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Vegetable crisps introduced in Germany

Vegetable crisps have been introduced in practically all supermarkets by now. More and more consumers appear to be open to this healthier version of regular crisps. Van Marcke Foods therefore produces more and more vegetable crisps.

After having built up years of experience on the market for fruit and vegetable crisps, Van Marcke Foods started producing crisps and snack pellets under private label in 2003. The fried crisps are made from potatoes and various vegetables, including carrot, beetroot, parsnip and sweet potatoes. Consumers can find the ready-made crisps from the Dutch producer in supermarkets under private label throughout the world. The snack pellets are made from grains, potatoes or legumes. These dried semifinished products in all sorts of textures, colours and flavours are delivered to clients in Europe and the Middle East.

Zarin Mangnoesing from Van Marcke Foods says sales of vegetable crisps have increased considerably in recent years. “In a number of Dutch supermarkets, as well as in the surrounding countries, vegetable crisps are offered. The UK and France are the leaders in that. The UK is very much a vegetable crisps country, they prefer traditionally baked vegetable crisps, and this is currently shifting towards healthier crisps, including ours. France has also become a large market in the past ten years; until 2007/08, vegetable crisps couldn’t be found here, but by now we are producing vegetable crisps under private label and premium potato mix crisps for practically every premium French retailer.”

Healthier baking process
Although consumers appear to be more and more open to vegetable crisps, and changing food moments are also contributing to the positive development of the product, some consumers remain skeptical according to Zarin. “It’s still a fried product, and that’s associated with unhealthy. However, many people don’t know our vegetable crisps are healthier and more conscious than many other variants. This is thanks to the patented baking system, which results in all of our crisps containing 30 per cent less fat. We fry under vacuum at lower temperatures, so that the fat absorption is lower,” says Zarin. “We therefore make sure this is communicated on the packaging, because it is very distinctive.” For that, it’s important that no concessions are made on the flavour. The commercial manager doesn’t always think consumers are open to diet products or products with less sugar or salt. “Reduction is a hype, but people don’t want a product that tastes flat. For that matter, our vegetable crisps can be eaten without salt. We even have customers who purchase unsalted crisps, but the majority of the crisps is still salted according to the determined acceptable daily intake.”

Carrot, beetroot, parsnip, potato and sweet potato are practically always used for the production of vegetable crisps. Zarin says these products are suitable in particular because of their process-ability, availability and shelf life. Besides, flavour and colour also play a part in choosing these vegetables. “These products are readily available year-round, and are most stable regarding processing from storage,” he adds. The vegetables mostly come from the Netherlands, except the sweet potatoes, and are bought through cooperatives or directly from growers. “Especially at the start of the season we often buy products that are unsuitable for supermarkets. Think of deviant sizes and shapes. Various retailers are now starting developments to also sell these types of vegetables. However, this is something we’ve been doing for ages. Although we can’t always process every size, so these are delivered cut-to-size. Later in the season, we can make fewer requirements on certain sizes and varieties, and we then mostly process the supply that is available. Process-wise, quite a bit more variation is possible, but regarding the stability of prices and volumes, the aforementioned products make a fine and varied base.”

Acquired a permanent place
The production of vegetable crisps is still increasing considerably for Van Marcke Foods. Besides the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK, Germany is now also eating vegetable crisps. Zarin has high hopes for this market. “It’s quite a tricky market with conservative consumers, but we definitely think it has potential. Additionally, multiple parties in the supply chain are looking at improving the shelves. A correct presentation of vegetable crisps will definitely be beneficial to sales. Just look at the vegetable shelves, on which all sorts of other products are also offered nowadays, such as vegetable juices or fruit crisps. Many retailers choose new innovative products, and an often temporary innovative positioning to bring attention to the products. These products are sold for higher prices often as well, compared to the product on the shelves where they are normally sold. We’ll just have to wait and see which position fits vegetable crisps best in which shop, but fact is that the product has acquired a permanent place in supermarkets by now.”

More information:
Van Marcke Foods
Zarin Mangnoesing

Publication date: 7/10/2017


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