Early in his job as a food scientist at General Foods Barry Frake ’76, P’06 learned that his bosses wanted a new product for the company’s beverage line, something sugar-free and powdered.
“I had to come up with a combination that would work,” says Frake. That mix of an artificial sweetener, sourced ingredients and the right packaging to preserve it became Crystal Light, which is still on the market, now with two-dozen flavors. “It’s like building a house. If you have the know-how to build it and make it taste really good, it’s a success,” he says.
Since 2012, Frake has been the vice president of research and development for Bimbo, an international food company that is the successor to General Foods. Frake developed a rich stew of projects. He has been called on to enhance the orange flavor of Tang, for instance, and develop a line of fat-free Entenmann’s baked goods. He has seven U.S. patents, shared with the company, for his innovations.
When he was at Bucknell, Frake majored in biology, thinking he might be a doctor. Instead, after graduation, he became a salesperson for a pharmaceutical company near his central New Jersey home — a job he didn’t enjoy. One of his sales stops was at Rutgers University, which had a large food-science department.
“I loved science and loved to eat, so I thought maybe this would be something I would like,” says Frake, who was soon hired by the department as an assistant. He got his graduate degree there before landing the job at General Foods.
“It has been 40 years, and every day I love coming to work,” says Frake, who admits he is not the greatest cook. “But I can squeeze a loaf of bread and tell you when it was baked within the hour.”