BELGIUM – Cargill has invested €3.5 million (US$3.92m) in its site in Kalmthout, Belgium to increase its capabilities for producing gourmet chocolate by further improving the facility’s flexibility and time to market.

The investment adds a fifth gourmet production line and new chocolate tanks within the existing facility, providing greater flexibility in production as well as adding 12 new jobs locally.

“This investment strengthens the extended gourmet chocolate offerings that we acquired with Cargill’s purchase of Smet in 2019,” says Inge Demeyere, Managing Director of Cargill’s chocolate activities in Europe.

“With the complementary offering of Veliche gourmet couvertures and Smet decorations, we are able to provide additional choice and meet increased demand in the gourmet segment, including our industrial customers.”

The investment provides access to enhanced innovation capabilities and an extended customer network. The new chocolate tanks will also allow for improved dedicated storage and dedicated piping to provide full flexibility to customer requirements.
“With Smet, a leading Belgium-based supplier of chocolate and sweets decoration, we have worked hard to uphold our customer’s trust, ensuring deep customer intimacy and high speed-to-market with new decoration technology, enhanced production capabilities and a wide-ranging product portfolio,” Demeyere said.

In December last year, Cargill announced that it would be investing over US$113 million to expand its cocoa processing sites in Yopougon, Ivory Coast and Tema, Ghana. The capital allocations included US$100 million to increase production capacity at Yopougon by 50 percent and US$13 million investment at the Tema site in Ghana to increase its capacity by 20 percent.

With the investments, the company is poised to tap to the growing premium chocolate market, which is forecasted to reach US$33.15 billion by 2024 growing at a CAGR of 9.93 % during the forecast period (2019-2024), according to a ResearchAndMarkets research.

Key trends in the market impacting the market include growing demand for organic, vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free chocolates and growing awareness of the negative effects of synthetic products on health and the environment.

The report by ResearchAndMarkets says that the demand for limited edition chocolates plays an important role in the market and various companies are launching a wide range of premium and luxury chocolate varieties during occasions, like Easter.

 Factors, such as shape and packaging of chocolates, are the key strategies adopted by companies to attain maximum sales during a festive season.

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Cargill, gourmet chocolate, Belgium, Invest, New Line, Production, Global Chocolate Market