ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — A little over a month ago, Barry Callebaut, a global manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products, announced the acquisition of GKC Foods (Australia) Pty. Ltd., a producer of chocolate, coatings and fillings, that serves many consumer chocolate brands in Australia and New Zealand.

On July 1, Barry Callebaut revealed that the acquisition has officially closed and integration will start as of now.

“We are happy to welcome the team of GKC Foods to the Barry Callebaut family,” said Ben De Schryver, president of Barry Callebaut in Asia Pacific. “The heritage and local knowledge GKC Foods has built since the 1980s, combined with the expertise, the state of the art manufacturing processes and the capabilities of an undisputed leader in chocolate and cocoa innovation will bring further excellence to the Australia and New Zealand markets. We strongly believe in the growth opportunities in these still largely captive markets.”

Zurich-based Barry Callebaut said the acquisition of GKC will give it an established presence and manufacturing capacity in the growing Australian market, while also allowing the company to expand its position in the industrial chocolate market and leverage its value-adding Gourmet & Specialties business. The company said it will continue to work with local distributors in the region who have been importing and distributing its industrial and gourmet chocolate and cocoa products to the country since the 1970s.

Australia and New Zealand have an average chocolate consumption of approximately 5 kg per capita, the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in Asia Pacific, according to Euromonitor. In Australia, demand for chocolate has been on the rise — the chocolate confectionery market in the country grew well above the global market, according to Nielsen.