Major confectionery businesses continue to make key investments despite pandemic tests

Amid a notably turbulent year for global markets, Cargill has made a major announcement this week for expanding its innovation facilities at its key European site in Mouscron, Belgium (pictured), which is set to have a sizeable impact for the business.

Making an investment of more than €20 million on top of several other significant financial injections including a recent separate project at the location expanding its facilities to include additional dedicated sugar-reduced chocolate production lines has raised the company’s profile notably in an area that it had not traditionally been associated with.

But over the past decade, the business has steadily grown its interest in confectionery segment, and its interest in the sector comes as other major players in the sector have moved to enhance their international operations in recent times.

Notable among these has been Barry Callebaut’s decision to expand its facilities in Singapore, which has been identified by the company as a significant area for potential market expansion. The business has also developed dedicated production capacity for its breakthrough ruby chocolate range over the past three years, as it seeks to expand the presence of ‘the fourth type of chocolate’ within world markets. The company has also invested heavily in its global Chocolate Academy facilities around the world that have served as focuses for innovation.

Meanwhile, the past few years have been particularly busy for Mars Wrigley, which has on top of its investment of $50 million in expanding its Yorkville production site four years ago, last year announced $60 million worth of improvements to its Hall County confectionery facilities, as the business enjoyed comparatively buoyant fortunes.

Not to be outdone, Ferrero has also made major inroads in terms of investing in its infrastructure over the past couple of years, including purchasing Nestle’s US assets, leading to key rebranding exercises and creation of several new distribution facilities during the last 12 months, as its market share continues to grow stateside.

Collectively, these major players have all made notable investments in the sector, in spite of challenging global conditions over the past couple of years that have been markedly accelerated this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, as Confectionery Production has reported this summer, research has shown that consumers around the world are in fact tucking into greater volumes of sweets and snack amid coronavirus, demonstrating that comfort food and luxury treats really do have a place amid challenging times.

These may well be uncertain times, but the investment shown by a number of the sector’s largest enterprises has underlined that there’s a determination to continue onwards in spite of the tests that lie ahead in the market.

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