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Barry Callebaut pursues growth in India with new academy

By Laura Crowley , 11-Aug-2008

Swiss firm Barry Callebaut is continuing its strategy for growth in emerging markets with the opening of its first chocolate academy in India.

The academies provide training to artisans and culinary professionals in different countries, while also building the company’s contacts worldwide and reaffirming its presence across the entire industry it serves - from food manufacturers to global retailers.

A key strategy for Barry Callebaut is stepping up sales and operations in emerging countries, and the opening of the new academy is line with this as it is aimed at significantly increasing the company’s presence in India, where the chocolate market is experiencing substantial growth.

Euromonitor predicts the relatively small Indian chocolate market (with current annual volumes of about 55,000 metric tonnes of chocolate and compound) to grow by around 17.8 per cent per year between 2008 and 2012.

“The opening of this Chocolate Academy is a tribute to the importance Barry Callebaut places on the Indian market and the tremendous talent we have witnessed in the country’s culinary industry that can be further nurtured,” said Paul Halliwell, director of Barry Callebaut’s gourmet business in Asia.

“Our research indicates a tremendous potential for educating new entrants who want to learn how to work with top-quality gourmet chocolate.”

Growth in India

Countries such as India and China have become increasingly important to international food companies as a growing economy means consumers there are more able to purchase expensive commodities.

Josiane Kremer, spokesperson for Barry Callebaut, told ConfectioneryNews.com: “There is a definite correlation between economic growth in India and interest in chocolate.”

She also attributed the growing demand for chocolate to increased tourism, which has resulted in a large number of top class restaurants opening up in Mumbai.

“Tourism plays a large role in the chocolate demand,” she said. “We offer expertise in Belgium, Swiss and French chocolate, and these premium chocolates have great appeal to five-star restaurants.”

While sales in Asia Pacific and Africa only accounted for 7.4 per cent of its 2006/07 overall revenues, which totalled CHF 4.1bn (€2.5bn), the company’s growth strategy in the area is in full swing.

It set up of a sales office in India in July 2007 to seize on growth opportunities in the country, and the company claimed it has “already gained a market share there”.

Chocolate academies

The training centre will showcase Barry Callebaut’s expert knowledge and will encourage the exchange of technical expertise in chocolate between professionals.

The company’s chefs will run varied courses covering areas such as the origins of chocolate and techniques like moulding, enrobing and sculpting.

Gael Etrillard, chef and technical advisor for the academies in South East Asia, said: “For more than 20 years, Barry Callebaut experts have offered tailor-made courses to specialists. By means of demonstration, theory classes and workshops, we’re passing on our expertise and passion for chocolate.”

Halliwell added: “The chocolate academy also provides the perfect platform for culinary professionals to share their knowledge and interact with our master chefs, gaining unmatched insights into global trends.”

Barry Callebaut will open new academies in Chicago and Chekhov, Russia, before the end of the year, bringing its total number of academies to 12 worldwide.

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