Sector News

Cargill expands gourmet chocolate offerings with Leman Decoration acquisition

May 8, 2021
Food & Drink

Cargill has acquired Leman Decoration Group, a cake decorations supplier across the bakery sector, including the artisanal, small industrial and home-baking segments and foodservice sectors.

Currently Cargill is the second largest chocolate company globally and serves the gourmet market with its Veliche Gourmet, Smet, Vanova and now Leman Decorations brands.

The acquisition significantly broadens Cargill’s offerings in the decorations space, enabling the company’s cocoa and chocolate business to better serve gourmet customers in Europe and worldwide.

Customers will benefit from “increased intimacy and high speed to market with complementary decoration technology, enhanced production capabilities and a wide-ranging product portfolio,” says Cargill.

Expanding gourmet reach
“By adding Leman Decoration Group to the Cargill family, we’re able to support our gourmet and industrial customers at every step of their journey – from concept to finished product,” says Inge Demeyere, managing director Cargill Chocolate Europe.

“Our gourmet business will be a true one-stop-shop for all their chocolate needs, inclusions, decorations, couverture chocolate and now also, an extensive range of special decorations.”

Demeyere says the acquisition is also backed by a unique platform for sound customer service, including extensive R&D and printing capabilities, and the combined expertise and resources of two world-class organizations.

Leman Decoration Group’s portfolio spans cake decorations, chocolate printings, sugar-based decorations and wafers.

The family-owned business has customers across 55 countries, combining its strength for product innovation with a vertically integrated, end-to-end supply chain, offering a platform for customer service.

This approach aligns with Cargill’s goal of providing end-to-end, “bean-to decorations” gourmet solutions, notes the company.

“Cargill’s deep chocolate production expertise and established global cocoa and chocolate supply complement our long-standing commitment to our gourmet customers,” says Didier Leman, owner of Leman Decoration Group.

“By joining with Cargill, we can build on our nearly six-decade legacy in the decoration space and leverage the collective strengths of our complimentary operations to better serve the full spectrum of our client’s needs today and for years to come.”

Partnership leads to innovation
As part of the transaction, all Leman Decoration Group facilities, including its three state-of-the-art manufacturing sites in Belgium, Mauritius and Thailand, and its nearly 450 employees will join Cargill reporting into its Global Gourmet and Distribution organization.

Synergies between the two organizations extend to their Mouscron, Belgium-based innovation centers. Cargill’s House of Chocolate complex, with its chocolate experience facility, pilot plant and sensory lab, is slated to open in early 2022, while Leman Decoration group’s R&D hub is located just 1.5 kilometers away.

Together, these centers will provide an unrivaled platform for customer demonstrations, partnerships and innovations.

Acquisition trail
Cargill’s move to acquire Leman Decoration is the latest in a series of steps to extend its presence and product line in the gourmet space.

In 2019, Cargill acquired Smet, a leading Belgium-based supplier of chocolate and sweets decorations, while in January 2021, the company expanded its Kalmthout, Belgium, gourmet production facility.

In March, Cargill added signature origins to its Veliche line of couverture chocolates.

Other notable investments by Cargill in the gourmet segment include acquisitions of ADM’s global chocolate business in 2015.

Edited by Elizabeth Green

Source: foodingredientsfirst.com

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