Green chocolate? - Investigating the sustainable development of chocolate manufacturing in a laboratory-based undergraduate engineering course

Alexander Vincent Struck Jannini, Mary Staehle, Joseph Francis Stanzione, Christian Michael Wisniewski

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


An undergraduate, interdisciplinary engineering project was designed to introduce students to concepts of food engineering, specifically, chocolate manufacturing, and to how this area can benefit from studies in sustainability, sustainable development, and social awareness. The intended outcome of the semester-long project was to provide students with the necessary tools to solve engineering problems holistically, including the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of their manufacturing solutions, processes, and products. Eighty-nine interdisciplinary freshman engineering students were introduced to the manufacturing methods of chocolate production through experiments that investigated variability, mass balances, and energy balances. The cost of raw goods and energy, along with the social implications of chocolate manufacturing, were also discussed and analyzed. The final deliverable of the project was a chocolate truffle product with emphasis being placed on energy requirements, ingredient prices, health benefits, and the social impact of the cocoa beans used in the manufacturing process. Students then presented their chocolate truffles as if they were pitching their product to a chocolate manufacturing plant management team. In this case, the management panel consisted of professors teaching the course who inquired about the product and its relevance to the fields listed above. To assess learning and social awareness, pre- and post-tests were administered. The results indicate that the course was effective in enhancing student knowledge and awareness of the social and environmental implications of chocolate manufacturing.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Volume122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for Society
Issue number122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Making Value for...
StatePublished - 2015
Event2015 122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Seattle, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2015Jun 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering

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