The new 17,000 m2 factory will have an initial annual production capacity of 22,000 metric tons of chocolate.
Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said at the inauguration ceremony: “Moving our Japanese factory to Takasaki is a strategic move which brings us closer to our customers and reinforces our priorities to partnering for innovation and mutual success.”
The Takasaki plant is located in the Gunma Prefecture, around 100 km north of Tokyo.
Meeting Morinaga demands
When Barry Callebaut announced the relocation in June last year, it had entered into an extended 10-year chocolate supply agreement with domestic confectioner Morinaga. The move was intended satisfy Morinaga’s rising demands, which had grown from 9,000 MT per year under a previous contract to 16,000 MT under the new deal.
Barry Callebaut told this site last year that the 30 employees working at the defunct Amagasaki factory would all be offered relocation to the new site. The Takasaki plant will employ 55 workers, who have all been recruited locally.
Japanese chocolate consumption: Highest in Asia
According to the Chocolate & Cocoa Association of Japan, Japanese chocolate consumption at 1.84 kg per capita in 2012 is the biggest in Asia.
The region’s growth engine China, by comparison, had an annual consumption per capita of 1.2kg in 2012. However, the levels are much lower than those observed in Western Europe, where the UK, Germany and Switzerland each have a annual per capita consumption above 8 kg per capita.
Japan’s chocolate market
Euromonitor International forecasts that while global demand for chocolate confectionery will rise 2.1% between 2013 and 2014, demand in Asia Pacific will grow 5.4%.
Japan is the region’s largest market for chocolate confectionery at $11.4bn in 2011.
Morinaga is the third largest chocolate firm in Japan, behind leader Meiji and Lotte. Nestle is the only confectioner outside of Asia to make the top five, in fifth place behind domestic player Ezaki Glico.
Barry Callebaut’s main competitors for chocolate production outsourcing in Japan are Fuji Oil, Daitocacao, Nisshinkako.