Christmas is the time when many investors try not to necessarily want to build up one thing in their own "body depot" - "waist gold".

This is often difficult, because the last weeks of the year are traditionally a very chocolate-heavy season alongside Easter.

However, those who are present as shareholders with the big names in the industry will be happy about every gram of their fellow human beings.

For example, whenever the subject of chocolate is discussed on the stock exchange, investors very quickly come across Barry Callebaut.

The name should be almost unknown to consumers, but the products of the Swiss group are not.

Barry Callebaut is in one in four cocoa and chocolate products consumed around the world.

Customers are “who is who”

The group is involved from the sourcing and processing of the cocoa beans to the production of the finest chocolates, including fillings, decorations and chocolate mixes.

The more than 60 production sites are spread all over the world in 40 countries.

Customers include the "who's who" of industrial food manufacturers as well as commercial and professional users such as chocolatiers, confectioners, bakers, hotels, restaurants and catering companies.

In recent years, COVID-19 has also had a negative impact on the catering and chocolate industry, so that the Swiss business has also suffered as a result.

Most recently, however, this had recovered in the course of the reopening of the economy.

Solid balance sheet and convincing outlook

Barry Callebaut presented strong results for the 2021/22 financial year, which ended at the end of August, confirming the company's medium-term targets.

Sales volumes increased by 5.3 percent to around 2.3 million tons.

Particularly pleasing: The chocolate business recorded strong volume growth of plus 5.9 percent and thus clearly outperformed the global chocolate market, which stagnated in the reporting period (plus 0.3 percent).

Sales climbed 12.3 percent year-on-year to 8.1 billion Swiss francs.

Adjusted for currency effects, the plus was even 14.6 percent.

There were also successes on the earnings side, although the company had to temporarily halt production at a Belgian manufacturing facility this summer due to a finding of salmonella.

Adjusted for one-off effects, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by 13.5 percent to CHF 624.7 million.

With these results, management sees itself well on the way to achieving its medium-term goals.

In the three years between 2020/21 and 2022/23, volume growth of 5 to 7 percent is planned.

Currency-adjusted EBIT should be stronger than the increase in volume.

Mix of tradition and innovation

To continue celebrating such business successes in the future, Barry Callebaut often places itself at the forefront of industry innovations.

According to Barry Callebaut, the current industry average for milk chocolate is 30 to 40 percent cocoa, while this percentage is around 45 to 50 percent for dark chocolate.

It also contains 6 to 9 other ingredients.

In October of this year, the concern announced something like the second generation of chocolate.

And this after the company had introduced a fourth type of chocolate a few years ago with the “Ruby” chocolate, alongside dark, white and milk chocolate.

In the chocolate production process now presented - the Cocoa Cultivation & Craft principle (CCC) - the special qualities of each cocoa bean should be recognizable and the nuances of the taste should be worked out even better.

According to Barry Callebaut, the recipe for the second generation of chocolate should be as pure as possible and contain 60 to 80 percent more cocoa.

Dark chocolate should only consist of two ingredients: cocoa and sugar, while milk chocolate should be made from cocoa, milk and sugar.

In addition to a more natural taste, the group is primarily aiming for less sugar, as in recent years many consumers have paid much more attention to sustainability aspects in nutrition and are trying to reduce sugar consumption.

In this way, all kinds of sweet delicacies can be enjoyed at Christmas with a much clearer conscience.

In the end, of course, the whole emotion surrounding the product chocolate is secondary for an investor – what counts is the investment.

But even that tastes good to the long-standing shareholders of Barry Callebaut, at least those who rely long enough on the chocolate desire of "the others".

An investment of 10,000 euros ten years ago has turned into more than 26,000 euros to date.

The shares are currently having to fight on the part of the chart technology in order to get back into the long-term upward trend.

The past two years have been a somewhat difficult time for Barry Callebaut's yield-starved investors.

Nevertheless, over a ten-year period, the price has increased by more than 10 percent annually on average.

So every Barry Callebaut shareholder is happy about one or the other plastered chocolate Santa Claus or Father Christmas.

Hip gold or not...