In conversation with Sollich Executive Director Ralf Schäffer

Sollich talks chocolate: Africa plays catch-up, Asia and South America boom

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Africa’s chocolate market remains a little behind but Asia and South America are booming, and each market needs to be approached differently, says the executive director of Sollich.

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews at Interpack 2014 last month in Düsseldorf, Germany, Ralf Schäffer said that while Africa did have growth potential, movement remained slow.

“There we still think we need a little more time,” he said.

He said that chocolate remained expensive compared to other products in Africa, and that distribution of chocolate products needed improvement. “We still need to wait a little bit until it will really boom.”

Asia & South America promise

At the moment Sollich had identified great growth in Asia, he said, particularly India, Indonesia and in China. But South America was also a very promising market, he added, with smaller countries like Peru booming.

While demands for chocolate processing remained similar globally, he said it was important to cater to each market differently. Sollich, for example, designed different machine models for each market in terms of hygiene design, energy efficiency and manpower. The cost of machinery also had to be adjusted accordingly, he added.

“For example, the control system is maybe not so sophisticated sometimes, but it also depends on what kind of company it is, so you cannot really say it’s because of the region.”

India is a sophisticated market, China needs to change

He said India had a very sophisticated chocolate market due to the influence Britain had on the country historically. China, he said, was progressing in terms of taste.

“This is of course influenced by the multinational companies,” he said. As more companies invested in the markets, he said consumers would get a taste for modern, international chocolate products.

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