Before joining Auntie Anne’s in 2001 as a food scientist, Melanie Auxer, culinary expert, received a bachelor of science degree in food science from Penn State University. She started her career at Wilbur Chocolate Company, where she held the position of a food microbiologist and cocoa applications technologist. She came to Auntie Anne’s in 2001 to serve as food scientist for the research and development department.
Today, she fulfills the role of vice president of food science and technology. She oversees the quality assurance and product development divisions within the company. Her primary focus is ensuring the development of safe, quality products that consumers love, like our new Honey Whole Grain Pretzel.
Q: How do you come up with new recipes? Is it tough to come up with new ideas?
A: Menu innovation is extremely important to Auntie Anne’s. We gain our recipe ideas from many sources ranging from our franchise partners, managers and crewmembers to the guests who come to our counters and our vendor partners. My team is continuously looking at what food trends exist and how we can potentially incorporate these items to our bread based products, dipping sauces or signature beverages. We evaluate new flavors, toppings, proteins, nutritional considerations and preparation techniques to name a few areas.
Q: What do you find unique about the Honey Whole Grain Pretzel?
A: The Honey Whole Grain Pretzel is a great addition to our menu line-up because it is made from a whole grain dough, no white flour and it has a hint of sweetness. The combination makes for a freshly-baked snack that tastes great, and it is also a better-for-you option with a daily serving of whole grains and 300 calories (260 without butter).
Q: Why do you love working with honey?
A: One of the primary reasons I love working with honey is that a little bit of it goes a long way. You don’t need a lot of it to achieve a desired level of sweetness. It is also very functional and with my personal culinary preparations, I’ve used it to make roasting glazes, as well as for achieving a browning color for baked goods and pastries.
Q: Do you have any plans for future honey products?
We’re always coming up with different products to test as menu innovation is a key area for us. Because honey has many beneficial qualities, it is a product that we consider when the opportunity arises.