2017 Conference Programme


12 keynote speakers specifically selected for the LCF 2017 will address the chocolate  industry with structured sessions for our delegates in four main areas. Manufacturing Technology, Packaging Product Labelling, Sustainability /Industry challenges and Company Case studies and Trends. *LCF lectures in 2016 were voted by our audience as the best in the chocolate industry. There are only 300 places so register now.

Important note: LCF is a free event and via invitation – standard delegate pass will not include your teas, coffees and a networking buffet lunch. If you would like to boost your networking chances considerably for a very reasonable £99.00 for the days food and drinks-  upgrade your pass by clicking here to become a member of the LCF Network program.

NB: You can also come to the evening dinner as well as being a member of the LCF by clicking here 

07.00Access – Set Up
09.15Welcome address
Angus Kennedy, Founder LCF, Editor Kennedy's Confection
09.20Meet your LCF chairman
Simon Wright, OF+ Consulting
09.30An insight into the political outlook for the use of sugar in confectionery and health?
Kate Halliwell, Nutrition and Health Manager, Food and Drink Federation
09.55Blueprinting as a technique for successful reformulation of chocolate
Professor Kathy Groves, Head of Microscopy, Leatherhead Food Research
10.20The dawn of safe chocolate™ - fat-free and sweetener-free plus Chocolate Manufacturing – A Practical Session
Greg Aharonian, President, Kukaxoco
11.30California Almonds: Meeting Consumer Demand and Trends in Chocolate
Richard Waycott, President and CEO, Almond Board of California (ABC)
11.55Ritter Sport GMBH – Producer’s Case Study
Ben Daniels, Managing Director, Ritter Sport UK
12.202020: A Sugar Reduction Odyssey. Exploring The Holistic Approach
Jeroen De-Paepe, Confectionery & Bakery application manager, Cargill
Gaëlle Gautier, Technical Services Specialist, Chocolate, Cargill
14.00The impact of story telling
Bas Smit, Head of Global Marketing at Barry Callebaut
14.25Top Trends That Will Affect the Global Chocolate Market in 2018 and Beyond
Wiebke Schoon, Food Analyst, Euromonitor International
14.50Key Trends in Global Chocolate Product and Packaging Innovation
Regina Maiseviciute Haydon, Global Food and Drink Analyst, Mintel Group Ltd
16.00"Tree to bar" - challenges manufacturing in the country where you grow the beans
Angus Thirlwell, CEO & Co-Founder, Hotel Chocolat
16.25The challenges of taking chocolate free-from to market
Gareth Snook, Category Technical Manager for Bakery, Asda Stores PLC
16.50Chloe Grant, Founder & President, Creer Africa talks live with
Angus Kennedy, Editor, Kennedy's Confection
19.00FOR TICKET HOLDERS-Evening drinks reception and Gala LCF Dinner

For those delegates that wish to carry on in style and continue networking click here to order your evening reception and dinner ticket.


Speaker Profiles

Kennedy's Confection 


Angus KennedyAngus Kennedy, founder, London Chocolate Forum, Editor, Kennedy’s Confection magazine

Meet your host and the man that you can blame who started the LCF-   also a self confessed incurable chocolate lover, author and thinker!

Angus Kennedy is the owner of Kennedy’s and founder of the London Chocolate Forum and has been in the chocolate industry all his life. He is passionate about the subject of chocolate and currently holds the position as the editor of Kennedy’s Confection magazine where he writes for the journal about chocolate and those involved in the industry.

He is proud to claim to be both a self-trained writer and public speaker, has written over 7  books, some still featuring the top 10 Amazon best seller lists. He is also the author of a popular blog called Friday Light, which he says’ is complete nonsense’ and can’t understand why it has ever become popular; now with several thousand email recipients.

Angus, over the years  has become a bit of an expert for the media on he subject of chocolate and is often featured in national press and radio for his knowledge of the industry. with appearances with BBC 2, Al Jazeera Television, ITV and Channel 4. He is currently planning a new chocolate television series.

His passion ultimately in life to inspire people of all ages to allow then to live their dreams- he has just completed his latest book 2017 on a life of chocolate for consumers due to be published for Jan 2018. 


