Ever wish you could get paid for inventing and taste-testing snacks? Well, that’s Mike Connolly’s job! As part of our Research & Development team, he’s been making cookies and crackers for us for over 30 years. What’s he been up to lately? He helped lead the team that invented our latest snack innovation: Goldfish Mega Bites—the bigger, cheesier reboot of the classic Goldfish, made specifically for adults!
His love for science and food are what led him to his career making baked goods and snacks. Now Mike leads a team of 20 snack-obsessed people who create and perfect our cookies and crackers.
“My favorite thing is walking down the supermarket aisles and seeing the food I helped make on the shelf.” – Mike Connolly, Senior Director, Cookies & Crackers, Campbell Snacks
“My favorite thing is walking down the supermarket aisles and seeing the food I helped make on the shelf.”
To expand the reach of the beloved brand, Mike and the team set out to make a bigger Goldfish cracker, with a sharp aged cheddar taste that would become instantly craveable for kids and adults alike.
They also wanted a light, flaky texture so Mike’s team spent a lot of time figuring out the perfect size to get it just right. They ultimately landed on a cracker that was 50% larger than our regular Goldfish.
As for the bigger and bolder flavor, our flavorists–including Dave Gera, Senior Program Manager, Research & Development–came up with two mega flavors: Sharp Cheddar and Cheddar Jalapeno. The perfected flavors with a hint of salt makes these cheesy crackers our cheesiest yet.
“Cheddar was a no-brainer, it’s what we’re known for. Cheddar Jalapeno came from our snacking trends research—people want bolder flavors, something savory and spicy.” – Dave Gera, Senior Program Manager, Research & Development
“Cheddar was a no-brainer, it’s what we’re known for. Cheddar Jalapeno came from our snacking trends research—people want bolder flavors, something savory and spicy.”
Once a snack is created, the next step is partnering with our bakeries to make sure they’re perfect. For testing, our Research & Development team brought Goldfish Mega Bites to our bakery in Willard, Ohio. The Willard bakery—known as the Goldfish capitol of the world—operates 24/7 making over 50 million Goldfish a day!
The team at Willard—from the AM, PM, and Night Owl shifts—worked to fine tune and optimize the production of Goldfish Mega Bites so we can make the crackers on a mega scale. From our employees on the production floor to our team members running the ovens to those working in commercialization, quality, maintenance, engineering, and shipping—every single employee at Willard played a role in making the Goldfish Mega Bites a successful launch.
“The employees here in Willard are very passionate about Goldfish and strive for the best in all they do. They have a lot of pride in every bag of Goldfish we ship out of here.” – Jerry Kreider, Plant Manager, Willard, Ohio
“The employees here in Willard are very passionate about Goldfish and strive for the best in all they do. They have a lot of pride in every bag of Goldfish we ship out of here.”
The launch of Goldfish Mega Bites was a huge collaborative effort made possible by connecting employees from across our Campbell Snacks team.
“It’s never one person when you’re setting out to create the next best thing,” said Mike. “You have to be open to other inputs to build upon the idea. We landed on a better snack because of the collaboration and creativity from the entire team.”
Want to get your hands on this mega innovation? Goldfish Mega Bites are in stores now.
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