Global chocolate producer acquires Aussie private brand maker

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Global chocolate maker Barry Callebaut Group has acquired private brand chocolate manufacturer GKC Foods, based in Australia. The company specializes in chocolates, coatings and fillings for private brands and contract manufacturing in the Australia and New Zealand markets.

The acquisition brings Barry Callebaut Group firmly into the Australia market and it will continue to work with local distributors across Australia and New Zealand who have been importing and distributing its industrial and gourmet chocolate and cocoa products to the country since the 1970s.

GKC Foods has been manufacturing "Made in Australia" chocolate and confectionery products since the 1980s. Today, the company produces a wide range of products including organic and vegan chocolate for dedicated chocolate shops, gourmet delis, specialty food outlets and key national retailer private brands. The company operates a chocolate factory and a warehouse in Melbourne.

Barry Callebaut will upgrade the GKC Foods plant in Melbourne.

Barry Callebaut's investment involves upgrading and expanding the factory's existing infrastructure; installing a new state-of-the-art chocolate production line, and the deployment of an integrated management system to enhance automated production. Additionally, the company will employ around 50 people at the site, including GKC Foods' existing employees.

John Borell, managing director of GKC Foods, said: "I am very proud of the great chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past 35 years. Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of GKC Foods and our team as part of a large, international, group. We really appreciate the business principles and the team spirit on which Barry Callebaut is based."

Barry Callebaut is one of the largest chocolate and cocoa manufacturers in Asia Pacific. Employing more than 1,800 employees in the region, the company already operates 10 chocolate and cocoa factories in Asia, namely in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. In the last year, the company has also expanded its sales operations in Indonesia and the Philippines, in addition to its existing sales offices in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. It recently announced the groundbreaking of a new chocolate factory in India which is expected to be ready in late-2020. Barry Callebaut's Asia Pacific Headquarters are in Singapore.