PMCA’s 74th Annual Production Conference will be held at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center Lancaster, PA. from Monday, April 20 through Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

The PMCA conference is recognized worldwide as a premier technical conference with highly skilled and experienced experts leading all presentations. The program will include live demos, audience tasting samples, a supplier exhibition and plenty of networking opportunities.

PMCA adds two new events this year

PMCA understands how important it is for attendees to get value from travel opportunities. Attendees want to make connections, learn about topics of most interest to them and grow their knowledge and career. So, this year the Program Committee added two more activities to enhance the conference experience.

Supplier Speed Networking

This year, conference attendees can book one-on-one time with supplier companies registered for PMCA Supplier Speed Networking. This new event is a complement to the regular Supplier Show being held Monday, April 20, 2020. Supplier Speed Networking will run Tuesday, April 21, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Commons on Vine room on the lower level of the convention center. Exhibitors can reserve a table for the event and attendees can make appointments with participating companies by contacting the PMCA office or visiting the website. 

Breakout Sessions

Now, attendees at the production conference can choose topics in which they are most interested Tuesday afternoon. PMCA will host nine breakout sessions (two will be repeated), providing attendees the opportunity to learn from session leaders and share ideas with others on similar areas of interest. A schedule of breakouts will be available to all attendees and advance sign-up is not required.

Monday Morning - April 20, 2020

PMCA Student Outreach Committee Update

Carly Meck, R&D Scientist, Blommer Chocolate Company              

The Student Outreach committee chair will provide current highlights of the program and introduce this year’s student participants.

Beyond the Basics Seminar: Centers for Chocolates: Almost Everything You Need to Know

This Beyond the Basics seminar will take attendees on a deeper dive into this important aspect of confectionery. The half-day seminar will feature presentations from experienced industry professionals accompanied by video, live demonstrations and audience tasting samples.

Session Moderator: Nico Tomaselli, Director of R&D, Lindt & Sprüngli USA

Truffles, Centers & Applications

Peter Lind, Innovation & New Product Manager, Lake Champlain Chocolates

This presentation will discuss traditional as well as extended shelf life for truffle-type products from a manufacturer’s R&D perspective. We’ll look at considerations when developing a new flavor of truffle as well as scale-up from benchtop to production. Applications will also be addressed.

Fat-Based Confectionery Fillings

Jeffrey Fine, Technical Consultant, AAK

Filled chocolates, or pralines, are a universal favorite transcending age, geography and culture. The variety of fat-based fillings is only limited by our creativity and imagination. They range from the exotic, indulgent and fanciful to the somewhat ordinary. Fat plays a major role in the sensory attributes and shelf life of filled chocolate articles, and in many ways governs the overall eating experience enjoyed by consumers. This presentation will review the types of fats used for confectionery fillings and their unique functional properties. Special emphasis will be given to the dynamic interaction occurring between the filling fat and shell coating fat, and the impact this interaction has on quality, shelf-life and acceptability.

Fondant-Based & Grained Confections

Randy Hofberger, Consultant, R&D Candy Consultants

Fondant is often used as a graining agent for confections. This presentation will include grained confections, namely, fudges and certain cast creams. In addition to be used as a graining agent, fondant is widely used in as the base for many of our confections such as creams, cordials and mints. Types of fondant will be discussed, as well as types of confections made with fondant. We’ll also review basic processes for cast/deposited candies and hand-roll/extruded/enrobed items, as well as troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting Panel

Moderator: Nico Tomaselli, Director of R&D, Lindt & Sprüngli


Jeffrey Fine, AAK

Zach Freed, AAK

Randy Hofberger, R&D Candy Consultants

Peter Lind, Lake Champlain Chocolates

Presenters will address audience questions on challenges associated with production, applications, shelf life and more. A troubleshooting guide will be provided for attendees to access.

Tuesday - April 21, 2020

Morning Session

Session Moderator, Serena Bitzer, Sr. Operations Business Project Lead, The Hershey Company  

Regulatory Update for the Confectionery Industry 2020
Debra Miller, Senior Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, NCA

