Koopmans Meel BV
Issue Jan/Feb 07
Koopmans Meel’s unique structure is the platform for its success
Formed in 1846, Koopmans Meel BV, part of Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken BV (Koopmans Group), is the manufacturer and supplier of the Netherlands’ widest range of flours. The selection includes wheat specialities for bread and patisserie purposes, rye specialities for cakes and bread, Brovitesse and Prémax, Eco-Select Biological, decoration and buckwheat specialities.
Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken BV is the holding name under which Koopmans Meel, as well as Laco Crumbs and Merchant Food operate – each covering their own specific market area. The group structure is characterised by a decentralised management style, allowing each corporate unit to develop in a technological, organisational and commercial sense, through which the holding company forms a stimulating platform for exchange and interaction. The central values embodied by the enterprise as a whole are quality, innovation and reliability.
Koopmans Group’s CEO, Minne Dijkstra, recently spoke with Food Chain magazine and told us a little more about the company’s operations: “Koopmans Meel has always produced flour, but it has expanded its variety of flours over the years into what is now recognised as the Netherlands’ widest range. Our selection now encompasses numerous wheat specialities for bread, patisserie and ryebased products.
“The unique nature of the holding company gives us a platform on which to come together and share ideas. Indeed, Koopmans Meel and the group members regularly come together to share innovative ideas. Flour is still the group’s main concern, but we have slightly diversified to build a more robust portfolio. Our close cooperation with other group members and our clients ensures that our wide range of products perform better and our customers products look more attractive and taste better.”
Pieter Douma, managing director of Laco Crumbs, adds: “As a member of Koopmans group, there are frequent exchanges of innovative ideas. We have gained a lot of practical experience through our dealings and discussions with our internationally operating sister companies Koopmans Meel and frozen patisserie specialist Merchant Food.” Under the registered trade name of Laco Paneermeelfabriek BV, Laco Crumbs is the breadcrumbs specialist within the Koopmans group and supplies more than 200 different top quality breadcrumb products. These are used as coating, filling and pre-dust products and find their way to virtually all sectors of the food processing industry and catering wholesalers.
At present, Koopmans Meel is investing in modernising its production plant in order to develop customised products. “We are in the middle of an impressive and extensive expansion programme,” reveals Minne. “We analysed the company’s position and decided that extensive investment was needed if we were to fulfil our ambition of creating a superior, reliable, innovative and quality enterprise. The investment actually started in 2002 and will continue into next year.
“I like to think of the investment as a master plan consisting of numerous interlocking parts. This long-term investment programme began with an upgrade to our cleaning facility and has also seen us significantly improve our milling capabilities.
“The company has grown significantly over the last few years. The introduction of new products and the increasing appreciation of Koopmans specialities have contributed to this growth considerably. As welcome as growth is, it presented a capacity problem, so the improvement programme was also necessary in that respect. What’s more, the facilities did need an upgrade and we have now modernised our equipment. Indeed, the investment has taken us to a new level of quality and automation.”
As a consumer conscious company, the huge investment programme was implemented for a further reason: “We want to be able to address the needs of our clients and develop the products consumers want. We therefore needed to invest in improving our operation so that we could cater for the more bespoke requirements. We are now in a position to deliver the customer-specific products, which the market needs and demands.”
An innovative company, Koopmans Meel is often at the forefront of product development, as Minne continues: “We have developed some unique and revolutionary gluten free products, which are growing in popularity. We are developing numerous product based around Teff. Teff is a special product with numerous health benefits and is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands.”
Teff is a species of lovegrass native to northeastern Africa, particularly Ethiopia. It has an attractive nutrition profile, being high in nutrients. It is similar in many respects to millet in cooking, but the seed is much smaller.
“We became aware of the potential of Teff some time ago and have invested in the necessary equipment to produce it in a gluten free environment. This is a growing market,” says Minne.
With eyes on the future, he concludes: “With the investment in our new plant we have increased capacity and feel that we can now meet the growing demand for our products. This of course will enable us to grow. As a group, we have a decentralised management style, which allows us to develop in a technological and commercial sense, while creating a platform from which we can exchange ideas. It is our ambition to further exploit this synergy potential.
“We will soon be more market orientated and able to tailor our products to specific market and customer needs. Over the last five years we have seen significant growth and a lot of improvements. We are aiming for modest growth, which give us increased stability. Our success, in my option is down to our ability to innovate and produce quality, reliable goods.”
With a turnover of 50 million euros, an eye for innovation and an impressive track record, Koopmans Meel is well placed to deal with the opportunities and challenges of the future. With a growing number of increasingly popular products, all at Koopmans hope to exploit future possibilities and build upon the company’s history of success.