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Caobisco welcomes its first female president

This month has seen Mary Barnard, president of Mondelēz International’s European chocolate division appointed as Caobisco’s first female president.

It’s a move that is being heralded as a positive step forward for the confectionery and biscuit trade association in terms of diversifying at senior management level, as it continues to represent EU countries on a raft of major industry legislation.

Some of the new president’s first tasks are likely to feature examining a response to the demand for healthier products across all food sectors, with confectionery being no exception.

It’s a challenge the market has some ground to make up on in terms of reducing sugar in product ranges – which, with a few exceptions, is a task which is posing a considerable test.

As far as the UK is concerned, Public Health England set a goal of reducing sugar content by 20% over the next two years, which will be a tough target to comply with in reformulating a host of products without compromising flavour.

This is far from the only issue on the horizon for Caobisco over the coming months, with trade concerns continuing to come to fore surrounding the fallout of Brexit, which poses a considerable threat to smooth trading relations according to many senior economists and political observers.

Caobisco so far has offered its hope that an amicable agreement can be made between the UK and EU with  €5 billion a year’s worth of trade at stake within the confectionery, chocolate and fine bakery segment. But with the clock counting down rapidly, it remains to be seen whether a mutual deal can be signed.

Whatever the outcome, Mary Barnard is certainly in for an eventful term in office over the next two years, amid a pattern of considerable wider trading uncertainty.

Perhaps no greater example of this is the fact Europe has engaged its own new tariffs in response to America’s recently revised policy on a number of product areas.

So far it appears confectionery, which already has comparatively high import fees to the US, has not been unduly affected. But in this climate of unpredictability, it seems anything is possible.

Please keep in touch at nbarston@bellpublishing.com or via social media at nbarston@confectionprod

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