Meet your LCF chairman

Simon Wright, UK representative of ICAM SpA

We are delighted to welcome your chairman for the day; Simon Wright. Simon is currently the UK representative of ICAM SpA of Milan, Italy and involved in all aspects of chocolate development and marketing, for both brands and private label.

Simon has a partular interest in sustainable chocolate and was involved in setting up key brands Green & Black’s (organic) and Divine (Fairtrade). He has a degree in Food Science & Nutrition and is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and a Member of the Guild of Food Writers: he sits on the Soil Association Standards Board and Chairs the Certification and Oversight Committee of the Fairtrade Foundation.

Simon is also Chair of the Quality Food Awards judging panel, a member of the Food Matters Free From judging panel, a founding member of the Organic Trade Board and a member of Slow Food UK. Most recently Simon has been appointed to the organising committee of the Academy of Chocolate. And he confesses to us that his favourite chocolate is Vanini 49% Milk.


An insight into the political outlook for the use of sugar in confectionery and health

Kate Halliwell, Nutrition and Health Manager, Food and Drink Federation

The chocolate industry faces one of  the biggest challenges in its history with the government’s sugar reduction program. Kate will reveal key insights into the UK government’s ambitious plans in sugar reduction. This lecture is a must for anyone in in the chocolate sector preparing for what’s to come.

Since the publication of SACN’s report, sugars have been the primary focus of public policy on diet and health. The PHE and Health Select Committee reports made a call for action and the Government responded in its Childhood Obesity Plan. Industry and government are now embarked on a highly ambitious plan to reduce sugars from a wide range of foods including chocolate confectionery; a programme that will be intensively audited by PHE and scrutinised from outside.

Together with the soft drinks industry levy this represents the most intense scrutiny on sugar ever. Kate will explain the context for government action and the way in which industry has responded. She will explain industry’s deep misgivings about the soft drinks levy.

She will also talk about industry plans to manage the regular auditing of the sugars reduction programme and to ensure that a balanced picture of success is communicated. She will place the current focus on sugars in context of a wider, less-often seen picture around the challenge of obesity and the importance of a whole-diet approach that addresses both calories-in and calories out.

Kate is the nutrition and health manager at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Her role involves the development, implementation and promotion of FDF’s nutrition and health policies across a broad remit, from product reformulation through to workplace wellbeing approaches. Previously Kate worked for the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency on a range of nutrition policies. Kate sits on the Nutrition Society Council representing industry and is a registered nutritionist.


Blueprinting as a technique for successful reformulation

Professor Kathy Groves, Head of Microscopy, Leatherhead Food Research

Kathy will discuss the approaches available to reduce sugar in foods and explain how using the scientific technique we call Blueprinting can help in reformulating foods. Using bakery as a main example but including chocolate as well, Kathy will show how sugar replacement is not simple and why using science can help the industry achieve Public Health England’s targets and produce a product that consumers will like.

Kathy has over 35 years’ experience in food microscopy and product development where she has pioneered the use of microscopy for food structure analysis and quality assessment. She has applied her expertise across multiple categories including snacks, chocolate, confectionery and beverages, and numerous research areas including protein functionality, starch and fat interactions, meat quality and emulsions. Kathy is a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society. She is also Visiting Professor at the University of Chester and has presented on nanotechnology and food to the Government’s House of Lords Select Science Committee.


The dawn of safe chocolate™ – fat-free and sweetener-free plus Chocolate Manufacturing – A Practical Session

Gregory AharonianGreg Aharonian, President / Chief Scientist KukaXoco (Peru)

Nestle wants to sell its U.S. chocolate business? Hershey bought a beef-jerky company? Lindt has to be discounted 40% to sell retail in the U.S.? And Coca-Cola just got sued for damaging U.S. public health (and a lawsuit is being prepared against chocolate companies – now!). Why? SUGAR!!!! And fat. In this era of health-conscious food consumers, products that are basically 80% to 90% sugar (even if cutesy rose-colored), are increasingly viewed as “bad” foods. Worse for the chocolate industry are medical scientists publishing more and more about how sugar and cocaine trigger similar pathways in the brain, when many chocolate are 50% sugar.

