Chocolate firms continue the Russian dream Nestle will invest €3.6m in its Perm chocolate bar plant in Russia due to growing demands for the products, according to media reports. Eastern Europe is a popular region for expansion in the confectionery markets as companies are realising the increasing consumer demand in the area. Barry Callebaut already said last week that it has highlighted Russia as a key target market for investment as its chocolate market holds the largest growth potential. The company planned a new chocolate factory in Chekov. Landrin Group also said yesterday that it plans to invest €15m in its Pushkino factory in Russia, producing chocolate wafer sweets, according to Flexnews. Euromonitor statistics predict 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. Flexnews said Nestle expects its Russian sales to climb from $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion in 2007. Cadbury continues its Eastern Europe boom Cadbury Schweppes plans to invest €270m in a new factory in Eastern Europe, according to local papers. The Polish paper Puls Biznesu said insiders claim the confectionery giant will invest in a sweets factory in either Poland or Slovakia. Eastern Europe is a target market for many food manufacturers due to fast growth predicted in the region as consumers spend more on luxury products. Cadbury will begin production at its €130m gum factory in Poland next year, however companies such as Barry Callebaut and Mars are also entering into this confectionery market. Polish confectionery firm Gryf was bought by Cemoi in August in order to grab a piece of the growing demand. Cadbury currently holds the top position in the Polish chocolate market following its £49m (€73m) acquisition of Wedel in 1999. This follows its acquisition last week of Romania's second largest confectionery company Kandia-Excelent. And finally… A Malaysian diplomat was forced to apologise to the Iraqi government after he got into a sweet pickle over a confectionery gift, according to local media. The Malaysian diplomat was sent a box of sweet pickles as a Ramadan gift, however mistook the sugar coating for anthrax powder and called the police. The sender, Hoshiar Dazayi, told the New Straits Times, "It is such a special sweet, and this year I wanted to show my appreciation to the Malaysian government, the ministry and my friends."