Monday AM Student Outreach Program Update

Carly Meck

Carly Meck, Blommer Chocolate Company

Carly Meck graduated from Delaware Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in food science and earned an MBA in food and agribusiness there as well. She began working at Blommer Chocolate Company in East Greenville, PA in 2010 as a summer intern in R&D. She was hired as an R&D technologist and has now grown to the role of senior R&D scientist – product development. In this role, she develops new chocolate formulas, creates process improvements, provides internal and external training and executes various technical studies.

Carly has been volunteering with PMCA since 2012, when she began as a student mentor after attending the conference under the Student Outreach Program. She has served on several committees including Student Outreach Program, Social Media Sub-Committee and Production Conference – Connect the Future. In 2017, she began the role of Committee Chair of the Student Outreach Program and in 2018 she was invited to sit on the board of directors. In addition, she presented on Mysteries of Conching Revealed at the 2018 production conference, which was chosen to receive the Marie Kelso Award.

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

Peter Lind

Peter Lind, Lake Champlain Chocolates

Peter is a product developer and project leader with more than 40 years of kitchen/R&D lab experience successfully commercializing new foods through product design, consumer research and as a spokesperson for companies and their products. He enjoys being a creative and intelligent team player who has fun while working hard.

Currently he is the manager of innovation and new products at Lake Champlain Chocolates. In recent years he has introduced a number of new filled and flat bars including Almond 5 Star Bar, It’s Hot Honey and Moka Fleck. He rounds out his time developing new chocolate concoctions and ice cream flavors for the Lake Champlain Chocolates retail shops.

Before working with chocolate, Peter’s title was primal ice cream therapist working for Ben & Jerry’s. There, he developed various flavors such as Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Rainforest Crunch, Chubby Hubby Ice Creams and Purple Passion Fruit Sorbet. Once, many years ago, he was a guest on Oprah for having one of the best jobs in America.

Prior to Ben & Jerry’s, Peter worked for many years as a chef and taught baking and pastry, food science and product development at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT as a chef and instructor.

Peter lives in Vermont with his wife, Mary. He enjoys cross-country skiing, table tennis and cooking. Currently, he plays jazz harmonica in a couple of bands.

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

Jeffrey Fine

Jeffrey Fine, AAK USA

Jeff has spent close to 30 years working in fats and oils research and applications across the food and confectionery industries. He has had held senior technical positions with both major CPGs and ingredient suppliers including General Mills, The Hershey Company and PepsiCo. He most recently served as the North American R&D lead of Cargill’s Edible Oil Division. His work with fats and oils spans products ranging from bakery and chocolate to infant nutrition and candles. He previously served as the chair of the PMCA Research Committee.

Jeff holds a PhD in biochemistry from Ohio State University and currently serves as technical consultant to 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.

Randy Hofberger

Randy Hofberger, R&D Candy Consulting

Randy has more than 35 years of experience in the confectionery industry, with many years at Nestlè Confections starting in the QA department and eventually into technical applications. He started R&D Candy Consulting in 2008 to help people with their confectionery challenges.

Randy is involved with RCI, AACT and PMCA and has assisted with lectures and technical courses. He is the recipient of the Henry Bornhofft and Stroud Jordan awards and has contributed technical articles to Candy Industry, Manufacturing Confectioner Magazine, AIB and co-authored chapters to several books. Recently, he has assisted with the book Confectionery Science and Technology.

Randy’s personal interests include candy making, hiking, cooking, traveling, biking and kayaking.

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 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.

Tuesday AM Presentations

Debra Miller

Debra L. Miller, PhD, National Confectioners Association

Debra L. Miller, PhD is the senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the National Confectioners Association, where she is responsible for technical leadership on labeling, food safety and other food policies and regulations. She also serves as staff lead for NCA’s Chocolate Council. Dr. Miller also leads NCA’s nutrition and food policy initiatives, which span local, state, federal and international arenas advocating for science-based approaches.

