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Koninklijke Vezet places its trust in labelling solutions from MULTIVAC

Fresh food products, together with quality, convenience, and sustainability, are of increasing importance in the everyday lives of consumers. Koninklijke Vezet has developed into a fruit and vegetable specialist, which meets all these requirements. Companies which want to survive in the growing but very challenging fresh food market must also guarantee fast deliveries and the right packaging. Labelling is also an important part of the packaging procedure: labels not only have an effect on the appearance of the packs, they also contain important information for consumer protection.

Koninklijke Vezet started more than one hundred years ago as a company called Verenigde Zuurkoolfabrieken, and today it is commonly known as Vezet. Nowadays, the company, with its 1,400 employees, is the second largest employer in Northern Holland. The product portfolio includes salads, fruit and vegetables, as well as ready meals such as stir-fry mixes, and chilled pizzas.

Production Manager, Wobbe Feenstra, explains how the collaboration started between MULTIVAC and the fruit and vegetable processor from Warmenhuizen in Northern Holland. He has been working in the food industry for 25 years, and with Koninklijke Vezet for the past six years. He describes the company as “a real family business”. Wobbe Feenstra is responsible for the “Ready Meals” business unit, which has 320 employees and produces ready-to-eat salads, mixed salads, lunch salads, and fresh pizzas. In conjunction with one of its customers, Albert Heijn, which also belongs to the Koninklijke Ahold Group, Koninklijke Vezet has played a crucial role in driving forward the development of the Dutch market for fresh ready meals. “Together we create new products and concepts. Thanks to our fresh products, the supermarkets can differentiate themselves from their competitors. The market is growing continually but we are growing faster.“

The exclusive collaboration with Albert Heijn started in 1973, and since that time, the range of products and production volumes have expanded very quickly. Some of the best known products, which the company has launched, include ready-to-cook stir fry mixes, main course salads, fruit salads, and chilled pizzas, as well as the Allerhande range of meal boxes.

Fast growth

The company’s fast growth also presented a few challenges. “One of the key concerns for us was keeping up with the growth. The most important aspect in our business is to keep the product flow going. As soon as the produce is harvested, it must be cleaned, washed, cut, and packaged. The products need to reach the supermarkets as quickly and freshly as possible. The processing of the products has an important impact on their shelf life and therefore needs to be carried out promptly. Due to this combination of growth and processing tempo, we were always very pleased to have an additional production line and labelling solution, since it meant we could manage to process the increasing product volumes. This resulted however in us having machines from different manufacturers with different technology and spare parts. This made us decide to purchase our labelling systems from one single supplier. It had to be a supplier with whom we could build up a long-term partnership.” The choice had to be made between MULTIVAC and two other suppliers.

Wobbe Feenstra describes why the decision in the selection process was made in favour of MULTIVAC. “First of all, we looked at the technical aspects. The price was less important for us. As regards the technology, we were very impressed with what MULTIVAC was able to offer - with both the hygiene design and construction of the machines, as well as the fact that they are so robust, that even the wet conditions at our production site do not affect them. This is very important for the reliability of our production process. Emotions and the existing relationship also played a part in the decision, as well of course as the goodwill factor. Since then Wobbe Feenstra’s business unit now has seven MULTIVAC machines, and three more have been installed in the Fruit and Vegetable department. MULTIVAC machines are now also due to be used at the Koninklijke Vezet subsidiary in Sweden. “The choice in favour of MULTIVAC was a joint decision by the “Ready Meals” business unit and the Management Board. After our decision, other business units within the company have also been convinced. This is why the MULTIVAC labelling machines have now also become the standard for the “Cooking Convenience” and “Fruit Processing” business units.”

Sustainability when packing

Wobbe Feenstra expects more of these labelling solutions to be used in future within the company. “The trend towards packing on tubular bag machines seems to be in the past. Nowadays customers are increasingly using a very thin sealing film in conjunction with a label. This is more economical and sustainable. Another important aspect is greater flexibility. Our machines offer all the options for different types of labels. For example, it is possible to add an additional label, such as a promotional label.”

Even with a new “fleet” of MULTIVAC labelling machines, it remains a challenge to meet the
output demands inherent in products that are fresh on a daily basis. “No matter what happens, the supermarket opens at 8 a.m. and our fresh products must be on the shelves by then. That is why MULTIVAC and Koninklijke Vezet work so closely together to ensure optimum availability of the machines is achieved,” explains Hans Schalkwijk, Account Manager at MULTIVAC. “We are always ready with advice and give them recommendations, on which wearing and spare parts they should hold in stock at all times. This also proves the benefits of dealing with only one supplier: if you have ten of the same labelling systems in use, this has a very positive effect on the stock of spare parts. In our webshop the Koninklijke Vezet employees can order spare parts for their machines. Another example of the excellent cooperation between the two companies are the training courses which we organize for the customer. All our efforts are focused on ensuring everything is ready today.” Or as Wobbe Feenstra says: “Tomorrow is not an option.” And Hans Schalkwijk can only confirm this: “Not in our sector.”



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