Cocoa and chocolate giant Barry Callebaut has revealed plans to lay off some 2,500 workers across its global operations, according to CEO Peter Feld.

The drastic downsizing move, to be implemented within the next 18 months, is aimed at making the business more efficient.

“It’s about reducing complexity and eliminating duplication and inefficient structures,” Feld was quoted in a report attributed to German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Feld explained that Barry Callebaut, until recently, was managed as four companies, with a chocolate business each in the USA, Europe, and Asia, as well as its global cocoa business.

The CEO of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer said, “We never decided to standardise the processes worldwide.”

He noted that the company has failed to position itself properly in the past, and almost a fifth, or 19%, of its employees will now lose their jobs.

“It is precisely this duplication of work and inefficiency that the wave of redundancies is intended to reduce,” he intimated.

With a previously announced savings plan dubbed BC Next Level, the Swiss company hopes to save 250 million Swiss francs ($284.2 million) annually in the future.

The chocolate and confectionery industry faces a cocoa supply crunch in the wake of a global deficit.

Cocoa prices have been soaring to unprecedented highs, hitting $6,401.61 per tonne on Monday, February 26, 2024, according to the ICCO.

Experts have interpreted Barry’s action as a move to centralise key tasks, particularly in the area of administration in Switzerland.

Still in line with the savings plan, Barry Callebaut plans to shut down two factories in Norderstedt, Germany, and Port Klang, Malaysia, according to the Swiss Times.

In a related development, Cocoa Post reported early on in January how the cocoa shortage had forced processing factories in Ghana to shut down operations with a looming threat of job cuts.

Credit: Cocoa Post