Frequently asked questions - FAQ

This section lists questions and answers addressing various information about the Barry Callebaut Group, chocolate and cocoa products, as well as related topics to our business and the industry we are in.

Barry Callebaut FAQ - Food issues

Food issues

Does Barry Callebaut use vegetable fats for the production of chocolate?

EU Directive 2000/36/EC of June 23, 2000, authorizes the addition of a maximum of 5% vegetable fat other than cocoa butter to chocolate. This EU Directive entered into force in August 2003. 

With regard to this directive Barry Callebaut adopted the following policy:

  • We forgo the addition of vegetable fat other than cocoa butter to all products for artisanal users that we manufacture under our own brands - such as Callebaut, Cacao Barry or Carma.
  • The customer-specific recipes made for our industrial customers are formulated in such a way that the products satisfy their needs as well as the tastes of their consumers. Upon request we will add vegetable fat other than cocoa butter to these customer specific recipes.

Does the 'K' on the wrapper of certain Barry Callebaut products stand for kosher?

Yes. Barry Callebaut was the first multinational company to be granted a Global Kosher Certificate. Products designated as kosher meet the dietary or ceremonial laws of Judaism. Many people buy kosher chocolates because of their guaranteed quality and pure ingredients. 

As early as the 1970s, Callebaut started producing kosher chocolate. The expertise gathered over the years has been shared with Barry Callebaut production sites all over the world.

How does Barry Callebaut comply with the EU Directive on GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Labeling that came into force in April 2004?

GMO labeling is not required for our products manufactured in Europe and Switzerland under the above-mentioned legislation. Barry Callebaut certifies that all raw materials used are either from:

  • A non-GM source
  • Fully comply with the European Regulations regarding this subject: EC/1829/2003 and EC/1830/2003 (applicable from 19/04/2004 onwards) regarding the marketing and labeling of GMO product
  • Fully comply with the Swiss legislation, in particular in Ordinance LMV 1995, art. 15 and 22b.

What is 'organic' chocolate?

To qualify as organic, foodstuffs must be produced with natural methods. Natural farming relies on crop rotation and manure fertilization to maintain soil health and productive capacity. All synthetic and toxic pesticides are replaced by natural approved products. 

Foodstuffs may be labeled organic if at least 95% of their ingredients have been grown organically. All cocoa, sugar and dairy components in Barry Callebaut's organic chocolate are obtained from organic farmers. The end products are even wrapped in natural materials, not synthetic ones such as PVC. An increasing number of health-conscious consumers are choosing to buy organic chocolate. Organic crops are usually less abundant than conventional ones and they require extra care in all stages of processing. That is why organic chocolate - like most other organic products - is more expensive than its conventional counterpart.

What is Barry Callebaut's position on genetically modified foods? Does Barry Callebaut use genetically modified raw materials?

Barry Callebaut aims to ensure that, in all countries where labelling of GMO products is legally required (e.g. China, EU, Switzerland), the ingredients used in the manufacture of its products do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMO), are not produced from GMO, and do not require a GMO labeling mention in the ingredient list.

Soya lecithin is a key ingredient in Barry Callebaut products from the GMO point of view. Soya lecithin suppliers must ensure traceability and identity preservation from the soya bean to the lecithin delivered to Barry Callebaut sites in these countries.

In other countries of the world where labelling of GMO products is not required, raw materials used in the production of the Barry Callebaut products can contain genetically modified organisms or can be produced from GMO. However, on request of our customers, Barry Callebaut can provide products produced with raw materials not containing or produced from genetically modified organisms. 

Procedures are developed for the control of raw materials, documentation control, traceability and labeling. This policy applies to all raw material used in the manufacture of Barry Callebaut products produced worldwide. 

What is Fairtrade chocolate?

The Fairtrade label was introduced in the 1980s in response to coffee growing practices. The fairtrade system was set up to protect small farmer co-operatives against powerful multinationals that put severe pressure on the market to keep the price of coffee low. European consumers reasoned that by buying underpriced coffee they were shortchanging farmers in underdeveloped countries. 

By the end of the 1980s the fairtrade system was extended to the cocoa trade. The names of small co-operatives that agreed to produce cocoa in an ecologically sound manner were registered. Cocoa producers and chocolate manufacturers who want to market fairtrade chocolate must buy their raw materials from registered cocoa planters at a fair price. Barry Callebaut actively supports the fairtrade initiative. We include fairtrade chocolate in our product range.

Barry Callebaut FAQ - Food Safety

Food safety

Are you able to trace the exact cause if something goes wrong with one of your products?

