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Lindt shores up ‘most important’ US market with factory expansion

By Oliver Nieburg+

14-Mar-2014
Last updated the 14-Mar-2014 at 16:30 GMT

Lindt to double the size of its US headquarters in New Hampshire
Lindt to double the size of its US headquarters in New Hampshire

Lindt & Sprüngli has announced plans to double the size of its US headquarters to meet growing consumer demand in the US premium chocolate market, which it says is its biggest and carries the most potential.

The company will add 108,000 sq ft to Lindt USA’s HQ in Stratham, New Hampshire, adding new lines for its new Hello brand, Lindor single-serve bars and Excellence individually wrapped chocolate diamonds.

The expansion will take place over the next several years.

Lindt: US market holds greatest potential

“The US market is now our most important market sales and potential-wise for the group,” Sylvia Kälin, corporate communications at Lindt, told ConfectioneryNews.

Thomas Linemayr, president and CEO of Lindt USA, added: “Lindt continues to dominate the premium chocolate segment in the U.S. and the expansion of the manufacturing facility will help Lindt stay at the forefront of the industry and accommodate the growing demands from the market and consumers.”

Lindt did not communicate the value of the investment, but told this site in August last year that it was intending to invest CHF 200m ($217m) in new production lines at existing plants in the US and Europe in response to rising demand in developed markets.

Lindt will add capacity for its new Hello brand as part of the expansion.

Lindt 2013 results

In the company’s 2013 results, earlier this week it reported 8% growth in sales to CHF 2.9 bn ($3.3bn) and 24% growth in net profit compared to the prior year to CHF 303m ($346m).

North America the biggest market: Lindt 2013 sales breakdown by geography.

North America (US and Canada) is the company’s largest market accounting for 30.1% of sales, according to Lindt’s 2013 annual report.

Export hub

Lindt said that the factory expansion would allow the US facility to meet growing demand in the domestic market, but would eventually allow it to supply the US, Canada, Mexico, England, China and Australia from the US.

Canada and Mexico are already served mainly from the Stratham factory, but Australia, China and England are served mostly from Switzerland.

Between 2006 and 2010 Lindt USA added 350,000 sq ft of production, packaging and distribution facility space, and a new state-of-the-art cocoa liquor plant to the US facility. “Before the cocoa mass was imported from Switzerland,” said Kälin.

Lindt in the US

Lindt will add a new line to produce Excellence indivually wrapped chocolate diamonds as part of the Stratham expansion.

Lindt has been in the US market since the 1920s and first established a manufacturing presence with the Stratham facility in the late eighties. Kälin said the US was a “sleeping market” for Lindt up until 1995 when it decided to build up the nation’s premium chocolate segment.

The company is now present in the country in wholesale with Lindt USA and group subsidiary Ghirardelli. It also operates over 50 retail stores nationwide and has a second factory in San Francisco, California, for Ghirardelli.

According to Euromonitor International Lindt has a 5.4% share of the overall US chocolate market, which is dominated by Hershey and Mars, but it claims to be the leading premium chocolate firm.

In the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend by Harris Interactive, Ghirardelli was voted the most popular premium chocolate brand in the US among consumers ahead of Mars’ Dove brand.

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