Dr. Miller has more than 20 years of experience in nutrition science and regulatory issues in the food industry, with 15 of those years in the chocolate and confectionery industry. Previously, Dr. Miller served as director of scientific and regulatory affairs at The Hershey Company, where she was responsible for developing internal and external food policies, which affect food labeling and food safety regulations. Prior to that, she served as the director of nutrition in Hershey’s research and development division, where she held responsibility for the clinical nutrition research program, health professional communications and was the director of the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition.

Before joining The Hershey Company in 2004, Dr. Miller served as director of nutrition communications for Dupont Nutrition, St. Louis, MO. Dr. Miller was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she investigated food intake regulation and led the olestra post-market surveillance clinical trial. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in obesity treatment at Harvard Medical School after completing her doctoral degree.

Dr. Miller is a graduate of Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA) and The Pennsylvania State University with a doctoral degree in bio-behavioral health and a doctoral minor in nutrition science.

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 April 30, 2019. This talk will address the latest updates on these topics and more.

Liliana Casal-Wardle

Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle, The Acheson Group

Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle, senior director of food safety, has more than 25 years of experience in private industry, with technical and leadership roles at the corporate level for 18 years for The Hershey Company. In this function, she was responsible for supply chain food safety and quality compliance, managing suppliers, internal facilities, external partners and distributors based in the United States and internationally. Dr. Casal-Wardle has worked with internationally renowned companies, developing and implementing strategies focused on regulatory compliance, risk mitigation, project design and processes for brand and consumer protection. Her areas of expertise include food safety, food safety culture, food science, food defense, sanitary equipment design, cleaning and sanitation practices, environmental control programs, GFSI requirements and quality assurance, among others. Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle has a multicultural and multilingual background, having resided and being professionally active in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the United States. She has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She worked with tropical diseases at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Royal Melbourne Hospital of Australia and the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Dr. Casal-Wardle is a certified SQF practitioner and a qualified FSMA preventive controls (PCQI) individual. She is also a member of IAFP and PMCA.

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, recall and 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 program consistency.

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 program effectiveness through the power of culture are the drivers for a food-safe supply chain model for consumers.

Sanjiv Avashia

Sanjiv Avashia, Tate & Lyle

Sanjiv Avashia is a principal scientist with food and beverage solutions business unit of Tate & Lyle. He specializes in snack and confectionery applications with expertise in texturants, sweeteners and wellness ingredients. He is employed with Tate & Lyle for 25 years and has more than 34 years of food industry experience in food applications and technical services. Sanjiv holds a master’s degree in food science and technology from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.

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.

Matthew Archey

Matthew Archey, Borton-Lawson

Matt Archey is a licensed professional engineer, LEED AP BD+C, and industrial service leader at Borton-Lawson committed to helping food manufacturers and building owners solve some of their most complex challenges in innovative and sustainable ways. He has 15+ years’ experience in the building design and construction industry, has managed numerous OPEX and CAPEX projects for various FDA-regulated manufacturers in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical markets and was named to Lehigh Valley Business’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2018.

Matt spends his spare time serving multiple ASHRAE chapters, volunteering in his church and community, enjoying the outdoors with his wife, their daughter, and their wirehaired vizsla and convincing his wife that another bird dog is exactly what they need in life.

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 generations to come can safely enjoy all 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.

Thomas Burke

Thomas Burke, IFT Global Food Traceability Center

Thomas Burke is the food traceability and safety scientist at IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC). Currently, he is the technical lead for interoperability piloting, implementation guidance and beta testing for the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability, an initiative funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Global Dialogue is a business-to-business framework facilitating the creation of data and IT architecture standards addressing traceability use cases in the seafood sector, such as catch legality, food safety and labor accountability. Burke also researches emerging technologies, protocols and related processes pertaining to food traceability systems, namely blockchain, data capture integration, open source interoperability tools and artificial intelligence. At GFTC, he has led the creation of the food traceability course titled, “Demystifying Traceability”, as well as developing and conducting interactive, standards-based traceability workshops for the food industry community. He previously worked as a food safety analyst at the Georgia Department of Agriculture, working on food outbreak investigations, emergency response, regulatory policy and informatics. He has a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Kansas State University and is an MPH graduate in residence in epidemiology at Emory University.

