Barry Callebaut grows revenue despite ‘sluggish’ market

Chocolate and cocoa manufacturer Barry Callebaut says it has grown revenues and sales volumes despite declines in the overall global chocolate confectionery market.

In the nine months to 31 May, Callebaut grew sales volumes by 4.2% to 1.38m metric tonnes, while its revenues were up 11.4% in local currencies.

This came as the global chocolate confectionery market declined 2% over the same period, according to Nielsen data. Chocolate confectionery volumes in the overall market declined 1.2% in Europe, 3.3% in the Americas and 2.1% in Asia-Pacific over the nine month period.

Antoine de Saint-Affrique, chief executive of Barry Callebaut, said: “Our chocolate business performed particularly well, despite still sluggish demand for chocolate confectionery.”

De Saint-Affrique said Callebaut was continuing to phase out less profitable contracts in its cocoa business. This led to a 7.8% sales decline in the firm’s Global Cocoa business, which supplies cocoa ingredients such as butter and powder.

But all other segments grew – the firm’s largest division, Food Manufacturers, which supplies chocolate to firms including Hershey and Mondelēz, was up 8.3% in volume during the period.

The Gourmet & Specialties businesses, which sell decorations and value-added ingredients to chefs and food service outlets, grew volumes by 11.4%. The company said its positive results were partly due to higher ingredients costs, which it passes on to customers.

Cocoa bean prices were up around 5% during the nine-month period, and world sugar prices were also up.

De Saint-Affrique added that market conditions “remain challenging in the short-term.”

He added: “In that context, we will continue to reduce sales of cocoa products to third parties by phasing out less profitable cocoa agreements, which is impacting short-term growth.”

In May Callebaut said sweet goods are a key market for food-to-go operators.

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