Leading industrial chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut reported buoyant third quarter sales volume gains of 11.3 per cent, based it said upon growth in Asia-Pacific and the luxury chocolate category.
Year-to-date figures showed sales volumes were up 8.9 per cent to 975,044 tonnes and sales revenue grew 11.7 per cent. Third quarter sales revenue had also increased by 11.7 per cent.
Progress in emerging markets, notably Asia-Pacific, the implementation of the major outsourcing contracts, signed in 2007, and market share gains, were said to be key volume growth drivers
Sales revenues were thought to have increased partly due to rising cocoa prices. As the ongoing industry concern over raw materials continues to escalate, cocoa butter prices are believed to have fallen in Europe as demand plunges.
Barry Callebaut spokesperson Gaby Tschofen told ConfectioneryNews.com that as consumption of high quality chocolate had waned during the recession, so too had demand for cocoa butter, which in part explained the current low price.
She said the market was noticing increased demand for powder due to usage in the ice cream and bakery industries as well as in compound.
World sugar prices, which were seen to be unstable over the past nine months, were expected to stay at the current low level. The company calculated dairy prices as relatively high level compared to last year, following a recent surge which has since stabilised.
The firm also forecasted an “unfavourable” combined cocoa sales ratio for the months ahead.
Asia Pacific and other markets
Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann said: “We have benefited from our targeted expansion to emerging chocolate markets, such as Eastern Europe, China, Mexico and Brazil, where we inaugurated our first chocolate factory in South America in May 2010.”
He added that, with a solid foundation in Western Europe and North America, the firm was well-placed to tap the growth potential of the most dynamic chocolate markets in the world.
One such region is the Asia pacific market where the company reported significant volume increases of 20.9 per cent and revenue gains of 21.6 per cent for the first nine months of the of the fiscal year 2009/10.
The firm said that while mid-priced consumer chocolate products had not yet picked up, premium and value products in this region had grown considerably. Premium products were said to have benefited from an upturn in trading and the return of gifting. The business also reported high orders from food manufacturers throughout the area, but noted how the Japanese market was still recovering.
Sales volumes also rose significantly in the Americas by 16.8 per cent - a consequence of increased production through a new facility in Brazil and a boost in premium chocolate sales.
Gourmet and Specialty Products
Luxury chocolate sales volumes were said to have risen by 20.3 per cent to 103,350 tonnes. The firm indicated how all regions had contributed to such growth and noted that the acquisitions of Eurogran and Chocovic, organic growth, as well advantageous euro exchange rates had been instrumental.
Sales volumes for food manufacturer products were also found to be up 9.6 per cent, propelled by good performance of corporate accounts and the ongoing implementation of outsourcing contracts in the North American and Asia-Pacific markets.