The Barry Callebaut Group has reached an agreement to acquire Europe Chocolate Co. (ECC), a Belgian privately-owned business-to-business manufacturer of chocolate specialties and decorations.

According to Barry Callebaut, the acquisition of ECC will expand the group’s value adding specialties capabilities and allow it to cater to the increasing demand of food manufacturers for highly customized specialty chocolate and decorations. ECC has been manufacturing specialty chocolate ingredients since 1993 and currently produces a wide range of industrial specialty chocolate and decorations in multiple taste and color variations, including batons, curls, chunks, leaves, and shavings. Its flexible production setup allows it to supply a wide variety of customers such as biscuit, bakery, dairy, ice cream, confectionery and foodservice industries.

The company operates a chocolate facility and a warehouse in Malle, close to Antwerp, Belgium.

“We have a long-standing relationship with ECC and strongly believe in the growth opportunities of highly customized industrial specialty chocolate ingredients,” says Wim Debedts, vice president of food manufacturers Western Europe at Barry Callebaut. “The acquisition will help us to further broaden our market position thanks to ECC’s unique know-how and its highly flexible manufacturing facility in Belgium.”

Eric Van Tichelen, managing director of ECC, adds, “I am very proud of the specialty chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past close to 30 years. Joining the Barry Callebaut family will enable and accelerate ECC’s growth with access to new customers, new geographies via a broad sales network, helping to accentuate our unique proposition.”