At Barry Callebaut we systematically keep track of all incoming goods. Raw materials, semi-finished articles and end products can be traced at all times. We can guarantee top-down traceability as well as bottom-up traceability.

  • Top-down traceability: we can trace back all the raw materials that were used to make a given end product to their individual lot number, supplier or arrival date.
  • Bottom-up traceability: for each batch of raw material, we can trace all the end products that were made out of it. We can even identify the customers to whom these products were supplied.

Do you have an allergen policy? What does it cover? Does it include intolerants?

Barry Callebaut implemented an allergen policy in 2000. This policy aims at identifying, banning where possible and labelling all allergens as defined by the Codex Alimentarius and EU allergens list, in all the ingredients and products sold worldwide. These lists also comprise intolerants like lactose and gluten.

How do I know that the product I buy is safe for me if I have allergies?

We label products as follows:

  • If one or more allergens are present as ingredients or via an ingredient, they will be clearly labelled in the ingredient list.
  • If the risk of presence of one or more allergens due to cross-contact on a production line exists, products are labelled with the wording "may contain ..." in the same field as the ingredients list.
  • If the "may contain ..." wording is not present, this means that no other allergens than those mentioned in the ingredients list are present.

How do you ensure the safety of your products?

We ensure the safety of our products in many ways. We have adopted the principles of Total Quality Management and have implemented ISO 9001 in most of our plants. We apply Good Manufacturing Practices. We have implemented the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. We also ensure traceability of all incoming goods, raw materials, semi-finished articles and end products.

What hygiene practices are followed in your production facilities?

Barry Callebaut has adopted the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) defined by the U.S. government in 1970. These include the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. This system identifies and defines the risks or hazards that may occur, as well as the preventive measures that need to be taken in order to ensure food safety. We apply HACCP to all steps of our production process, from the processing of raw materials to the manufacture of the consumer product. The system applies to (micro) biological risks causing food spoilage or illness, physical risks caused by foreign matter such as glass, metal and wood or chemical risks from toxins and pesticides. We adopted a separate fourth category that addresses allergens. Allergens are substances that trigger immune system reactions in the human body. 

A Critical Control Point (CCP) is a step or procedure in the production process when control and correction can be implemented. An example of a CCP is the sterilization or roasting of cocoa nibs. If this process is done correctly, most microorganisms are killed. If the temperature is too low or if the processing time is too short, too many microorganisms may remain in the product, making it unsafe for consumption. Compliance with all CCPs in a production process ensures the production of a safe product. 

Examples of hygiene practices at Barry Callebaut: 

  • Production workers and cleaners always wear clean clothes.
  • Hairnets must be worn when entering production areas.
  • Training in personal hygiene is conducted for all staff, including contractor staff.
  • Thorough cleaning of production areas.
  • Each production line is dismantled annually for thorough cleaning and preventive disinfection.
  • General anti-vermin treatment.
  • Limited number of access points to manufacturing area with compulsory disinfection of hands.
  • Wrist-watches, rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets may not be worn in production areas.
  • No smoking allowed except in a limited number of designated areas.
Barry Callebaut FAQ - Corporate Responsibility


What does Barry Callebaut do to ensure it conducts business in an ethical manner?

At Barry Callebaut, we are committed to maintaining or exceeding our ethical standards in every area of operations. Our Code of Conduct underscores this commitment. 
Our company values – customer focus, passion, entrepreneurship, team spirit and integrity –are the foundation of our Code of Conduct. They reflect how we strive to interact with colleagues, external business partners and all our stakeholders. We believe that business should be done responsibly, and that achieving profitable growth and contributing to sustainable economic and social development go hand in hand.

We expect all employees to behave in ways that demonstrate our company values and to show social responsibility and good citizenship in business dealings. The principles and guidelines for behavior are set forth in our Code of Conduct and complemented by local laws and regulations.
We view “social responsibility” in a broad sense. We believe we have a responsibility to all our stakeholders – shareholders, customers, consumers, suppliers, employees and the communities where we operate – and an obligation to consider their respective expectations. 

As a food manufacturer, Barry Callebaut has a fundamental responsibility to ensure the safety and quality of its products. We source our raw materials, goods and services from a large number of suppliers around the world. We select our supply chain partners carefully. With operations in more than 20 countries, we recognize that our businesses have an influence on the livelihoods of many people around the world. Accordingly, we take the environmental and social impact of our business operations into consideration and strive to contribute responsibly to the communities where we operate. 

We pay particular attention to conditions in countries of origin and in countries that lack a welfare structure. We regard activities that help to empower cocoa farmers, for example, to be an important factor in ensuring a sustainable cocoa industry and facilitating the economic growth of origin countries.

