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Fiftieth anniversary of potato process innovator
Magical opening of new commercial premises by Kiremko
On Friday 19 May, the official opening of Kiremko’s new commercial premises took place. The company from Montfoort designs, produces and installs machines and complete production lines for making chips, crisps and various other potato products. Younger than ever, the company also celebrated its 50th anniversary with a spectacular opening show. Secretary-general of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Maarten Camps delivered the opening speech, and illusionist Hans Klok ensured a magical opening of the new premises.
Managers Paul Oosterlaken and Andy Gowing mentioned the loyalty of the company’s employees in an opening interview, conducted by Judith de Bruijn. “Hardworking people who are ready for their customers 24-7, and who love their product is the key to success.”
Paul emphasised that the cultivation of potatoes can be different throughout the world and in every season with the saying: “A potato is not a potato.” These differences mean the production process can’t be uniform. Innovations have to constantly happen to help customers to develop new potato varieties and products. He mentioned to secretary-general Camps that the Ministry of Economic Affairs is important to the company. Kiremko operates worldwide, and embassies can ensure doors are opened.
Andy Gowing emphasised Kiremko’s ambitions regarding the global sales of their machines. Kiremko’s machines have been installed in regions of China, India, the Middle East, Australia, North and South America and a score of European countries.
Secretary-general Camps mentioned the importance of the agrarian sector for the Netherlands in his opening speech. “Today, the Netherlands is one of the top ten potato producers in the world, despite its modest size. While the potato production decreases in most European countries, the Dutch still use almost 25 per cent of their arable land to plant potatoes, and they are world leaders in the seed potato trade. The result of this strong position in the world of potatoes has ensured that developments also continued to occur further along in the supply chain. The success of the potato sector is also supported by the intelligent people who build intelligent machines that are needed to process the potatoes.”
Camps mentioned Kiremko’s success in the global potato processing sector with offices in Russia, Ukraine, India and China and agencies elsewhere in the world. Camps, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, can be very enthusiastic about companies such as Kiremko. He said innovation and improvements are in Kiremko’s DNA, as well as in that of its employees. Examples are the suction pump and the PeelGuard. These machines improve the total yield of the potato. The PeelGuard detects potato skin left behind and unwanted spots on the peeled product and removes these. ‘Waste’ is processed into animal feed, so that the remnants are also made commercially interesting. Camps said the new factory was “a gem in the crown of Dutch food processing. It is the perfect example of how the Netherlands can be involved in the global food production.”
After the speakers, a video was shown in which Kiremko’s development over the last 50 years was documented. In 1965, the company was founded. Social developments of the time were referenced. People got more and more free time, more money and more interest in food. New products were developed and consumption increased. This created demand for industrial applications for the production of potato products. In the film, customers of past years talked. We saw the Nestor of the potato processing sector, Jozef van Remoortel, who talked about the first few years in which he asked Belgian chip shops why they processed the potatoes into chips themselves. The first Kiremko machines had a capacity of about 500 kilograms of chips per hour. Even back then you couldn’t keep up with that manually.
In the video, we saw Ron Bakker from McCain, Pleun Lagendijk from Farm Frites, Yves de Vinck from Roger & Roger, Antoon Wallays from Agristo, Pol Vervaeke from Ecofrost and Pieter van der Avoort and others. All with a fun anecdote or an appreciation of the often years of experience with Kiremko. After the video, the magical opening with a thrilling show from illusionist Hans Klok followed. Attendees held their breath when, as the highlight of the show, he mysteriously made part of Paul Oosterlaken’s arm disappear. Fortunately, damage was limited, and Paul could use his arm for the official opening.
The opening consisted of the joint pushing of a red button by the management. After the countdown, a thunderous explosion was heard, after which a curtain fell down and the new factory hall became visible. The attendees were offered a tour of the premises.
Please click here to view the photo report.
Publication date: 5/29/2017
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