14 Fascinating Food Factory Facts

Unwrapped 2.0 is about to invade your television sets with a new host, Alfonso Ribeiro, and a new set of behind-the-scenes looks at how your favorite packaged foods get made. In honor of the show's past and future delights, here are 14 fascinating facts in the world of mass food manufacturing. 

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Pop Quiz

Coke uses 300,000 tons of aluminum for its cans every year for the United States market alone. Just how much is that? It's 17.4 percent of what the entire U.S. aluminum industry produces. Foil industry, suck an egg!

Coke Around

Just how many beverages are produced by Coca-Cola? Over 3,500, including bizarre Coke flavors such as green tea and bacon. If you are an adventurer, it would take you more than nine years, downing one drink a day, to taste them all. Somebody needs to do that and start a Tumblr.

Latte Dairy

Starbucks, in addition to being on just about every street corner in America, uses a whole lot of milk to deliver lattes to thirsty customers. All told, the company goes thru 93 million gallons of milk each year. That's enough to fill 155 Olympic-size swimming pools. Someone get an overly caffeinated Michael Phelps on the horn.

How Dairy!

The biggest milk processing plant is run by Arla Foods UK and can process up to 240,000 liters of milk every hour. Running all day at full capacity, they could fill more than 900 Olympic-size pools every year.

(We'll henceforth stop using "Olympic-size pools filled with milk" as a comparison.)

The Hottest Cologne on the Market

The creator of Tabasco, Edmund McIlhenny, was a big fan of recycling and reusing –– so much so that he originally packaged his hot sauce in used cologne bottles. 

Berried Alive

Strawberry flavoring takes some pretty intense science to pull off, with some recipes clocking in at a massive 50 or more chemical ingredients.

See, Weird Extract

They may seem like strange bedfellows, but ice cream and seaweed are actually BFFs. Have you ever noticed an ingredient called "carrageenan" in your favorite packaged ice cream? It's actually seaweed extract.

Best of the Worcest

The ridiculously hard to both spell and pronounce Worcestershire sauce is a staple next to steaks and on sandwiches. The main ingredient? Anchovies, bones and all. The little fishes are soaked in vinegar until fully dissolved. Dip your fries in that one.

Peas to Meet You

Contrary to just about everything you've ever thought, some packaged, frozen items of produce can actually be healthier than their fresh counterparts. This especially pertains to peaches and peas. Why? The produce is picked and frozen at the peak of freshness, and, let's be honest, when you buy a peach at the grocery store it usually tastes like a hardened piece of wood.

Pie Charts

Frozen pizza makers sell more than $4 billion dollars of microwave pies each and every year, and that's just in the U.S. That is an absolute boatload of "it's not delivery; it's DiGiorno" jokes. Also, did you know that there is an actual National Frozen Pizza Institute that keeps track of this stuff? Finally, an important institute!

Clucked Up

Some factories manufacture foods you want to eat, like potato chips and frozen pasta meals. Others, however, stuff entire chickens into cans (as seen on Chopped), bones and all, and sell them as if it's no big thing.

Toy to the World

Who do you think is the world's largest distributor of toys? Wal-Mart? Toys R Us? Nope. It's McDonald's, with one toy included in 20 percent of all sales. So many Happy Meals. So many happyish children.

A Word to the Fries

How does McDonald's get fries to taste, and look, so good? Well, the final stage of their preparation before freezing, is to dip the potato sticks in a sugar bath. So that one guy in middle school who liked to dip his fries in ice cream wasn't that weird after all.

Rolling in Millions 

The world may never know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, but we do know there are around 60 million Tootsie Rolls made each day. 

Further Food Fun

Impress your snack-loving friends by watching Unwrapped 2.0 for more of the amazing processes, great stories and interesting trivia behind the creation of America's favorite snacks.

Unwrapped 2.0

Next Up


With restaurants on both coasts victory on Top Chef and a cookbook on the way the Voltaggio brothers are two of the hottest young chefs in the country. Catch them on the Cooking Channel as they share their tips tricks and recipes for a Thanksgiving feast full of flavor and style.