Barry Callebaut drives sustainability for its US ‘Better for You’ ranges

Barry Callebaut is set to move its North American ‘Better For You’ portfolio to 100% sustainably sourced cocoa and vanilla, reports Neill Barston.

The move is part of the Swiss-headquartered company’s Forever Chocolate goals supporting key supplier communities in Ghana and Ivory Coast, with the business setting ambitious targets to improve its operations by 2025.

Its latest initiative involves its sugar solutions (sugarfree, reduced sugar, no sugar added), high-protein, dairy-free, and organic ranges of chocolate and cocoa-based products for the US region, which have reportedly experienced notable growth.

As the company noted, these business segments have not only expanded in recent years, but have been key areas for innovation, with the company enhancing its specialist offerings including series designed for paleo, vegan and keto diets.

The move to 100% sustainable cocoa, will see the ‘better for you’ products move to the Cocoa Horizons scheme, verified through the Cocoa Horizons Foundation – with the series being sold through the company with a premium directly used to improve the lives of farmers in key supplying nations.

These additional payments fund sustainability activities such as farmer coaching and support, cocoa and non-cocoa seedling distribution, and community development in a transparent and externally verified process.

Notably, as the company explained, the Cocoa Horizons Foundation serves as a platform for chocolate companies and other contributors to invest in sustainable cocoa. It relies on expert partners like Barry Callebaut to implement the sustainability activities.

Additionally, the ‘Better For You’ products will be supporting sustainable vanilla production through a partnership with vanilla supplier Prova to implement the Sustainable Vanilla Charter.

“We look at the ‘Better For You’ segment through an end consumer lens,” said Laura Bergan, Director Barry Callebaut Brand.

“Our innovation and portfolio are driven by consumer lifestyles and a result of closely monitoring market trends. Our sustainable portfolio goes beyond health benefits including the quality of the ingredients and the impact on the planet and farmers’ livelihood, which plays an important role for consumers. Being fully cocoa and vanilla sustainable adds to the value proposition of our products, which our customers can leverage in their product development and story-telling,” explained Bergan, who noted that its latest initiative was an important step towards our goal of being completely sustainable by 2025.

The company’s Forever Chocolate initiatives have focused on core areas including eradicating child labour from its supply chain, as well as targeting lifting 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty. The company is also aiming to become both carbon and forest positive with its strategies, as well as seeking to deliver 100% sustainable ingredients in all of its products.

Bergan added: “Barry Callebaut embraces its role as an industry leader by leading the sustainable cocoa and chocolate movement. We cannot achieve our ambitious goal by tomorrow and we cannot achieve it alone. Moving our ‘Better For You’ portfolio to fully sustainably cocoa and vanilla is an exciting step on our journey.”

Company nine-month results

The company’s move in the US, comes amid its latest results, with its latest figures revealing sales growth of 3.4% to 1,622,479 tonnes during the first nine months of fiscal year 2020/21 (ended May 31, 2021).

Significantly sales revenues for the period were CHF 5,352.1 million, up 2.1% in CHF, showing a recovery after challenging pandemic-hit conditions experienced by the industry over the past 18 months.

As the company noted, its the chocolate business regained momentum in the third quarter (21.2%), resulting in a good performance of 5.6% over the first nine months of fiscal year 2020/21, ahead of the underlying global chocolate confectionery market (1.2%).

Its volume growth was achieved in all Regions (Americas  up 9.4%, Asia Pacific up 9.0%, EMEA  recording 2.9% growth) and with positive contribution from the Group’s key growth drivers Gourmet & Specialties (up 13.1%), Emerging Markets (up 12.5%, excluding Cocoa) and Outsourcing (increasing 5.5%). Sales volume in Global Cocoa also turned positive in the third quarter (growing 8.4%), reducing the volume decline after nine months to –4.3%.

Looking ahead, CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique said: “As markets are gradually reopening, we expect further normalisation of operations and growth to continue. A strong customer focus, a range of exciting innovations and a solid financial basis give us the confidence to deliver on our mid-term guidance.”


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