We support and respect the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We strongly condemn slavery and abusive labor practices including any form of child slavery or practices that exploit children or expose them to harmful or hazardous conditions. We are fully committed to playing our part in industry actions towards abolishing the worst forms of labor (please see Industry Protocol). No such practices have been reported within the Barry Callebaut Group or will be tolerated.

What is Barry Callebaut’s position on child labor, forced labor and child trafficking?

While it is not unusual for children in agrarian states to help their parents out on the farm, Barry Callebaut strongly condemns forced labor, child slavery and all practices that exploit children or expose them to harmful or hazardous conditions.  

The problem of child labor in West Africa is a complex issue. Many children work because their survival and that of their families depend on it. Child labor is an indicator of poverty and a low level of rural development. We firmly believe that improving cocoa farmer livelihoods is imperative in the fight against poverty because poverty is the main reason why farmers resort to abusive labor practices. Barry Callebaut has thus been actively engaged in programs for a better livelihood for cocoa farmers and the elimination of abusive child labor practices in the cocoa-growing countries of West Africa for many years.

We are present in a number of cocoa growing countries. In all our sites we strictly adhere to local laws regarding minimum age and other terms of employment. The minimum age for employment at Barry Callebaut is in accordance with the ILO Convention or the age specified by local legislation if higher.

What is considered 'abusive child labor'?

The International Labor Organization defines the following work in the cocoa sector as inacceptable for children: (ILO Convention 182)

  • Carrying heavy loads.
  • Inappropriate use of machetes.
  • (Unprotected) presence when pesticides are applied.

How important is the cocoa sector in West Africa?

Cocoa is a typical product of the tropics: it only grows in a narrow band around the equator. About two-thirds of the more than 3.5 million metric tons of cocoa harvested every year comes from West Africa, mainly Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

In West Africa, 90% of cocoa is grown on about two million small family farms. Most of these farms are about 2 hectares or less in size. It is estimated that at least 16 million people in West Africa depend on cocoa as a source of income. 

With a share of about 35% to the world cocoa harvest, cocoa is a significant economic factor in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 700,000 and one million farmers grow cocoa, most of whom are smallholder farmers working their own land.

Why does Barry Callebaut choose to operate in Côte d’Ivoire?

Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producing country.

Barry Callebaut has been present in Côte d’Ivoire since 1964. For several decades after its independence in 1960, Côte d’Ivoire experienced political stability and economic growth. This stability was shaken in 1999 after a military coup. The outbreak of civil war in 2002 divided Côte d’Ivoire in two. A peace treaty was negotiated in 2007. The years of political tension have had a major social and economic impact, and Côte d’Ivoire is among the poorest countries in the world.

Rather than withdrawing from Côte d’Ivoire country in view of its complex situation, thereby punishing many farmers who adhere to appropriate labor practices, we decided to pursue a different avenue: We are maintaining an active presence in the region as we are convinced that the most effective way of changing the world of cocoa farmers in West Africa for the better is through a local presence and concrete programs.

What is certification?

Consumers increasingly demand assurance from food manufacturers that their products have been produced in a responsible and sustainable manner. This is why interest in certification or labelling schemes has been growing.

Some of the certification schemes and labels available for cocoa and chocolate include:

With almost 20 years of experience in certified cocoa and chocolate, Barry Callebaut began with certification programs long before present-day interest appeared and is now a leading global supplier of certified products for the food industry. Because of its extensive presence in origin countries, Barry Callebaut sources and supplies more than 100 product references of certified chocolates and cocoa powder and has projects with all of the main certification programs. These programs include developments for Fairtrade, Organic / Fairtrade, UTZ certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ products. Barry Callebaut further offers “Fair for Life” certified products through its subsidiary Biolands.

While there is some similarity or overlap with respect to the requirements among the certification schemes listed here, each usually has a distinct area of emphasis and primary focus. What the schemes have in common is independent, third-party validation that certain conditions, as specified by the respective scheme, are being met in the growing, production and/or manufacturing of ingredients or products, including the segregation of the ingredients or products.

With the exception of Organic, all the above-named certification schemes address child labor issues and clearly state that the child labor-related requirements must be complied with in order to get the certification. However, 100% assurance cannot be guaranteed. 

Do any certification scheme guarantee 'child labor-free' cocoa or chocolate?

No. While third-party certification inspectors will check if certain labor standards and working practices are being followed on select farms and report what is observed at a given time, they do not make declarations such as "child labor-free" with respect to the beans. It is virtually impossible for a third-party to provide a 100% guarantee that no child labor was used in the harvesting, fermentation or drying of a sack of cocoa beans. Further, it is important to distinguish between children helping out on the family farm, as is part of the rural agricultural tradition in cocoa producing countries, and inappropriate or dangerous work for children, work that prevents children from going to school, and any kind of forced labor or trafficking.

