The company has previously had a coatings factory in Deventer, The Netherlands, but the €16m investment doubles its capacity for coatings used by the bakery, biscuit, cereal, ice-cream and confectionery industries. It can also now produce fillings for the chocolate industry.
The move indicates strong long-term confidence in the chocolate sector – despite the recession nibbling at retail chocolate sales in some markets at the present time, as consumers play close attention to their spending.
Indeed Jos de Loor, managing director of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business, said: “Our investment here underlines our long-term commitment to the chocolate industry and our intention to grow our cocoa and chocolate operations.”
Cargill is also expanding its capacity of cocoa powder at its cocoa press in Wormer, near Amsterdam, and future developments could be on the cards at its cocoa and chocolate plant in Zandaam, which produces cocoa liquor.
Innovations and ingredients
As for Deventer, the factory here is “ideally situated” since it is in reach of major customers and other Cargill facilities.
De Loor also drew attention to the sheer number of ingredients that the division has at its disposal. Sourcing from within the Cargill group – for texturisers, flavours, fats and sweeteners, for example – means it can provide customised and value-added fillings and coatings, that match up to customers’ individual needs.
Amongst the innovations that Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate has been developing are a bright-green, lime tasting filling, and organic white filling with a yoghurt taste, a filling that looks and tastes like whisky, and a pink, rose-tasting and smelling filling.
Cargill has applications centres for fillings and coatings in the US for North America, and in Brazil for South America, and in Vilvoord, Belgium, for confectionery and bakery. It also has a facility for fillings and coatings in Lititz, USA, and a centre for expertise in chocolate in Mouscroun, Belgium.
Cargill is not alone in investing in the European chocolate scene. This week ADM received competition approval for Schokinag-Schokolade-Industrie Herrmann GmbH & Co. KG in January, as part of a strategy to move closer to its customers on this side of the Atlantic.
As for the effects of the recession on chocolate consumption, Benoit Villers, director of chocolate for ADM International, said told FoodNavigator.com in January: “I’m convinced that chocolate is a crisis-proof product because it is the most affordable product to indulge ourselves and our friends.
“Today we can see that the market is maybe flat but we don’t think it will be the case over the next coming years.
“Chocolate has always grown one, two or three per cent. After this crisis, we don’t see why it would be different.”
On the finished product side, Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars Chocolate UK said recently: “It is undoubtedly going to be another difficult year and consumers continue to readjust to ever changing circumstances”.
Her company’s strategy is to exploit shifts in consumer behaviour by developing new products in keeping with their present-day desires.