These fascinating factory tours certainly provide some food for thought.
MailOnline Travel has scoured the world to find some of the food companies that allow visitors to catch a glimpse of how their products are made, from peanut butter to parmesan and from candy to crisps.
Graze your way down to see some of the food factory tours that promise to get your taste buds tingling…
Golden Gate Fortune Cookies, San Francisco
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is open Monday to Saturday to visitors
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory has been making fortune cookies by hand since 1962.
The factory is open to visitors Monday to Saturday. During tours, workers reveal how they make up to 10,000 fortune cookies a day, baking the crisp and sugary cookies on a cast iron rotating griddle wheel.
The family-run factory produces unique flavours including strawberry and green tea and visitors can order custom messages to appear as ‘fortunes’ inside the cookies.
Jelly Belly, California
During a tour of Jelly Belly’s main plant, visitors can indulge in free samples and take a self-guided tour along an elevated 2.5-mile walkway
Jelly Belly beans first appeared on the shelves of candy stores in the summer of 1976. They are now sold internationally. It takes seven to 21 days to make a single Jelly Belly bean and across its factories, the company can produce 46,000 kilos of Jelly Belly beans in a day, or 347 beans a second.
The candy company is based in Fairfield, California, with a second manufacturing facility in North Chicago, Illinois, and a distribution centre in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. There is also a factory in Thailand that helps supply Europe.
During a tour of the main plant in California, visitors can indulge in free samples and take a self-guided tour along an elevated 2.5 mile-walkway that provides a bird’s-eye view of the entire operation.
Ben & Jerry’s, Vermont
Factory tours at Ben & Jerry’s last for 30 minutes and visitors get a sneak peek of how the ice cream brand’s wacky and wonderful flavours are made
After taking a $5 remote learning course in ice cream-making with Penn State University and a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of it borrowed), Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont.
They went on to build their first factory in 1985, which is located 30 minutes away in Waterbury, and it remains the main factory to this day. Its tours attract fans from all over the world.
Factory tours last for 30 minutes and visitors get a sneak peek of how the ice cream brand’s wacky and wonderful flavours including Cherry Garcia, Phish Food and Cookie Dough, are made. Waterbury can produce up to 300,000 pints of ice cream a day.
Pez candy, Connecticut
There are self-guided tours running at the Pez candy factory throughout the week
Pez Candy was invented in Vienna, Austria, by Eduard Haas III as an alternative to smoking. The name Pez comes from the German word for peppermint, ‘PfeffErminZ’ taking the P from the first letter, E from the middle and Z from the last letter to form the word Pez. The original rectangular-shaped dispenser held 12 pieces of candy -the same number as today.
In 1952, Pez landed in the U.S. and the main factory was opened in Orange, Connecticut, in 1973. Due to the candy’s popularity, a visitors centre opened in 2011 with more than 4,000 square feet dedicated to the sweet treat.
There are self-guided tours running at the factory throughout the week, with visitors able to peek into the production areas and watch the goods being packaged up. Videos also reveal how the patented Pez dispenser is made.
Cape Cod Chips, Massachusetts
On July 4, 1980, Steve Bernard and his brother, Jude made their dream of making crunchy, healthy potato chips a reality.
They set up a small storefront in Hyannis, Massachusetts, where their chips quickly became a local favourite and they started selling further afield from Canada to the Mid-Atlantic.
In 1985 they opened their doors to the public and the free factory tours remain popular today. Visitors can see the whole chip-making process from potato to bag and the tour ends at the gift shop where free samples are dished out.
Tabasco sauce, Louisiana
The Tabasco sauce factory is open to visitors, with the $5.50 tours including stops at the pepper greenhouse, barrel warehouse, salt mine, and the bottling plant
Tabasco sauce was the brainchild of Edmund McIlhenny who lived on Avery Island, Louisiana, and was looking for a way to spice up the bland food he found in the region.
He launched his pepper sauce in 1868 labelling it ‘Tabasco’ – a word of Mexican Indian origin believed to mean ‘place where the soil is humid’ or ‘place of the coral or oyster shell’ – and in 1870, he secured a patent with sales spreading across the U.S. and to Europe.
The company is still family-owned and Avery Island is open to visitors with the $5.50 factory tours including stops at the pepper greenhouse, barrel warehouse, salt mine, and the bottling plant. Fans will also see how the condiment – made simply from red peppers, salt and high-quality distilled vinegar – is carefully blended for the perfect injection of heat.
Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory in Hawaii has a visitors centre and guests can take self-guided tours of the processing plant
Hawaii-based Mauna Loa is one of the world’s largest processor of macadamia nuts, with a seasonal capacity of around 40 million pounds of macadamias.
The company takes its name from the Mauna Loa volcano and its headquarters and main processing plant are near the mountain, on the island of Hawaii, known as the Big Island.
