Our history

Strengthened by our history, we are committed to developing a culture of excellence at every stage of our chocolate making process. We are of the firm belief that each individual should be entitled to the best chocolate in accordance with his or her taste.

Building the chocolate factory and transmission of know-how

1814

The chocolate factory is built

It was one of the first chocolate factories in France. Louis Parès had it built in Arles-sur-Tech, in the Pyrénées Orientales.

1887

Cantaloup-Catala

The Parès family business takes on the name of Louis’s two sons-in-law when they inherit it: Joseph Cantaloup and Emile Catala.

1892

The chocolate factory expands

The factory grows and the owners decide to modernize it by generating their own electricity with the installation of hydraulic systems.

1940

Settling in Perpignan

The factory which was located on the banks of a river was carried off by majors floods, but Joseph Cantaloup’s son, Léon, who succeeded him as head of the company, is not thrown off by this event and builds a new factory in Perpignan, the site of today’s head offices. Construction is completed in 1942.

After the war the company was already employing more than 150 men and women.

Development of the chocolate-making group

1962

Take over by Georges Poirrier

Georges Poirrier visits the factory and it is love at first sight.

He decides to purchase the company to continue the family’s know-how.

Production for distributor brands

A true visionary in his time, Georges Poirrier is convinced of the strategic importance of large-scale distribution in France and Europe. He therefore decides to develop lines for supermarkets’ own store brands.

Within 10 years the company becomes the leading French manufacturer of chocolate bars.

1970

The group grows via acquisition

From 1970 the group acquires several chocolate factories in France, Germany (Frankonia) and Spain (Olle) to further develop its know-how.

Integration of the network

Very early on Georges Poirrier and his teams visit the plantations in the producing countries and in particular the Ivory Coast, to select the best beans.

1980

The group becomes CÉMOI

The CÉMOI brand becomes part of the group.

CÉMOI was founded in Grenoble in 1919 by Félix Cartier-Million, also founder of the renowned brand Lustucru, another genius visionary from the beginning of the century.

Georges and Jean-Caude Poirrier decide to rename the group; CÉMOI due to the notoriety of the brand in France.

Jean-Claude Poirrier  president of the Groupe

In 1989, Jean-Claude succeeds his father and pursues his strategy of growth via acquisition.

1990

Strengthening our know-how

Between 1989 and 2005, six new chcoolate factories join our group, strengthening our expertise.

The first factory in Ivory Coast

Our constant search for improving the quality of our entire chocolate creation chain led to the inauguration of our cocoa bean processing plant in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast in 1966.

Launching of organic and fair trade chocolate

Ahead of our time, as always, our team launches the first line of organic and fair trade chocolate bars.

Integration of new areas of expertise

2000

The little marshmallow teddy bear

With the takeover of the Bouquet d’Or chocolate factory in Villeneuve d’Ascq in 2003, the famous Petit Ourson Guimauve joined our group. The recipe has not changed since 1962 and it remains the Proustian moment for the French.

Its unique taste and texture give it iconic status in France and it has strong potential for the international markets.

Patrick Poirrier, the 3rd generation

In 2005 Patrick Poirrier becomes head of the group which already counts over 3,000 employees.

Integrating new development techniques

In 2007 the company, Jacquot based in Troyes, joins the group. Our know-how is further diversified with this acquisition as the company is composed of four chocolate factories specializing in moulded chocolate and confectionary-making.

Along with the factories a further 600 personnel join our teams.

A new chocolate factory in Perpignan

In 2008 we inaugurate our new chocolate factory in Perpignan. It replaces our historic site that had become too restrictive for our production needs.

With the environment in mind, we designed it in compliance with the new High Quality Environmental Standards.

International growth

2010

Development outside of Europe

This is when our group starts to grow in the United states, Eastern Europe and Asia. We also begin manufacturing chocolate powder and chocolate spread for the West African market.

A new reasearch and development laboratory

Having moved production to our new chocolate factory in Torremilla, just outside Perpignan, we transform the old factory in Perpignan into our head offices. It also houses our new R&D centre (Cocoa, Chocolate and Aroma laboratories).

By keeping the consumer and innovation at the heart of our business we are always one step ahead.

2015

Transparence Cacao Programme

Our objective is to control the entire chocolate network, from the planter to the consumer.

Our involvement in the cocoa-producing countries means we are now able to guarantee 100% traceability of our cocoa bean supplies.

The programme was launched in 2015 and 60,000 planters from more than a hundred cooperatifs in Ivory Coast are a part of this programme but also numerous fementation and drying centres in Sao Tomé, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.