Stojan Kemera, General Manager, Barry Callebaut Southeast Europe

The Best Chocolate Needs Passion

Thanks to its experience and tradition, but also the latest technologies, the Barry Callebaut Group sells its products in 140 countries worldwide. Its products serve the entire food industry – from industrial food manufacturers to chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants and caterers

This world-renowned, Zurich-based company Barry Callebaut, is now building a modern chocolate factory in Novi Sad, along with an Innovation Centre for Research & Development, in which it will invest around 50 million euros over the next five years. Serbia will then become a regional centre for supplying chocolate to the region of Southeast Europe.

Your company, Barry Callebaut, is a leading producer of high-quality chocolate and cacao products worldwide. How do you achieve the position of number one?

– There is more than one answer to that question. On one side, it is through a continuous commitment to the sustainable sourcing of high-quality cocoa beans and other ingredients, as well as through dedication to new technologies and a proactive approach based on scientific innovations, but also the craftsmanship and passion of our people to make the best possible chocolate. 

We are also committed to sustainable growth. Our founders started producing chocolate more than a century ago, while the Barry Callebaut Group today serves the entire food industry – from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers.

The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these gourmet customers are Callebaut and Cacao Barry. It is thus clear that expansion is one of the main strategic pillars of Barry Callebaut, whether we are talking about expansion through new market segments or geographical expansion.

The new Novi Sad factory will feature both an “Application lab” and a “Chocolate Academy”

You are set to open your own factory in Novi Sad in 2021, with 50 million euros to be invested over the course of the next five years. It is planned for this to become a regional centre to supply the entire region of Southeast Europe.

– The factory will serve as a regional hub for Barry Callebaut to tap into the rapidly growing chocolate markets of Southeast Europe, while also capturing new outsourcing opportunities in the broader region. Increased customer proximity will allow us to serve our current and new customers with a wide range of chocolate, compound and filling products.

Your headquarters are in Zurich and your products reach customers in 140 countries, while you employ around 11,500 workers in more than 30 countries. How significant will the new Novi Sad factory be in the context of your global operations?

– Through this geographical expansion, we are settling in the region and covering the missing part of our supply network. This enables us to be closer to our customers in the broader region and to deliver our high-quality chocolate products to them.

The facility in Novi Sad will feature an “Application lab” that will enable us to create custom-made recipes and solutions for our customers, as well as a “Chocolate Academy” – as an education centre where we will host dedicated courses for artisans, innovation sessions for industrial and semi-industrial customers and partners, workshops on new trends, tasting sessions and similar.

In short, this local facility will help us serve our customers with a full package – ideas, solutions and products, while it will also increase our overall production capacity – not only in Southeast Europe but on a broader scale.