In the past year, every level of government, federal, state/local and foreign governments, have issued regulations or programs that will affect the confectionery industry. Over the past year, USDA has released guidance and Q&As regarding the National Bioengineered Food Standard (i.e, the “GMO labeling”). Meanwhile, FDA has issued guidance on allulose and activated its innovation plan which includes modernizing claims, ingredient labels and standards of identity. Also, as of January 1, the revised nutrition facts label is mandatory for most companies. The 2019 Farm Bill opened the way for hemp and hemp products to become a major disruptor in many industries. The USDA, FDA and members of the US Congress have been very active on a plan for growing hemp and for hemp-derived ingredients (such as cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp seed products) in food, dietary supplements and cosmetics. This year will also bring new Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025. The scientific review, on which the guidelines are based, includes a deep dive on consuming added sugar throughout the lifespan. Mexico also introduced a dramatic proposal for front-of-pack labeling, which includes warning labels for calories, sugar, saturated and trans fat and sodium. On the food safety side, allergen labeling and management continue to be industry priorities. FDA has issued several guidance documents for the industry on the Food Modernization and Safety Act (FSMA) and plans to continue implementation of the foundational FSMA rules while also moving into a “New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” an initiative announced by the agency on April 30, 2019. This talk will address the latest updates on these topics and more.

Food Safety: Aligning Culture & Systems Throughout the Supply Chain

Liliana Casal-Wardle, PhD, Senior Director Food Safety, The Acheson Group

The food manufacturing industry has been enhancing programs and requirements for the supply chain to guarantee that the products manufactured are safe for consumers. The regulatory environment has created stronger awareness through strict regulations: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US, stricter regulations on the EU and Safe Food Australia, among others. In this tough environment, a culture of behaviors with a risk management approach for food safety is the path the industry is taking.

In the history of food safety, for every outbreak, for every recall, for every deviation, there is a component of human behaviors that failed. A culture is intuitive. It has to do with feelings and beliefs, with what is right and what is wrong, not because it is the law, but because common sense and values dictate it is. Incorporating the model of a set of values to manage food safety, with complete commitment, education and training and positive reinforcement is a model that guarantees consistency on the programs.

The implementation of a culture-based approach, where the key pillars are to educate, empower the workforce, lead by example and implement KPIs that can diagnose and track the effectiveness of the programs through the power of the culture are the drivers for a food-safe supply chain model for consumers.

Sugar & Caloric Reduction – Challenges & Opportunities

Sanjiv Avashia, Principal Scientist – Food & Beverage Solutions, Tate & Lyle

Conventional sweeteners are a versatile part of most traditional confections. Many of these sweeteners are collectively referred to as “sugars.” Appropriate selection of these sweeteners offers the opportunity to build confections with appealing textural characteristics along with a pleasant sweet flavor. While the ability to process high-quality candies economically is favorable with many of the conventional sweeteners, nutritional shortcomings register as a concern by many in the marketplace. Nutritionists and health professionals recognize that traditional confections eaten in moderation are part of a healthy diet, but many consumers are seeking alternatives. This presentation will highlight the wide variety of technologies, applicable to a range of confections, which offer the option of lower sugar content, decreased glycemic response and potentially minimize caloric impact.

Sanitary Design

Matthew Archey, Licensed Professional Engineer, LEED AP BD+C and Industrial Service Leader, Borton-Lawson

Sanitary design is one of those foundational skills that carries through many aspects of our production facilities, and the “c” in cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) is constantly leading to change and improvements in how we do business. As we work in an environment that many of us would have considered a dream as a kid – making chocolate, candy and confections – it’s good for us to revisit these foundational skills and consider ways we can do it better so that generations to come can safely enjoy all of the amazing treats and sweets out there. 

Since 2018, the FDA has cited more than 1,200 instances in which facilities failed to comply with 21 CFR Part 110 related to cGMP. This presentation will cover key aspects of sanitary design related to 21 CFR Part 110, highlight how these items were applied in confections facility modification case studies and discuss innovative tools your facility can use to improve CAPEX and OPEX initiatives impacted by sanitary design requirements.

Blockchain-Enabled Traceability – Its Application in Ingredients & Confections

Thomas Burke, Food Traceability & Safety Scientist, IFT Global Food Traceability Center

What is traceability? The concept refers to the degree to which food ingredients and products may be systematically traced forward through the supply chain and its pedigree information to be traced backward. Traceability is used in a variety of ways in the areas of food safety, food fraud, sustainability, certifications and regulatory. This presentation will discuss traceability principles and background and how it relates to blockchain. We’ll take a brief look at the history of blockchain and how it works in real-life, using examples from the confectionery industry.

Afternoon – Breakout Sessions

Regulatory Roundtable 2020
Debra Miller, Senior Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, NCA

If you found this year’s Regulatory Update interesting, please join this discussion and Q&A session. Topics will include bioengineered standards (GMO labeling), cannabis and CBD, food labeling, dietary guidelines as well as Prop 65 and allergen issues. Come with your questions (and answers) on these or other topics.

Cannabis – US Regulatory Update
Lois Duquette, Attorney, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

This session will begin with an overview of the current federal status of cannabis, moving into a group discussion on current enforcement activity, future regulatory status and how we can be prepared for future changes in status. We will also discuss risk mitigation strategies and lessons learned from similar industries. Attendees are encouraged to come ready with questions to discuss with the group.

