Class of 2008
John was born in Beckenham, England, on March 7, 1944. He attended high school in Bramhall and then studied sugar, cocoa and chocolate technology at Borough Polytechnic in London and the City and Guilds of London Institute.
John began his 46-year career in the confectionery and snack industry as assistant production manager at Barratt’s Ltd. in 1966, and married Janette a year later. The two moved to the U.S. in 1971 when John joined Knechtel Laboratories as a junior consultant, eventually becoming laboratory manager and vice-president at the Illinois-based company.
He moved to Standard Brands in 1980 as R&D manager, and transferred to the Nabisco Technology Center in 1985. When Kraft Foods acquired Nabisco Brands in 2002, John joined Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and served as Research Principal until he retired in July 2006.
Very active in various technical and educational committees in the industry, in 1986 John received a National Confectioners Association Certificate of Appreciation for guidance and contributions to its technical program. He was the 1998 recipient of the American Association of Candy Technologists Stroud Jordan Award, and has also been honored with a NCA Research and Education Award and the 1997 Kettle Award.
Throughout his career, John has been a frequent instructor at confectionery training courses and a regular speaker and panelist at industry conferences.
One of the strongest influences on John’s career was his father, Sidney Kitt, a candy maker and confectionery plant manager who encouraged his interest in the industry from an early age. He also pays tribute to Herbert Knechtel and Candy Hall of Famer Pat Hurley, for their guidance.
He is currently active in a group of industry professionals dedicated to bringing a central confectionery education and research facility to the U.S.
In his free time, John enjoys gardening, photography, travel and reading.
John passed away August 26, 2009.