State of the Industry event shines a light on confectionery success

For the past few days in Florida, the US confectionery sector has gathered to celebrate its resilience in the face of challenging times on a global level.

It’s certainly been an eventful conference indeed, lifting the lid on a host of key topics that ranged from analysis of the industry’s performance over the past year, underlying market trends, through to sustainability of the sector in terms of how companies are addressing supply chain issues including responsible cocoa sourcing tackling issues of deforestation and child labour.

From the outset, NCA’s president and CEO John Downs gave a notably upbeat assessment of the industry in his keynote address, fully justified by the industry’s performance statistics over the past year that showed key growth across the sector.

Undoubtedly, while there are clear positives to be taken from recent times, key tests remain in the form of logistics issues and rising costs in raw ingredients, which will require a good deal of agility from businesses to navigate – which are clearly wider global matters impacting on all spheres of business.

Moreover, there were also strong insights into how the industry is evolving its infrastructure in terms of diversifying its workforce, with sessions on women’s empowerment within companies – against a backdrop of the fact that presently around only 25% of people in management roles are female.

Another highlight came in the form of keynote speaker Jason Dorsey’s take on how to reach out to younger ‘generation z’ audiences, in which he underlined the high value of ensuring companies directly engage with those under 30 on their terms on social media and digital platforms that they frequently inhabit as a central part of their daily lives.

Notably, there was also a  headline announcement of Sweets and Snacks Expo moving to a new home from 2024, alternating between Indianapolis and Las Vegas, with Chicago seeing out its 25th anniversary celebrations this year as a venue and a further show there next year before its new format takes shape.

It’s certainly been a privilege covering the conference, which has proved particularly memorable for the sheer enthusiasm and passion shown by its 600-strong audience of industry leaders, who fully embraced the chance to exchange ideas and hopes for further improved fortunes during the remainder of 2022.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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