Our history

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    Starting out

    CEMOI dates back to the beginning of the 19th century ! Created and headed by strong-willed leaders, the company’s destiny was already in good hands and remains so today.

    1814 : Creation

    Chocolate maker Jules Pares builds the first chocolate factory in France in the Pyrenées Orientales. The CEMOI Group is born.

    1872 : 1st industrial steps

    Construction of a larger plant in Arles sur Tech for the first industrial-scale production.

    1887 : A new name

    December 30th the company changes name, using the two directors’ names : Joseph Cantaloup and Emile Catala.

    1892 : Innovation

    The Cantalou factory is one of the first to use electricity.

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    A will to survive

    The beginning of the 20th century is marked by several incidents that could have been fatal to the company, but due to their tremendous drive and will to overcome all setbacks, CEMOI continues to grow and develop !

    1913 : A successor is found

    Joseph Cantaloup’s son, Leon takes over the running of the company. He invests in modern material reaching the production capacity of 2 Tons per day.

    1927 : Fire, but record production

    The factory in Arles sur Tech is destroyed by a fire. Leon Cantaloup builds a new one, bigger than the last, achieving an impressive 8 ton daily production in 1939 !

    1940 : CEMOI’s fate persists

    A new disaster; massive flooding destroys the factory.

    1941 - 1946 : The International Market

    A new factory is built on the site of Orles, with the advantage of rail access. The ultra modern construction is finally completed after the war. Cantaloup – Catala employs 150 personnel with a daily 12 Ton production capacity; distributing throughout the south of France, but also to North Africa, England and Germany.

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    Large-scale development

    Thanks to the “Thirty Glorious” period (Post war period of prosperity in France) and consumer society development, the company commences acquisition of other chocolate factories and develops its international presence.

    1967 : The 1st chocolate bars

    The start of a new era. Cantalou specialises in the chocolate bar and makes important industrial investments with the aim to supply the supermarket chains.

    1977 : The European conquest

    Cantalou purchases Frankonia in Wurzburg, Germany.

    1979 : Phoscao and Olle

    The Cantalou Group buys the Phoscao brand ; the leading French manufacturer of cocoa powder, located in Chateauneuf-sur-Loire.
    After Germany, the Cantalou Group expands into Spain with the acquisition of the Olle chocolate factory in Vallirana (Barcelona area).

    1981 : New acquisitions

    Takeover of 3 brands : CEMOI, Aiguebelle and Pupier and the construction of a new factory in Sorbiers (Loire).

    1982 : Top quality chocolate

    Acquisition of the chocolate factory Abbaye de Tinchebray (Orne) specialised in the manufacture of top quality chocolate. Construction of the new FRANKONIA factory in Germany.

    1983 : Take over and merger

    Acquisition of the Chocolate factory SUISSE NORMANDE in PARIS that merges with TINCHEBRAY.

    1984 : Spain

    New acquisitions in Spain : the ELGORRIAGA Company that owns a chocolate factory in IRUN and a biscuit factory in AVILA.

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    Time for diversification

    The strength of great companies lies in the clear headedness and reactivity of their leaders. Along with the Group’s international implantation strategy, CEMOI expands their field of activity ; seducing new consumers.

    1986 : Quadro

    A new product is launched : Quadro, a praline-filled wafer biscuit.

    1987 : Liquor-filled chocolate

    Acquisition of COPPELIA based in CHAMBERY ; French leader in the liquor-filled chocolate market.

    1988 : A strategic position in chocolate confectionary

    Acquisition of DOLIS chocolate and their confectionery production units in SAINT FLORENTIN and BOURBOURG consolidating the Group’s position on the chocolate confectionary market.

    1989 : CEMOI The best

    The recent growth in the European chocolate market and the lack of French brands controlled by French producers encourages the group to invest further in the CEMOI brand with a totally new communication strategy, making CEMOI the main group brand.

    1990 : The “sugared almond”

    Acquisition of the FOULLON Company, the leading French “sugared almond” manufacturer with brands Foullon and Festy.

    1991 : Wales

    UK own-brand wafer leader; OP Chocolate based in Cardiff joins the Group.

    1993 : Three new plants

    Acquisition of CHEVAL BLANC, composed of 3 production units in France: Begles (33), Carpentras (84), and La Tour du Pin (38).

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    Sustainable development

    As a modern company and aware of today’s imperatives, CEMOI is committed to a responsible growth policy ; improving our quality system, implanting an ultra-modern plant in Ivory Coast and launching an organic chocolate brand. 

    1994 : Certification

    ISO 9002 certification for the Perpignan factory late 1993 is the reward and result of our know how and high standards of quality.

    1996 : A factory in Ivory Coast

    In order to improve control of raw materials, the group invests in the construction of a modern cocoa bean grinding unit in Ivory Coast, operational as of October 1997.

    1999 : Organic chocolate

    The CEMOI organic fair trade chocolate range is launched.
    Extension of the Abidjan factory in Ivory Coast.

    2003 : The chocolate-coated marshmallow bear

    Acquisition of the Bouquet d’Or factory in Villeneuve d’Ascq, specialist in praline and the famous marshmallow bear.
    This production unit improves CEMOI’s presence on the seasonal market.

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    Structured development

    Whilst continuing extension and diversification policies, the Group continues restructuring and re-organisation with a new plant in the south of France. 

    2005 : Two divisions

    The group is re-organised into two divisions:
    Chocolate : Patrick POIRRIER becomes president of the CEMOI group, based in Perpignan.
    Confectionary : Michel POIRRIER creates SUCRALLIANCE, a subsidiary company concentrating on sugar confectionary, based in Chambéry.

    2007 : Poland

    Take-over of GRYF in Poland specialised in bean grinding and industrial products.
    Creation of Moreuil Distribution, with warehouses in Arras and Macon.
    Acquisition of Jacquot in Troyes, France ; a group composed of 4 plants and 600 employees, a specialist in hollow chocolate figures and chocolate confectionary.

    2008 : The new factory

    Construction of the new Cantalou factory on the Torremila site on the outskirts of Perpignan. Production commenced 1st December 2008.

    2012 : International development

    Opening of one sales office in New-York (USA) and one sales office in Saint-Petersburg (Russia).
    Our latest launch : a range of cocoa powders and chocolate spreads for the West African market.

    2014 : Development of the Western Africa market

    Launch of a complete range of products on the Western Africa market