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Oldest cannery in the Netherlands continues to innovate

Published: 27-05-2016, | Member: Baltussen Konservenfabriek

Baltussen Konservenfabriek – the oldest canning company in the Netherlands – continues its pioneering ways. The company was the first to market canned organic vegetables and introduced a number of surprising innovations at the recent PLMA trade show in Amsterdam.

Baltussen – supplier of 450 different fruit and vegetable preserves in glass jars, sold under private label, has been in business since 1868. The company supplies retailers throughout Europe and regularly ships in smaller volumes to the United States and Australia. “Over the years we have seen many colleagues go bust or merge,” says Fred Rappange, project manager based at the company’s Driel site. “To survive in the preserves market you need very large production volumes and to continuously develop and innovate.”

Pioneering Role
Innovation plays an important role in the company. “By introducing canned organic products to the preserved food market, in 1996, we deliberately took on a pioneering role; for us the development of the organic market is closely tied to sustainability. We wanted to act as a steward, as much towards the crops as to our customers” says the project manager. The company is now able to supply his entire portfolio – from beans and carrots to red cabbage and maize – in organic form.

Baltussen also developed many variations on the typical Dutch applesauce, adding cinnamon, cranberry and elderberry. They were also the brains behind apple-pear compote and BIO applesauce with banana, mango or duindoorn.

During the PLMA (Private Label Manufacturers Association) trade fair, held 24 and 25 May in Amsterdam, the company presented their latest innovations. “Imagine a 370 ml glass jar with two layers of legumes, such as white and brown beans, or chickpeas and peas,” says Rappange. “Mixed Beans have been on the market for some time, but often it is not clear to the consumer exactly what is in the jar. With our new products you know at a glance. ”

An exciting new line is ready-to-eat bean gourmet dishes such as peas and corn in Surinam curry sauce, peas and corn in Mediterranean sauce, chickpeas and white beans in spicy tomato sauce and white and brown beans in oriental soy sauce. The dishes are equally delicious hot or cold and come in two sizes: 380 ml for the retail channel and 2.4 liters for bulk users. “In addition, for the organic market, we are launching a ready-to-eat bean salad with humus,” says the project manager.

What’s the recipe for success? 150 years of experience, coupled with thorough market research, a matter-of-fact, hands-on approach and working together with partners throughout the chain. “We find it valuable to share knowledge and experience with others,” says Rappange. “Farmers and growers are just as important to us as supermarkets and consumers. Therefore, we offer our support to growers who want to ‘go organic’. ”

Year of the Pulse
At Baltussen innovation is a constant. “We want to continue growing the company and put the Netherlands on the global map as the land of pulses,” said Rappange. “Traditionally our country has valued pulses for their high nutritional value, and as a good meat substitute. Therefore we continue to develop our legume products. ” The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have declared 2016 to be the Year of the Pulse. “The perfect time for us to invest even more in this group of products.”

Baltussen Konservenfabriek