With around 140 employees, the company is a global plant supplier for making confectionery and bakery products. It possesses know-how in mass preparation, forming, extrusion as well as enrobing and tempering.
'China has developed specific taste perception for chocolate'
Hosokawa Bepex’s site in Leingarten will be expanded into a Center of Competence within Bühler’s confectionery unit over the next six to 12 months, where Bühler will add further chocolate processing competences.
Together, the two companies will offer customers technologies for making chocolate countlines, enrobed articles, and cereal bars. It will also support Hosokawa Bepex’s product portfolio with bakery and further grain processing.
Serge Entleitner, head, Business Area Consumer Foods, Bühler, told ConfectioneryNews, its growth is mainly driven by rising demand in emerging markets such as Asia and the trend toward healthy snack foods in established markets such as Europe and North America.
“Emerging markets like China have developed their specific taste perception for chocolate; additionally there is a middle class developing which has a disposable income which is used for indulgent food,” he said.
“Snacking is becoming more popular in the US and Europe, they are also used to replace a whole meal. Healthy snacks are often seen in products containing less sugar, less fat and containing origin ingredients. A good example is the cereal bar.”
A missing link in its chocolate value chain
Bühler supplies cocoa processing, chocolate mass production, and moulding equipment. By acquiring Hosokawa Bepex, the Swiss-based technology group claims it is closing a missing link in its chocolate value chain by adding ‘special processing know-how’ in enrobed or filled products such as bars, cookies, caramels, and other confectionery articles.
This type of confectionery constitutes a substantial global market in both industrialized and emerging countries, with strong growth in the area of chocolate countlines and enrobed articles.
“With the portfolio and know-how of Hosokawa Bepex, Bühler is now able to address the whole market of final chocolate articles,” added Entleitner.
“We plan to excel in this market segment because we can make chocolate finer and develop the best taste. Now we can give the chocolate every desired form, whether this is moulded or enrobed.
“This acquisition is part of our growth strategy at Bühler. The acquisition will support our bakery and grain processing sectors because Hosokawa Bepex has cooling tunnels in its portfolio, used for cooling a chocolate bar. These cooling tunnels can also be used for cooling biscuits after the oven.
“Bühler is already processing grains and Hosokawa Bepex is a supplier for lines for cereal bar production.”
Powder & particle processing & blown film processing
Bühler’s clients include multinational, regional and local cocoa, chocolate and coffee producers including nut processing companies. It offers production systems for cocoa and nuts, chocolate, compound, fillings and spreads, moulding and coffee.
Hosokawa Bepex is a subsidiary of Hosokawa Alpine Aktiengesellschaft, part of the Hosokawa Micron Group, Hirakata, with headquarters in Leingarten (near Stuttgart) with another production site in Hamburg.
Peter Krieg, president, Hosokawa Alpine Aktiengesellschaft, said it was happy to entrust Hosokawa Bepex employees to the good hands of Bühler and to hand over its confectionery business to Bühler.
Hosokawa Alpine and the Hosokawa Micron Group will now concentrate its resources on powder and particle processing and blown film processing.