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Cargill Expanding Its Gourmet Chocolate Offerings

The company’s acquisition of Leman Decoration Group enables Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business to better serve gourmet customers in Europe and around the world.

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Cargill has acquired Leman Decoration Group, a leading supplier of cake decorations across the bakery sector, including the artisanal, small industrial, and home-baking segments, and foodservice. The acquisition significantly broadens Cargill’s offerings in the decorations space. Its customers will benefit from increased intimacy and high speed to market with complementary decoration technology, enhanced production capabilities, and a wide-ranging product portfolio.

“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," says Inge Demeyere, managing director Cargill Chocolate Europe. “Our dedicated gourmet business will be a true one-stop-shop for all their chocolate needs, 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 organizations.”

Known for its wide and creative product range, Leman Decoration Group’s portfolio spans cake decorations, chocolate printings, sugar-based decorations, and wafers. The family-owned business has cultivated customers across 55 countries by combining its strength for product innovation with a vertically integrated, end-to-end supply chain, offering a unique platform for unparalleled customer service. This approach aligns with Cargill’s goal of providing end-to-end, “bean-to decorations” gourmet solutions.

As part of the transaction, all Leman Decoration Group facilities, including its three state-of-the-art manufacturing sites in Belgium, Mauritius, and Thailand, and its nearly 450 employees will join the Cargill family.

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Synergies between the two organizations extend to their Mouscron, Belgium-based innovation centers. Cargill’s House of Chocolate complex, with its state-of-the-art chocolate experience facility, pilot plant, and sensory lab, is slated to open in early 2022, while Leman Decoration Group’s industry-leading R&D hub is located just 1.5 kilometers away. Together, these centers will provide a platform for customer demonstrations, partnerships, and innovations.

Cargill’s move to acquire Leman Decoration Group is the latest in a series of steps to extend its presence and product line in the gourmet space. In 2019, Cargill acquired Smet, a leading Belgium-based supplier of chocolate and sweets decorations, while in January 2021, the company expanded its Kalmthout, Belgium, gourmet production facility. In March of this year, Cargill also added signature origins to its Veliche line of couverture chocolates.

Other notable investments by Cargill in the gourmet segment include acquisitions of Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s global chocolate business in 2015. Today, Cargill is the second-largest chocolate company in the world and serves the gourmet market with its Veliche Gourmet, Smet, Vanova, and now, Leman Decorations brands.

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