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Van Tol Convenience interview
Can you present Van Tol Convenience and give us some key information ?
Van Tol Convenience food was founded in 1998. We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary next year. Van Tol sells egg and Italian products such as pizza and Italian bread. Our egg product division represents 70% of our total 20 million turnover. Those products are being sold to the industry sector such as ready meal, salad, soup companies, etc. The other sector is the food service for which we use the big distributors like Be Food, Lakeland who serve the end users. We also support the Dutch retail industry such as Jumbo for instance. PEP in France represents 50 to 55% of the egg products turnover.
What are the challenges of working with our egg products ?
Our egg products division is always a very challenging division. Every couple of years, you have a situation that disturbs the markets. At the moment, we have bird pests once again so the challenges are to cope with those situations together with our partners. With PEP, it’s not a problem at all as it is a big company, well organized, making high standards quality products which always gives us the assurance that continuity is absolutely guaranteed. Continuity of supply is at this moment the most important thing and that is something that PEP absolutely can guarantee to us so that’s very nice.
What do you focus on particularly and why?
Together with PEP, we are focusing a lot on innovation.
On one side, you have your basic products like liquid egg, cooked egg, omelets which are all very stable. We are confident that our customers will be satisfied with the quality of the PEP products in the future.
On the other side, we are focusing on food innovation. The market is changing the types of raw material they want to use. Companies are changing from the basic ones to free range or organic ones. They are also looking at more animal friendly alternatives. We were working to develop new products such as poached eggs. They are very well known and used in the UK, in France. In our area, Holland and Belgium, it was not a very developed product but due to the new market situation, with a lack of professional cooks, it has become one of the most successful products. Luckily, PEP has been able to supply such an innovative product so we’re very happy with that.
How would you explain your relationship with PEP-Cocotine ?
Our cooperation with PEP started almost 20 years ago. At that time, it was still called the CECAB. After that it became part of Eureden and evolved into PEP. At the beginning, we were only responsible for the industrial area for the Belgium and Dutch markets. During the past 15 years, we developed a very close partnership with PEP. Now, we also handle the food service division so we’re covering the complete market for them. We have been working very closely together with the export managers for many years. They inform us and we inform them about any new situations affecting local markets, openly discuss our customers needs, customers volumes prices, etc. Actually Vantol & PEP is an example of the perfect partnership.
Today, what quantities do you order and what kind of products ?
At pep, we buy at the moment per full truckload either from Lille or from Ploermel where different kinds of omelet products are being produced. In Ploermel we buy the gourmet omelet mainly and the scrambled egg IQF and from Lille, we buy the full omelets in big quantities which we are serving to industry and food service. In France a lot of chilled products are being sold. In Holland and Belgium, the market is still buying frozen products. Hopefully it will change in the future but for them, we buy for industry such as ready meal products: omelet chunks and omelet cubes. For the food service, we supply mainly poached eggs, the omelets and omelets varieties such as the omelet wrap, etc…
So to sum up, why Cocotine ?
After 20 years we are still very happy that we made the decision to start working with PEP. The company offers us a complete range of egg products from omelets, to cooked and peeled eggs, liquid egg, poached eggs, scrambled egg, etc. They have an extensive knowledge of the chilled market which is something for the future in Holland and Belgium. But it will be in the region in the next few years, we are convinced. So we can use their knowledge and experience for the future. For the industrial area and the food service area, the quality of frozen products are very stable so it is very easy for us to build up a new business. We are very satisfied with that..