The award recognizes an unheralded individual in the chocolate, sugar confectionery, gum and biscuit industries who has excelled in R&D, corporate social responsibility initiatives or has demonstrated business acumen. The winner and nominees were chosen by ConfectioneryNews readers.
Congratulations to Ambrose Lee, R&D manager at Jelly Belly, who secured 29% of the public vote to be crowned the first Personality of the Year. The runner-up was co-founder and CEO of Torie & Howard, Torie Burke. The pair saw off competition from a notable list of nominees that included Mars' chief sustainability officer Barry Parkin.
Jelly Belly R&D head tops the poll
Jelly Belly’s Ambrose Lee and his small R&D team developed a draft-beer flavoured jelly bean that was launched at the 2014 International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) in Cologne.
He is a specialist in pairing confections with unusual flavors. His previous creations have included espresso jelly beans, carrot cake flavor as well as green tea and chilli mango Jelly Belly.
Tomi Holt, director of communications at Jelly Belly, said of her colleague: “He’s been dreaming up and concocting new flavours of Jelly Belly beans for 28 years now. He is the mastermind behind last year’s Draft Beer flavour that got worldwide attention, and most of the ‘firsts’ of flavors of Jelly Belly beans. He is also the one who came up with and developed Buttered Popcorn flavour, our most controversial flavour, but also #3 most popular.”
ConfectioneryNews will be catching up Ambrose later in the week, to learn where he draws inspiration for flavor ideas.
Torie & Howard co-founder takes silver
Torie Burke, co-founder and CEO of US better-for-you confectionery firm Torie & Howard Organic Candy, was the runner-up.
Torie moved into the candy industry after 25 years as a color consultant of her own home design firm. Torie & Howard has secured listings in 4,000 retailers across the US in only two years.
The entrepreneur told ConfectioneryNews: “Being among these nominees is thrilling and a tremendous honor. It is truly exciting for our young company to receive this industry wide recognition and validates our vision and candy mission to deliver a 'better for you' choice to consumers.
“This choice is what we were looking for in a snack when we started Torie & Howard-we are happy to know we are not alone, so we are off to a great start and there’s more to come!”
To learn more about all 10 of the 2014 nominees see HERE.