The company has invested €12m ($15.4m) in the Ontario-based plant, which will add 12,000 metric tons (MT) of chocolate products to its existing 77,000 MT annual volume.
Natra’s other facilities are based in Spain, France and Belgium.
Natra’s chocolate and cocoa business has two divisions. The Industrial Goods division accounts for 25% of turnover and supplies cocoa butter, powder and coatings to manufacturers, while the larger Consumer Goods division manufactures finished products, such as countlines, mainly for private label.
Last year, North America made up 12% of Natra’s Consumer Goods division sales.
Doubling sales in three years
Mikel Beitia, CEO of Natra, said: “Sales in that region rose from €13m ($16.7m) in 2011 to €29m ($37.3m) at the end of 2012, a growth of 123%. With the increased presence of Natra in North America, we estimate that the consumer goods division’s sales in this market will double again in the next three years."
Natra will add a new sales office in Toronto next June and will retain its current sales office in San Diego, US, which markets ingredients in the firm’s Industrial Goods division
Natra will adapt the factory and expect it to be operational in the first half of 2014.
The company is financing the project mainly through government grants and credit lines from Canadian banks, with the other 40% coming from company equity.
Eyeing growth in Asia
The firm is also eyeing growth in Asia where it recently set up a new sales office in Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific countries make up 18% of export sales,
Natra recently announced that it would source 100% certified cocoa by 2020.