Chocolate maker Barry Callebaut’s sales fall on low demand

Barry Callebaut, the world’s biggest chocolate maker, on Thursday reported lower nine-month sales volumes than a year ago as customer demand dropped in an inflationary environment.

Barry Callebaut’s volumes have been hit by growing inflationary pressures, with cocoa trading at around a 46-year high, which dampens demand for chocolate around the world.

“Our volume was in line with the declining underlying chocolate confectionery market, excluding the residual effects of the Weise incident,” said Peter Feld, who took over as chief executive in April.

The firm’s volumes were hampered by a salmonella outbreak at its Wieze plant last year.

The company confirmed its guidance of no volume growth for the year but said it would provide a full strategic update at a full-year earnings publication in November.

The Zurich-based firm cut its guidance twice this year as it struggled to recover from a dip in chocolate purchases by its inflation-hit customers.

Barry Callebaut, which supplies chocolate for a range of producers including industry leaders such as Unilever (NYSE:UL) and Nestle, said sales volumes in the nine months ended May 31 fell 2.7% compared with the same period a year ago to 1.7 million tones, in line with analysts’ forecast in the company-provided consensus.

Barry Callebaut’s nine-month sales revenue rose to 6.29 billion Swiss francs, also in line with analysts’ estimates.

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