29 Nov 19

The kitchen and the bakery as a central meeting place for innovation

Food Experience Center in Ghent will be the hub for "shaping a tasty future"

Friday 29 November 2019 - Ghent (press release)

SOURCE: dutch version

The brand new Vandemoortele complex in Ghent was presented to the press today under the leadership of CEO Jules Noten. The opening of the Vandemoortele Food Experience Center, an ultra-modern sustainable working environment and meeting place for employees, product developers, culinary chefs, customers and suppliers, reflects the slogan 'shaping a tasty future' in all aspects. The originally West Flemish company, which was founded 120 years ago (1899), is now one of the world's top manufacturers of bakery products and margarines, culinary oils and fats.

The investment of 10 million euros for the construction allows Vandemoortele to further develop its sustainability strategy. The inauguration of the Food Experience Center is not only a new way of working. The complex, including the Master Studio Bakery and Master Studio Kitchen, will be an inspiration for responding to changing consumer needs and market developments. "I dreamed of a sustainable place that would trigger innovation and where you can smell the bread and croissants when you enter the building," says CEO Jules Noten.

The Vandemoortele Food Experience Center, enabler for a new way of working

The ultramodern Vandemoortele complex on the Ottergemsesteenweg Zuid, close to UZ Gent, invites employees and visitors to a unique total experience. The infrastructure has been designed in such a way that taste and smell are key, with sustainability as the key link.

"Shaping a tasty future in a sustainable way is what we actively strive for at Vandemoortele. The Vandemoortele Food Experience Center perfectly reflects this ambition, from the design, the choice of materials, the ecological energy applications, the furniture, the water management and many other elements. Just as a good recipe consists of a harmonious combination of ingredients, the Food Experience Center was built from a well-considered combination of circular design, sustainable materials and innovative techniques," says Group Marketing Director Eddy Van Blanken, under whose leadership the project was created.

Architect Thomas RAU

The Vandemoortele Food Experience Center was designed by architect and innovator Thomas Rau and complies with the BREEAM Excellent standard, the most widely used sustainability assessment method for buildings. In addition to the passive energy resources implemented in the design, various active energy systems, such as a heat pump, solar panels and a BEO field, help to generate energy from renewable sources.

A comfortable workplace

"In addition to being a sustainable building, the Food Experience Center is also a healthy and comfortable workplace with numerous digital applications where the more than 360 employees can work together more easily than ever before. In the various office spaces where flexible working is encouraged, teams sit together and there are many opportunities to work together in one of the many meeting rooms, to just isolate oneself in a concentration room or to relax in one of the lounges or the atrium, which can also be used as a workplace," explains Chief Human Resources, Sustainability & Communication Marc Croonen.

Master Studio Cooking and Master Studio Baking

The Vandemoortele Food Experience Center will also be a meeting place for culinary chefs, product developers, suppliers of new ingredients and customers looking for inspiration for their kitchen or bakery. The heart of the Food Experience Center are the Master Studio Cooking and Master Studio Baking, the professional kitchen and bakery. During inspiring Master Classes, the various preparation methods and application possibilities of the products are taught and everyone who has made a living out of taste is given the opportunity to experiment, share knowledge and refine his or her consumer insights.

100 million less sugar cubes

The Master Studios allow Vandemoortele to respond optimally to the trends in the food sector.

"Our team is constantly working to adapt our product range to the needs of consumers and the market. The interest in tasty indulgence products is constantly growing, and on the other hand the health trend continues. Vandemoortele is responding to this. The investments in the new production line in Italy, including the savoury focaccias with healthy vegetable combination, is an example of this, as is the successful market introduction of the Vandemoortele mayonnaise without sugars and additives and our sourdough bread. We are constantly re-evaluating and improving the recipes of the existing product range. We respond to the demand for less sugar and use no less than 100 million sugar cubes in our donut recipes. Our donuts are becoming less sweet, without the addition of sugar substitutes and without compromising on taste and quality. The demand for mini-versions of products is also increasing. With the mini range, we are meeting the demand for conscious snacking and, indirectly, we are also reducing food waste," says Eddy Van Blanken, Group Marketing Director.

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