Work as a Confectioner
Admit it. You have a sweet tooth. How many gummy bears, caramels, mints, gum, marzipan, toffees, lollipops, candy corns, jelly beans, taffy, cotton candy, marshmallows, cakes, tarts, or cookies have you eaten in the last year? Every sweet you eat supports the candy and confectionary industry.
Did you know that over 4 million Peeps marshmallow chicks are made per day? Did you know that the US consumes over 90 million pounds of chocolate on Halloween, but only 71 million pounds on Easter? Or that June is National Candy Month? You may find these facts to be surprising or even ridiculous, but the world has a sweet tooth. The candy industry is a multi-billion dollar niche that capitalizes on your sugar cravings – especially the confectioners.
Confectioners create, cook, shape, and sell candy. They are a mix of chemist, pastry chef, and designer who creates sugar and carbohydrate rich food items that look and taste amazing. Confectioners are like real world Willy Wonkas.
Do you know much about the candy industry? It’s made up of large companies like Kraft, Mars, Nestle, Ferrero, and Hershey. But it also consists of small companies like your local bakery or mom and pop shop. The US leads the world confectionary market by spending $34.5 billion on confectionary products each year. That means confectioner jobs are here to stay!
Confectioners have a creative job where they literally get to create the taste and design of all sorts of candies. They usually work in kitchens mixing, sifting, weighing, and dissolving a mess of ingredients to develop fun candies like candy canes or Swedish Fish. Working around hot ovens, boiling liquids, knives, and other kitchen machinery can be hazardous. Another hazard of being a confectioner is that sugar rich foods are directly linked to diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay. It’s important to watch what you eat.
Sometimes confectioners follow directions, other times the creative process is a free for all. Confectioners perfect their products by adding colors and flavors that intensify the candy experience. It’s all about what tastes good and sells. After creating the sweets, confectioners are “required” to do the appropriate taste testing too. When a product reaches perfection it must be packaged, branded, and sold.
Most confectioners are self-taught, passionate people who love creating delicious sugar based foods. Some attend culinary school or seek an education as a pastry chef. There are even a handful of confectioner degrees available. The key to success is to consistently produce quality candies and treats that people love.
Usually confectioners get their start by selling their creations at restaurants, cafes, or candy shops. Often times they can find entry-level jobs as a baker’s assistant. It’s possible to find confectioner internships too. Experience in a commercial and professional kitchen is very important.
Some lucky confectioners land jobs with big candy companies like Nestle or Hershey’s where they get to develop the next big candy craze. Can you imagine being the confectioner who created M&M’s, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Trident Gum, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Hershey’s Jolly Ranchers, Ferrara’s Atomic Fireballs, or Haribo Gummy Bears?
Unfortunately, there are not many full-time confectioner jobs. It’s a job that overlaps with other jobs like chocolatier, pastry chef, or even baker. For those who are lucky enough to become a confectioner, you can expect to make about $38,000 per year. There is a very wide range of pay in this profession as it depends on your reputation, employer, location, and other factors.
The world’s sugar obsession is here to stay. Therefore, creative confectioners will always be in demand. If you’re ready to make candy and sweets for a living, pursue a career as a confectioner.
Quick Facts About Confectioners
Job Title: Confectioner, Candy Maker
Office: Commercial Kitchen
Description: Create, cook, shape, and sell candy
Certifications/Education: No formal training required
Necessary Skills: Hand-eye coordination, Attention to detail, Hygiene focused
Potential Employers: Self-Employed, Candy Shops, Big Candy Companies
Pay: $38,000 per year