Furthermore, we should recognize that certified cocoa and chocolate products are a niche market making up 3-4% of global chocolate sales. Therefore, we must concentrate our efforts on making sure that the mass cocoa and chocolate market is also based on increased sustainability.

Barry Callebaut FAQ - Jobs and Training

Jobs and training

How can I apply for open positions?

Please visit our job openings section and apply via the suggested link.

I am interested to work at Barry Callebaut. In which functional areas can I work in?

Please visit our professionals section. We have many interesting business units.

How will I know if I am selected to participate in the interview process?

If your experience and qualifications match, then you will be contacted by a recruiter from the HR organisation. The interview process and next steps will then be explained.

Where is Barry Callebaut located and in which geographic regions can I apply?

Barry Callebaut has more than 10,000 employees in over 30 countries and more than 50 production facilities across the globe. Visit our locations page for more information.

What training and development opportunities do you offer?

We place great emphasis on the training and development of our employees at all levels. Training focuses on individual needs (such as job-related and specialized training) as well as on collective needs (such as leadership and time-management). We provide training modules for managers and for young high potential employees throughout the Group. These are part of a succession-planning program. We also provide technical training on specific issues to a large number of employees and intensive training for production operators.

The Barry Callebaut philosophy is to recruit young employees with great abilities and excellent education but limited work experience. During their integration process in the company, new employees are coached by experienced colleagues who accompany them through the early years of their professional lives.

Barry Callebaut has gathered a wealth of knowledge and know-how that we are proud to share with our customers at our CHOCOLATE ACADEMY™ centers worldwide.


Barry Callebaut FAQ - Quality and Environment

Quality and environment

What does Barry Callebaut do to protect the environment?

We share one planet and need to make wise use of natural resources. Processing cocoa and making chocolate are energy-intensive activities, and transportation requirements are significant. As a responsible company, we want to contribute our part to reduce our impact on the environment.
Our Global Environmental Policy, launched in June 2008, focuses on managing the use of energy and reducing carbon emissions. Further, we are looking at ways to improve utilization of lighting, water and other resources at our facilities worldwide. Beyond complying with all relevant laws, rules and regulations in the countries where we operate, we continuously work to improve the energy performance in every plant. We create awareness and promote the active involvement and accountability of employees in our environmental footprint. We are investing in more energy-efficient equipment for chocolate production and, where possible, we are modifying our processes to become cleaner in energy.
In fiscal year 2008/09, we set a 5-year target to reduce our overall energy consumption in our factories and facilities by 20% per metric ton output, reduce our carbon emissions by 20% per metric ton output, and increase our use of "green" energy by 20%. We also set goals to optimize the use of raw materials to reduce waste. In fiscal year 2010/11, we initiated additional energy management activities in all regions, and we are on track to achieve the targets as planned in 2014.

Barry Callebaut FAQ - Strategy and Financials

Strategy and financials

How do you succeed in growing faster than the market average?

Over the last ten years, we managed to outpace the market and deliver solid, profitable growth. We achieve this based on our three key growth drivers:

  • Outsourcing & Partnerships
  • Emerging markets and
  • Gourmet & Specialties.

What is Barry Callebaut's strategy?

Barry Callebaut is the heart and engine of the chocolate and cocoa industry. As the chocolate and cocoa expert, Barry Callebaut is the worldwide business partner of choice for the food industry, whether it be industrial food manufacturers or artisanal and professionals users of our products. Barry Callebaut masters every step in the cocoa and chocolate value chain - from the cocoa bean to the finest chocolate, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds.

An in-depth description of Barry Callebaut's strategy can be found on the relevant page in the About us section.

What is the 'combined cocoa ratio'?

The “combined cocoa ratio” is the combined sales price for cocoa butter and cocoa powder relative to the cocoa bean price. The formula is:

    price of cocoa butter   price of cocoa powder
combined cocoa ratio  =    +   
    price of cocoa beans   price of cocoa beans

For cocoa processors, profitability depends on the ratio between input costs (price of cocoa beans) and output prices (price of cocoa butter and powder).

A simple example shows the interaction between the different variables: The price for cocoa beans goes up (driven by higher demand (while supply level remains constant), speculation and/or bad harvests), but the price of cocoa powder goes up less as a result of economic recession - as a consequence, the combined ratio will fall.

Do higher raw material prices impact your profitability?

For about 80% of our volume, we apply a so-called “cost-plus” business model, which means that we pass on the raw material costs to our customers. Therefore, the impact of raw material price fluctuations on our profitability is limited.

