PMCA Professional Manufacturing Confectioners Association
View across the Atlantic: the 71st PMCA Production Conference
The PMCA (Professional Manufacturing Confectioners Association) Conference of the US confectionery industry takes place annually in Lancaster/PA. The 71st edition of the conference, which offered many new insights, attracted 676 participants from eight countries.
By Hans Haendler
The first conference day was dedicated to the traditional supplier exhibition where 140 companies presented their goods or services. This arrangement joined representatives of equipment, raw materials and auxiliaries, finished products and packaging materials.
The Vanilla Booth at the exhibition (theme: Viva Vanilla – The Orchid) provided the occasion to get familiar with the origin, cultivation and processing of the vanilla plant. In his dinner speech “Vanilla: From Pod to Product”, Jay Klostermann from Givaudan outlined the end-to-end process to source vanilla beans, to process them into extracts and to create an unlimited variety of flavours, used in thousands of food and non-food products. Due to a cyclone in Madagascar, the world’s top producer of vanilla, vanilla has reached price levels never seen before, while at the same time, demand has increased. This situation will persist, since new plantations require several years to yield.
The Maillard Reaction generates numerous flavours
A colourful bouquet of presentations highlighted critical topics of common interest, underlining the main issue of the conference: „Panning, with all its facets“. Gloria Brandes-Kuptz, Senior Scientist Product Development at John B. Sanfilippo & Son, gave a lecture on the subject “Panning 101: Best Practices for Soft, Hard, Chocolate and Hot Panning”. As for the panning process, there are always slight variations because of equipment, environment and raw materials used. The presentation showed how the development and follow-up of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or Best Demonstrated Practices (BDPs) can provide a practical tool to anyone starting in confectionery panning.
Abdoulaye Traore, Senior Technical Service Manager at Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, made a thorough excursion through the Maillard reaction, a core process in the creation of flavours during cooking and chocolate making. The number of flavour components formed by this reaction is almost unlimited, and the process is still being studied 100 years after the discovery. The presentation showed that the Maillard reaction impacts chocolate making and processing of other food in a more fundamental way than people think.
“The complexity of Controlling Particle Size in Chocolate” was the topic of the lecture given by Mark Adriaenssens, Vice President R & D at Barry Callebaut. The determination of the particle size distribution of a chocolate is an essential tool to improve mouthfeel and rheological parameters. The lecturer explained how the way of production influences the particle size distribution and shape of chocolate particles. He stated that ball mills in their traditional use are inappropriate for achieving optimal sensory and rheological properties of chocolate.
At the end of the conference, a firework of new ideas was offered by a hands-on workshop on “Starch & Starchless Moulding”. This workshop was initiated and organized by Judy Cooley, Global Confection Connections LLC. It consisted of six stations, all of them guided by industry experts. Instructions were given by videos and practical demonstrations. A comprehensive set of samples was presented to all participants for self-service.•