Flashback to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, preferably the 1971 version, Violet Beauregarde eats the special gum that creates a roast beef dinner in your mouth and something goes terribly wrong when she reaches dessert. Subtract the bratty children; add in some serious marketing and you have something very close to Lewhif, a new inhalable chocolate and coffee product.

The concept for Lewhif is unique: a product you can suck into your mouth that tastes like chocolate or coffee without all of the calories and bother of chewing food. The problem is an instructional video is needed just to understand how to use the product.

A little graphic on the back of the package is meant to explain how to whiff. Basically in order to use this tampon sized inhaler you have to pull it open it and then put it to your mouth and suck in, but not too much. If you suck in too much, a coughing attack will commence followed by a strange sensation that could be likened to sucking a pixi stick into your mouth.

The how-to-whiff unpleasantness is not the only problem one faces while trying Lewhif. This pixi stick for adults does not exactly melt in your mouth as you are inhaling it, which is probably what causes the excessive coughing and gritty mouth feel. The flavor is good. It tastes like chocolate. Placing cocoa powder in your mouth would also taste like chocolate and would definitely be cheaper than the two euro being charged for Lewhif.

It is unfortunate that the end result of Lewhif was almost as fun as using my dad’s asthma inhaler, because the concept behind the product was rather enlightening. David Edwards, a professor of Biomedical Engineering at Harvard University, conceived of the idea for inhalable food while chatting with a chef in Bordeaux, France.

Edwards said in an email interview that he felt if scientists could cause particles from medicines and vaccines to land in someone’s lungs and not their mouth then they could probably do the reverse causing food particles to be inhaled into someone’s mouth and not hit their lungs. After some experiment, he created Lewhif.

The chocolate variety of the product was released first, and according to Edwards, was very well received in France. Not surprisingly Edwards claimed women were a very large market for the product. Most women want to believe in one calorie chocolate. If they knocked it down a little in price teenagers would probably be all over the fake inhaler pseudo drug look.

There are times when brilliant concepts don’t exactly yield tasty results. Fake sugar, margarine, and Cheese Whiz are prime examples. Cheese from a can was a doomed idea from the start, but in all of those cases fewer calories and a new way of enjoying an old favorite resulted in compromised taste and usability.

If Lewhif is the future of food, then I hope Willy Wonka starts selling that gum, because food needs a more impressive future. Turning into a blueberry can’t be all that bad.

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2 Responses

  1. Andy

    Totally agree! I tried this product and it is all hype and no substance – like air.
    I expected more from Harvard. In fairness, though, I looked closer and the inventor isn’t a real Harvard prof, more of a wannabe.


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