Cargill moves to create its first Asian chocolate production facilities in India

Cargill has confirmed a deal with a local chocolate manufacturer in Western India, as it responds to market growth in the region through creating its first manufacturing site within Asia. Neill Barston reports.

As the global agricultural and confectionery company confirmed to Confectionery Production, its latest facility will create 100 jobs and is set to be fully operational by mid-2021 and will initially produce 10,000 tonnes of chocolate compounds.

The site will offer manufacturers in the region access to a range of confectionery, bakery and ice cream applications, with the key project following on the heels of major investment for its chocolate processing facilities in Belgium.

According to the business, consumer preference for chocolate has increased for the region with a shift from traditional sweets to chocolate gifting and year-round consumption of ice cream besides baked goods and premium chocolate products.

The company noted these trends have driven an average annual growth of 13-14% in the domestic market, making India the world’s fastest growing chocolate market, according to Cargill’s proprietary research. Consumers are seeking unique flavours, taste and textures, yet per capita, consumption of chocolate is low in India compared to global markets, creating significant potential for growth.

“India is a key growth market for Cargill. This new partnership reinforces our commitment to increase our regional footprint and capabilities in Asia to better support the needs of our local Indian customers as well as multi-national customers in the region,” said Francesca Kleemans (pictured), managing director Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific. “It also demonstrates our commitment to supporting the local economy with the addition of 100 new manufacturing jobs.”

Customers can tap into Cargill’s R&D network of food scientists and experts located at Cargill’s state-of-the-art regional innovation centres in Singapore, Shanghai and India to collaboratively innovate with chocolate products that bring sensory experiences in terms of colours and flavours specific to regional and local tastes and consumption patterns. Customers also benefit from Cargill’s globally integrated cocoa and chocolate supply chain, risk management capabilities, and its renowned food safety and sustainability approach to cocoa and chocolate production.

“Combining local insights from our experience and long presence as a food ingredient supplier in India with our global cocoa and chocolate expertise, we aim to become the leading supplier and trusted partner for our customers in Asia, who will use our chocolate compounds, chips and paste to create products that will delight local palates,” explained Kleemans.

She added: “Cargill has long recognised the Asia Pacific region potential as it is home to many of the world’s fastest growing economies that are now taking centerstage. As we remain committed to growing our business in Asia, our success will depend on our global approach – delivering a world of expertise locally, quickly and reliably. To do this, we need to build up our capabilities with a focus on local talent, who we believe will bring a unique mindset and outlook, offering important insights into the region’s markets, cultures and dynamics.

“The facility in India provides us the capability to produce a broader range of colours and flavours in our chocolate compounds than what is currently available in the market. This is a result of having access to our own Cargill raw materials (like Gerkens powder) and knowledge of cocoa and vegetable fats. This allows us to optimise both the sensory experience offered to the consumer, with the performance of the product on the production lines of the food manufacturers, realising tangible benefits for all.”

Kleemans added that the company will offer white, milk and dark chocolate varieties, and within each of these, the firm is set to deliver a broad range of colours for consumers. In addition, there will be a range of product formats to suit different types of applications, like paste and blocks in order to offer each customer freedom to create a unique product.

Cargill established its cocoa presence in Asia in 1995 in Makassar, Indonesia, with a team designated to support trading and supply management of cocoa to Cargill processing plants in Europe and Brazil. In 2014, Cargill opened a cocoa processing plant in Gresik, Indonesia, to make premium Gerkens cocoa products. With the addition of the new manufacturing plant in India, Cargill is well prepared to develop and scale up operational capabilities quickly to support future growth for our customers locally, regionally and globally.

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