USA – Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, has reported grew its sales volume by 6.9% to 1.5 million tonnes in the first 9 months of fiscal year 2017/18.

According to the company, it achieved very good volume growth across all regions and product groups in a global chocolate confectionery market that grew 2.5%.

The volume increase was supported by all key growth drivers, Gourmet & Specialties (7.8%), Outsourcing (6.2%) and Emerging Markets (8.8%).

The volume growth in Q3 (4.8%) was also strong on top of a good base from prior year.

The company reported that the sales revenue in the period under review amounted to US$5.22 billion, a decline of 2.4% in local currencies due to lower raw material prices, which the Group passes on to its customers for a large part of its business.

“After the very strong performance in the first half of this fiscal year, we continued to see strong momentum in the third quarter, fueled by all key growth drivers, regions and product groups.

Our volume growth was again significantly above the global chocolate confectionery market,” said Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group.

The company also said that it had achieved different strategic milestones in the first nine months of fiscal year 2017/18.

Barry Callebaut opened its first CHOCOLATE ACADEMY center on the African continent – its 21st worldwide – on May 8, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

As part of the continuous improvement of its footprint, Barry Callebaut announced the extension of its cocoa processing capacities in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon.

The investments in South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon reaffirm the Group’s commitment to the African continent.

The iconic KitKat brand launched Sublime Ruby in its Chocolateries in Japan and South Korea in early 2018, followed by a fast roll-out of the KitKat Ruby 4-finger product in several European markets and Australia.

“Looking at market trends and market dynamics, we continue to see many growth opportunities and are confident that this, together with the diligent execution of our ‘smart growth’ strategy, will allow us to deliver on our 4-year guidance,” said CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique.

Barry Callebaut also announced the extension of its dairy-free chocolate product portfolio in the United States, tapping into the growing customer demand for dairy-free chocolate solutions.

On June 4, 2018, Barry Callebaut signed three letters of intent with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to work collaboratively towards the design and validation of a sustainable cocoa farming model.

Sales volume of Barry Callebaut in Region EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) increased by 8.1% to 695,214 tonnes, supported by strong growth in Western Europe and double-digit growth in Eastern Europe in both Food Manufacturers and Gourmet & Specialities.

The chocolate confectionery market in Europe, according to Nielsen, continued the good momentum and grew by 3.0.

Sales revenue was slightly down by 0.6% in local currencies to US$2.3 million, mainly due to lower raw material prices.

The company also reported that over the last nine months the world sugar market lost more than 20.0% due to good crops in Asia and Europe, resulting in a sugar surplus.

In Europe, a record crop led to a sharp reduction of domestic prices.