At this year’s Forum, I will demonstrate on-stage how to make a fat-free, sugar-free, chocolate cream/milk/icecream, using the technology being developed at KukaXoco to allow cacao to be consumed with little fat, and none of the toxic sugar that worries consumers. In contrast to the 90% fat/sugar chocolate creams being sold today (one of the first targets of lawsuits), I will demonstrate how children can make a 9% fat/sweetener chocolate cream on their kitchen tables (and with water, a truly low fat, sugar free, chocolate milk that won’t harm children).

I will also announce two initiatives for the chocolate industry. The first initiative is our sponsorship of the Safe Chocolate™ certification – a set of easily met criteria for those using the latest technologies to help the marketing efforts of pro-active, innovative, chocolate companies. The second initiative is our plans to launch in 2018 an electronic coin for the chocolate industry (either “CacaoCoin” or “CocoaCoin”) to make it easier for cacao farmers in developing countries to profit from their hard labors. For both initiatives, we welcome collaborations.

Our goal is simple: to turn chocolate from being an unhealthy confection, to be one of the world’s most favorite health foods, from being a dessert to being a dinner.

California Almonds: Meeting Consumer Demand and Trends in Chocolate

Richard Waycott, President and CEO, Almond Board of California (ABC)

The Almond Board of California’s (ABC) President and CEO, Richard Waycott, joined the organization in 2002. Prior to heading up the ABC, Mr. Waycott worked for over 20 years, mostly in Latin America, in the food manufacturing and agribusiness industries, with extensive experience in the consumer products and B-to-B grains and oilseeds market segments.

Mr. Waycott’s experience compliments the other professionals at the Almond Board by bringing strategic leadership to the global development of the California almond industry. Almond production and worldwide almond shipments, as well as the activities of the ABC, have grown tremendously over the past several years, with Almond Board programs now touching every aspect of the industry’s interests. The Almond Board is a very accomplished organization, one that is held in high esteem by industry stakeholders around the world.

A native of California, Mr. Waycott holds a Masters degree in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and a Bachelors degree in International Marketing and Management from New York University.

Consumers around the world continue to love chocolate, just as they continue to crave California almonds. Over the years, research has shown that consumers prefer all forms of chocolate – milk, dark and white – with almonds, and this presentation will explore the unique flavor, texture and consumer perceptions of almonds that make them such a perfect fit with chocolate. With new product data from Innova Market Insights as well as global consumer research and a look at almond supply and sourcing, learn why shoppers worldwide continue to demand California almonds, and how these demands can translate into an even more desirable chocolate product.


Ritter Sport GMBH – Producer’s Case Study

Mr Benedict Daniels, Managing Director, Ritter Sport UK Ltd

We are delighted to welcome Ritter Sport to our 2017 panel of speakers. Ritter Sport was founded in 1912 and operates in over 103 countries with 1200 employees and a turnover of over 380m Euros. The company is still an independently owned family business today with their headquarters and main production site in Germany and we can’t wait to hear their case study that they have agreed to share with us at The London Chocolate Forum.

This may be one of the few times that Ritter Sport do speak at an event, so don’t miss this one off presentation. With chocolate bars with additions such as: Marzipan, Milk Wholenut and Coconut, not to mention their Cocoa workshop for kids, museum, unique take on sustainability; yes, this will be a very inspiring paper and a truly unique case study from one of the leaders in their field.


2020: A Sugar Reduction Odyssey. Exploring The Holistic Approach

Jeroen De-Paepe, Confectionery & Bakery application manager, Cargill  
Gaëlle Gautier, Technical Services Specialist, Chocolate, Cargill


Making chocolate-based consumer products healthier is a complex journey: one that Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate started with its customers some years ago.

Jeroen and Gaëlle will talk about the company’s holistic approach to reducing sugar in these products.
They will share Cargill’s proprietary insights into sensory analysis to explore questions like:

-How best to reduce the sugar level in the total formulation of a chocolate product?
-Do consumers prefer a homogenous or a heterogeneous distribution of sugar in the food matrix?

As Confectionery & Bakery Application Manager at Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, Jeroen leads a team developing cutting-edge technical solutions. Jeroen has worked in food application research in the broadest sense for over 20 years. He worked in processed meats, convenience foods and frying oils, developing a deep understanding of the functionality of ingredients. He holds a master’s degree in Food Engineering from the University of Ghent in Belgium and also studied at the University of Murcia (Spain) and the University of Bonn (Germany).