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.

Tuesday PM Breakout Sessions

Ann Brinkerhoff

Ann Brinkerhoff, The Hershey Company

As a principal scientist in chocolate product development, Ann has led the development of several premium products for The Hershey Company. Most notable are Hershey’s Extra Dark 60% Cacao, Swoops, Cacao Reserve Truffles, Starbucks Chocolates, Scharffen Berger and Dagoba Chocolate Bars.

For the past 11 years, Ann has taught the Chocolate Enthusiast class for Hershey employees, a Temper-Temper class for The Hershey Story and conducted chocolate and wine pairings for various groups. Ann has helped to provide direction to cacao farmers to improve their post-harvest practices which allows them to improve their livelihoods.

Ann joined The Hershey Company in 1992. Her product development career spans not only chocolate, but also other confectionery. She was responsible for the development of Hershey’s first hard candy, TasteTations, and Luden’s Herbal throat drops. Moreover, Ann gathered two years of valuable manufacturing experience, supporting two factories as part of the technical support group. Upon returning to chocolate product development, Ann played a significant role in the development of Hershey’s Sugar-Free chocolate. Additionally, she was part of the acquisition team for Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt, providing technical and product development support.

Throughout the years, Ann has been active in the community as a volunteer for the Harrisburg East Shore YMCA, Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, CMN and as an assistant coach for her son’s soccer team. She also developed an afterschool science club for her son’s elementary school. Ann and her team were granted a patent for chocolate-flavored hard candy.

Ann holds both a BS and MS in food science from The Pennsylvania State University.

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.

Julie Mann

Julie Mann, Ingredion

Julie leads Ingredion’s Global Plant Protein Program. This role is essential to Ingredion’s future growth in plant protein and has established strategy while driving alignment with key stakeholders across regions. Other key deliverables include identifying, building and maintaining strategic relationships with partners and customers in the global plant protein landscape and driving internal go-to-market and technical teams to achieve global leadership and breakthrough innovation in plant protein. Ingredion’s current pulse portfolio includes Vitessence™ and Homecraft™ products, including pea, lentil, faba and chickpea.

Julie has been with Ingredion for three years, and previously spent 20 years at The Hershey Company.  In her most recent role, she was senior manager, protein research and technology in the snacks division at Hershey. She led and drove plant protein functional and nutritional understanding, technical development and application into new snacking opportunities, as driven by consumer desires.   Previously, she was open innovation scout leader, leading a team to identify new opportunities for building alliances with ingredient suppliers and other external providers to enable snacking innovation.  She held additional roles leading innovation platforms, new product development, new technology development, strategic partnerships and new entrepreneurial business identification and development.

Julie has earned her master’s degree from Drexel University in food science and nutrition and holds a bachelor’s in food science from Pennsylvania State University. She holds five US patents, with one additional patent pending approval. Julie is a well-known leader in food technology and proteins, and in 2016 presented a TED talk titled, “Enough of Enough”. She was a founding member of Protein 2040, an initiative to feed the growing world population with sufficient protein by 2040. She is active in the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) as a board member for the research arm, Plant Based Foods Canada (PBFC) and The Reductarian Foundation. Julie is also a board member for UC Berkeley’s Alt Meat Lab, driving new research and technology in plant-based meat and Penn State Food Industry Group (FIG).

Personally, Julie is a plant-based marathoner and enjoys hiking and outdoor activities that include her two dogs, Daphne, a Rhodesian ridgeback and Dash, a whippet.

