Barry Callebaut to axe 18% of global workforce

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Barry Callebaut Group CEO Peter Feld. Pic: Barry Callebaut
Barry Callebaut Group CEO Peter Feld. Pic: Barry Callebaut

Related tags Barry callebaut Cocoa Chocolate

Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s largest chocolate and cocoa supplier, has announced it is cutting approximately 2,500 manufacturing and administration jobs across its global operations.

In a short statement to ConfectioneryNews, a spokesperson for the Group said: "Last September, we launched our BC Next Level strategic investment programme. Our goal is to make Barry Callebaut fit for the future and take it to the next level of growth.

"The programme includes investments of CHF 500 million ($569m) in the areas most relevant to our customers. It also includes measures to increase efficiency within the company. Overall, the programme aims to reduce costs by 15%, which could potentially affect affect up to 2,500 positions (18%) of our global workforce over the next 18 months, primarily by eliminating duplication and inefficiencies."

Weize chocolate factory

The spokesperson said discussions with employee representatives have just  begun and made clear its Wieze chocolate factory in Belgium, the largest in the world, where it employs approximately 1,200 people and other Belgium factories including Halle "are the cradle of our company. Our intention is for them to continue producing the best Belgium chocolate."

CEO Peter Feld, appointed last April, announced a ‘BC Next Level’ plan to save 250 million Swiss francs, and in other media outlets said that  the company has failed to position itself properly in the past.

According to media reports, job cuts are one of several measures being taken by the new management under Feld’s leadership. There are also rumours that Barry Callebaut’s factories in Norderstedt near Hamburg and Port Klang, Malaysia will be shuttered.

'Structural deficiencies'

German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported Feld had identified structural deficiencies in the way the Group was split into four companies, with a chocolate business in the USA, one in Europe, one in Asia, and a global cocoa business. “We never decided to standardise the processes worldwide,” said Feld. It is precisely this duplication of work and inefficiency that the wave of redundancies is intended to reduce.

The Brussels Times reported the the socialist trade union BBTK, in a joint communication with other trade unions, announced the company is looking to cut more than 500 jobs in Belgium as part of the global restructuring. According to the Belga agency, 900 jobs in Europe are at risk, more than half in Belgium, with 310 jobs targeted at the Weize plant and 210 at Halle. 

Barry Callebaut’s headquarters are located in Zurich and is unclear whether it will be targeted during the streamlining.

The Group said it has launched a procedure for collective redundancies.

  • As ConfectioneryNews reported​, the Swiss-based Belgian chocolate supplier closed its Moreton factory in North-West England in May  2022, losing 45 permanent and 19 temporary jobs.

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