Industry Mourns Russ Albers’ Passing
Russ Albers, longtime Jelly Belly Candy Co. executive, died on November 13, following complications from a broken leg and subsequent surgery. The well-respected confectionery executive had spent nearly half a century in the industry, working for MacFarlane Candies, See’s Candy Co. and Jelly Belly Candy Co. during his lifetime.
In addition to working for some of the most prominent candy companies in the United States, Albers was an active participant in several industry associations, including the National Confectioners Association and the Western Candy Conference. He played a key role in repealing California’s candy and snack tax, leading to a state constitutional amendment preventing taxation of any food.
In 1995, Albers was presented with Candy Industry’s Kettle Award, the industry’s most prestigious honor. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame.
Survived by his wife Helen, and daughter, Candice Cannon, Albers loved traveling, reading, golfing and deep sea fishing.
Born on December 17, 1926 in Alden, Iowa, Albers grew up on a farm until he joined the Navy. After his discharge from the service, he finished his education at Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa.
Russell left Iowa for California in 1950 and began his candy career with MacFarlane’s Candies as a retail supervisor trainee. He rose to the position of president in 1959 at the age of 33. He continued at MacFarlane’s until 1972 at which time he joined See’s Candy Co. as vice-president and general manager. After spending 12 years with See’s he joined Herman Goelitz Candy Co. (now known as Jelly Belly Candy Co.) in 1984 as vice-president and general manager, and was promoted to president in 1987. He served in this capacity until March, 1996 and subsequently served as chief advisor.
“Russ was an eloquent gentleman who had a great way with words and was very logical,” recalled Bill Kelley, vice chairman of Jelly Belly. “During meetings, he would always say the right thing. If we were grappling with a problem, he’d sum up the discussion and clarify the options.”
Albers was cremated and buried in a private service at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, Calif. The Jelly Belly Candy Co. held a “Celebration of Life” ceremony for Albers on Nov. 30th at its visitors’ center in Fairfield, Calif.
Two new international members — David Benitez, president, Bimbo Snacks USA/Dayhoff LLC, and Sergio Limonti, president of the Americas, Arcor USA — have been named to the National Confectioners Association’s Board of Trustees. Benitez has more than 14 years of experience in 22 different countries in the candy and food industry. Limonti is a 16-year veteran of Arcor, who has worked in Latin American countries as well as in the United States and Canada.
Barry Callebaut Announces World Masters Competition
Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut will hold the U.S. National Competition for the World Chocolate Masters May 19-20, 2007. The event will be hosted by the French Pastry School in Chicago.
The World Chocolate Masters is a prestigious worldwide competition, where chocolatiers, pastry chefs and other chocolate professionals compete in the creation of chocolate works. The winner of the U.S. competition will represent this country in the 2008 World Chocolate Masters event to be held in Europe.
To receive an application for the 2007 U.S. National Competition, send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Marilyn Hagstoz at (800) 836-2626. Learn more about the chocolate competitions at www.worldchocolatemasters.com.
NCA Considers Candy Museum Located in Washington, D.C.
The National Confectioners Association is in the early stages of investigating the creation of a museum likely to be located in Washington, D.C. The Candy Museum would be a vehicle for the industry to show its complexity and popularity through exhibits, interactivity and education. The following features are under consideration for this unique venue.
The Science of Candy. Early ideas for this exhibit include sugar chemistry, processing demonstrations, principles of quality assurance, and sensory stations where attendees could smell and taste different flavors.
The History of Candy. This exhibit starts thousands of years ago with ancient Egyptians — the first documented culture to enjoy sweets. The role the ancient Aztecs and Mayans played in the history of chocolate also will be presented. The real story starts, however, just a few hundred years ago when European immigrants first began arriving on America’s shores with secret family recipes for delicious confectionery and an industry was born.
Candy and Pop Culture. This exhibit will explore the popularity of candy — how and why it’s come to play such a major role in our lives. A dynamic theater area would play commercial jingles, show TV and movie clips, and art displays.
Heath and Wellness. This exhibit will illustrate candy’s role as a treat in the diet with information on healthy lifestyles, the importance of activity and interactive features.
NCA’s Board has approved a multi-level feasibility study to determine the level of interest in such a venture. A group of NCA Members, led by Bill Kelley, vice chairman of the Jelly Belly Candy Co., have formed an ad hoc steering committee for the project.
To learn more about the progress and plans for the project, contact Alison Bodor at (703) 790-5750.
Kiss and Mail
Reginning in January 2007, the iconic candy brand, Hershey’s Kisses, will adorn the latest in the series of Love stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
The introduction of the “With Love and Kisses” stamp next year coincides with the debut of the Hershey Kisses 100th anniversary celebration.
More than one billion Love stamps are printed each year. The design for the stamp is selected annually by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.
The U.S. Postal Service debuted the Love stamp in 1973.