Cargill’s latest acquisition has been a piece of cake — or at least a piece of a piece of cake.
The Belgium-based company serves the artisanal and small industrial and home-baking segments, as well as foodservice.
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.
Cargill said 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 complementary operations to better 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.
Cargill’s House of Chocolate complex, with its state-of-the-art chocolate experience facility, 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 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, Cargill also added signature origins to its Veliche line of couverture chocolates.
Other notable investments by Cargill in the gourmet segment include acquisitions of Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s global chocolate business in 2015. Today, Cargill is the second largest chocolate company in the world and serves the gourmet market with its Veliche Gourmet Smet, Vanova and now Leman Decorations brands.