The production of Life Savers begins with the selection of flavors. Before any candies are produced, a team of chemists develops the artificial flavoring for the candy. There are three steps in this process: 1. Selecting a unique flavor to reproduce 2. Determining any previous formulas 3. Combining chemicals and beginning flavor testing. During the first phase, the company determines what flavors would be popular, which may taste the best and which have the best authenticity (closest to the real fruit or food). This is handled through a process of in-house testing among a random sample of people, as well as voting by existing customers. Next, any previous flavors are checked for a close similarity to the intended taste. If a flavor is recognized, it is then on to the third phase of combining the chemicals until the correct flavor is produced.
Creating the Candy Base
After a flavor is determined, the hard candy is produced. Similar to other hard candies, Life Savers are made out of a translucent caramel. The caramel is produced by mixing a food-safe bleach with molten caramel to remove the amber color from the substance. After the color is removed, the caramel is separated into containers for each individual flavor. While still in a molten state, the flavoring for the candy is added. The flavoring and molten candy are mixed together along with sugar and other special (trade secret) ingredients. Once the flavoring and ingredients have been mixed in, the food coloring is added for the specific type of candy.
During the final phase of production, the molten candy is cooled for cutting. First, the candy is stretched into long ropes and placed on a conveyor belt. As the candy solidifies, a machine with blades cuts the candy into its circular shape. The machine cuts at a rapid speed to prevent shattering the candy and ruining the product. Next, the cut candies are dropped into form-fitting trays. Here, the centers of the candies are punched out, creating the candy's unique life preserver shape. After the cutting is performed, the candy is imprinted with the Life Savers logo. To finish the candy, the various flavors are dropped into a mixing bin where they are sorted for packaging. A machine lines up the candies and slides them into the package. Once the package is filled, the foil wrapper is sealed and the candies are placed into boxes. Finally, the boxes of candy are shrink-wrapped and sent to shipping.