Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut is set to make its mark on the Australian and New Zealand markets with the acquisition of local B2B chocolate manufacturer GKC Foods.
Barry Callebaut is one of the largest chocolate and cocoa manufacturers in Asia Pacific, with 10 chocolate and cocoa factories in operation across Asia.
The company said the acquisiton will establish a direct presence and manufacturing capacity in the growing Australian market and enable the business to expand its position in industrial chocolate.
“We strongly believe in the growth opportunities of the Australian and New Zealand chocolate confectionery markets. We already have the highest quality products today and we will further grow our competitive advantage through the acquisition of, and investment in, the best-in-class GKC Foods manufacturing facility in Australia,” said Ben De Schryver, president of Barry Callebaut in Asia Pacific.
Australia and New Zealand have the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in Asia Pacific, according to Euromonitor, consuming approximately 5 kilograms per capita. And demand for chocolate has been on the rise, with the chocolate confectionery market in Australia growing well above the global market, according to Nielsen.
The GKC factory in Melbourne, which produces chocolate, coatings and fillings for consumer chocolate brands, will be upgraded with a state-of-the-art chocolate production line and an integrated management system to enhance automated production.
Barry Callebaut said it will continue to work with local distributors and will hire around 50 people, including GKC Foods’ existing employees.
John Borell, managing director of GKC Foods said the deal will ensure a successful future for the business.
“I am very proud of the great chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past 35 years. Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of GKC Foods and our team as part of a large, international, group. We really appreciate the business principles and the team spirit on which Barry Callebaut is based,” he said.
Financial details have not been disclosed but the deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, subject to regulatory approval.
Barry Callebaut Group unveiled the world’s first personalised 3D printed chocolate made entirely from Belgian Chocolate in February under its decoration brand, Mona Lisa.
Inside FMCG contacted GKC Foods for comment.