Barry Callebaut eyes US supply deals
The world’s largest bulk-chocolate maker is eyeing supply deals in the US as the market consolidates and consumer tastes change.
Barry Callebaut AG sees supplying chocolate directly to consumer brands, or outsourcing, as an important driver of the company’s US growth, said Peter Boone, the Swiss company’s president for the Americas region. Changing consumer tastes are also an opportunity for the Zurich-based firm, which launched its ruby chocolate in the US and Canada last month.
The American snacks market has been challenging for companies like Nestle SA, which sold its US confectionery unit to Ferrero SpA. The Italian confectioner also agreed to buy Kellogg Co.’s cookies and fruit-snack brands including Keebler and Famous Amos. In January, Barry Callebaut said consolidation in the US market would provide opportunities to fuel growth in the region.
Millennial consumers have turned against sugar and are increasingly focused on sustainably-sourced products that are also innovative and tasty. That’s pushed chocolate makers to innovate. Barry Callebaut is now the top producer of reduced-sugar chocolate products. The company also makes dairy-free chocolate, a form adopted by Unilever in its vegan Magnum ice cream.
Volumes for industry-wide chocolate sales expanded globally for eight consecutive quarters through January, rebounding after declines in 2017, Barry Callebaut said in April, citing figures from analytics firm Nielsen. Volume in North America will probably keep growing at a rate of about 1% annually, in line with population growth. The value of products sold will likely see an acceleration, with growth at 3% to 4%, said Mr Boone.