Sweeten your day with...


Our focus is on celebrating confections – whether chocolate covered bon bons or gloriously simple caramels – produced using locally grown, natural, minimally processed ingredients that celebrate regional culture and tradition, highlight American terroir and exemplify excellence in the candy making craft.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the confections community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the confections standard are and who will be judging this year.



Leah Hammerman

Cheetah, Category Merchandiser – Local & Specialty Products

Leah’s deep love for all things food began at a young age when she prepared weekly Shabbat dinners with her mom. An avid home cook, she still keeps up her Jewish cooking traditions, but now with beautiful California ingredients. Born in New York, Leah followed her nose and palate to the culinarily-bountiful Bay Area in 2017. Her career in the food industry has spanned managing restaurants, marketing F&B products and services, starting Dandelion Chocolate’s wholesale program (where she got her chocolate/confections cred), working on a biodynamic farm, and she now sources local & specialty products for Cheetah, a foodservice distributor. A theme of her diversified experiences is her considerable appreciation for and desire to promote quality foods and the people who grow/make them. A curious student of life, Leah’s motivated by learning and cultivating relationships with passionate food folks.

Christina Skonberg

Director of Sustainability and Mission at Simple Mills

As the Director of Sustainability & Mission at Simple Mills, Christina leads the company’s strategy to advance human and planetary health through intentional product design and ingredient sourcing partnerships. She brings to the product innovation process a keen eye toward ecosystem health and economic resilience in farming communities, connecting consumer insights with farmer insights to design products that benefit all nodes of the supply system. Prior to Simple Mills, Christina held multiple roles at General Mills, including leading sustainability for Annie’s, Cascadian Farm, and Muir Glen, and managing company-wide regenerative agriculture impact reporting initiatives. While at SCS Global Services, she coordinated the Starbucks responsible coffee sourcing verification program in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. As Director of Operations at the Good Food Foundation, she led production for the Good Food Awards, a national recognition program for leading-edge food businesses committed to positive social and environmental impact. Skonberg holds degrees in Agricultural Science and Brazilian Studies from Brown University, and a MS in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

Committee Members

Anna Lee, Lazy Bear
Rebecca Frank, Rebecca Frank Dog Training
Jessica Robin
Michelle Ticknor, Zenni Optical
Kimberly Yang, Formosa Chocolates

Judges 2023

Jane Hsieh-Fiore

Marketing Consultant, BeCovet, LLC

Wendy Lieu

CEO & Chief Chocolatier, Socola Chocolatier

Megan Nelson

Pricing and Specialty Coordinator, Palace Market

Sophie Fleming

SF Sales Rep | Server, Revel Wine & Flour + Water Hospitality Group

Luis Villavelazquez

Pastry Chef/Owner, Les Elements Dessert Restaurant

Christine Schantz

Board of Directors, Civil Eats

Julia Street

Owner, J Street Chocolate

Hetal Vasavada

Owner, Milk and Cardamom

Sarah Shaw

Operations Manager, Rye on the Road

Bianca Kaprielian

CEO & Co-founder, Fruit World

Megan Larson

Senior Program Manager, Indeed

Liza Johnson

Communications Specialist, Postcard Communications

Jennifer Rojas Cline

Category Sales Manager, Bi-Rite Market

Mike Raskin

Chef/Owner, Edith's Pie


In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, confections entries must meet the following standards:

  • Made in the USA or US territories.
  • Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
  • Free of genetically modified ingredients.
  • Free of high fructose corn syrup.
  • Sugar must be Organic or Fair Trade certified or traceable to the farm level.*
  • If made with chocolate, it must be premium couverture and may not be made with substitute fats as alternatives to cocoa butter. Additionally this chocolate cannot be made with GM sugar, GM lecithin or alternatives to real vanilla (ie flavoring).
  • If made with dairy and other animal-derived ingredients, these are locally sourced and/or certified organic; free range; hormone-free; and from animals raised using good animal husbandry.**
  • If made with inclusions and flavorings that are grown domestically, they are locally sourced wherever possible; traceable; and grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.***
  • If made with inclusions and flavorings that are not grown domestically on a commercial scale, they are farm-direct, certified organic or Fair Trade certified.**
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,**** as exemplified through integrating these practices:
    • Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
    • Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
    • Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
    • For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.****

*Sugar traceable to the farm level will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
**The Good Food Foundation will refer to GAP Level 5 guidelines to define “good animal husbandry” should there be any questions as to eligibility based on this criterion.
***If less than 2% of ingredients in the product do not meet this stipulation, the entry will not be disqualified.
****Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.


Additionally, confections entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:

  • Candy (Gummies, Taffy, Lollipops, Licorice)
  • Marshmallows, Nougats, Torrones
  • Caramels, wrapped
  • Caramels, chocolate covered
  • Brittles & Toffees
  • Chocolates: Truffles, Creams, Bon-bons, Pralines
  • Fruit: Pate De Fruit, Candied Fruit and Peel, Fruit Gelee
  • Sweet Snacks: Dragees
  • Candy Bars
  • Flavored & Inclusion Bars*
  • Sauces & Spreads

*Bean-to-bar makers must enter flavored or inclusion bars in the Chocolate category.


Note that we encourage but do not require that Confections entrants use domestically produced craft chocolate that is made with beans from a traceable source, purchased at a price above Fair Trade standard pricing, with focus on sustainable farming.

2023 Judges