Barry Callebaut expands its Chinese presence with new chocolate academy

The Barry Callebaut Group has delivered further expansion in China after opening its fourth office and the third Chocolate Academy Centre within the country, at Shenzhen, reports Neill Barston

As Confectionery Production has previously covered, the business has considered the nation as strategically significant, selecting it for the launch of its ruby chocolate range in 2017, which has gone on to be rolled-out across the world, including a major deal with KitKat ranges.

Ben De Schryver, President of Barry Callebaut at Asia Pacific, welcomed the development of its latest facilities in Shenzhen. He said: “I am excited about the great growth potential China offers. The inauguration of the new office and the chocolate centre in Shenzhen is part of our continuous expansion in China and another milestone in our successful growth story which started here 12 years ago.

“The state-of-the-art facilities will help us to meet the growing demand for high-quality chocolate creations and serve our customers in China better. We will continue to invest in our business and strengthen our collaboration with food manufacturers and artisanal customers in China.”

After Suzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, the Shenzhen office is well-positioned to become the company’s operational hub in southern China. Barry Callebaut currently has a local factory in Suzhou, sales offices and academy centres in Shanghai, Beijing, to which it now adds Shenzhen.

As the company noted, the new office includes a state-of-the-art academy, the third in China and the 23rd globally. Through inspiration, education and personalised support, these centres enable artisans, pastry chefs, confectioners, bakers and caterers to develop new ranges. In the last 12 years, more than 5,000 craftsmen in China have attended training and demonstrations in its other academies in the country.

Notably, the existing centres have recently hosted several online learning sessions in Mandarin on topics such as home baking, which have attracted more than 130,000 viewers since February 2020.

Denis Convert, Vice President, Gourmet for Barry Callebaut at Asia Pacific, added: “China is one of our largest Gourmet markets in the world. Our academies in China have become a hub of expertise, creativity and inspiration for both professionals and chocolate lovers. And this extends online too. We support our customers and empower chefs to be at their very own best. They can explore chocolate science, innovative techniques, and inspiring recipes together with the world-leading chocolatiers, pastry chefs and bakers.”

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