Bélgica: We process 130,000 tonnes of potatoes into crisps every year
Potato crisp producer Roger & Roger, from the Belgian Moeskroen, washes, cuts, bakes and packages crisps for Croky and private labels near the French border.
According to CEO Yves De Vinck, son-in-law of founder Roger Dick, the company is changing with the times and the demand of customers.
CEO Yves De Vinck of Roger & Roger in front of where the potatoes enter the factory.
"The shape of the potatoes is of great important when making crisps," says Yves. "Although crisps and fries are both baked, the potatoes have to meet very different demands. We mainly use the Lady Rosetta and the Lady Claire, whilst fries usually use Bintjes or Fontane. The potatoes kind of have to have the shape of a tennis ball to cut the crisps nicely. In fry potatoes a long potato is desired, as fries have to be longer in shape. Another big difference between a potato for crisps or for fries is that the crisps potatoes have to have a low sugar level. This is because otherwise the crisps can become too brown during baking."
Croky and private label
Roger & Roger’s sales market is in the countries surrounding Belgium. There is a real difference between the sales of Croky and the private label. "The two markets have a very different manner of handling," says the CEO. "For Corky the own development of the product and the marketing aspect are important, whilst this isn’t the case for the private label. Croky products mainly go to supermarkets in the Benelux. Around 35 percent of our production is Croky, the rest is private label. These products are available in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and in France."
The potatoes that are eventually processed into crisps, come from various countries surrounding the factory. According to Yves they consciously opted to do this. "We try to spread the risk as much as possible," he says. "We process 130,000 tonnes of potatoes annually, or 1 million packets of crisps. If we got this from one areas and the weather conditions there aren’t good, there would be a problem. This is why, besides Belgium, our potatoes also from from northern France and Germany. The potato cultivation is all contracted, particularly as the potatoes we need are very specific."
The place where the potatoes arrive in the factory. The processing process is part of the company secret.
Change in demand
According to Roger & Roger the company has being trying to move with the times and the demands of the consumer. As of 2013 this meant that tortilla chips joined the production. As of January 1 more will be changing for the factory. "All of our crisps are becoming gluten free as there is more demand for this nowadays," says the CEO. "The potatoes are, but in around half of the over 150 herbs that we use there is gluten present. It was a difficult task to adapt the production, but keep the flavour of the crisps the same. We extensively tested the results, until the flavour was identical to the one the customer knows, but is still gluten free."
Another change within the company is the manner of packaging the crisps. Although everything these days is big, bigger, biggest, this isn’t the case in the demand for crisp packaging. "We notice increasingly the customer need for smaller packaging," says Yves. "Smaller packaging can also be handy for supermarkets, especially if there is little space to store crisps in a smaller supermarket. The boxes in which the crisps are packaged, still take up a lot of space. Reducing the air in the bag isn’t an option, as it protects the crisps. This automatically brings you to reducing the size of the packaging."
One of Roger & Roger’s 25 own trucks, which includes Croky.
In most cases Roger & Roger uses other transporters to transport the crisps to other companies. Yet the crisps manufacturer also has their own trucks. "25 in total," says the frontman. "We sometimes use them to pick up the potatoes, sometimes to take the crisps to the customer. Around holidays in particular it can sometimes be difficult for other transport companies to supply. In those instances is when we use our trucks. When it’s very busy, such as around Christmas, we can help in this way. In a week like this we produce 20 to 25 percent more than normal - you have to."
For more information:
Roger & Roger
Rue de la Bassée 1
7700 Moeskroen (Belgium)
T 0032 (0) 56 84 00 30
F 0032 (0) 56 84 00 23