Financial results

Barry Callebaut overcomes COVID woes with sales recovery in Q4

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO Barry Callebaut Group. Pic: Barry Callebaut Group
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO Barry Callebaut Group. Pic: Barry Callebaut Group

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Barry Callebaut Group said sales volumes have bounced back in the final quarter of 2020, showing a recovery of 4.3%, as the company anticipated, earlier in the year.

It’s good news for the world’s largest Belgian cocoa and chocolate supplier after a 14.3% decline in revenue in August at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many of its core business clients in restaurant and hotels went into lockdown.

Strategic milestones

Announcing a raft of strategic milestones achieved in fiscal year 2019-20, Chief Executive Antoine de Saint-Affrique told reporters on a call that the Group was confident of delivering on mid-term guidance.

Although markets are still volatile, we will further pursue expansion and drive for new opportunities, thanks to our continued focus on customers and our strong innovation pipeline. This, together with our solid financial basis, supports the confidence in our mid-term guidance​.”

Turbulent year

In a turbulent year, the underlying global chocolate confectionery market was down 0.3% and Barry Callebaut’s sales volume in Global Cocoa was down 2.0%, as chocolate makers struggled with weak demand due to less impulse-purchases by customers forced into lockdown to avoid infection.

I am proud of the solid set of results and strengthened balance sheet that we managed to deliver in unprecedented times. They are testimony to the strength and resilience of Barry Callebaut, its employees and its culture. Our focus on care, continuity and cash helped us to safeguard the health of our people and communities, to serve our customers well at a time when they need it most, and to enhance the financing of our company​, “ said de Saint-Affrique.

He predicted there would be a “progressive​” recovery in the gourmet and specialties business with restaurants, chefs and bakeries, where sales volumes fell 14.1% in 2019-20.

None of the learnings are lost, we are better equipped and faster in a context that is also a bit better, lockdowns are shorter and less strict​,” he told reporters.

Barry Callebaut also announced Ben De Schryver, currently head of Asia Pacific, as new chief financial officer effective January 1, 2021, replacing Remco Steenbergen who has taken up a position as finance head of Lufthansa.


In tune with shifting consumer attitudes towards tasty and nutritious food and drinks that are also good for the planet, Barry Callebaut launched its new brand Cabosse Naturals in October 2020, a range of 100% pure cacaofruit ingredients: pulp, juice, concentrate and cascara. The ingredients enable brands, artisans and chefs to create delicious cacaofruit experiences in the form of beverages, ice creams, snacks, yogurts, and chocolate confectionery.

Earlier in the year, Barry Callebaut introduced the 100% dairy-free ‘M_lk Chocolate’ to satisfy the growing demand for plant-based indulgence and is part of the growing portfolio of ‘Plant Craft’ products ranging from chocolate, nuts and fillings to decorations.

Also, in February 2020, Mona Lisa, Barry Callebaut’s global decorations brand, launched ‘Mona Lisa 3D Studio’, the world’s first personalized 3D printed chocolate at scale, aimed at hotels, pastry chefs and coffee chains.


Last month, Barry Callebaut claimed all its global Gourmet brands are now exclusively sourcing 100% sustainable cocoa for their chocolates.

In July 2020, its sustainability programme Forever Chocolate was recognised by Sustainalytics as the #2 sustainability strategy, out of 182 assessed companies in the packaged food industry.

Barry Callebaut has also disclosed all its data regarding direct cocoa suppliers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon, contributing to transparency and traceability in its cocoa supply chain.

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