Tony’s Chocolonely, the impact company on a mission to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate, today announced its acquisition of Althaea NV and De Laet International NV, forming the chocolate factory Althaea-De Laet Int.
The family-run business has been Tony’s long-term partner and chocolate factory of the first hour. The acquisition marks a strategic milestone for Tony’s growth plans: by operating its own factory to mold its unique chocolate bars, Tony’s will be able to innovate faster and be more flexible on production level while scaling up its manufacturing capacity. Tony’s will continue to collaborate with its other long-term partners to meet its ever-growing demand in bars. The acquisition also marks an important step to pursuing the company’s dream of Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus, a factory on the border of Zaanstad and Amsterdam, which will be realised in the years to come.
“We’re thrilled to announce this acquisition. It’s an exciting next step for Tony’s Chocolonely as a fast-growing impact company that wants to change a whole industry from within and make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate. Ingrid, Alain and the team at Althaea-De Laet Int. have been our partners from the very beginning, supporting our mission even though it might have seemed next-level ambitious at times – and some of our ideas like creating an unequally divided chocolate bar were a little bit crazy at the very least. We’re very grateful for this opportunity and the trust they have in Tony’s to honour and safeguard the future of this company that has been built with so much love,” said Anne-Wil Dijkstra, Choco Co-Captain (COO) at Tony’s Chocolonely.
De Laet Int. was founded in 1960 by the De Laet family and has remained a family business ever since. In 1987, Althaea joined, taking on responsibility for the commercial development. Driven by a passion for chocolate, the Belgian manufacturer has come a long way from its beginnings as a small and exclusive artisanal company, specialising in liqueur pralines, to the chocolate factory it is today, moulding bars and tablets for Tony’s and other chocolate makers. Tony’s was introduced to Althaea-De Laet Int. through Barry Callebaut in 2004, tapping into their extensive experience with Fairtrade chocolate to produce the first alarming red Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bar.
“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. And 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,” commented Ingrid Bryssinck, Managing Director at Althaea-De Laet Int.
Tony’s will collaborate closely with the factory’s management team to ensure a smooth transition in the next couple of years. “We first need to understand how to walk before we can start running,” explained Dijkstra regarding Tony’s approach to picking up the reins.
“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 mould the tastiest chocolate and efficiently operate a production facility. 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.”
Image credit: Tony’s Chocolonely
To stay up to date on the latest, trends, innovations, people news and company updates within the global confectionery market please register to receive our newsletter here
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922