- The Barry Callebaut Group has completed two factory expansion projects in the U.S. — one in American Canyon, California, and one in Chicago. It also opened a new warehouse in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
- The Swiss manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products said in a statement that it had invested nearly $25 million in the two factory projects. The California plant has another molding line and one more liquid line, plus other equipment improvements, while the Chicago facility has an additional molding line, along with related infrastructure.
- The Pennsylvania warehouse features more than 500,000 square feet of temperature-controlled space and will be the company’s main distribution hub for its business on the East Coast.
These expansions and additions demonstrate Barry Callebaut's commitment to enlarging its footprint in the Americas, which is its second-largest market. Europe, the Middle East and Africa make up its largest market segment. The company now operates in 30 countries and reports annual sales of about $6.8 billion.
"As our customer base grows, we continue to invest in infrastructure to support that progress,” Peter Boone, president of Barry Callebaut Group's Americas Region, said in a statement.
The Zurich-based company also has been busy adding to its portfolio by recently acquiring D’Orsogna Dolciaria, a family-owned Italian company supplying decorations for ice cream, dairy and bakery products manufacturers. And it opened joint offices in May at the Chocolate Academy Mexico in Mexico City, where both chocolate training courses and products are offered.
On the innovation front, the company recently introduced ruby chocolate to the confectionery space.The product is expected to appeal to millennials who tend to appreciate new and different food products.
Barry Callebaut is tapping into today's two major chocolate trends: hedonistic indulgence and high quality. U.S. chocolate firms seem to have a difficult time combining those. Hershey plans to cut 15% of its global workforce — about 2,700 jobs — during the next two years to boost profitability. And Nestle, which is looking to sell its U.S. candy business, recently reported its slowest sales growth in more than two decades.
While consumers may be cutting down on sugar and less-healthy treats, they haven't given up the desire to indulge in high-quality chocolate — a trend that benefits companies such as Barry Callebaut. Data from Statista shows U.S. chocolate consumption continues to steadily rise, with sales expected to reach $22.4 billion this year, an increase of $2.3 billion from just four years ago.
As long as the quality of its cocoa and chocolate products remains high, the innovations keep coming, and it can keep costs down through astute investment and cost-effective distribution, the future looks good for companies such as Barry Callebaut.