Unilever extends long-term cocoa and chocolate sourcing deal with Barry Callebaut

A major strategic move from Unilever has seen it extend its decade-long sourcing agreement with Barry Callebaut for supply of chocolate and cocoa, with the company owning key global ice cream brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Carte D’Or, Cornetto and Wall’s, reports Neill Barston.

The initial deal between the two businesses was signed back in 2012, and is being renewed with a specific focus on delivering sustainability goals of both businesses, which are seeking to offer greater level of support to farming communities in core supply chains in West Africa, namely within Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Linked to this, Barry Callebaut has continued with its existing Forever Chocolate programme, aiming to lift 500,000 farmers out of poverty by 2025, which the company recently said it remained on track to achieve with its ongoing initiatives. This comes despite continuing challenges for the sector including fluctuating cocoa prices, increases in core fertiliser prices for key crops, as well as the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that has notably impacted on supplier communities.

As Confectionery Production has previously reported, the company recently moved to enhance its approach to sustainable sourcing, acknowledging that for its Forever Chocolate goals to be fully realised, public intervention is required to drive structural change beyond its direct supply chain. This includes delivering an enabling policy environment and government action in origin countries is essential to address the issue of traceability, rural infrastructure development and enforcing national and global supply chain standards – which are presently undergoing a considerable shift with the EU parliament pursuing due diligence legal frameworks for commodities including the cocoa sector.

Willem Uijen, Unilever’s Chief Procurement Officer welcomed the latest agreement with Barry Callebaut. He said; “We are pleased to extend our strategic relationship with Barry Callebaut, a long-term partner for our global ice cream business, which will help us execute our ambitious growth plans. Through this partnership, we can look forward to greater innovation for our well-loved ice cream brands, like Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, and a closer alignment with our cocoa sustainability goals.”

Furthermore, Rogier van Sligter, President EMEA at Barry Callebaut, also noted the strategic significance of the deal, which he felt would be of strong mutual benefit in terms of achieving its ambitions in terms of sustainable operating.

He said: “With the extended agreement, we are building on the long-term relationship that we have maintained with Unilever over the past decade. During this time, we have become a preferred global supplier and innovation partner for one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies, by working closely together in all areas of the partnership, from building a resilient supply chain to leveraging our strength in bringing the latest innovations to Unilever. Going forward, we will continue to support Unilever’s efforts to achieve its sustainability targets.


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