INDIA – American food and confectionery firm, Cargill is partnering with a local manufacturer in western India, to open its first chocolate manufacturing operation in Asia, enabling the company capitalize on the growing demand of chocolate products in the Asia market.

The facility is expected to begin operating mid-2021 and will initially produce 10,000 tons of chocolate compounds. Cargill said adding that the site’s operations will create approximately 100 new jobs.

As consumer demand for chocolate products continues to grow steadily in the Asia market, the company has also signaled growth plans across region. Francesca Kleemans, managing director Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific said that Asia is a key growth market for Cargill and the production facility will support its growth ambitions in the market.

“Opening a chocolate manufacturing operation in India allows us to increase our regional footprint and capabilities in Asia to better support the needs of our local Indian customers as well as multi-national customers in the region,” Kleemans said.

“It also demonstrates our commitment to supporting the local economy with the addition of 100 new manufacturing jobs,” Kleemans added.

Cargill said that customers can tap into its R&D network of food scientists and experts located at Cargill’s state-of-the-art regional innovation centers in Singapore, Shanghai and India to collaboratively innovate with chocolate products.

This, according to the food company, will allow producers to bring sensory experiences in terms of colors and flavors specific to regional and local tastes and consumption patterns.

“Combining local insights from our experience and long term presence as a food ingredient supplier in India with our global cocoa and chocolate expertise, we aim to become the leading supplier and trusted partner for our bakery, ice cream and confectionary customers in Asia,” Kleemans said.

Cargill added that customers will also benefit from its globally integrated cocoa and chocolate supply chain, risk management capabilities, and its renowned food safety and sustainability approach to cocoa and chocolate production.

The new facility in India builds on Cargill’s 20+ years of presence in Asia. The company established its cocoa presence in the market in 1995 in Makassar, Indonesia, with a team designated to support trading and supply management of cocoa to Cargill processing plants in Europe and Brazil.

In 2014, Cargill opened a cocoa processing plant in Gresik, Indonesia, to make premium Gerkens cocoa products.

With the addition of the new manufacturing plant in India, Cargill said that it is well prepared to develop and scale up operational capabilities quickly to support future growth for our customers locally, regionally and globally.

Cargill recently 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 added a fifth gourmet production line and new chocolate tanks within the existing facility.

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