As customers’ need for inspiration, innovation, and speed-to-market take precedence in today’s dynamic chocolate market, Cargill’s House of Chocolate provides them with a collaborative, end-to-end customer experience. This 6200 square meter complex, which is built alongside the company’s existing chocolate production plant, includes a state-of-the-art chocolate experience center, a unique pilot plant with sensory expertise, and creative workspace for the company’s European R&D team of chocolate engineers.
“We wanted to create a place where customers can explore the entire world of chocolate under one roof, enabling them to taste, feel, smell, and see chocolate in every form," said Inge Demeyere, managing director for Cargill Chocolate Europe. "At the House of Chocolate, customers can collaborate with our experts and leverage our resources to create products inspired by the latest trends. It is a place designed to bring ideas to life and quickly move them to the market.”
That idea-to-execution concept begins in the facility’s chocolate experience center. Here, customers can explore market trends around health, sustainability, and sensory experiences, and brainstorm new product concepts. Collaboration is central to the House of Chocolate experience, as it serves as the European R&D hub for Cargill’s chocolate, coating, and filling activities and its 40 chocolate engineers. It’s also home to a unique pilot plant, giving brands the opportunity to rapidly prototype new products in small batches for greater efficiency and speed to market.
Belgium has been a focal point of Cargill’s global chocolate business for many years due to its unique position in the chocolate world globally and the strong reputation of Belgian chocolate. Cargill’s Cocoa & Chocolate business has operated in the country since 2002, and has extensively invested to meet customer demands for vegan, extra white, and sugar-reduced chocolate. It has also strengthened its presence in the gourmet space by acquiring businesses such as Leman Decorations and Smet.