Key confectionery leaders to explore sector goals at NCA’s State of the Industry Conference

US confectionery leaders are set to assemble in Miami this weekend for the National Confectioners Association’s State of the Industry Conference, placing a critical spotlight on this year’s major market trends and developments, reports Neill Barston.

As a cornerstone of the event, there will be a keynote address from John Downs, NCA president and CEO, exploring opportunities for 2023 and how manufacturers and brands can enhance relationships with retailers, as well as unveiling the State of Treating report offering valuable analysis on regional performance.

Confectionery Production was there to cover last March’s conference, which offered significant insights into how market segments were evolving in the wake of the pandemic, with this year’s event, taking place between 5-7 March, will evaluate seasonal data and explore chocolate and candy consumers and behaviours that drive product development.

In his presentation last year, John Downs noted that US confectionery sales of $36.9 billion are projected to continue on a high growth trend, with the market expected to reach $40 billion by next year, with core brands including Mars, Perfetti Van Melle, Mondelez International, Hershey and Ferrero, all continuing to deliver a consistent stream of innovations for the market.

Carly Schildhaus, public affairs manager for the NCA said: “There’s nothing like the State of the Industry Conference – what we like to call our industry’s family reunion – for learning, building business and connecting and reconnecting with others. We’re excited to welcome everyone back to Florida to continue this fun and productive annual tradition.”

Event Awards

As part of this year’s Miami conference, the NCA will be presenting a number of awards to industry, reflecting the efforts of individuals and manufacturers in continuing to raise the performance of the industry.

Among the accolades will be one presented to Audra Vogler, CEO of Hoffmann Vogler (below), as the 2023 Woman of Influence winner for her services to the sector.

The honour was created by NCA’s Women’s Leadership Group, and recognises its recipient as someone who has demonstrated superior leadership and industry mentorship and has a proven record of growth, success and influence in the confectionery industry.

“Audra’s dedication to mentoring and encouraging women, especially young professionals just getting started in their careers, embodies the spirit of this prestigious honour,” John Downs, NCA president & CEO, said. “Her efforts to help women achieve their goals are inspiring and a proud reflection of the confectionery industry’s commitment to empowering diverse voices.”

Another set of honours are also set to be presented at the event, with Kevin Jenkins and Sharon Montgomery as the recipients of the 2023 Golden Candy Dish and Silver Candy Dish Awards, respectively.

These are presented each year by NCA’s broker community to recognise one broker and one manufacturer who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the fields of confectionery sales, marketing and management. Both recipients are selected based on the candidate’s leadership skills; ability to build relationships and cultivate new business opportunities; and versatility and perseverance through the current challenging business environment.

As the NCA noted, Jenkins, president of Kahler-Senders Group, is receiving the 2023 Golden Candy Dish, recognising a broker industry member who has demonstrated excellence in engaging with the sector. Montgomery, director of sales and marketing at Adams & Brooks, is being honoured with the 2023 Silver Candy Dish, reflecting her achievements within confectionery manufacturing, growing the segment in support of the broker community.


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