July 24 - 30, 2022: Issue 547


Be The Boss: I Want To Be A Confectioner

Confectionery Makers operate machines and perform routine tasks to make and wrap confectionery. Confectioners mix, shape and cook sweeteners and other ingredients to produce confectionery, including chocolate, toffee and other lollies.

To become a confectioner you usually have to complete a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10 and a certificate II or III in food processing will be useful. 

Duties & Tasks of a Confectioner


  • Examine production schedules to determine confectionery types and quantities to be made
  • Check the cleanliness and operation of equipment before beginning production
  • Weigh, measure, mix, dissolve and boil ingredients in pans
  • Operate equipment that refines and tempers chocolate
  • Assist with coating chocolate bars and preparing chocolate products
  • Control temperature and pressure in cookers used to make boiled sweets, starch-moulded products, caramels, toffees, nougat and chocolate centres
  • Operate equipment to compress sugar mixes into sweets
  • Check batch consistency using a stainless steel spatula or measuring equipment such as a refractometer
  • Sort and inspect finished or partly finished products.


  • Weighs, measures, mixes, dissolves and boils ingredients..
  • Moves products from production lines into storage and shipping areas..
  • Operates machines to process food product..
  • Monitors product quality before packaging by inspecting, taking samples and adjusting treatment conditions when necessary.
  • Packages products.
  • Operates heating, chilling, and similar equipment..
  • Cleans equipment, pumps, hoses, storage tanks, vessels and floors, and maintains infestation control programmes..
  • Adds materials, such as spices and preservatives, to food.

Working conditions for a Confectioner

Most confectioners work full time. Senior confectioners provide on-the-job training to junior employees and coordinate work in a team environment.

Employment Opportunities for a Confectioner

Most confectioners are employed by confectionery manufacturers and work in factories. With more experience, confectioners can be involved in developing confectionery items with new textures, colours and flavours. With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to progress to leading hand, supervisory or management positions.

Candy, also called sweets (British English) or lollies (Australian English, New Zealand English), is a confection that features sugar as a principal ingredient. The category, called sugar confectionery, encompasses any sweet confection, including chocolate, chewing gum, and sugar candy. Vegetables, fruit, or nuts which have been glazed and coated with sugar are said to be candied.

Physically, candy is characterized by the use of a significant amount of sugar or sugar substitutes. Unlike a cake or loaf of bread that would be shared among many people, candies are usually made in smaller pieces. However, the definition of candy also depends upon how people treat the food. Unlike sweet pastries served for a dessert course at the end of a meal, candies are normally eaten casually, often with the fingers, as a snack between meals. Each culture has its own ideas of what constitutes candy rather than dessert. The same food may be a candy in one culture and a dessert in another.

The word candy entered the English language from the Old French çucre candi ("sugar candy"). The French term could have earlier word roots in the Arabic qandi, Persian qand and Sanskrit khanda, all words for sugar.

Candy at a souq in Damascus, Syria. Photo: Elisa Azzali

Sugarcane is indigenous to tropical South and Southeast Asia. Pieces of sugar were produced by boiling sugarcane juice in ancient India and consumed as khanda.] Between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, the Persians, followed by the Greeks, discovered the people in India and their "reeds that produce honey without bees". They adopted and then spread sugar and sugarcane agriculture.

Before sugar was readily available, candy was based on honey. Honey was used in Ancient China, the Middle East, Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire to coat fruits and flowers to preserve them or to create forms of candy. Candy is still served in this form today, though now it is more typically seen as a type of garnish.


A chocolatier can be defined as someone who makes and sells confectionery made from chocolate. They may be responsible for the whole process from start to finish, from devising a recipe, through to making the product, and finally packaging, displaying and selling. They may be salaried or self-employed and can become a Master Chocolatier once they have acquired the relevant skills and experience. They may work in a specialist chocolate shop, whether artisanal, independent or part of a worldwide group, or indeed as part of a professional kitchen or at the production facilities of a chocolate manufacturer.

Chocolate is a food product made from roasted and ground cacao seed kernels, that is available as a liquid, solid or paste, on its own or as a flavoring agent in other foods. Cacao has been consumed in some form since at least the Olmec civilization (19th-11th century BCE), and the majority of Mesoamerican people ─ including the Maya and Aztecs ─ made chocolate beverages.

The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavour. After fermentation, the seeds are dried, cleaned, and roasted. The shell is removed to produce cocoa nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, unadulterated chocolate in rough form. Once the cocoa mass is liquefied by heating, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor may also be cooled and processed into its two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Baking chocolate, also called bitter chocolate, contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions, without any added sugar. Powdered baking cocoa, which contains more fiber than cocoa butter, can be processed with alkali to produce dutch cocoa. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or added vegetable oils, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no cocoa solids.

Chocolate is one of the most popular food types and flavours in the world, and many foodstuffs involving chocolate exist, particularly desserts, including cakes, pudding, mousse, chocolate brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. Many candies are filled with or coated with sweetened chocolate. Chocolate bars, either made of solid chocolate or other ingredients coated in chocolate, are eaten as snacks. Gifts of chocolate moulded into different shapes (such as eggs, hearts, coins) are traditional on certain Western holidays, including Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, and Hanukkah. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, such as chocolate milk and hot chocolate, and in some alcoholic drinks, such as crème de cacao.

In 2019 we ran a page about some of the earlier chocolate makers in Australia - you can find that in Old Australian Chocolates Back On The Market: The Cherry Ripe Song. You can also read about the History of Darrell Lea sweets, lollies, liquorice and chocolate on their website at: https://dlea.com.au/our-story/ while the Cadbury factory, in Tasmania, was opened in 1922.

Some of the earliest Confectioners of local lollies were at Manly.

Until the 16th century, no European had ever heard of the popular drink from the Central American peoples. Christopher Columbus and his son Ferdinand encountered the cocoa bean on Columbus's fourth mission to the Americas on 15 August 1502, when he and his crew stole a large native canoe that proved to contain cocoa beans among other goods for trade.

Fry's produced the first chocolate in solid state in 1847, which was then mass-produced as Fry's Chocolate Cream in 1866.

J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd. better known as Fry's, was a British chocolate company owned by Joseph Storrs Fry and his family. Beginning in Bristol in the 18th century, the business went through several changes of name and ownership, becoming J. S. Fry & Sons in 1822. In 1847, Fry's produced the first solid chocolate bar. The company also created the first filled chocolate sweet, Cream Sticks, in 1853. Fry is most famous for Fry's Chocolate Cream, the first mass-produced chocolate bar, which was launched in 1866, and Fry's Turkish Delight, launched in 1914.

Fry, alongside Cadbury and Rowntree's, was one of the big three British confectionery manufacturers throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and all three companies were founded by Quakers. The company became a division of Cadbury in the early twentieth century. 

Confectioner as a job information courtesy The Good Universities Guide, Australia.