Cargill acquires Leman Decoration Group

Expanding gourmet chocolate offerings
Cargill acquires Leman Decoration Group
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. Photo - Leman Decoration Group

Cargill has acquired Leman Decoration Group, a leading supplier of cake decorations across the bakery sector, including the artisanal, small industrial, home-baking segments, and food service. The acquisition significantly broadens Cargill's offerings in the decorations space, enabling the company's cocoa and chocolate business to better serve gourmet customers in Europe and around the world. 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," said Inge Demeyere, managing director Cargill Chocolate Europe. "Our dedicated Gourmet business will be a true one-stop-shop for all their chocolate needs, inclusions, decorations, couverture chocolate, and now also, an extensive range of special decorations, 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.

"Cargill's deep chocolate production expertise and established global cocoa and chocolate supply compliments our long-standing commitment to our gourmet customers," said Didier Leman, owner of Leman Decoration Group, "By joining with Cargill, we can build on our nearly six-decade legacy in the decoration space and leverage the collective strengths of our complimentary operations better to serve the full spectrum of our clients' need today and for years to come."

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, reporting into its dedicated Global Gourmet and Distribution organization.

Synergies between the two organizations extend to their Mouscron, Belgium-based innovation centers. With its state-of-the-art chocolate experience facility, pilot plant, and sensory lab, Cargill's House of Chocolate complex 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 an unrivaled 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 Archer Daniels Midland Co.'s global chocolate business in 2015. Today, Cargill is the second largest chocolate company globally and serves the gourmet market with its Veliche Gourmet, Smet, Vanova, and now Leman Decorations brands.

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate provides high-quality cocoa and chocolate more sustainably throughout the world and brings our customers peace of mind, integrity, and excitement. With balanced efforts on security of supply, sustainability projects, and sensory expertise, the company creates a wide range of outstanding standardized and custom-made products and services. In addition, it offers its customers extensive market knowledge. To ensure a more sustainable supply of quality cocoa beans, Cargill established its sourcing and trading operations in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia. The company's Cargill Cocoa Promise underlines its commitment to enable farmers and their communities to achieve better incomes and living standards.

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