Crisis saps taste for chocolate
Swiss chocolate giant Barry Callebaut announces moderate growth in nine-month sales.Zurich -- The economic crisis is taking its toll on chocolate consumption, Swiss chocolate and cocoa products giant Barry Callebaut said Thursday as it announced moderate growth in nine-month sales.
The world's biggest chocolate manufacturer said in a statement that sales in the nine months to May grew 0.9 percent compared to the same period in 2008 to CHF 3.6 billion (EUR 2.4 billion, USD 3.4 billion) and by 6.3 percent in local currency terms.
Barry Callebaut said it sold 895,391 tonnes of chocolate over the period, up 2.6 percent, in a shrinking global market.
"The global chocolate market continues to decline in volume terms because consumer sentiment is still worsening in most economies," said Victor Balli, the group's chief financial officer said.
"We are very satisfied that we managed to regain growth momentum in the third quarter," he added.
The firm cited market data from analysts Nielsen indicating a two percent drop in consumption volumes in western Europe and of eight percent in the United States since September -- although the decline eased from February.
In China the overall fall in consumption reached 11 percent year-on-year, while eastern Europeans ate more chocolate.
Barry Callebaut said it expects geographical expansion and outsourcing deals to help it meet targets of two to four percent volume growth for its full financial year, and of 13 to 16 percent net profit growth from 2007-2008 to 2010-2011.
"Together with ongoing tight cost control this will help offset the negative impact of declining cocoa butter prices ... Therefore we are confident that we will achieve our targets."
AFP / Expatica