MOROCCO – Aiguebelle, a chocolate manufacturing unit of the Omnipar group, has inaugurated a new 75 million dirhams (US$7.4 million) production line that will increase the daily production capacity of the company by 20 tons.

 The new line, per the company, has the latest generation of chocolate, chocolate and sugar, tablet, and bar molding machines.

Chairman of the Omnipar Group, Aiguebelle’s parent company, Amine Berrada Sounni, said that the factory is the “first acquisition in Africa and the eighth in the world.”

He noted that the investment aligns with the objectives of the Omnipar group in promoting the policy “Made in Morocco.”

“We are committed to putting the Moroccan product more forward, to encouraging national professional consumption, as well as developing the pastry and chocolate trades,” explained Mr. Sounni.

According to executives, the installation is also economical in energy consumption and respects ecological standards, with low waste ratios in terms of packaging made in “cold seal” mode (self-sealing).

The mode is 10 times faster than current modes in production, responding more to market demand and allowing for extremely durable preservation of the quality of the product.

Founded in 1942, Aiguebelle employs around 530 people in the country and exports its products to the rest of Africa and countries in the Middle East.

The inauguration took place with the presence of Morocco’s Trade and Industry Minister, Ryad Mezzour, who stated that the expansion will allow the company to “move upmarket and position itself further in the upper stratum of chocolate makers nationally and internationally.”

He emphasized: “… This investment confirms the strong dynamics of the sector, but above all, the support of our manufacturers to the import substitution strategy through more local production.”

The expanded production line places the company in a strategic point to increase its share in the Middle-East and African Chocolate Market, projected by Mordor Intelligence to record a CAGR of 6.72% during the forecast period 2023- 2028.

Chocolate and chocolate-based products in the region have had most of their sales through convenience stores and specialty outlets.

The market research firm confirms that countline chocolates are most popular among teenagers and consumers under 25 years of age, owing to their convenience factors, as they are designed to be eaten as a snack and on the go.

In terms of market, South Africa is registering fast growth, contributing to the overall sales of the chocolate market in the Middle East and Africa. The majority of the sales growth in the chocolate market in South Africa is attributed to the mass merchandisers, such as hypermarkets and supermarkets.

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