Chocolate is in my blood, well sort of. I was born in York, the UK’s ‘Chocolate City’ and can still remember the bitter-sweet aroma of cocoa beans wafting over the city from the Rowntree factory in the east and the Terry’s factory in the west.
As a student in the 1980s I worked at Terry’s pulling trays of Logger bars (a less successful rival to Rowntree’s Yorkie bar) from the production line down to the packaging area. After numerous takeovers Terry’s closed in 1993, the building was preserved and is now being developed into luxury apartments.
Many of my relatives worked at Rowntree’s where the York site produced KitKats, Smarties, Fruit Pastilles and Yorkie bars. Rowntree’s was taken over by Nestle in 1988 and much of the production and processing has moved abroad leaving a shell of a building (York is mainly a R&D centre these days), which like York Minster, still dominates the city.
My first month in the role as editor of confectionerynews.com has been fascinating and challenging as I have tried to get up to speed with the important issues affecting our industry. In my previous role as web editor of William Reed’s The Grocer, I had some knowledge of certain issues such as reformulation, sugar tax, brands and new consumer trends that are creating an impact on the chocolate industry.
I was fortunate enough in my first week to attend Chocovision 2018, which proved a steep learning curve for me in areas in the cocoa industry such as sustainability, poverty, slave labor, diversity and inclusion.
I also met some great contacts and I look forward to developing a strong working relationship with industry figures and voices and maintaining confectionerynews.com’s reputation as an authoritative and informative resource for everyone in the business.
When I took the job I said to managers here at William Reed, that I wanted the website to not only continue to be part of the conversation but lead the conversation.
I feel that Oliver Neiburg, my predecessor certainly achieved that with sustainability in the cocoa trade and I look forward to working with him as an analyst on William Reed’s new website Lumina Intelligence, which launches on July 12.
In the coming months I hope to explore certain areas including big data, food tech, brands, emerging markets and consumer trends, so if anyone has any suggestions please drop me an email.
For now I have pre-arranged leave and will be AFK (away from keyboard) for a couple of weeks. In the meantime the website will be maintained by my excellent colleagues in our Chicago and Montpellier offices and I look forward to continuing my work when I return.