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Current Position:Home » News » Special Foods » Topic

Healthy snacks are booming

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2019-01-03  Views: 14
Core Tip: The Nuts and Dried Fruits Company (NDFC) was founded as a wholesaler and packer of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, pits and super foods in 2006.
The Nuts and Dried Fruits Company (NDFC) was founded as a wholesaler and packer of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, pits and super foods in 2006. The company is developing strongly, and it’s mostly dedicated to the healthy snack segment.

Five years ago, the company drew up a plan for growth. NDFC moved from Deurne to Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium, invested in more workers for sales and introduced a new corporate identity, logo and website. “We’ve reached our goal of tripling our turnover in three years, and this will also be our goal for the future,” says Jan Jelders, who runs the company with his brother Eddy and cousin Wim. The developments within the company are coming so rapidly, another expansion is imminent. In 2019, they’ll move to a new building in Antwerp, which doubles the company’s surface. “The decision to mostly serve wholesalers instead of end users is bearing fruit. Besides, our range is extensive enough to meet practically all demands. We want to be distinctive with customised packaging of the products.” Via both national and international wholesalers, the products find their way to catering and specialist shops in fresh produce, nuts, cheese, delicatessen and more.

Besides trading and packing nuts, dried fruits, snacks and similar, NDFC is also active in roasting, mixing and seasoning the products. For example, the wholesaler has various nut mixes, dried fruit mixes and cocktail snack mixes in their range. Jan mentions that the ‘Buenas Noches’ mix based on corn currently does well in catering. “We’re not afraid to say we’re frontrunners in this field in the Benelux. The Buenas Noches taste great, are healthy, don’t contain allergens and have an appealing price compared to nuts. This is good for our customers, because these mixes are often served free with drinks.”

Producing their own novelties
The company profits from the rapidly growing market for nuts and semi-tropical fruits. The owner sees opportunities in the field of healthy snacks in particular. “Demand for products with a health label is high; products with no added sugars, allergen-free, gluten-free, organic, things like that. We’ll focus even more on that in future. That a shift can be seen at the expense of meat is to the benefit of this segment.” Besides a permanent assortment, NDFC regularly markets innovative products, such as energy balls and granola. These products are made by the company itself, and packed as desired under private label. “We presented a considerable number of new products during the recent catering fair in Ghent, and these were well-received by the visitors.”

The production of granola took flight in a short period of time. Granola, a mix of grains, seeds, pits and dried fruit, is prepared in ovens and often eaten with yoghurt, breakfast cereal or as a snacks, and it’s incredibly popular. “At first our granola was made by a friendly baker. After about six months, demand had become so high, we purchased our own oven. We now have six ovens that are in use every day,” Jan says. Compared to most granolas in supermarkets, those of NDFC are rich in ingredients. Just the basis consists of 15 different products. These are supplemented with various toppings of, for instance, super foods, red fruit, chocolate, apple-cinnamon and more. For the production of the granola, only natural sugars are added, such as coconut blossom sugar, date, agave or maple syrup or apple thick juice. Jan is convinced the production will only increase in the coming months.

Besides conventional granolas, NDFC also makes organic granola and gluten-free granola. Making granolas for third parties is also an option. The products are then exclusively made and packed to the customer’s wishes. “This isn’t just the case for the granola, for that matter. We also welcome other ideas. We like to think with our customers in order to create wonderful partnerships.”

Packing from large to small
The wholesaler emphasises the importance of a good packaging. In recent years, considerable investments were made into packing machines, so that the choice of packaging was increased. From small portion packaging to add to meal salads to large buckets for bulk consumption and luxurious gift packaging. This requires a lot of flexibility. “Our clientele includes multiple meal kit suppliers, among others. Consumers can place an order up to a few days before delivery. We receive the order after that, which can result in quite a challenge. Yet people know how to find us precisely because we offer custom work and because we can quickly switch. We also have plans to rejuvenate our website, and to make online sales an option. Digitising is now an intrinsic part of business, and we want to invest in that as well.”

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