The Swiss-based chocolate manufacturer said it wants to make inroads the Russian chocolate market as it holds the largest growth potential in Eastern Europe. "Russia will be our key target market in Eastern Europe," said chief executive officer Patrick De Maeseneire. "Growth in the Russian market is defined by a shift in consumer preference towards high-quality premium products. Through our industrial and artisanal customers, we can offer them new and exquisite taste experiences." The demand for premium products is increasing along with the rise in affluence, a market segment many confectionery companies are looking to focus their investment in. Nestle, Mars and Lindt have all recently announced new products in the luxury chocolate segment. However, confectionery markets are developing quickly within eastern Europe, and the focus on the Russian market will add to Barry Callebaut's agreement with Cadbury in Poland. The company quoted Euromonitor statistics predicting the Russian chocolate confectionery market to grow yearly on average 14 per cent in value and 5.4 per cent in volume between 2006 and 2011, compared with a 2-3 per cent growth rate for the global chocolate market. The new €25m factory in Chekhov, Russia, has a production capacity of 27,500 metric tonnes, which Barry Callebaut claims will enable the company to "move closer to its growing customer base in Russia and to better capture the region's growth potential". Production from Poland that was originally exported to Russia will now also take place in the new Chekov factory, with the freed capacity in Poland used to increase output to other developing markets. "The free capacity in Poland will be used to serve rising demand for chocolate products in other Eastern European countries and the Baltic States," the company said. The company said chocolate sales for Barry Callebaut quadrupled between 2000 and 2005, and so will use the new factory to "supply national and multinational food manufacturers and a growing number of artisanal customers in Russia; it will not make end-consumer products."