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February 2, 2010

GLOBAL: Chocolate demand to return in 2012 – Callebaut CEO

The chief executive of chocolate giant Barry Callebaut has warned that it will take two years before global volumes return to the levels seen before the recession.

By Dean Best

The chief executive of chocolate giant Barry Callebaut has warned that it will take two years before global volumes return to the levels seen before the recession.

In an exclusive interview with just-food, Barry Callebaut CEO Juergen Steinemann said ongoing economic pressure meant worldwide consumer demand would be “flat” in 2010, despite the growth seen in Asian markets.

“We believe that it has bottomed out and that it will go on the right direction,” Steinemann said. “People ask us when it will be back to full force, which means 2-3% growth on a global level. We believe that will take two years.”

Steinemann was speaking from ISM, an annual international confectionery exhibition in Cologne, and the Barry Callebaut boss said the “talk of the town” among exhibitors and visitors were certification, innovation and consolidation in the sector.

Kraft Foods is set to seal its takeover of Cadbury today (2 February) [will probably need to change this later] and Steinemann claimed the deal would trigger more deals in the sector.

Barry Callebaut has supply deals with both Kraft and Cadbury and Steinemann, who joined the Swiss group in August, said he felt “positive” about the GBP11.5bn takeover.

“In the totality, I feel positive about this because of our footprint. We have been an early mover on having a global footprint, so if a global company wants to talk to chocolate people, they like to talk to people on a level playing field.”

For more on just-food’s exclusive interview with Juergen Steinemann, click here.

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