AACT is a premier professional group of individual technologists, operations personnel, educators, students, business staff and others dedicated to the advancement of the confectionery industry.
AACT has its origins at the first PMCA Conference that was held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at Lehigh University in 1947. At the time, the PMCA was a regional association, based in Pennsylvania, USA. During this conference, candy makers, candy technologists and persons interested in candy making met to discuss the idea of organizing a national technical association. Hans Dresel, the chairman of the PMCA conference was also present at this meeting. As part of this meeting they discussed simple problems encountered in candy making such as the boiling and inversion of sugar, why the candy was sticky, dark candy, dull chocolate and everyday problems that still exists even today. Scientifically, they did not know the reason for a problem or what caused it or how to eliminate it. They did not know what to call this group, but the candy technologists were to continue to meet and exchange ideas on candy making using a more modern approach to benefit candy technologists from all over the country.
Back in the early days, candymaking was virtually all art and very little science. While it is true that a good candy maker knew what various ingredients did for the candy, very little was understood about why things worked. It was felt that the industry as a whole could benefit from a scientific approach to candy making, pooling the efforts across the industry.
For the first few years, the topics centered on sugar, corn syrup, starch and chocolate. From these meetings came the American Association of Candy Technologists (AACT).
The AACT Technical Conference is held annually during the fall in the Chicago area. Approximately 20 papers are presented to an audience of around 300 technologists in the sweet goods industry. These talks range from basics to innovations, providing the industry with practical information to help in understanding processes and ingredients used by their companies.