The Unstoppable Proteins Movement
Julie Mann, Global Plant Protein Program Strategy & Innovation, Ingredion

The desire for protein-enriched foods has grown 51 percent over the past 11 years, and application breadth continues to expand into confections, snacks and snack bars. The focus for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies’ shifts towards: (1) understanding the various protein source options, advantages/disadvantages, (2) understanding the consumer drivers and desires for protein and (3) overcoming protein formulation hurdles in specific applications.

Whether dairy-derived or plant-based, protein is an ingredient whose reign shows no signs of slowing down. In food and beverages, protein replacement and fortification are the overarching trends linking two very different segments – dairy- and plant-based. Consumer demand for protein-enriched products now extends beyond sports nutrition to include senior nutrition, weight management, overall health and wellness and permissive indulgences.

This innovative and informative session will provide discussion and samples to define the challenges to overcome, including choosing the right protein, understanding functional properties, optimizing organoleptic properties (flavor and texture) and delivering nutritional contribution. In addition, this session will highlight the increasing interest by consumers to contribute positively to planetary wellness and sustainability. Lastly, consumers want to be provided with enjoyable, convenient and healthy snack options for their busy lives.

Protein enables a wide range of uses and benefits and provides ample space for innovation and new product development across food and beverage segments.

Strategies for Successful Scale-Ups

Gwen Evenstad, Owner, G-Force Food Consulting

Finally getting to that scale-up phase in the development of a confectionery product is both exciting and terrifying. You never really know what will happen, no matter how many years of experience you have. Usually incidents occur that are out of your control – however, many can be predicted and mediated. Fortunately, careful planning can be utilized to help increase the chance for success. For each process stage, benchtop development, pilot batch production and mass manufacturing scale-up, risk assessments with solutions should be added into the process. The same risk assessments can be applied to situations in very small start-up operations up to mass manufacturing processes that can challenge us with closed systems, fully automated processes and complicated displays. We will explore elements of both scale-up environments.

Together, we’ll discuss processing, ingredient, formula and equipment-driven differences that can produce unanticipated changes in product characteristics. We’ll look at examples of defects that can result from these variables for many different confectionery systems. We’ll discuss how to manage the scale-up process with minimum impact on manufacturing and producing sellable product. We’ll share stories, discuss mediation strategies and talk about administrative steps that can maximize success.

Chocolate Tempering – Methods & Principles

Ann Brinkerhoff, Principal Scientist – Chocolate Front-End Innovation, The Hershey Company

Some consider chocolate tempering an art while others consider it a science. Throughout the history of chocolate, tempering methods have evolved, and the tempering methods used today are often determined based on the final application. One may choose to table or hand temper chocolate, use a small batch size tempering unit or a large-scale continuous tempering unit based on the size of their operation. Regardless of the method, the principles of tempering chocolate remain the same. In this breakout session, we will demonstrate three methods of tempering chocolate, discuss the principles of tempering and evaluate chocolate temper.  

Generation Delta: Change is Coming

Jennifer McCracken, Senior Marketing Manager, Firmenich

Today, snacking is no longer about eating when you’re bored. Through primary consumer insights, we’ve uncovered Generation Z’s true wants and needs from snacking. Join us to learn more about these key insights. Together, we will walk through a day in their life to discover the opportunities for confection throughout the dayparts.

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Panel

Moderator: Erin Fleming, Sensory Scientist R&D, Mars Wrigley


Stacey Espinosa, Head of Sugar Innovation & Technology R&D, Ferrara

Shawn Houser-Fedor, Senior Director of Chocolate & Packaging R&D, The Hershey Company

Tessa Porter, President & Founder, Sprinkk

Marlene Stauffer, Director of Regulatory Compliance, Blommer Chocolate Company

Historically, women are under-represented in STEM careers and often face unique challenges in navigating the corporate ladder. This inclusive session seeks to define and challenge barriers that may contribute to this under-representation, as well as to highlight the personal stories of successful women in our industry.  In this open forum, panelists will discuss a number of topics including career milestones, overcoming obstacles such as “Imposter Syndrome”, as well as strategies on how to advocate for ourselves and other women. Please note, both men and women are welcome and encouraged to attend this session. 

Tuesday Evening – April 21, 2020

Cocktail Reception

Attendees will enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail reception to connect with friends, colleagues and new faces.

