The Barry Callebaut Group has strengthened its Gourmet capabilities and expanded its offerings to professional users of chocolate in China.
Gourmet products, such as chocolate and cocoa products that are typically used by professionals like chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakeries, hotels, restaurants and caterers.
They have fueled the business growth of Barry Callebaut in China.
The company’s gourmet business in the country has doubled in volume over the last four years (from fiscal year 2012/13 to fiscal year 2015/16).
“The Gourmet business is an important business for us in China, and it is growing fast,” said CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique.
“As the world’s most populous country, China has the potential to become the biggest Gourmet market in the world.”
“The question is not if it will happen, only how fast it will happen.” Over the next years, Euromonitor International says Asia Pacific is forecasted to be one of the fastest growing chocolate regions.
The US$2.8 billion chocolate confectionery category in China is estimated to grow to approximately US$3.9 billion by 2021.
Higher disposable income of the rapidly growing middle- to high-income consumers in China will drive the expected growth in the sales of gifts as well as premium and sophisticated gourmet chocolate products in the coming years, added George Zhang, MD for the company in China.
He said consumers seek new chocolate trends, for example chocolate with health benefits, new tastes such as green tea flavor chocolate and innovative chocolate forms for a variety of exciting chocolate experiences.
The enhancement of the company’s Gourmet capabilities and product portfolio include the following:
– Delivering a refreshed range of chocolate and cocoa products for professionals under European brands Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma as well as the Van Houten Professional brand;
– Rolling out an accelerated city strategy, expanding sales activities to more than 10 top cities across China;
– Launching a digital marketing platform on China’s social media channel WeChat to create a broader community of chefs and chocolatiers across the country, enabling them to upgrade their skills and to network with other professionals;
– A recently upgraded Chocolate Academy center in Shanghai, China.