Meet The Chocolate Scientist Who Literally Has The Sweetest Job In The World!

If you had to pick the coolest job title in the world, it would Chocolate Scientist. Hands Down. The title itself almost sounds like a fantasy job, straight of the Willy Wonka factory, right?! Well as it turns out, the job is real, and it is already taken.

Meet Lizzy Dinsdale, who is the Chocolate Scientist for Mars Wrigley, who are the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints and fruity confections. Lizzy is the woman behind many of the UK’s favourite and most iconic sweets. As part of the Mars Wrigley team (the people behind treats including Maltesers, Galaxy, Mars and M&Ms), Lizzy contributes to Mars’ chocolatery and confectionery creations in both the UK and across the globe. 

Lizzy has been at Mars for 11 years, joining the company’s graduate scheme after university. After a brief stint in Australia, where she invented Hot Cross Bun M&M’S for Easter, Lizzy has returned to the UK and is leading the charge on Mars Wrigley’s latest creations, such as the Triple Treat.

In a bid to continue the conversation about the need for more women and girls in STEM fields, we had a chance to speak with Lizzy during International Day of Women and Girls in Science (12th February), to learn more about her role at the company, what it takes to be a chocolate scientist, future of the chocolate industry – from flavors, products and the increased focus on health and wellbeing offerings, and what her fave chocolate bar is!

Mars Wrigley Chocolate Scientist Lizzy Dinsdale

You have a fabulous job! Where did your career begin and how did you find yourself working at Mars Wrigley? 

I really enjoyed maths and science at school and went on to study mathematics at university. I also loved cooking, baking and food product development but once I started my maths degree, I wasn’t sure if that career route was possible anymore. 

However, I soon learnt about Mars’ Research & Development Leadership Experience graduate programme. The great thing about Mars is that you can have a 2:1 degree in any science-related subject, so I didn’t need to have a Food Science background. I quickly applied and that’s where is all began. 

During my first few years on the graduate scheme, I worked across different teams throughout the Mars business, from packaging, process implementation and even in our pet food division. I then moved into product innovation where I worked across our major brands at Mars Wrigley such as Mars, Snickers, M&M’S, and Twix, looking at new and exciting ways chocolate fans can enjoy their favourite treats. 

Today, I have a more global role as Principal Scientist in Chocolate Product Innovation. I largely explore and research what the future of chocolate will look like in different countries around the world. But I’m not just focused on the chocolate trends of today, my job involves thinking about how people will be enjoying chocolate and confectionery in the next three years and beyond! 

You are a chocolate scientist, which sounds like the coolest job in the world! What does it entail, exactly?

Yes, I’ve been working as a chocolate scientist at Mars for over 11 years, so I think it’s quite cool too! 

Every day is different but essentially, I conduct research around trends and what consumers are looking for and then this will influence an idea for a new product. From there I’ll write the recipe, work out how everything is going to look and most importantly ensure it tastes delicious. To do this, I spend a lot of time in the labs working with ingredients to come up with a range of possible solutions and recipes. The key goal is to take something I have made in the lab by hand and mass produce it for everyone to enjoy – without losing all the attributes I’ve designed. 

What is your fave type of chocolate, or will you get in trouble for playing favorites? 

This is a tricky question…I am a big fan of all the amazing treats we make at Mars Wrigley – it helps to be surrounded by them every working day. However, my favourite chocolate is Twix because you can’t beat a Twix in the afternoon with a cup of tea!

You have a pretty unique role in the world of STEM, how do you use this platform to encourage more women and girl to enter the field? 

I’m really lucky at Mars because when I look around the business, I see women at all levels, all on different career paths. There’s a lot of women acting as role models and mentors. As I go through my career, I try to use every opportunity I can to also be a mentor for those starting out and encourage more people into the field. 

I’d love to also use this opportunity to encourage anyone interested in science subjects – whatever that may be – to just go for it. Don’t feel judged by anyone or believe that there are careers for men and careers for women. It’s an incredibly rewarding job and there are so many avenues for women and girls to succeed in brilliant careers in STEM. The industry is only growing so you just have to go for it. 

The STEM world is growing so fast. Why is diversity important in the hiring process? 

It’s so important in STEM to have different perspectives on every project. Diversity of gender, culture and background in the room gives a team the best chance of success. 

You worked in Australia at one point, inventing Hot Cross Bun M&M’s! What was the reaction to this product? 

In Australia I worked on seasonal and gifting products, so all those chocolate treats you enjoy at Easter and Christmas. It’s a super fun area as people typically want something a bit more special. That’s where the inspiration behind the Hot Cross Bun M&M’S came from, as it’s such a traditional and unique Easter flavour. 

It was a huge success and the Aussies loved it – was so exciting to see lots of news about the new flavour and it was flying off shelves. While it’s not set to be available in the UK, there’s many egg-cellent Easter treats for Brits to enjoy this year. 

Can you tell us about the future of the chocolate industry, especially given the explosion of healthy alternatives in the global market? 

Yes, a big focus of mine has been on health and wellbeing. Last year I worked across our new Triple Treat range which was really exciting. The high in fibre, fruit and nut Triple Treat is available in four variants – Snickers, Mars, Galaxy and Bounty. My team spent thousands of hours working on every minute detail of the bars – from the chewy caramel in the malt-infused Mars Triple Treat, to the crunchy roasted nuts on the Snickers variant, every aspect has been carefully developed with great taste at front of mind. We can certainly expect to see more of this innovation in the coming years. 

What are some of the most popular treats in the UK, and globally, that Mars Wrigley makes? 

Some of iconic brands include Mars, Snickers, Maltesers, Galaxy, Twix, Skittles and Starbursts. 

For someone reading this who wants to one day walk the same path you have, what advice would you give them? 

Take every opportunity that comes your way and remember that the field is STEM is very varied and exciting. There’s bound to be something to align with everyone’s passions, be it coding and IT or experimenting with chocolate every day. 

Get familiar with more women in STEM fields that we’ve previously featured, by clicking HERE.

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