Dinner Speaker

Chocolate & Cheese: Meet the 21st Century's Favorite Pairing

Megan Giller, Chocolate Noise

Chocolate and cheese? You read that right. It sounds unlikely, but these two foods make a great pairing. Join author and industry consultant Megan Giller as she leads you through an after-dinner tasting of three chocolates paired with three cheeses. In addition to writing about chocolate for Food & Wine and Fortune, Megan leads private chocolate tastings across the country, and chocolate and cheese is one of her most popular! From single-origin dark chocolate to stinky blue cheese, we’ll explore how and why these matches work perfectly.

2019 Marie Kelso Memorial Award

Presented to Nina Puch, Knechtel, Inc. for the presentation Advancements in Gummies

Wednesday Morning - April 22, 2020

Session Moderator: Steve Genzoli, VP Quality Assurance/R&D, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Nuts, Almonds, Chocolate – Functionality, Shelf Life & Liking

Sarah Woodling Houle, R&D Manager, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Nuts are the most popular inclusion in chocolate bars in North America. Consumers state their primary nut benefits in chocolate are crunch followed by nutrition, satiety and taste (2018 Global Chocolate Study, Sterling Rice Group). The almond industry has invested in sensory and flavor research looking at shelf life and flavor volatiles to understand liking of flavor and shelf life of roasted almonds. When formulating chocolate-based confections with almond inclusions, the two primary methods of product failure are surface fat bloom and rancid flavor. Three studies will be presented addressing these concerns over shelf life for diced almond and almond butter-filled chocolate products via sensory analysis and the presence/absence of surface bloom.

Emulsifiers & Their Degree of Fatty Acid Saturation in Confectionery
Rosa Regalado-Bowers, General Manager, Palsgaard Inc.
Saturated, unsaturated or a combination of both? The use of emulsifiers has been extensively recognized and documented for chocolate-based and sugar-based confections. Due to their composition, emulsifiers can provide different functionalities depending on the additional ingredients in the formula, processing conditions and shelf life requirements. Saturation level and fatty acid composition can give different characteristics to finished products. Testing results will be presented so the right saturation level can be determined for different applications.

The Base of the Fabric: Women in Cocoa-Growing Communities

Françoise Touré, FarmStrong Foundation, Côte d’Ivoire

Over the past five to 10 years, the chocolate industry has considerably increased its investments into community development programs on village level. Why is the role of women so important, and what can be done to promote the recognition of women as women, women as mothers, women as the pivot of their families and the role of women in the cocoa growing communities? If we talk about cocoa sustainability, we often talk about agronomics, fertilizers, planting material and crop protection products. However, dealing with agriculture and the issues of the cocoa tree is one thing, but for many reasons we often find it hard to fully comprehend the complexities of the people looking after the cocoa tree – the cocoa farmers, their families and their communities in the context of their daily lives. In this ecosystem, women play a key role. We must understand the complexity of the ecosystem as a whole, for at that stage we can truly support the change agents at the family and community levels.

The Journey of the Living Income Differential (LID) for Cacao Farmers

Joe Forson, TF Premio Commodities

In the quest to guarantee Ghanaian farmers a sustainable livelihood, the government of Ghana and Ghana Cocoa Board have always heavily subsidized farmer programs. Despite all efforts by the Ghana Cocoa Board, farmers have still resorted to selling their farmlands to small-scale miners for cash. Due to the risk of losing the majority of cocoa farmlands to illegal mining in the midst of the 2017 lows of cocoa prices, the presidents of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire formally started talks to find measures to sustain production as well as improve the livelihood of farmers. These talks were followed by the signing of a strategic partnership agreement in 2018 known as the Abidjan Declaration, which aims to defend the interests of cocoa farmers who are disadvantaged in the distribution of wealth in the cocoa value chain. Subsequent to the declaration, the Ghana Cocoa Board and Le Conseil Du Café-Cacao invited major stakeholders within the global cocoa industry, mainly trade houses, processors and chocolatiers for a meeting which was held in Accra, Ghana on June 11, 2019. The purpose of this meeting was to create a pricing mechanism which would protect cocoa farmers against falling cocoa prices, a key factor in the sustainability and livelihood of farmers. This presentation will discuss sustainability, LID objectives, assumptions, challenges and more.

Other Program Highlights

PMCA Student Outreach Program

PMCA’s Student Outreach Committee, led by Chair Carly Meck, Blommer Chocolate Company, will once again host students from educational institutions with food science, business, engineering and related programs. Students will have the opportunity to interact with industry personnel and enjoy several activities developed specifically for them, including a facility tour at Wolfgang Candy Company. Ms. Meck will introduce the students prior to the start of the Beyond the Basics program Monday, April 20.

Click through to Page 2 of this article, for the full list of suppliers exhibiting at this event!