Last week, Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s leading manufacturer of cocoa and chocolate products, officially opened its new chocolate factory located in Extrema, Minas Gerais, near São Paulo -- the company’s first chocolate factory in South America. According to Barry Callebaut, the factory marks another cornerstone in its strategy to “selectively expand its geographic presence to emerging markets that offer above-average growth opportunities.”
The $15-milion chocolate factory in Extrema has been designed to meet the highest quality and food safety standards. The plant has an initial production capacity of 20,000 tons, which easily can be doubled based on demand. In addition, 70 new jobs were created as a result of the investment.
The new factory will make high-quality dark, milk and white chocolate as well as compound for artisanal and for industrial customers, but no end-consumer products. Capacity utilization at the plant is expected to rise rapidly. Eighty percent of the factory’s production is targeted toward the rapidly growing food service market, which includes restaurants, fast food restaurants, bakeries, pastries, in-store bakeries, caterers, hotels, chocolatiers, and hospital and school canteens.
For the distribution of food service products manufactured in Extrema, Barry Callebaut has signed an exclusive distribution agreement in 2009 with Bunge, a leading agribusiness company. Every day, Bunge serves about 25,000 points of sale in Brazil.
“Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world with a population of more than 190 million, and the country has returned much faster to its earlier growth dynamic than most other economies after the recent economic turmoil,” Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann said at the grand opening.
“In addition, the Brazilian government as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are expecting a GDP growth of up to 6% for 2010,” Steinemann explained. “Against this background, and based on growth forecasts for the Latin American chocolate market of more than 3% in volume terms [Source: Euromonitor International] annually over the next three years, we see a tremendous market potential -- not only in Brazil but in the entire region. Seventy-five percent of the Brazilian GDP is generated within a radius of 500 kilometers from Extrema.
“With our existing cocoa factory in Ilhéus, Bahia, and now our new chocolate factory in Extrema,” he continued, “we are close to our local customers and well positioned to achieve our goal to also become the No 1 chocolate supplier to Brazil’s fast-growing food service industry.”
Barry Callebaut has been present in Brazil with a cocoa factory in Ilhéus, Bahia, since 1999 and employs more than 300 people in the country. Today, the company operates nine cocoa and chocolate factories across the Americas.