Investing in process innovation and market expansion
¨Food companies recognize more than ever the value of good functional ingredients and are prepared to invest in product development, differentiation and thus the creation of consumer preference,’ says Robert Hoopman, since 2014 managing director and co-shareholder of Koninklijke Buisman in Zwartsluis (Overijssel).
Buisman (since 1867) has been producing natural burnt sugars for more than 150 years with a unique production process. “World famous in the Netherlands” because of the iconic blue can and the golden letters with Coffee aroma for the consumer. ¨Since the late 1980s, we have had a strategic refocus on B2B industrial applications as an ingredient for coloring and flavoring in a wide range of product categories such as bread, pastries, coffee, savory (soups, sauces, seasonings), meat & meat substitutes, desserts. The company has grown est. 10% per year over the past decade and supplies hundreds of food companies, particularly in Europe and Asia¨, says Hoopman.
Market vision and development
Robert Hoopman:¨Especially now that the international food industry is confronted with limited availability and unprecedented price increases of raw materials, our applications that optimize both the coloring and taste experience of the end product, but in many cases also yield substantial cost savings, are in favor of Buisman and our customers. Reliability of delivery also plays an important role in the trust our customers have in Buisman.¨
¨An important market development is the demand for “Natural, Organic, Bio” and “Clean Label”, both of which we can offer our customers well with our product portfolio¨, says Hoopman.
Buisman notices that the business is becoming strongly international; whereas the company once realized almost 95% of its turnover in the Netherlands, this is now only about 40%. ¨But¨, says Robert Hoopman, ¨An important initiative for Buisman is market development in Southeast Asia, where local consumers are adopting more and more Western habits, including consuming coffee in the form of 3-in-1 sticks (with a creamer, sugar and instant coffee). Exactly what Buisman was invented for 150 years ago, namely the taste and color improvement of coffee at a lower cost, is relevant on this continent. With the addition of a low dose (approximately 1%) of Buisman’s naturally caramelized ingredients, the coffee not only gains in taste and color perception (dark roasty notes), but we also realize considerable cost savings by replacing the “expensive instant coffee”.
What do these developments mean for Buisman?
- R&D investments in product applications and extensive knowledge of sensory product properties.
- Next generation process technology, not only for capacity expansion to meet the growing demand,.
- Expansion of Buisman’s distribution network in Asia and Eastern Europe.
Role of innovation
What role does innovation play in this? Robert Hoopman explains that the company is selective in new product development (NPD), because the existing ingredient portfolio has a very broad applicability. ¨At this stage, Buisman is much more about process innovation, to be able to better control and predict the roasting and cooling process of the caramelized sugars. More specifically for the heating process, the energy transition from gas to electricity requires our special attention, because, like all of the Netherlands, we will have to get rid of natural gas at some point.¨
Role of IFFI
IFFI is a source of inspiration, training and above all a professional network for Buisman, which we are happy to use, concludes Robert Hoopman