Sector News

Barry Callebaut: China could be world’s biggest chocolate market

January 15, 2018
Consumer Packaged Goods

Barry Callebaut aims to capitalise on strong growth within China’s chocolate market, as it celebrates ten years since opening its chocolate factory in the country.

While the domestic chocolate industry witnessed a big boost in sales recently, the company predicts that chocolate consumption in China still has plenty of room to grow.

Euromonitor estimates that the chocolate confectionery category in China will expand from $2.8 billion today to around $3.9 billion by 2021.

Over the last ten years, chocolate consumption in China has become more similar to other parts of Asia. According to market research done by Kadence, taste is the single most important driver for Chinese consumers.

Located in Suzhou, Barry Callebaut’s China facility was inaugurated in January 2008, and it has helped the confectionery company achieve double-digit growth in the country over the last three years.

The site manufactures chocolate for global and local food manufacturers (that use chocolate and cocoa as ingredients in their consumer products) and also imports premium European chocolate for artisanal and professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants and caterers).

Barry Callebaut is also the outsourcing partner for a growing number of Chinese food manufacturers seeking high-quality chocolates.

The company has made additional investments in China in the past decade, including: an additional production line for white chocolate, a new research lab and pilot plant, and a new chocolate academy in Shanghai where it has trained more than 3,000 professionals.

Furthermore, with China becoming the largest e-commerce market in the world, Barry Callebaut has made Callebaut, its brand for Belgian chocolates, available on the country’s most popular e-commerce sites including Tmall for professional chocolatiers across China.

Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific president Ben De Schryver said: “Over the last ten years, we have played a leading role in helping develop the chocolate market in China. Although chocolate consumption in China is still only about 100 grams per capita, consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated and educated on all things chocolate.

“This trend fuels our excitement about the future of chocolate in China which we believe has the potential to become one of the biggest chocolate markets in the world.”

With global chocolate confectionery sales struggling as consumers shift to healthier snacks, Barry Callebaut saw its sales volumes increase by 4.4% in its last quarterly results, which were driven by a good performance at its gourmet business and outsourcing contracts.

Source: FoodBev

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