17 Nov 23

Constant Vandemoortele, founder of Vandemoortele, gets honoured in Izegem

On 10 October, a special tribute took place in Izegem, organised by the V.I.M. (Friends of the Izegem Museums), to honour Constant Vandemoortele, the visionary founder of Vandemoortele. 

In Izegem, the Eperon d'Or museum organises heritage cafés, honouring one historical figure at a time who has made an important impact on the city's economic development. On October 10th, V.I.M. paid tribute to Constant Vandemoortele with a great storytelling of all the milestones in the almost 125 years of Vandemoortele. Jean Vandemoortele, Chairman of the Board, also took the stage.

Jean Vandemoortele

Izegem: our largest margarine factory 

Everyone gathered at our Izegem site, where it all started. This factory is crucial to our company, being the largest margarine factory in the group. Every day, 230 dedicated workers come together in Izegem to shape a tasty future. The entrepreneurship of Constant Vandemoortele in 1899 laid the foundation for the company we know today: employing around 4,600 people in 12 European countries as well as the USA and Asia. 

The entrepreneurship of Constant Vandemoortele in 1899 laid the foundation for the company we know today.



Family business

Constant Vandemoortele, originally the son of a miller from Oostrozebeke, recognised the growth potential of Izegem and saw opportunities to expand his flour trade. He learned the trade of oil milling from namesakes in Emelgem (a village in the Belgian province of West Flanders and a part of the municipality Izegem) and decided at the age of 51 to start a mechanical oil mill under his own name. 

His son, Adhemar, was immediately involved in the business and together, they established their modest factory on the Zuidkaai in Izegem, between the railway and the canal.

1899 CONSTANT and ADHEMAR

1930s: Turning point

During the 1930s, the company starts to shift its focus towards becoming a national producer of edible oils. Where its linseed first primarily catered to the soap and fodder industries.

The transition to food products proved to be a turning point for Vandemoortele. By the time of World War II, our company already produced 20% of the total Belgian table oil. 

1960s - 1980s: Impressive growth

In the 1960s to 1980s, the company showed impressive growth and provided employment for many who fled the declining brush and shoe industries. That's how the Belgian city of Izegem, originally known for its brush and shoe industry, came to host a global player that delivers frying oil and margarines to households worldwide

Memorial plate

Constant Vandemoortele forever changed Izegem and the food industry. His entrepreneurial spirit led to the establishment of a globally recognised family business. A commemorative plaque, donated by V.I.M., was placed at the Vandemoortele family grave to honour his initiative and lasting economic impact.

group

The memorial was presented during the heritage café. From left to right: Hilde Colpaert (V.I.M.), Kurt Himpe (Deputy of Culture), Eddy Stragier (V.I.M.), Jean Vandemoortele (Chairman of the board of directors). 

In 2024, Vandemoortele is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

125 years of Vandemoortele

About Vandemoortele

Vandemoortele was founded in 1899 as a Belgian family business, and has continued to grow and develop ever since. Over the last two decades, we became a European food company with leading positions in two product categories: Bakery Products (BP) and Plant-Based Food Solutions. We are known for supplying innovative and high-quality products. 

In 2022, Vandemoortele realised a turnover of around EUR 1.7 billion with 4,600 associates (permanent and temporary). The Vandemoortele Group headquarters are located in Ghent, Belgium. We have commercial offices in 12 European countries, as well as in the United States and Asia. We operate in 29 high-quality production sites all over Europe, in order to ensure proximity to all our key markets. We export from Europe to approximately 70 countries worldwide.

News & Media Contact

Marc Croonen

marc.croonen@vandemoortele.com