What is Barry Callebaut's fiscal year?

Barry Callebaut’s fiscal year runs from September 1 to August 31

Annual Report 2016/17


How do I buy and sell shares?

The Barry Callebaut shares are traded at SIX Swiss Exchange since 1998.
The symbol of Barry Callebaut AG is: 
- SIX Swiss Exchange BARN.S   ISIN CH0009002962

Purchase and sell orders should be given to your bank or stockbroker. The shares are usually deposited with your bank or they may also be taken into custody by SIX SIS Ltd.
The contact details for the Barry Callebaut share register are:
ShareCommService AG
Share register Barry Callebaut
Attn: Karin Wagner
P.O. Box  8021  Switzerland
Tel: +044/809 58 52

 How can I find the share price?

It is published on this page. It is also published in most Swiss and many international newspapers.

What is the registered share capital?

The share capital of Barry Callebaut AG as of August 31, 2017 amounted to CHF 40,013,775

The number of registered shares amounts to 5'488'858  with a nominal value of CHF 7.29 each.

How can I check my shareholding?

If your shares are deposited with a bank, you will receive a statement at the end of the year or you can check your holding at any time by contacting your adviser at the bank or your stockbroker.

May I vote by proxy at the General Meeting?

If you do not wish to attend the General Meeting in person, you can be represented by

  • Barry Callebaut AG.
  • the independent proxy
  • another shareholder registered with voting rights
  • by a third party.

 How many shareholders are there in Barry Callebaut and where are they located?

On October 31, 2017  the share register showed 7,526 registered shareholders. The following shareholders hold an interest of more than 3% of the issued share capital:
  • Jacobs Holding AG, Zurich, Switzerland: 50.1%
  • Renata Jacobs: 8.50%
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company: 3.65%

As of November 3, 2015, the majority of shareholders were located in Switzerland (83%) including the Jacobs Holding, followed by the United States (9.7%) and the United Kingdwom (2.9%).

 What is a Barry Callebaut Treasury Share ?

A Barry Callebaut Treasury Share is a share of Barry Callebaut AG owned by Barry Callebaut AG or its subsidiaries.

According to Swiss company law, a corporation is entitled to acquire its own shares only if its unrestricted capital surplus is at least equal to the amount of funds necessary for the acquisition and the aggregate par value of these shares does not exceed 10 percent of the capital stock.

When was Barry Callebaut first publicly traded?

Barry Callebaut was first quoted in the Swiss Stock Exchange on June 15, 1998

Barry Callebaut FAQ - Dividends


What is Barry Callebaut’s dividend policy?

Barry Callebaut aims to pay an annual cash dividend that is appropriate, in due consideration of the performance and financial condition of the Group, its requirements for investment and its future prospects. It is an integral part of our commitment to manage our capital structure actively for the benefit of the Company and its shareholders.

When is the Barry Callebaut dividend paid?

Dividends are paid once a year, usually at the beginning of March. This pay-out pattern has been established following a number of capital repayments via reduction of the nominal value of the Barry Callebaut share. This procedure requires a mandatory call to creditors with a notice period of 2 months and other statutory proceedings, which is why the pay-out cannot be executed immediately following the General Meeting of Shareholders. Even though it is proposed to the AGM 2017 to pay-out the next dividend only party via nominal value reduction, Barry Callebaut wishes to adhere to the established pay-out pattern. The next dividend, after approval at the AGM will be paid on March 2, 2018.

What is the ex-date?

The ex-date is the first exchange day on which the shares are traded ex-dividend, i.e. without the right to the next dividend.  Usually, but not necessarily, the opening price is the last closing price less the dividend amount.  Therefore the last trading day, on which the shares could be bought with the right to receive the next dividend will be Monday, February 28, 2018.

What is the record date?

It is the last day on which new shareholders are recorded with dividend rights. This date is given by the respective stock exchange rules. The next record date is March 1, 2018.

What will be the amount of the next dividend?

The Board of Directors will propose a payout to shareholders of CHF 20.00 per share at the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on December 13, 2017, an increase of +29% versus prior year. This represents a ratio of 36.3% of the net profit (38.5% on the recurring net profit). The proposal foresees that the payout will be effected partly in the form of a capital repayment by way of par value reduction (CHF 7.27 per share) and partly through a cash dividend (CHF 12.73 per share). 

Why is there a pay-out from reserves from capital contributions?

Because the pay-out from reserves from capital contributions is not subject to any withholding tax and is also – for individual persons with tax domicile in Switzerland who hold the shares as part of their private assets – not subject to income tax.