Here's some interesting news out of The Netherlands. Tony's Chocolonely has acquired Althaea NV and De Laet International NV, forming a new chocolate factory brand, Althaea-De Laet International NV.
Tony's Chocolonely, a B-Corp, Fairtrade-certified chocolate company, claims the acquisition will allow it to innovate more rapidly and will offer additional manufacturing flexibility and capacity.
Althaea NV is a Belgian family-run chocolate manufacturing business already contracted to Tony's Chocolonely to produce their bars. De Laet International NV was founded back in 1960 and today moulds bars for Tony’s Chocolonely as well as other chocolate brands.
The two businesses are unifying to form Althaea-De Laet International NV. In essence, Tony's Chocolonely now has its own in-house chocolate factory. Even so, the company insists it will "continue to collaborate with its other long-term partners to meet its ever-growing demand in bars".
It's no secret that Tony's Chocolonely is on a mission to make 100% slave-free chocolate the norm. You only need to look at its Sweet Solutions campaign to see this effort in practice. This latest development is expected to help the business produce even greater quantities and varieties of chocolate bars in the years ahead.
The company's use of strategic partner Barry Callebaut as its cocoa supplier looks to continue unaffected by the acquisition.
Interestingly, the brand suggests this acquisition is an important milestone for its Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus project, which was shelved at the start of the global Coronavirus pandemic. This latest development suggests the chocolate factory-cum-tourist attraction on the border of Zaanstad and Amsterdam is back on the cards.
The process of integrating these manufacturing facilities into the Tony's Chocolonely supply chain will likely be slow, with Tony’s admitting it might take a couple of years to ensure a smooth transition.
How do you see Tony's Chocolonely best utilising its own in-house manufacturing facility? Let me know in the comments below.