The deal will see Cargill take control of all Leman Decoration Group facilities, including its three state-of-the-art manufacturing sites in Belgium, Mauritius and Thailand.
Leman supplies cake decorations across the bakery sector, including the artisanal, small industrial, home-baking segments, and foodservice.
End-to-end gourmet solutions
Leman is ‘known’ for its ‘wide and creative product range’, Cargill said. Its portfolio spans cake decorations, chocolate printings, sugar-based decorations and wafers.
The family-owned business has customers across 55 countries. Cargill said it combines product innovation capabilities with a vertically integrated supply chain. This approach, the company noted, aligns with Cargill’s goal of providing end-to-end, ‘bean-to decorations gourmet solutions’.
“This acquisition allows Cargill to bring its full cocoa and chocolate expertise to Leman. Customers will gain access to a fully-fledged one-stop-shop model, from bean to chocolate. This model gives us greater flexibility in serving our customers better, equipping us to meet all their needs within the bakery segment,” Inge Demeyere, managing director Cargill Chocolate Europe, told FoodNavigator.
“We’re able to support our gourmet and industrial customers at every step of their journey – from concept to finished product. 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.”
Eyeing future growth
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.
“This acquisition allows Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate’s gourmet business to broaden and extend our product portfolio within the bakery and artisanal segment, reinforcing our commitment to continuous development for our customers,” said Demeyere.
The European chocolate MD told us that the combination of the two companies will enable Cargill to tap into global expansion opportunities. “We see good opportunities to expand regionally in other continents. Leman Decoration Group has a strong position in Belgium, allowing for further development in Europe and expansion in other regions such as North America, META and Asia.”
In particular, Cargill was upbeat about the combined research and development capabilities in the gourmet decorations space.
Both companies have invested in Mouscron, Belgium-based innovation centres. Cargill’s House of Chocolate complex, which will include a 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 kilometres away. “Together, these centres will provide an unrivalled platform for customer demonstrations, partnerships and innovations.”
Cargill’s move to acquire Leman Decoration Group is the latest in a series of steps to expand in the gourmet space. In 2019, Cargill acquired Smet, a leading Belgium-based supplier of chocolate and sweets decorations. In January 2021, the company expanded its Kalmthout, Belgium, gourmet production facility. Other notable investments in the gourmet segment include acquisitions of Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s global chocolate business in 2015.