Barry Callebaut in buoyant mood, despite volatile cocoa market

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

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

Related tags Barry callebaut financial results

Swiss chocolate maker sees positive momentum in North America along with upturn in its Gourmet segment and sticks to mid-term guidance.

Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest supplier of premium Belgian chocolate, has reported a ‘resilient start to the year’ and a gradual recovery in a challenging environment after the COVID-19 pandemic hit sales volumes in the three months to the end of November.

Key figures

  • Sales volume down –4.3%, improving chocolate performance (-1.8%)
  • Sales revenue of CHF 1,777.5 million, down –3.5% in local currencies (–11.2% in CHF)
  • Confident on mid-term guidance

Reporting on the Group’s 3-Month Key Sales Figures, Fiscal Year 2020/21, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut Group, said: “The overall improving chocolate performance and the continued recovery in Gourmet show that we keep building momentum quarter to quarter​.”

Barry Callebaut’s sales volumes fell 4.3% during the first quarter to November 30, the same rate of decline seen in the previous quarter, the Swiss-headquartered group said in a statement.

Lower cocoa bean prices on the market led to a sales decline in cocoa - but it said sales volumes in the chocolate business had improved and its gourmet unit that supplies restaurants and chefs was also recovering.

The Group confirmed its target for average volume growth of 5-7% per year for the current and the next two fiscal years.

North America

The Group’s North America segment also showed positive momentum where large corporate accounts from food manufacturers grew by double-digits. Gourmet & Specialties’ overall volume growth returned to positive territory. Sales revenue increased by +5.2% in local currencies (–5.6% in CHF) to CHF 471.5m ($530.73m). The Americas also witnessed sales volume increasing by +6.0% to 162,070 tonnes, well ahead of the declining regional chocolate confectionery market.

Looking ahead, de Saint-Affrique said: “In still volatile markets, we continue to find new ways of doing business and seize opportunities while maintaining strict cost discipline. We see a gradual recovery, supported by our consistent focus on ‘smart growth’, our broad customer footprint and our strong innovation pipeline. This makes us confident that we can deliver on our mid-term guidance​.”

Strategic milestones

  • The Group deepened its presence in China in November 2020 with the inauguration of a CHOCOLATE ACADEMY Centre in Shenzhen, the third in China and the 23rd globally.
  • In November 2020, La Morella Nuts opened a Global Centre of Expertise for nuts in Reus, Spain. The Centre aims to grow expertise in taste and texture, sourcing and sustainability, as well as application knowledge.
  • Barry Callebaut published its fourth Forever Chocolate progress report in December 2020, detailing its achievements in making sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025.
  • Barry Callebaut also announced an industry first project that will convert cocoa by-products into biochar at one of its European factories. Biochar is similar to charcoal and can be used to produce energy, reduce waste and permanently store carbon. Using cocoa shells to produce biochar will help Barry Callebaut to achieve its Forever Chocolate target of becoming carbon positive by 2025.

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