Barry Callebaut explores potential of Chinese chocolate market
The Barry Callebaut Group is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its chocolate factory in China and reporting that it has experienced double-digit growth in China over the last three years. Furthermore, the company sees China’s potential as one of the world’s biggest chocolate markets.
The factory marked a $20m (£14.5m) investment when it was inaugurated in January 2008, and Ben De Schryver, Barry Callebaut’s Asia Pacific President, reports: “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.”
In its chocolate factory in Suzhou, China, Barry Callebaut 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). The company is also the outsourcing partner for a growing number of Chinese food manufacturers seeking high-quality chocolates.
Since the opening of its Suzhou factory in 2008, the company has made several further investments to the facility, including an additional production line for white chocolate, a research lab, a pilot plant, and a Chocolate Academy centre 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 finest Belgian chocolates, available on the country’s most popular e-commerce sites including Tmall for the professional chocolatiers across China. The company’s online sales doubled in the last 12 months.
Although the domestic chocolate industry witnessed a big boost in sales recently, chocolate consumption in China still has plenty of room to grow. Analyst firm Euromonitor estimates in its recent Chocolate Confectionery in China report that this will grow from $2.8 billion (£2bn) today to approximately $3.9 billion (£2.8bn) by 2021 and that Asia Pacific will be one of the fastest growing regions globally.
Over the last 10 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 – as well as for most consumers when they buy chocolate. Other motivations include meeting a rational need for energy and deriving an emotional ‘feel good’ sensation from the eating experience.
China continues to be a strategic centre of knowledge and innovation for Barry Callebaut, which is why Barry Callebaut chose Shanghai as the venue for the global launch of Ruby Chocolate in September 2017, which is being proclaimed as the fourth type of chocolate after dark, milk and white chocolate.
To further mark the anniversary celebrations, Barry Callebaut will hold a Gourmet Pastry Chefs event in Shanghai this coming June. More than 45 chefs from over 20 different countries are expected to come together to present some of their best innovations in partnership with the chocolate and confectionery industry in China.