By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Barry Callebaut Group has a sweet spot for Chatham-Kent.
So much so, the global chocolate maker has committed a $100-million investment into its Chatham production facility.
The multi-year funding will go towards updating liquid and molding lines, as well as enhancing the plant’s dairy-free manufacturing capabilities.
According to the company’s vice-president of operations and supply chain for the Americas, the investment means the company can grow.
“This new capacity will satisfy growing demand from both food manufacturer and gourmet customers for our compound solutions in this dynamic consumer market,” said Balaji Padmanabhan in a media release.
Chatham-Kent’s director of economic development said the expansion is a show of faith in the municipality.
“Barry Callebaut has been a fantastic corporate citizen in C-K for over a decade and we’re thrilled to both see, and help support, their continued growth in our community,” Stuart McFadden said. “We’re seeing more and more companies investing and reinvesting in Chatham-Kent and this speaks volumes about our community, our workforce and our available support systems.”
Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Barry Callebaut has 13,000 employees worldwide. Currently, there are 135 workers in Chatham.
Barry Callebaut media relations spokesperson Martha Dittmar Carlos said the investment began in 2018 when additional liquid storage space was added. Upgrades will continue through 2023 by developing a non-dairy line to satisfy consumer demand for healthier options.
Dittmar Carlos said production in Chatham includes a broad range of products, from liquid milk and dark compound to molded products.
Magnum ice cream bars are one of many popular treats eventually produced.
Barry Callebaut currently has 15 factories in the Americas with three in Canada. In addition to Chatham, a new plant is being built in Brantford, with the largest facility located in St. Hyacinthe, Que.