issues that the industry has faced.
Most of the machinery used at the factory was donated by industry specialists, and this includes DT&G. As Aggies produce small-batch chocolates we felt our Micro coater would best suit their needs. It works as a great solution for table-top producers, researchers and product designers. This is unique to other DT&G Finn coating machines as it offers a hands-on experience with manual chocolate application. As food safety is a main theme of Food Science research, the Thermodrive Belts were the perfect hygiene standard for their research.
Since we sent Aggie Chocolate Factory a Micro Coating machine they have been working on some new products, including chocolate peanuts. On Sunday, Utah State University played University of Colorado in a football match, providing the perfect setting to launch their new chocolate Peanuts. From what we’ve heard, they went down a treat! And to top it all off, Utah won the match.
It is a great privilege to be asked to be involved with universities as we get to witness the innovative creations and industry solutions that young minds and specialists are developing. We look forward to seeing what the Aggies create next and wish them all the luck in their Chocolate making endeavours.