Three nominees for Candy Industry’s 2014 Kettle Award were selected by the magazine’s Kettle Committee.

Mike Bianco

The nominees vying for the prestigious honor next year are:

• Mike Bianco, senior v.p. of global operations & distribution, Jelly Belly Candy Co., Fairfield, Calif.
• Joseph Dutra, president and ceo, Kimmie Candy Co., Reno, Nev.
• Steve Hegedus, president, ceo and owner, Abdallah Candies Corp., Burnsville , Minn.

Joseph Dutra

Established in 1946 by Candy Industry’s founder and publisher, Don Gussow, the Kettle Award was meant as "recognition of the contribution for ‘great or good’ of the industry, not only on the part of the person selected for the distinction, but of every member of the confectionery field who has devoted himself in whatever measure to make the business of candy making and selling a more profitable and happier one."

Cognizant that the supplier community is intimately involved with the confectionery industry, Gussow created the Kettle Committee consisting of representatives from leading suppliers to the industry. The Kettle Committee was charged to first nominate candidates and then, through a balloting process involving readers and culminating with a final vote from the Committee, select a recipient. Russell Stover, president of the Russell Stover Candy Co., was the first to receive the cherished copper Kettle Award in 1946.

Steve Hegedus

Readers of Sweet & Healthy and Candy Industry — as well as confectionery industry professionals — can vote for the candidate of their choice by visiting the Kettle Awards website today, or by mailing or faxing the ballot included in the December issue of Candy Industry magazine. Full details about the candidates, committee members, past Kettle Award recipients and receptions are also on the website.

The 2014 Kettle Awards Reception will be held May 20, 2014 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Union League Club in Chicago during the Sweets & Snacks Expo. The reception is open to all involved in the confectionery industry.