Mars Wrigley’s Anton Vincent gains NCA’s distinguished service award

Anton Vincent, president of Mars Wrigley, emerged with a distinguished Service Award this week from the National Confectioners Association, presented at the State of the Industry Conference, reports Neill Barston.

The accolade recognises  individuals who have worked to make a positive and lasting impact on the sweets and snacks industry, with the US trade organisation noting his contribution to supporting the industry within America.

Confectionery Production was on hand to catch the awards ceremony in Miami Florida this week, which also saw a lifetime achievement award being bestowed upon Ross Born (below), of the Just Born confectionery group, for his services to the industry over many decades.

Accepting his award, Anton Vincent said: “In order to help the world tomorrow, we have to do business right today. All 130,000 of us at Mars are singularly focused on that concept. We try to bring it to ourselves, and how we work with our customers, and how work with partners.

He added: “We are proud to be in the happiness business – snacks, treats, dogs and kids, it can’t get much better than that,” adding that he believed that the Always A Treat Campaign had been a genuine first of its kind achievement.

“We did some research back in 2017, and our consumers said they wanted something different – different options and choices. So together with the NCA, we got together with fellow manufacturers and we listened to consumers to work together as an industry. With our partners, we approached the marketplace with a compelling proposition, that we were very committed to and made it happen. I’d like to thank the NCA for that.”

He explained that the business had found itself notably in the spotlight this past month over a high-profile story on the Introduction of ‘spokescandies’ for its M&M’s brand, which he said attracted a huge 25 billion social media impressions, which he said was reflective of the wider power of the industry. As such, he said that such extremely high engagement levels meant that it had a responsibility to listen to its consumer base in shaping its activities.

Anton is shaping the future of chocolate and candy with his pioneering spirit, demonstrating that progress in confectionery comes from bravely challenging existing norms,” John Downs, NCA president and CEO, said. “With leaders like him at the helm of this sector, we can look forward to continued innovation for years to come.”

Notably, under Vincent’s leadership, Mars Wrigley played a pivotal role in the success of the Always A Treat Initiative – a voluntary, five-year commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America for chocolate and candy companies to offer more transparency, choice and portion guidance options to consumers seeking to manage their sugar intake. Mars Wrigley’s investment in R&D, product and packaging innovation and redesigning existing products helped the Initiative exceed set benchmarks for success while establishing the industry as a thought leader in the food policy space.

As the NCA added, in September 2022, Vincent also served as the confectionery industry representative on a panel discussion at Georgetown University focused on a new report,  All Indulgent Products are Not Created Equal. The study finds that chocolate and candy should not be grouped with other indulgent foods and beverages for the purposes of policymaking because they are not purchased or consumed the same way as other foods.

Furthermore, since joining Mars, Vincent has led one of the world’s largest and most loved consumer brand portfolios that includes iconic brands like M&M’S, Snickers, Orbit, Extra and Skittles. Anton also leads the cross-segment Regional Presidents Council (RPC) and is the principal Mars leadership voice for industry and regulatory matters in the US.

NCA appointment

In the wake of organising the State of the Industry Conference, the NCA has confirmed that Tony Jacobs, president of Bazooka Candy Brands, will assume the role of Chair of the NCA Board of Trustees for a two-year term.

He most recently served as Vice Chair and will take over for departing NCA Board Chair Barry Rosenbaum, president of Nassau Candy Distributors.

“Tony’s keen understanding of policy and politics, and his knowledge of the industry make him an incredibly effective thought leader for our industry,” John.

I” am honoured to take on this role to advocate on behalf of hundreds of confectionery companies and the nearly 58,000 American workers they employ,” Tony Jacobs, president of Bazooka Candy Brands, said. “In a challenging environment, our industry remains strong and vibrant as consumers, now more than ever, want treats in their lives. I look forward to working with the NCA membership and staff to ensure the continued strength of this cherished industry.”

Jacobs served as the association’s political action committee chair and was instrumental in building an effective and successful CandyPAC. Prior to leading Bazooka Candy Brands, Jacobs worked for more than a decade in marketing roles at Nabisco, Unilever and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. A native of New Jersey, Jacobs earned his B.A. in political science from The George Washington University and an M.B.A. from The Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.


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