Gaëlle has worked as a Technical Services Specialist in Chocolate for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate in Belgium since 2013. She graduated in 2001 from Agrocampus Ouest (France), which specializes in food business and food technology. She then worked for Nutribio, a French B2B manufacturer of tailor-made weight control and sport products, as a development engineer, and for Cosucra, a Belgian company which produces chicory fibres and pea ingredients, as an application manager focusing on fibre and protein enrichment, and fat and sugar reduction.

Barry Callebaut 

The Impact of Storytelling

Bas SmitBas Smit, Head of Global Marketing at Barry Callebaut

Barry Callebaut, one of the sponsors of this year’s LCF consistently deliver fascinating insights into the industrial chocolate sector revealing trends that we often overlook. This year is no exception and this promises to be a fascinating lecture from the biggest chocolate producer in the world.

Before joining Barry Callebaut end of 2014, Bas has been working at Unilever for 17 years, across multiple disciplines (ranging from Finance, Customer Development to Marketing), covering different regions (Benelux, Western Europe, Russia & CIS countries). As such, he gained extensive experience within the Food Service and Retail Market, whilst leading and coaching multicultural teams.

Bas holds a Master of Science degree in Operational Research and Statistics of the University of Technology in Eindhoven, He studied Mathematics and Econometrics at the Technical University in Karlsruhe and finally achieved a Post Doctorate in Brand Management at the University of Groningen.


Top trends that will affect the global chocolate market in 2018 and beyond

Wiebke Schoon, Food Analyst at Euromonitor International

In this key paper Wiebke will be talking about the current state of global the chocolate confectionery industry and will identify top trends that will affect chocolate in the retailing environment globally in 2018 and beyond. She will be exploring how chocolate manufacturers can counterbalance sluggish volume sales performance and how blurring lines and growing competition from other (non-conventional) snacks are impacting chocolate.

In addition her presentation will also feature some key  packaging trends and look at how these are expected to develop in the future. 

Wiebke Schoon is a Food Analyst at Euromonitor International. Before joining Euromonitor in 2014, she obtained an MSc in International Marketing from the University of Birmingham and a BA in International Cultural and Business Studies from the University of Passau in Germany. She spent three years at Euromonitor conducting and commissioning research on foods-related topics for key Western European markets before moving into her current role as a global food specialist.

Key Trends in Global Chocolate Product and Packaging Innovation

Regina Maiseviciute Haydon, Global Food and Drink Analyst, Mintel

Regina Maiseviciute Haydon is a Global Food and Drink Analyst based in Mintel’s London office. As a part of the Mintel Food and Drink team, she provides insights on innovations, consumer trends, packaging and market developments globally. She is a regular speaker at international industry events alongside presenting to Mintel’s clients directly.

Regina brings over 15 years of experience working in leading market research and strategic analysis agencies, where she has provided insights and recommendations to leading global FMCG organisations and packaging manufacturers, retailers and governmental bodies within Europe and also globally. Her fluency in English, Polish, Lithuanian and Russian allows her to have direct, uninterrupted communication and understanding of local trends. Regina holds a Master degree in Sociology from Vilnius University.


“Tree to bar” – challenges manufacturing in the country where you grow the beans

Angus Thirlwell, CEO & Co-Founder, Hotel Chocolat

“I count myself as one of the luckiest people around – to work every day in a business that lives by my obsessions for chocolate, true creativity and honest ingredients, and which also has a link back to my childhood in the West Indies through our cocoa estate in Saint Lucia”.

To say that Angus Thirlwell is passionate about chocolate would be an understatement because, as he willingly admits, it’s more of an obsession. Together with his business partner, Peter Harris, he founded Hotel Chocolat in 2004 with three guiding principles that remain central to the brand’s success today – authenticity, originality and ethics. Angus religiously eats chocolate every day, tastes and approves every single recipe, and is as much at home in the development kitchen as he is in the boardroom or amongst the cocoa trees.

With its Rabot Estate cocoa plantation in Saint Lucia and a boutique hotel in the grounds, a chocolate manufacturing facility in Cambridgeshire, two UK cocoa cuisine restaurants, stores across the UK and three in Denmark, Hotel Chocolat occupies a unique space – being able to link all aspects of chocolate from the tree to the consumer.

