Barry Callebaut opens new office and 2nd Chocolate Academy in China

To meet growing demand for premium quality chocolates and to serve its Chinese consumers better, Barry Callebaut Group has recently opened its new office and 2nd Chocolate Academy in China in Beijing.
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.
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 past 4 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.”
The opening of the country’s 2nd CHOCOLATE ACADEMY™ center signifies the growing importance of China market, which is the only country having 2 such centres. These centres offer training 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™ 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®.
Meanwhile, its head office in Shanghai is currently being expanded. Barry Callebaut chose Shanghai for the global launch of Ruby chocolate in 2017.
According to George Zhang, Managing Director of Barry Callebaut China, “Barry Callebaut is well recognised 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.” He added that China’s 2nd tier cities will also be key growth areas for Barry Callebaut.
With the addition of its 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 2nd 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 a meagre 100g, offering huge growth potential. Nielsen research showed that the chocolate confectionery category in China grew by 4.5% in volume terms in the 12 months ended October 2018. George added that the China chocolate market is showing promising growth in 2019, with domestic manufacturers launching innovative products with new flavors while growing disposable incomes in China boosted demand for premium quality chocolates including Ruby chocolates. China also has the largest e-commerce market in the world, and sales of Barry Callebaut’s premium chocolate products on its online platform have tripled in the last 2 years.
In Asia Pacific, Barry Callebaut already operates 9 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 2nd chocolate factory in Indonesia is currently being built in Rancaekek (near Bandung).
Swiss-based Barry Callebaut Group recorded sales exceeding US$7 billion in fiscal year ended 2017/2018.