Cargill set to acquire Smet, in bid to “boost gourmet chocolate offerings”
05 Mar 2019 --- Cargill’s Cocoa and Chocolate business is set to acquire Smet, a Belgium-based supplier of chocolate to the foodservice and confectionery markets. Cargill’s entry into the acquisition is subject to consultation procedures with employee representative bodies and the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019, according to the companies.
“The proposed acquisition emphasizes Cargill’s commitment to its customers in the gourmet segment, building on the strengths of both organizations and enhancing complementary capabilities. We will broaden our product portfolio and services to artisans and chocolatiers, bakery, hospitality businesses and food service industries,” says Inge Demeyere, Managing Director of Cargill’s chocolate activities in Europe.
Demeyere says that Smet enjoys great market recognition. “As their brand joins Cargill’s existing brand portfolio, their entrepreneurial capabilities will be leveraged to allow for a dedicated focus on gourmet customers,” she notes.
“Together we intend to strengthen our customer relationships further and continuously serve customers’ chocolate needs, today and in the future,” Demeyere adds.
“The global gourmet chocolate market is showing an annual growth rate of 9 percent. The proposed acquisition means we will broaden our product portfolio and services to artisans and chocolatiers, bakery, hospitality businesses and food service industries to meet this growing demand and provide and an even better service to our customers,” Demeyere tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“Our overall ambition by 2022 is to be the leading global player with a fully integrated supply chain, by delivering our customers peace of mind through security, integrity through sustainability, and excitement through our sensory expertise, to enable our customers to create value and to help enhance and protect their brand reputations. Together with Smet, we are taking a clear step in that direction,” Demeyere explains.
“Cargill provides us with a unique opportunity to serve our customers with a globally integrated cocoa and chocolate supply chain, a renowned sustainability approach and deep chocolate expertise,” says Johan Smet, CEO of Smet.
The combined businesses will provide significant opportunities to accelerate growth in the gourmet segment, according to the announcement. Customers will benefit from increased intimacy and high speed-to-market with new decoration technology, enhanced production capabilities and a wide-ranging product portfolio, according to Cargill.
Smet has a global distribution network for gourmet products, two fully owned manufacturing sites in Belgium and Poland, and almost 90 employees.
“For over five decades, Smet is driven by a passion for chocolate and stands out with a relentless problem-solving attitude, innovative mindset and great flexibility,” notes Theo Graban, Executive Member of the Board of Smet.
In further company related news, last month, Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate launched a new cocoa powder, Gerkens CT70, to its cocoa powder brand Gerkens. The launch was specifically designed for baked goods and aims to create “consumer preferred” bakery products by “exceeding their expectations in aroma and chocolate taste,” said Cargill.
The bakery space is also seeing further innovation for Cargill. Also in February, Cargill launched a new palm shortening line, specifically for bakery products. PalmAgility is positioned as a superior-performing, easy-to-use palm shortening for use in pies, donuts, cookies and crème fillings.
“Bakery customers face a variety of challenges with standard palm shortenings from transportation to storage to performance. PalmAgility’s virtue is that it is a single solution that helps address these multiple bakery performance needs,” John Satumba, R&D Director for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North America, told FoodIngredientsFirst.
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