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 and 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.

Debra Miller

Debra L. Miller, PhD, National Confectioners Association

Debra L. Miller, PhD is the senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at the National Confectioners Association, where she is responsible for technical leadership on labeling, food safety and other food policies and regulations. She also serves as staff lead for NCA’s Chocolate Council. Dr. Miller also leads NCA’s nutrition and food policy initiatives, which span local, state, federal and international arenas advocating for science-based approaches.

Dr. Miller has more than 20 years of experience in nutrition science and regulatory issues in the food industry, with 15 of those years in the chocolate and confectionery industry. Previously, Dr. Miller served as director of scientific and regulatory affairs at The Hershey Company, where she was responsible for developing internal and external food policies, which affect food labeling and food safety regulations. Prior to that, she served as the director of nutrition in Hershey’s research and development division, where she held responsibility for the clinical nutrition research program, health professional communications and was the director of the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition.

Before joining The Hershey Company in 2004, Dr. Miller served as director of nutrition communications for Dupont Nutrition, St. Louis, MO. Dr. Miller was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she investigated food intake regulation and led the olestra post-market surveillance clinical trial. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in obesity treatment at Harvard Medical School after completing her doctoral degree.

Dr. Miller is a graduate of Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA) and The Pennsylvania State University with a doctoral degree in bio-behavioral health and a doctoral minor in nutrition science.

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

Lois Duquette

Lois Duquette, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

Lois is a member of the Intellectual Property and Food and Beverage practice groups at McNees Wallace & Nurick. She counsels clients in the areas of trademark, copyright, trade secrets, licensing, open innovation, advertising, promotions and food regulation. Lois’s 18 years of in-house experience helps her to provide legal counsel with an understanding of the business challenges likely to be associated with the legal situation.

Lois has experience developing and implementing cost-effective intellectual property strategies that utilize trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade secrets, licensing and litigation to grow and protect brands worldwide. Her experience includes developing and protecting a wide variety of trademarks and trade dresses including both famous marks and new marks, as well as color and product design marks and surnames and geographic names. In addition, Lois has experience drafting and negotiating license, joint development, open innovation, advertising and promotion agreements and advising on the intellectual property and food regulatory aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Lois also advises clients on food regulatory matters such as the risk level associated with making different food claims about a product and marketing products which contain CBD or hemp.

Prior to joining McNees, Lois worked for 18 years as an attorney for The Hershey Company, where she held many positions of increasing responsibility, with her final role being associate general counsel of global intellectual property and regulatory in which she led a team responsible for intellectual property and food regulatory matters worldwide. In that role, Lois had responsibility for protecting world famous brands such as HERSHEY’S, REESE’S and KISSES including their associated trade dresses and product designs. While at Hershey, Lois also gained experience advising in a wide variety of commercial contract matters. Prior to Hershey, Lois practiced for six years as a litigation associate for a large Boston law firm with an emphasis on intellectual property.

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.

Gwen Evenstad

Gwen Evenstad, G-Force Food Consulting

Gwen Evenstad has 30 years of food safety, food labeling, regulatory and R&D experience in the food industry. Prior to starting G-Force Food Consulting in 2018, she was R&D and regulatory manager at Sweet Candy Company. Other responsibilities have included research and development, confectionery-based product development, process optimization, food safety and food labeling. She has successfully launched hundreds of products from bench top development to mass production scale-ups in several food categories.

Gwen obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in food science from the University of California-Davis and has her CFS (Certified Food Science) certification. She is active in AACT at the National level as Long-Range Planning Committee Chair, serves on the Program Committee for the AACT National Technical Seminar and is past chair and founder of the AACT Rocky Mountain Section. She received the AACT National Stroud Jordan Award in 2017.

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 sell-able product. We’ll share stories, discuss mediation strategies and talk about administrative steps that can maximize success.

