As part of an accelerated global strategy, Chicago-based Blommer Chocolate Co. will acquire a manufacturing plant in China’s Jinshan district near Shanghai. The largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier in North America also revealed that it will invest $40 million in the Jinshan plant to create a fully integrated bean processing and chocolate manufacturing facility, which will support the growing demand both in China and the Asian region.

“Expanding our operations to China represents a new chapter in the growth of our company,” says Rick Blommer, president of global expansion for the company. “We assembled a talented sales and applications support team in our Pudong office near Shanghai over the past year to develop our market presence and, with this acquisition, we are now well positioned to expand our offerings to the growing Chinese market.”

The plant will provide critical ingredient supply chain solutions for Blommer’s existing multinational branded customers and the expanding number of local Chinese companies entering the market.

“A hallmark of Blommer’s success during its 77-year history as a family owned business has been our ability to continuously and flexibly adapt and expand our capabilities to serve the needs of our customers,” adds Peter Blommer, the company’s president and ceo as well as chairman of the National Confectioners Association.

“This acquisition is an important component of our exciting multi-pronged strategy to further strengthen our leading market position in North America and establish strong growth platforms in developing global cocoa markets,” he says.

In the last 18 months, this multi-phase initiative has increased Blommer’s chocolate and compound capacity by more than 70 million pounds in North America. Current projects will add an additional 70 million pounds of capacity over the next 12 months.

Blommer’s growth plan is supported by a significant investment in research and development, which has nearly tripled over the last 5 years, bringing enhanced capabilities in product and process technology.

The company also has expanded its presence in West Africa and South America both directly and through strategic alliances to ensure a reliable and competitive supply of both sustainable and conventional cocoa beans and products. This includes the recently opened office in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and expansion of on-the-ground staff there to manage its growing commercial and sustainability initiatives in the region.

“As one of the largest cocoa processors and ingredient chocolate manufacturers in the world, Blommer is committed to expanding its global footprint to support a healthy cocoa sector and the growing global needs of our customers,” explains Peter Blommer. “We recognize the need to expand our global presence as Blommer plays a critical role in ensuring a competitive supply chain amidst the continued consolidation of our industry.”