Cargill becomes one-stop-shop for baker’s gourmet chocolate needs with new bolt-on

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Cargill is working towards becoming a true one-stop-shop for chocolate inclusions, decorations and couverture offerings. Pic: GettyImages/robynmac
Cargill is working towards becoming a true one-stop-shop for chocolate inclusions, decorations and couverture offerings. Pic: GettyImages/robynmac

Related tags Cargill Chocolate Leman Decoration Group

The global ingredients supplier has acquired Leman Decoration Group – a Belgian producer of cake decorations, chocolate printings, sugar-based decorations and wafers – which will significantly expand its presence in the gourmet space.

Leman’s was established in 1963 by Georges Leman and initially focused on producing marzipan roses. Today, the family-owned business serves pastry chefs, bakers, ice cream producers and chocolatiers in 55 countries with a wide range of edible and non-edible decorations.

Bean-to-decoration one-stop-shop

The move is the next step in Cargill’s goal to provide ‘bean-to-decorations’ gourmet solutions.

In 2015, the company acquired ADM’s global chocolate business; in 2019, it acquired Smet, a Belgium supplier of chocolate and sweets decorations; in January 2021, the company expanded its Kalmthout, Belgium, gourmet production facility; and in March, it added signature origins to its Veliche line of couverture chocolates.

Today, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate is the second largest chocolate company in the world. The division’s 3,800-plus cocoa and chocolate experts work across 54 locations to provide customers with extensive market knowledge.

The company is dedicated in providing a robust, fair and transparent supply chain, and has established its own sourcing and trading operations at origin in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia. The Cargill Cocoa Promise underlines its commitment to enable farmers and their communities achieve better incomes and living standards.

“By adding Leman Decoration Group to the Cargill family, we’re able to support our gourmet and industrial customers at every step of their journey – from concept to finished product,”​ said Inge Demeyere, MD of Cargill Chocolate Europe.

“Our dedicated Gourmet business will be a true one-stop-shop for all their chocolate needs, inclusions, decorations, couverture chocolate and now also an extensive range of special decorations, all backed by a unique platform for sound customer service, including extensive R&D and printing capabilities, and the combined expertise and resources of two world-class organisations.”

The deal includes all Leman’s facilities, including its manufacturing sites in Belgium, Mauritius and Thailand. The company’s 450-strong workforce will join Cargill’s Global Gourmet and Distribution business.

Innovation centres

Synergies between the two organisations extend to their Mouscron-based innovation centres. Cargill’s House of Chocolate complex – with its chocolate experience facility, pilot plant and sensory lab – is slated to open in early 2022, while Leman’s R&D hub is located just 1.5km away. Together, the centres will provide an unrivalled platform for customer demonstrations, partnerships and innovations.

“Cargill’s deep chocolate production expertise and established global cocoa and chocolate supply compliments our long-standing commitment to our gourmet customers,”​ said Didier Leman, owner of Leman Decoration Group.

“By joining with Cargill, we can build on our nearly six-decade legacy in the decoration space and leverage the collective strengths of our complementary operations to better serve the full-spectrum of our clients’ need today and for years to come.”

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