Interview by Jenny Mero

(FORTUNE Magazine) - Jesse Kiefer, 44, Cadbury Schweppes (at right)

SOME DAYS I don't blow any bubbles. Other days I have to blow a lot. It depends on what stage we are in the project. A piece of gum weighs just one to seven grams, but it's packed with a lot of different technology. It has to deliver a burst of flavor, a lot of sweetness, and a lot of tartness if it's a fruit gum. Our team figures out how to combine all those. For example, Trident Splash Strawberry With Lime--it's not easy to pick lime and strawberry flavors that complement each other. If you go back ten years ago, chewing gums may have lasted ten to 12 minutes before you noticed the flavor was diminished. We're doing about 20 to 35 minutes today. When we work on the gum in its raw form, sometimes we use a hatchet to chop it up. I did my graduate work as a chemical engineer, and I started out working on detergent and soaps. But with gum there's just so many flavors! I find the job very stimulating. I've had only one cavity since I started here. -- Interview by Jenny Mero Top of page