The company was founded by ex Callebaut staff in September last year after Barry Callebaut sold its factory in Dijon, France for a token sum of €1 to avoid competing with its customers.
Philippe de Jarcy, Chocolaterie de Bourgogne’s CEO told this site that the company will produce premium goods for major retailers and will look to compete with German firms Feodora , Heilemann and Hachez.
Filling the marketing void
In 2007, Barry Callebaut acquired the Dijon factory from Nestlé, which had produced the Chocolate Lanvin brand.
“The problem with the factory was just a problem with marketing. The company never had a sales force,” said de Jarcy.
“We have been hiring a sales force and dedicated marketing people,” he said.
De Jarcy said that he envisages that Chocolaterie de Bourgogne will produce 70% private label chocolate and 30% branded products and will operate in a shareholder structure.
The company is already producing goods for Nestlé including Lion bar and is in discussions with another top five producer, according to de Jarcy.
The company has 14 production lines and is capable of producing a wide range of products from bars to tablets.
De Jarcy said that France, Germany and the UK would by the firm’s geographic focus for its branded goods in Western Europe – while North America and Russia presented the best international prospects.
He said that the 56,000 sq m Dijon factory could produce for the whole world.
The company will exhibit finished products at ISM in Cologne, Germany later this month.
De Jarcy expects the firm to enter retail stores by September.
One euro buy
Asked how he and his colleagues were able to buy the factory for just one euro, de Jarcy said that Callebaut did not want to compete with its customers so could not go into business itself.
He added that international companies were uninterested since their focus was on sales and marketing and there were not many French confectioners to choose from.
Chocolaterie de Bourgogne will supply 12,000 tons of chocolate annually to Barry Callebaut on a 5-year contract under the deal.
The Dijon factory used to produce Nestlé's Chocolate Lanvin that was popular in the Seventies and backed by a marketing campain featuring artist Salvador Dali.
The new company will start with €80 million ($104m) in revenues and will take on all 300 staff at the Dijon site.
De Jarcy said that Chocolaterie de Bourgogne aimed to grow sales 16% in its first year and 50% within five years.
In November, a bomb alert forced Barry Callebaut to temporarily close the Dijon factory sparking an ongoing investigation by French authorities.
“It’s just the action of one single person. It has been widely condemned by everyone in the factory in particular the unions.” said de Jarcy.
“There was no bomb of course,” he added.
The person responsible perhaps felt they were not the master of their own future, he said.
Chocolaterie de Bourgogne has agreed to retain all 300 employees at the Dijon site at the same pay.
“We know we have a little bit too much of them, but we want to grow the company with the same amount of people,” he said.