Tony’s Chocolonely has acquired its long-term partner and Belgian chocolate factory, Althaea-De Laet Int, which is contracted to manufacture the brand’s chocolate bars.
De Laet International was founded in 1960 as a family-run business and was joined by Althaea in 1987 – which took on the responsibilities for commercial development – to form Althaea-De Laet Int.
According to Tony’s, the Belgian firm has come a long way from its beginning as a small artisanal company – specialising in liqueur pralines – to a private label manufacturer; molding bars and tablets for Tony’s Chocoloney and other chocolate brands.
Tony’s Chocoloney was first introduced to the company through Barry Callebaut in 2004, tapping into their extensive experience with Fairtrade chocolate to produce its original red chocolate bar.
With the acquisition, Tony will operate its own factory to mold its chocolate bars. The Dutch confectionery company says this will enable it to innovate faster and will offer additional product flexibility and manufacturing capacity.
The deal also marks a step forward in pursuing Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus, a factory with a visitor centre and roller coaster, located on the border of Zaanstad and Amsterdam.
To ensure a smooth transition in the next couple of years, Tony’s will collaborate closely with the factory’s management team.
“The whole Althaea-De Laet Int. team has decades of knowledge and skills under their belt. They know all the ins and outs of how to mold the tastiest chocolate and efficiently operate a production facility,” said Anne-Wil Dijkstra, choco co-captain (COO) at Tony’s Chocolonely.
“Production on this scale is a new capability for us. But we’re excited to partner and learn from them and to get a grip on the production over time.”
Ingrid Bryssinck, managing director at Althaea-De Laet Int, added: “Owing to the fact that we as a family have no direct succession, we were looking for a partner, an entrepreneur, who could continue our dream with the same spirit and passion. We have found this partner in the team of Tony’s Chocolonely. We trust that Tony’s will ensure that Althaea-De Laet has a bright future while maintaining our values of caring for the team, quality and collegiality.”
Following the deal, Tony’s says it will continue to collaborate with its other long-term partners in order to meet demand for its chocolate bars.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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