Since arriving in Rhode Island just in time for the Blizzard of ’78, food scientist Demetrios Kazantzis Ph.D. ’82 has never left. “It’s like where I grew up in Northern Greece, close on the water,” he says. “It’s my adopted state.”
Kazantzis has developed more than 100 foods currently on sale, including Tito’s salsas and Buono’s breads. But he’s centered his creativity at Del’s Lemonade, where he first consulted in 1986 and is now head of research and development. The opening challenge: a diet version of its frozen lemonade that didn’t freeze the machines solid, like everything else had. He couldn’t, but he did create a low-cal version, then nine more frozen flavors, bottled drinks, and the company’s best-selling dry mixes.
And finally, a new sweetener came on the market—and he made that soft frozen diet lemonade. “It took me only 25 years,” he laughs, “but I did it.”
Along the way, his tiny lab at Del’s Cranston headquarters has served as a career stepping stone for URI graduates. He’s proud of their accomplishments, although surely none are more on-trend than he. For instance, in collaboration with Narragansett Beer, his next Del’s creation sounds like the hit of the summer: dark cherry shandy.