Jennifer McCracken

Jennifer McCracken, Firmenich

Jennifer McCracken is a senior marketing manager at Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned perfume and taste company, founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1895. Led by our passion for taste and smell, we put our creativity and innovation to work every day to delight the senses.

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 lives to discover the opportunities for confection throughout the dayparts.

Erin Fleming

Moderator: Erin Fleming, Mars Wrigley

As a sensory scientist at Mars Wrigley, Erin is responsible for translating consumers’ dreams into desired experiences for product and packaging innovation. As a strategic R&D partner, she supports growth initiatives across several categories including chocolate, gum and mints and fruity confections. Erin is passionate about design thinking as well as championing new and emerging consumer research methods which go beyond the traditional “cookie-cutter” approach.

Erin serves as communications lead for Women of Research and Development (R&D), an inclusive Mars Wrigley community which strives to empower all associates to achieve personal and professional success. In this role, she helps to identify development tools as well as opportunities to network in order to share knowledge and discuss challenges unique to women in STEM.

Erin holds a BS and MS from The Pennsylvania State University in food science. Erin is a former PMCA Research Fellow and has presented her graduate research at numerous professional conferences including PMCA, Society of Sensory Professionals (SSP) and the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS). She serves on the PMCA Board of Directors as well as Marketing, Long Range Planning and Production Conference committees, and is actively involved in the Student Outreach Program as a mentor to students interested in the confectionery industry. Erin has received recognition for her contributions to the industry including the PMCA Future Confectionery Leader Award as well as the AACT Walter Hopkins Memorial Scholarship Award.

Historically, women are under-represented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) 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.


Stacey Espinosa

Stacey Espinosa, Ferrara

As R&D head of sugar innovation at Ferrara, Stacey Espinosa leads a diverse, highly talented team responsible for delivering new sugar confection innovation. In her role, she focuses on pipelines to deliver the business of today as well as future technology platforms needed to deliver the business of tomorrow. With more than 10 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, including positions at Procter & Gamble and Kellogg’s, Stacey knows what truly drives meaningful consumer innovation.

Stacey is driven to demystify stereotypes and inspire others to see what’s possible. Through outreach across the Chicagoland and Indianapolis areas, she shows students the possibilities when working as an engineer and strives to open young people’s minds to what’s possible in STEM. She is also a passionate advocate of advancing opportunities for women as an advisory board member of Dress for Success.

Stacey has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Bustle and on the Talk Nerdy podcast. She has been recognized as an industry leader in STEM and an advocate for women in the field. She holds six patents with United States Patents and Trademark Office.

Stacey Espinosa earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a minor in chemistry from the University of Utah.

Shawn Houser-Fedor

Shawn Houser-Fedor, The Hershey Company

Shawn Houser-Fedor is senior director of chocolate and packaging research and development (R&D) for The Hershey Company. In this role, she is responsible for leading chocolate confectionery front-end technology, new product and package design and development.

She and her team partner closely with innovation marketing and supply chain to bring new products to the market. A few of her team’s recent product developments include: Reese’s Thins, KitKat Duos Mint and Dark Chocolate, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate & Reese’s Pieces Bar; Reese’s Lovers, Hershey’s Emoji Bar and Cadbury Shimmer Eggs.

Shawn was previously director, snacks product development at The Hershey Company. In this role, she led her team through the development and commercialization of new snacks and grocery products, including Hershey’s and Reese’s Popped Snack Mixes; Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup; Krave Meat Jerky, Bars and Sticks; Hershey’s Chocolate Spreads; Brookside Snacks; and Sofit Snacks. She also managed open innovation and Hershey’s test kitchens for consumer recipe development.

Shawn has worked for The Hershey Company for 24 years and has held many positions during her career, including senior manager, chocolate excellence; innovation and international associate marketing manager; team leader, product development; and various scientist roles with increasing responsibility. Prior to working at The Hershey Company, Shawn worked in R&D for The Campbell Soup Company.

