Discover Benelux | Food & Drink | A Taste of the Netherlands
Photo: Peter van Halder
Creating added value in vegetables and pulses TEXT: BAS VAN DUREN | PHOTOS: HAK
Ask anyone in the Netherlands to name a brand of preserved vegetables and chances are they will mention the HAK company. Based in Giessen, in the province of Noord-Brabant, the enterprise has a rich history of 65 years and has been market leader in the Benelux for decades, with a strong position in north-west Germany. Following their mission to help people eat more vegetables and pulses, HAK launched, next to their iconic glass jar, a new, innovative packaging type for preserved vegetables with a line of legumes in stand-up pouches to reach new younger target groups and acquired chilled vegetables and meals manufacturer Peter van Halder, which incorporates foodservice and chilled production, and supply and innovation capability at HAK.
Quality as top priority HAK’s history dates back to the 1950s: the Hak family in Giessen owned a grocery store and decided to start a compa30 | Issue 50 | February 2018
ny for preserved vegetables. The family were the first in the Netherlands to put food in glass jars instead of cans, improving its taste and making the high quality of HAK vegetables visible for the customer. From there, the brand took off, growing yearly and building on the same values held by HAK since the beginning: quality, transparency and vicinity. Their quality is ensured by the high standards HAK sets out for itself, checking every aspect of their product, from the moment of seeding, to the point where it ends up on the plate of the consumer. Every day a trained panel tastes whether the produced vegetables and pulses are of the right quality to deliver to the market.
Vegetables and pulses Nowadays HAK – still located in Giessen - is a heavyweight in the Dutch food industry, employing 200 people and reaching a turnover of 90 million euros. Though their apple sauce, red cabbage and beets in glass jars have been their most popu-
lar products for years, HAK’s pulses line is advancing fast. “At HAK, we are market leader in beans and pulses and we see how our eating habits have changed drastically throughout the years and will change in the future,” explains CEO Timo Hoogeboom. “The transition to vegetable proteins is an important and permanent shift in consumer behaviour. Pulses and beans are very healthy, contain a high amount of vegetable proteins and are friendly for the planet. For those reasons, it is the food of the future and comes in a handy, innovative stand-up pouch that is quite eye-catching in the supermarket. We value innovation at HAK enormously and try to come up with solutions to make the consumption of vegetables and pulses easier, such as our innovative 1-2 open cap.”
Growing local HAK grows its crops as close to Giessen as possible. Hoogeboom: “80 per cent of everything we distribute is grown in a ra-
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