Cargill has announced that it is partnering with a local manufacturer in western India to launch its first chocolate manufacturing operation in Asia. According to Cargill, the production facility will begin operating in mid-2021, and the site will initially produce approximately 10,000 tons of chocolate compounds a year. With the addition of the new manufacturing plant in India, Cargill claims that it is well prepared to develop and scale up its operational capabilities quickly to support future growth for its customers across the region. Cargill established its cocoa operations in Asia in 1995, introducing a team in Makkasar, Indonesia which was responsible for trading and supply management of cocoa to Cargill processing plants in Europe and Brazil. In 2014, Cargill expanded its Asian cocoa operations further by opening a cocoa processing plant in Gresik, Indonesia, to make premium Gerkens cocoa products. Francesca Kleemans, managing director, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific, said: “Asia is a key growth market for Cargill. Opening a chocolate manufacturing operation in India allows us to increase our regional footprint and capabilities in Asia to better support the needs of our local Indian customers as well as multi-national customers in the region. “It also demonstrates our commitment to supporting the local economy with the addition of 100 new manufacturing jobs.” “Combining local insights from our experience and long term presence as a food ingredient supplier in India with our global cocoa and chocolate expertise, we aim to become the leading supplier and trusted partner for our bakery, ice cream and confectionary customers in Asia, who will use our chocolate compounds, chips and paste to create products that will delight local palates.” Last week, Cargill invested €3.5 million to expand its facility in Kalmthout, Belgium, adding a fifth gourmet chocolate production line and new chocolate tanks. In 2019, the company announced it would invest $113 million to expand its cocoa processing sites in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, while also investing $12.3 million over the next three years to develop cocoa sustainability and supply chain traceability programmes in both the Ivory Coast and Ghana.