Shawn holds an MBA from The Pennsylvania State University and a BS in chemistry from Lebanon Valley College. She served on the PMCA Board of Directors and Conference Program Committee over the past 10 years. She has been honored for her contributions to the industry and her community by multiple organizations including Lebanon Valley College (LVC), Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) and was a YWCA Woman of Excellence.

Tessa Porter

Tessa Porter, Sprinkk

Tessa is the president and founder of Sprinkk, a Nebraska-based start-up focusing on confectionery process design and small-scale manufacturing. Sprinkk is scheduled to open its Omaha factory doors later in 2020 to create opportunity and reduce manufacturing hurdles for both new products and new businesses.

Prior to starting her own company, Tessa led at Ferrara Candy Company as the head of innovation and technology. In 2018, she led the growth and integration of the R&D team through Ferrara’s acquisition of the Nestlé confectionery business and launched more than 50 new product formulations across multiple technical platforms. In 2019 she continued the momentum of building a world-class team that will continue to develop award-winning products for years to come. She will always have a love for the people and products of Ferrara.

Tessa’s background includes managing contract manufacturing for Glanbia Performance Nutrition, developing as a food scientist at Ferrara, innovating as a scientist and intern at The Hershey Company and consulting for small- and mid-sized food and beverage companies. She both literally and figuratively built her foundation and work ethic working years in concrete construction and as a mason tender.

Tessa serves on the Board of Directors for The Confectionery Foundation, is a 2019 NCA Future Leader and active on the American Association of Candy Technologists Education Committee. She has a master’s in food science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MBA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In her free time, you’ll find her in a yoga studio, hanging out with her family or chasing the wind around the world to go kitesurfing.

Erin Fleming

Marlene Stauffer, Blommer Chocolate Company

Marlene Stauffer graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a food science degree in the College of Agriculture Sciences. She has been with Blommer Chocolate Company since 1982. Her role is the director of regulatory and managing sustainability programs. She also offers support for all aspects of food safety and quality from raw materials, manufacturing, quality systems and product development to technical assistance for customers. Certifications include FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food PCQI, Internal Auditor by SAI Global and Advanced International HACCP Alliance. Marlene has been an instructor at several NCA, PMCA and university classes and has spoken at PMCA, RCI, AACT, BCMA, FCIA, CMAA and CASA events.

Marlene is a member of the PMCA Membership, Production Conference Program, Research and Education committees. She is also an active member of the Institute of Food Technologists, American Association of Candy Technologists, the NCA Chocolate and Regulatory and Health and Nutrition Committee, Board Member of FARRP (Food Allergy Resource and Research Program), Cocoa Merchants Regulatory Committee and a member of the Pennsylvania Ag Council. She is a past recipient of the Marie Kelso and Stroud Jordan awards, past PMCA president and board chair and current president of the Food Industry Group.

Tuesday Dinner Speaker

Megan Giller

Megan Giller, Chocolate Noise

Megan Giller is an industry consultant and the author of Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Slate, Zagat and Food & Wine, and her blog Chocolate Noise was a 2016 Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist. In addition to consulting for the specialty food industry, she also hosts luxury chocolate-tasting events, teaches classes at the Institute of Culinary Education and other locales and judges at chocolate competitions. Follow her on Instagram at @chocolatenoise.

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.

Wednesday AM Presentations

Sarah Houle

Sarah Houle, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Sarah Woodling Houle is currently the research and development manager at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in San Leandro, CA. In this role, she is responsible for leading the team of talented technologists that work on developing new chocolate bars, squares, baking items and professional products. Prior to her role at Ghirardelli, Sarah was a senior scientist at Continental Mills in Seattle, WA. In addition, she has also held positions as a staff scientist at The Hershey Company and a food scientist at General Mills. Her experience in product development has covered a wide category of products, including but not limited to fresh breads, breakfast cereals, caramels, sugar confections, baking mixes, popcorn, tortilla chips and chocolate confections.

