Demand for chocolate and cocoa products is growing in the Asian market, with it being forecasted to be worth $27.1 billion this year in the Asia-Pacific region alone. Besides a general interest in sweet food, this increase in interest is fueled by health too. Cocoa contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that can prevent certain diseases.
To further strengthen its foothold in the Asia-Pacific and to better serve industrial and foodservice consumers in the region, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate entered into an agreement to acquire Aalst Chocolate Pte Ltd. The latter, a Singapore-based chocolate manufacturer, is one of the leading suppliers in Asia. They export their product lines, which include bake-stable and artisan chocolate compounds, to more than 50 countries including India, Japan, China and Southeast Asia.
“The rapidly growing Asian marketplace is increasingly wielding its influence around the globe, sparking inspiration and driving international trends,” said Francesca Kleemans, managing director for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific. “Joining with Aalst strengthens our position in this critical region, enabling us to become the supplier-of-choice for industrial and foodservice customers. With an expanded selection of value-added and specialty chocolate products and deep technical expertise, together we can accelerate innovation, better helping customers create products that continue to surprise and delight.”
This acquisition is set to provide Cargill with the facilities and tools to provide a stable supply of premium cocoa and chocolate products. This includes an R&D facility in Singapore and Shanghai, and a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Singapore.
“Singapore and made-in-Singapore products are both highly regarded and reputed for meeting stringent world-class standards. We are proud of Aalst Chocolate’s heritage as a Singapore company with a renowned presence of over 18 years in Asia’s chocolate industry. Together with Cargill’s global expertise and experience, we believe that this new venture will be well-positioned to harness the full potential of exciting synergetic growth possibilities and become an ideal integrated chocolate solution provider for our customers,” said Richard Lee, Founder & CEO of Aalst Chocolate Pte Ltd.
This acquisition comes after Cargill opened its first chocolate manufacturing operations in India, and the first cocoa processing facility in Gresik, Indonesia in 2014.