Fire has damaged Barry Callebaut’s chocolate processing at Banbury in Oxfordshire, but the company has reassured customers that it could maintain normal levels of service by drawing on other facilities.
The chocolate maker, which supplies food manufacturers as well as artisans and chefs, confirmed fire had hit its plant at Banbury’s Wildmere Road Industrial Estate on August 10 – its main UK base.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service told FoodManufacture.co.uk that four fire engines had been dispatched to the scene of the blaze, after crews were called at 10.07pm last Sunday evening.
It said it first reported that the fire was under control at 11.48pm, with official confirmation of that at 12.53am in the early hours of Monday morning. A spokeswoman for the fire service said the fire had been located “in the grinder and ducting”.
The incident was confined to one area of the building and, although no one is believed to have been hurt, it had temporarily disrupted operations there, Barry Callebaut said.
“There was a fire in the building where the roasting was located,” a spokesman for the company said. “It was controlled very soon by local firemen and we’re currently investigating how this could have happened.” The fire service itself is not investigating further.
He said the facility’s cocoa roasting and liquor manufacturing was likely be out of action throughout this week. “It may well be operational next week, but we can’t confirm at this stage,” he added.
However, the company was able to source replacement ingredients from other sites across Europe, he said.
In addition to processing facilities at the Banbury site, it is also the location of one of Barry Callebaut’s Chocolate Academies, which offers demonstrations and training for those working with chocolate.
Barry Callebaut’s headquarters are in Switzerland. The firm has been dedicated to chocolate and cocoa production for more than 150 years. It is active in 30 countries, runs more than 50 factories, employs 8,500 people globally and generates sales of 4.9bn Swiss Francs (£3.22bn).