Sarah holds a BS in food science from Penn State University and an M.S. in food science and technology from Cornell University. She is a member of IFT and the Western Region Committee of PMCA.

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.

Rosa Regalado-Bowers, Palsgaard Incorporated

Rosa Regalado-Bowers is general manager of Palsgaard Inc. in Morris Plains, New Jersey, the U.S. office of Palsgaard A/S in Denmark. In this capacity, she leads all business development, sales and technical service efforts covering the U.S. and Canada. Ms. Regalado-Bowers was promoted to general manager in July 2007, following a successful six-year tenure as export manager for Latin America at Palsgaard Industry de Mexico and five years in quality assurance and technical services.

Ms. Regalado-Bowers began her career in the food production industry as an R&D technician at Detersol S.A. in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1995. She went on to assume positions of increasing responsibility, expanding her experience in beverage and savory R&D and confectionery applications as well as technical design, including the design of pilot plants for bakery, emulsions and dairy. Her experience on the business side of food production has grown to include business development management (for lipid applications) in Mexico, export management for all of Latin America and business development management for the U.S. and Canada.

Ms. Regalado-Bowers earned a Master of Business Administration degree in global management from the University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona and a food engineering degree from UASLP-Facultad de Ciencias Quimicas in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She has also participated in food industry associations like PMCA, AACT, IFT, ASB and AACT.

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.

Françoise Touré

Françoise Touré, FarmStrong Foundation, Côte d’Ivoire

Françoise TOURÉ was appointed country director for FarmStrong Foundation programs in Côte d’Ivoire in July 2016. In her capacity, she oversees all country programs and manages a team of 21 permanent employees.

Prior to joining FarmStrong, Françoise worked from 2001-2007 as a microbiologist in the food industry.

From 2007-2016, Françoise worked for ADM (Archer Daniels Midland – Côte d’Ivoire branch) as head of the certification and community development unit.

On August 23, 2013, Françoise developed the financial traceability procedure for the payment of the sustainable cocoa premium. The share of the management body is only disbursed if the entire portion due to the farmers is returned to them. This procedure is still used by many cocoa exporters.

In 2017, Françoise developed the mobile premium payment strategy. She developed and implemented a community child protection system in 2018. Françoise also launched a women’s empowerment project on local transformation and the fight against all forms of violence against children and young girls in 2019.

Françoise is a graduated engineer in agro-food and industrial processes from the Centre Universitaire Professionalisé (CUP) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

She is a francophone from Côte d’Ivoire with a beautiful daughter.

Over the past five to 10 years, the chocolate industry has considerably increased its investments into community development programs on the 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 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.

Joseph Forson

Joseph Forson, TF Premio Commodities

Joseph K. Forson is the CEO and founder of TF Premio Commodities, a company that was incorporated in 2014. TF Commodities is a boutique brokerage and advocacy firm that designs risk management structures and derivatives hedging solutions for cocoa processing companies and offers a range of agri-business supply chain solutions from sourcing, acquisitions and integrations to collateral management systems and commodities financing.

Joseph is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, holds an MBA in international finance from the University of Leicester and a BA in economics from the University of Ghana Legon.

He started his career with the Cocoa Marketing Company Ghana Limited and was the managing director of the company until November 2019. The Cocoa Marketing Company is responsible for the trading, sales, warehousing and shipment of cocoa beans worth over $2 billion.

Joseph Forson has been the lead architect and advocate of the Living Income Differential (LID), a mechanism that is aimed at improving the incomes and livelihoods of farmers from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

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 board, farmers have still resorted to selling their farmlands to small-scale miners for cash. Due to the risk of losing the majority of 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. Subsequently, the Ghana Cocoa Board and Le Conseil Du Café-Cacao invited major stakeholders within the global cocoa industry to meet with the purpose of creating a pricing mechanism to 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.