On the site, there is a visitors centre and guests can take self-guided tours of the processing plant from an elevated walkway. In the gift shop there are free samples of every flavour sold by the company including honey roasted, coffee glazed and onion and garlic.
Parma ham, Italy
Salumificio Conti in Parma gives tours of its factory showing how its cured hams are made (stock image)
Dry-cured ham producer Salumificio Conti, which is located in Parma, Italy, runs tours of its factory seven days a week.
During the guided tours, visitors learn the processes involved in the making of the sweet Prosciutto di Parma ham and other cured meats.
Highlights include a stop in the refrigerated salting rooms and a walk through the cellars, where according to the Salumificio Conti website, ‘you will be surrounded by thousands of perfumes’. To top things off there is a tasting after the tour, with breadsticks, wine and water also offered.
Huy Fong’s Sriracha sauce, California
Around 3,000 bottles of Huy Fong’s Sriracha chilli sauce are produced an hour and free tours of the California plant are available
Huy Fong’s Sriracha chilli sauce has become a world favourite after being invented in 1980 by Vietnamese refugee David Tran, who fled with his family to the U.S.
Today the factory in Irwindale, California, produces around 3,000 bottles an hour, 24 hours a day, six days a week.
The 650,000-square-foot production plant is open to visitors, with free tours available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The website states that each tour is ‘an extraordinary, fun, mind-blowing, personable experience that will leave you amazed and humbled to understand the hard work and dedication behind the production of the rooster sauce, awesome sauce, Sriracha sauce!’
Boudin Bakery, San Francisco
Visitors watch bakers make sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery in San Francisco
Boudin Bakery is one of San Francisco’s oldest continuously operating businesses and it was established in 1849.
Today, the firm still bakes its famed sourdough fresh every day using the same mother dough cultivated from a gold miner’s sourdough starter.
The factory offers a museum and bakery tour, which reveals the art and science behind sourdough. A 40-foot long catwalk inside the museum gives visitors an aerial view into the factory, where they can watch the bakers at work.
Pic’s Peanut Butter, New Zealand
Pic’s Peanut Butter World opened last year allowing fans to visit the production plant
Pic’s Peanut Butter was founded in 2007 and is now New Zealand’s best-selling peanut butter with it shipped all over the world.
Last year the company opened Pic’s Peanut Butter World allowing fans to visit the production plant and watch the spread being made via viewing platforms. The website states that there is an opportunity to ‘marvel at strange machinery’, inhale fresh-roasted nuts’ and ‘sample our award-winning peanut butter’.
Visitors can also have a crack at making their own peanut butter or another spread of their choice, from almond to cashew.
Smoked salmon, Sussex
Springs’ Smokery started in 1964 as a family-run business in the UK’s South Downs National Park.
Today the business still relies on traditional methods to smoke its fish, using the original brick kilns and locally-sourced oak. No flavourings, colourings or brines are used during the process.
The small production plant is open to visitors and there are guided tours run by the head smoker with a cafe to sample the goods in afterwards. Along with salmon, there is a spread of other fish on the menu including haddock, kippers and mackerel.
Parmigiano Reggiano, Italy
There are guided visits at the Bertinelli Dairy in Parma, Italy, with tastings at the end
The Bertinelli Dairy in Parma, Italy, has been producing Parmigiano Reggiano since 1895 using the milk from its own cows.
The business, located between Noceto and Medesano, is available for guided visits every day by reservation. The visit, which lasts about 60 minutes, covers all stages of production and includes a stop at the ageing room which is home to more than 7,000 wheels of cheese.
It ends with a tasting of the finished product with one hard cheese aged to 15 months, another to 24 months and the ripest one being 36 months. If you get to the dairy early, between 7.30am and 8.30am, you can watch the cheese-makers in action to see exactly how the hard blocks are formed.
Snyder’s Pretzels, Pennsylvania
There are free tours offered at the Snyder’s of Hanover factory in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The company specialises in German traditional pretzels
Snyder’s of Hanover, founded in 1909, is a snack food company based in Hanover, Pennsylvania, specialising in German traditional pretzels. Its products are shipped all over the world, with different variations including gluten-free, chocolate covered and hot buffalo wing flavour.
There are free tours offered at the main factory. On the guided walk, visitors are shown the raw material warehouse, the oven room and a ‘state of the art packing room’ with robots in action.
The 30-minute tour starts and ends at the factory store where free bags of pretzels are handed out at the finish.
East Riding Country Pork in Yorkshire offers a Pork Sausage Experience with visitors given a comprehensive tour of its sausage-making facility.
The two-hour tour includes a lesson on how the business’ products are produced from field to fork, with stops at the on-site butcher and farm shop.
There is also a demonstration of how to tie a line of sausages and then everyone is given the opportunity to make and link their own sausages – all of which they can later take home.