The firm’s overall sales volumes rose 8% to 532,165 metric tons (MT) for the three months up to November 30, 2017.
Sales volumes in the global chocolate confectionery market grew 3.1% over the same period, according to Nielsen data.
However, Barry Callebaut revenues for the first quarter (Q1) fell 0.7% as low cocoa prices led to declines in its Global Cocoa division, which sells cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
Nestlé Japan became the first company to introduce a consumer product with Barry Callebaut's ruby chocolate this month, as it rolled out KitKat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby in its own KitKat stores and online in Japan and South Korea.
Impact of low cocoa prices
The Swiss group’s Global Cocoa arm took a nosedive with revenues down 13.4%, despite volume growth of 7.4% in the division to 120,533 metric tons (MT).
“This is mainly due to the impact of lower cocoa prices and other lower raw material prices, which, based on the company’s cost-plus model, are for the majority of its business passed on to customers,” said the company in a release.
Average cocoa bean prices declined 27.4% in Barry Callebaut’s Q1 compared to the same period the prior year as favorable weather in Côte d’Ivoire saw supply outstrip grindings.
“Although cocoa bean demand picked up in most of the regions due to lower prices, the 2017/18 season is likely to show a small surplus overall,” said Barry Callebait in its release.
Barry Callebaut’s core Food Manufacturers business – which supplies chocolate to industry – posted strong growth in volume (+8%) and value (+4.5%).
Results by division
Q1 2017 sales volume and growth vs prior year (MT)
Q1 2017 revenues & growth vs prior year (CHF)
120,533 MT / +7.4%
CHF 509.6m / -13.4%
346,843 MT / +8%
CHF 1,047.6m / +4.5%
Gourmet & Specialities
64,789 MT / +8.9%
CHF 315m / 7%
532,165 MT / +8%
CHF 1,872.2 / 0.7%
The company saw success in region EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) with volume growth of 10.3% to 248,184 tons – ahead of the 3.6% growth for Europe’s overall chocolate confectionery market over the same period (Nielsen).
Barry Callebaut said a ramped-up deal with Mondelēz in Belgium propped up EMEA sales.
In September 2016, Barry Callebaut announced plans to acquire a chocolate plant from Mondelēz in Halle, Belgium, under an agreement to supply the Milka maker with 30,000 MT of liquid chocolate annually and to produce certain consumer products for Mondelēz at the Côte d’Or plant.
Results by region
Barry Callebaut Q1 2017 sales volume and growth vs prior year (MT)
Overall chocolate market volume growth over same period (Nielsen)
Barry Callebaut Q1 2017 revenues & growth vs prior year (CHF)
248,184 MT / +10.3%
CHF 834.6m / +8%
136,981 MT / +2.9%
CHF 430.8m / -0.2%
26,467 MT / +17.4%
CHF 97.2m / +4.6%
Barry Callebaut also grew above the chocolate market in Asia Pacific, driven by an outsourcing deal with Garuda Food in Indonesia, a strong Gourmet business and growth in India and China.
The company’s performance in Region Americas was flat with revenues down 0.2%, but sales volumes of +2.9% saw it grow above the overall chocolate market in the Americas, which was up 1.3%, according to Nielsen.
Barry Callebaut reaffirmed its full year guidance of 4-6% volume growth, and EBIT above volume growth in local currencies.
The company will not report its profits until its half-year results on April 11, 2018.