The history of chocolate is a spirited tale of exploration, invention and adventure. It began with the discovery of cacao by Mayans in 900AD and it marches forward today with the same fervour and passion.

In 2010, Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris had just spent four years restoring the 250-year-old Rabot Estate cacao plantation on the island of Saint Lucia. As they sat on the estate house verandah, snacking on cacao nibs, the Caribbean sun easing behind the Piton Mountains, they thought: Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could come here?
It was decided. They would open a cacao hideaway, halfway up a hill, in a rainforest, on an island more than four thousand miles away. Set in the middle of productive cocoa agriculture, guests would experience true “barefoot luxury”, whilst learning about responsible cacao farming.

The monumental scale of the landscape around Boucan is jawdropping. A real-life Jurassic park roars into life before your eyes, the Piton Mountains towering majestically in a vivid, glossy riot of greenery and tropical flora. Everything has been meticulously thought out, from the showstopping view at the infinity pool to the perfectly positioned Lodges that catch the cooling breeze from the Caribbean Sea.

“Our big theme is responsible hedonism. Whether that’s empowering consumers to question what’s in their chocolate, or paying cacao farmers a fair wage, we are committed every step of the way.

As growers ourselves, we believe farmers who grow cacao deserve the same respect as farmers who grow grapes. So we haven’t just signed up to an ethical trading scheme – we’ve rolled our sleeves up and made our own. Since 2006, we’ve been turning Saint Lucia’s ailing cacao industry around, dramatically improving the quality of life for more than 150 local farmers through our Island Growers programme.

Today, we’re working on Phase Two. Project Genesis will be the world’s first tree-to-bean factory, processing fine flavor cacao in the same place we grow the beans.”

Drawing on his own ongoing experience at Rabot Estate, Saint Lucia, Angus will also draw parallels with the wine world and reference the natural bounty and capital of beautiful cacao groves.

Photo: The Times/News Syndication


The challenges of taking chocolate free-from to market

Gareth Snook, Category Technical Manager for Bakery, Asda Stores PLC

‘What does free from truly mean when manufacturing chocolate and what are the operational challenges that the industry faces? Ensuring deliverance of safe, legal yet exciting products to the customer’.

In his current role with Asda, he covers all aspects of technical compliance and management of the bakery supply chain and is the lead on ‘Free From’ for the business, ensuring customers receive safe and legal, high quality products which are expected from Asda.

Gareth joined Asda over three years ago having previously worked in the manufacturing base for almost 20 years. Starting out in the food industry after taking a job as an agency operator at Unilever’s Pot Noodle site, over the next ten years he worked his way up to assistant quality manager having gained a BSC in Biology, and many other vocational qualifications along the way.

Gareth then joined Real Crisps Co. (part of the Tayto NI group) as quality manager, before jumping into a full technical manager role at Loseley Dairy Ice Cream. He then joined Finsbury Foods at their Memory Lane Cakes site in Cardiff, where he fulfilled many roles culminating in taking on the position of site technical manager.

It was at this point the opportunity came to move into retail and join Asda. It was a decision Gareth says he has never regretted.

A proud Welshman, Gareth still lives in the Sirhowy Valley in a small village of about 900 people with his wife of 15 years, and their children. He is a passionate sports fan and loves to cook.


Chloe GRANT Founder & President, Creer Africa talks live with Angus Kennedy, Editor Kennedy’s Confection

Chloe GRANT Founder & President, Creer Africa

One of the highlights of the LCF 17, sit back and tune into this gripping live interview with Chloe Grant, Founder & President CREER Africa and Angus Kennedy, in what promises to be both a memorable and moving discussion. Chloe Grant has given up her (personal?) life and works to assist misplaced children in Western Africa and, like last years guest from Western Africa’s presentation, this also promises to be one you will remember! For all involved this promises to be both moving and a very uplifting experience for presenters and audience!

Chloe Grant used to visit Africa with her father, an airline pilot.  Following seven years of travelling and working around the world specifically she graduated at the start of the Japanese economic downturn.  In 2009 she set up the NGO C.R.E.E.R (Centre de Réinsertion et Education pour les Enfants de la Rue). An invitation from King Nanan Boa Kouassi III in 2013 led to the installation of a centre in Abengourou for exploited children.