Healthy food made easy
Heemskerk fresh & easy provides customers across Europe with fresh, tasty and engaging vegetable or fruit based products
Heemskerk is a leading supplier of healthy foods, which come in a range of forms for a diverse range of consumers and are largely under private labels and sold through retailers and fastfood service. It provides products that are targeted at everything, from a quick snack that is good for the customer, to vegetables for lunch or dinner. In all its activities Heemskerk works with the consumer’s needs and lifestyle in mind, and it combines this with its long tradition of quality.
Since it was founded in 1960, the company has changed a great deal and has gone from operating out of a small shed, to a facility of 26,000 square metres, and continues to grow. The company has also seen the introduction of more automation with the use of robots, once again a stark reminder of how far the business has come. This is also reflected by the fact that it is now one of the ten largest vegetable processing companies in Europe, and this significant achievement has taken many decades of hard work to reach. However, it continues to aim even higher, and plans to build upon previous achievements through constant innovation and broadening the markets it supplies across Europe, as Commercial Director Jantine Heemskerk discussed: “We continue to invest in process optimisation, which means new production lines, new techniques, and employees that specialise in methods to achieve quality.” This will no doubt mean that Heemskerk has the capability to meet the customer’s changing tastes, lifestyles, and growing demand for healthy food in the future.
While Heemskerk has clearly grown and evolved over the years, many features have remained the same at the business, and one that has continued to grow in importance is the absolute priority it places on quality. It is this word that underpins everything that Heemskerk does, every supplier it uses and every product it makes, all must be of the highest standard. In order to ensure this, it works with suppliers through long-term contracts that allow strong partnerships to be built, which means that the company can be confident it is working with the best. Jantine added: “We do not use chemicals, it is all natural and this is something we have believed in for many years. It is also something we aim to continue in the future, and we want our customer to know that our products are clean and natural.”
In contrast to its long-standing commitment to quality Heemskerk has changed the way that it approaches product development. The early years of the business featured a product-focused attitude, whereas now Heemskerk places huge importance on targeting what it produces to its customers’ requirements. Jantine elaborated further on this approach: “We have a strong focus on understanding the market and on what the consumers want, and in order to build up a full picture of this we do a lot of research. This involves understanding the changing behaviours and views towards fruit and vegetables, and a shift in the role food has in the customer’s lifestyle. We not only look at the general consumer of our products, but we also look at those that shop at retailers or fast food chains that we supply. This means that we can combine our knowledge about shoppers behaviour in general with what specifically relates to each of the retailers and fast food outlets we supply. This better places us to target our products to specific groups of consumers, and create a tailor-made service.”
It is thanks to this strategy that the company has developed a range of products that help to satisfy its customer’s needs. It used to just provide products for the evening meal, however now it offers a wide range which includes precut vegetables, prepared meals, salads, snacks, breakfast products, fruit salads and many more. These all help to provide the customer with real options throughout the day, and offer healthy food that is easy and flexible, which makes Heemskerk’s products perfect for the modern consumer.
The demand for healthy food that is accessible for consumers does not look like stopping anytime soon, and it will no doubt become increasingly important across Europe. This will likely mean that Heemskerk’s current turnover of approximately €120 million will only increase further. That success will be supported by the extensive market research the company conducts, which has enabled it to create products that appeal to the latest consumer demands. Heemskerk is not only making being healthy easy, it is also making it enjoyable, and breaking the myth that what is good for you can’t taste great.
Therefore, whether it is through supplying retailers or fast food outlets with its high quality healthy products, Heemskerk looks set to take its fruit and vegetables to even more customers across Europe. In conclusion Jantine said: “I really believe that when people see that healthy food is not only something you must do but something you want to do then that is the key to a healthier life. The result of which is you feel healthier, you feel happy, and are more productive, and everyone wants to be happy and healthy.”