World Confectionery Conference set to showcase sector’s brightest talents

With a wealth of specialists exploring major developments across sweets, snacks and bakery markets, our debut virtual World Confectionery Conference holds some exciting prospects, as editor Neill Barston reports

The final countdown for our World Confectionery Conference is in full flow for what we are anticipating will prove a highly memorable sector showcase. Drawing together some of the industry’s most experienced professionals, our virtual event’s arrival on 1 June, as the market seeks to drive recovery in 2021 is especially timely.

Clearly, the past year amid the coronavirus crisis has posed significant challenges right across the industry, there are numerous tales of success amid adversity that should rightly be celebrated. Significantly, one of the main drivers of our industry’s recent upturn has been witnessed with consumers desire for nostalgic and indulgent treats to see them through testing times.

However, there have been other standout trends including a key rise in health and wellness ranges, resulting in the emergence of a greater array of functional sweets and snacks. These matters along with core issues as sustainability within supply chains and manufacturing will be explored more fully during our day-long conference.

Among its focal points, our virtual showcase features keynote presentations from leading international organisations, Innova Market Insights, with analyst Myrthe de Beukelaar, and also food and nutrition research specialist Natalia Theofilopoulou, of Euromonitor, shedding light on major industry trends.

Experienced line-up

For our debut event, other headline speakers include Aldo Cristiano, president of CAOBISCO, the European Chocolate, biscuits and confectionery trade association, as well as Fairtrade cocoa specialist Jon Walker, and Confectionery Production board member Andy Baxendale, known as ‘The Sweet Consultant.’ Our speaker programme also has plenty of other notable industry individuals, including Richard Horsley, sales director for global ingredients group Fruits by Jahncke.

Moreover, Lasse Kolding Sørensen, of Danish-based Palsgaard, is set to discuss its latest emulsifier series for confectionery and bakery ranges that are continuing to make their mark. Also from the region, Finland’s Valio will be showcasing its latest offerings through its senior research scientist, Terhi Aaltonen.

Furthermore, flavours and fragrances come under the microscope, as Givaudan offers its view on influential developments.

Meanwhile, Italian-based packaging specialists, Cama, will be represented by Cristian Sala, sales executive manager, alongside testimonials from ICAM chocolate confectionery business (from plant production director Antonello Ercole and its vice president Plinio Agostoni).

Also within the confectionery market, Paul Morris, international sales executive for Luker Chocolate places a spotlight on its activities, which include a strong ethical production emphasis. For his part, Syntegon’s Christoph Langohr, project manager sustainability for flow wrapping, will be offering further machinery insights.

Other major equipment and systems manufacturers are set to feature including Baker Perkins, represented by sales account manager Cameron Gilchrist, as well as Colin Maher, UK, Ireland and Russia manager for equipment firm Minebea intec. Director of research and development, Dr. Tobias Lohmüller represents Germany’s HDM, along with Linda Mather of sister company MacIntyre Chocolate Systems.

As one of our key sponsors, Cargill will be offering a joint presentation from its sector specialists Nathalie De Clercq and Hannah Keenan, as part of an extended presentation.

Mariette Verbruggen, communications director at Cargill, said: “Multi-stakeholder platforms such as the WCF’s Partnership meeting and World Confectionery Conference (WCC) are critical to bringing stakeholders around the table to learn, educate, and share perspectives, as complex issues are not resolved in isolation. “We need to embrace the different roles we play and acknowledge and recognise what we each bring to the table, with the explicit agenda that we all share of working towards a sustainable cocoa sector.”

Furthermore, Belgian-based chocolate machinery business Prefamac will also be playing its part. Managing director Myriam Schepers said: “I am really looking forward to our first sponsorship of the virtual World Confectionery Conference, as it’s Prefamac‘s confirmation that we believe in strong and successful growth for the sector in 2021 and beyond.

“Therefore, the wider industry must invest in that future, and be creative as possible. New green packaging, healthy ingredients, reduced sugar content are all key issues.

“But as well as creating machines requiring less energy, ergonomic construction methods and improved safety features are other factors that can help stimulate innovation.

“Another important element is the creation of flexible machines developed collaboratively to enable customers and machinery producers to be ready for future developments.”

Finally, in parallel with the presentations, the event includes an exhibition element, where visitors will have the chance to explore digital company booths of those on our conference agenda, as well as additional firms such as UK equipment provider BCH.

A welcome from our event director

As Neil McRitchie, conference director explained, our debut event is shaping up very strongly indeed. He added: “Confectionery Production has been published continuously since 1934, and as far as we’re aware this is the first time the magazine has launched an associated event. I guess on reflection we could Event director Neil McRitchie is enthused by the prospect of our first confectionery showcase have picked a better time.

Our original choice of Brussels, Belgium – a city famous for its chocolate – was the ideal location in Europe, but the pandemic then arrived to spoil the plans. “We’ve all had to adjust, but the resilience of the confectionery industry and the great team behind the magazine means we’ve continued to publish and haven’t missed a single issue during the entire pandemic.

“We believe the virtual World Confectionery Conference is a great opportunity in today’s business environment. We have had great support from the industry, and obviously a virtual show was not our first choice, but under the circumstances we feel this is the best way to launch a brand new event for the sector, while keeping everyone safe. “I would like to thank our sponsors Cargill and Prefamac Chocolate Machines who have been with us from the start. We have a great line-up of keynote speakers (see earlier) and there also presentations from Cargill, Cama Group, Paradise Fruits, to mention just a few.

“I would like to thank our hardworking team, particularly Neill Barston the editor of Confectionery Production, and Kyra O’Sheen, our event manager. “Log on on 1 June to experience the live event, and remember once you register, you can view presentations and visit booths till the end of the month. “Have a great show, and hopefully see you next year in Brussels.”

For further details and registration, visit or contact event manager Kyra O’Sheen at [email protected]


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