Barry Callebaut CEO sees chocolate market picking up

ZURICH Wed Nov 7, 2012 2:44am EST

ZURICH Nov 7 (Reuters) - The global chocolate market should grow slightly faster than the 1 percent it achieved in the year to August, the chief executive of Barry Callebaut AG, the world's largest maker of chocolate products, said on Wednesday.

"We believe the big markets, western Europe and north America, will grow but, with today's view, it will not be a big push," CEO Juergen Steinemann told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding he saw global growth of more than 1 percent, but "probably not 2-3 percent".

Market researcher Mintel said that while the global chocolate market value will be little changed on the year at $84.5 billion in 2012, western Europe's chocolate market value is set to fall by around 5 percent.

Steinemann also said he expected the cocoa harvest from top grower Ivory Coast to be slightly smaller than last year's record crop, with the global crop roughly meeting demand.

"We will not see a surplus but not a significant deficit," he said, adding he expected cocoa prices to move sideways.

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