The company yesterday inaugurated the Callebaut Chocolate Academy center, which is its 19th chocolate training center globally and its fourth in Asia Pacific.
Barry Callebaut previously had a chocolate academy and sales office in Mumbai, which opened in 2008, but chose to close the facility and relocate to an upgraded site.
The firm’s new facility comes after it opened a factory in Pune last year.
Demand for gourmet in India
Dhruv Bhatia, Barry Callebaut’s managing director for India, said the two investments would allow the firm to “capitalize on growth opportunities in India”.
Mikael Neglen, president of Chocolate Asia Pacific at Barry Callebaut, added: “With significantly greater exposure to international brands and product premiumization, we believe there will be increasing demand for our gourmet products in India and across Asia Pacific.”
Growing Indian chocolate market
Barry Callebaut said the the average unit price for chocolate confectionery in India rose by 8% year-on-year in 2015 and it expects premium products will further drive the market.
Euromonitor International forecasts a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for chocolate confectionery in India from 2015 to 2020, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
Major firms have been growing premium ranges in the past three years as disposable income for the Indian middle classes rises.
Mars launched premium brand Galaxy (also known as Dove) in India in 2013, while Mondelēz premiumized its Cadbury Bournville brand by upping the cocoa content and also introduced premium gifting brand Cadbury Glow last year.
Mars – the number three chocolate player in India - is currently constructing a $160m Snickers and Galaxy plant in Pune.
Domestic player Rajhans (Desai-Jain) Group – whose core business is real estate – also entered the confectionery industry in India with premium brand Smitten in late 2014.
Jack Skelly, research analyst for Euromonitor, recently told ConfectioneryNews that premium chocolate in emerging markets such as Asia Pacific will take around 20 to 30 years to develop rather than five to 10 years as chocolate remains unaffordable to many consumers.
Barry Callebaut’s new academy will house professional chefs that will train Barry Callebaut’s customers such as premium chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers and those working at restaurants.
It said the center was a “symbolic move” in positioning itself as a leader in gourmet chocolate for the Indian market.
Barry Callebaut’s other Asia Pacific chocolate academies are located in Tokyo (Japan), Shanghai (China) and Singapore.
The company has been present in India for around a decade.