BEIJING, People’s Republic of China – The Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, celebrates today the opening of its new office and its new Chocolate Academy center in Beijing with customers (global and local food manufacturers, as well as professional chocolatiers) and distribution partners.
The new office and the new Chocolate Academy ™ center will provide better assistance to Barry Callebaut’s local customers with onsite training and application support. This latest investment reemphasizes the company’s continuous efforts in growing its presence in the region as well as an appreciation of the strategic importance of the Chinese market.
Ben De Schryver, President of Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific, said, “As a global leader in the chocolate industry, serving food manufacturers and professional users of chocolate, we are excited about the great growth potential of China. Domestic chocolate production is increasing, and we have experienced double-digit growth in China over the last four years. Our confidence in the future development of the chocolate market in China, together with the desire to better serve our Chinese customers, have prompted the expansion of our footprint and distribution network across China over the next few years.”
Chocolate Academy center in Beijing
The new office in Beijing also includes Barry Callebaut’s second Chocolate Academy™ center in China — the only country with two such centers – and the company’s 22nd Chocolate Academy ™ globally. The Chocolate Academy ™ centers are a teaching and training center for artisans and professionals who want to improve their skills in chocolate and learn about new trends, techniques, and recipes. In the last 10 years, more than 3,500 craftsmen in China have attended these events in the Chocolate Academy ™ center in Shanghai.
Through both its Chocolate Academy ™ centers in Beijing and Shanghai, Barry Callebaut shares with China its more than 175 years of rich heritage through its global Gourmet chocolate brands Callebaut® (chocolate made in Belgium), Cacao Barry® (chocolate made in France), Carma® (chocolate made in Switzerland), and its decorations brand Mona Lisa®.
Continued expansion in China
China has been a key target market for Barry Callebaut for over a decade. Already back in 2008, Barry Callebaut opened a chocolate factory and a Chocolate Academy ™ center in Suzhou, followed by a relocation of the offices and the Chocolate Academy ™ center to Shanghai in 2010. The offices in Shanghai, which will continue to be the company’s head office in China, are currently being expanded. Barry Callebaut also chose Shanghai for the global launch of Ruby, the fourth type of chocolate, in 2017.
George Zhang, Managing Director Barry Callebaut China, said, “Barry Callebaut is well recognized by food manufacturers and the artisanal community in China for our innovative, high-quality products and superior customer service. Over the years, we have built our presence in China through outsourcing agreements with a number of Chinese food manufacturers, and we have established a strong network of nationwide distribution and committed channel partners. Today’s opening of our new Beijing office and Chocolate Academy ™ center marks a new milestone in our successful growth in this country.
China’s second-tier cities where consumption is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years, are also key growth areas for us. We will continue to extend our reach in these cities through an extended distribution strategy.”
With the addition of the new Beijing office, Barry Callebaut China has increased its sales representatives in the Greater China region spanning Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Taipei and extended its distribution network across 21 key- and second-tier cities in China including Chongqing, Dalian, Kunming, Nanjing, Ningbo, Tianjin, Xiamen, and Wuhan.
Although the domestic chocolate industry witnessed a boost in sales volume recently, chocolate consumption per capita in China is still at 100 grams — with plenty of room to grow. According to analyst firm Nielsen, the chocolate confectionery category in China grew (in terms of volume growth) by 4.5% in the last twelve months.1
George Zhang added, “The China chocolate market is showing promising growth in 2019. Increasingly, local food manufacturers are introducing innovative products to refresh consumers’ perception such as products with new flavors. The rising incomes in China consumers boosted demand for higher quality and premium chocolate products such as ruby chocolate — which are gradually being introduced in the country. China has the largest e-commerce market in the world, and sales of our premium chocolate products on our online platform have tripled in the last 2 years.”
Complementary expansion across Asia Pacific
In Asia Pacific, Barry Callebaut already operates nine chocolate and cocoa factories and employs more than 1,800 employees. In the last 12 months, the company has expanded its sales operations in Australia, Indonesia and also in the Philippines, in addition to its existing sales offices in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Its second chocolate factory in Indonesia is currently being built in Rancaekek (near Bandung).
1 Source: Nielsen, Chocolate Confectionery in China, twelve rolling months up to October 2018.