Worldwide, breaking up garlic bulbs into loose, unpeeled cloves is done by hand. Garlic Solutions found a semi-automated solution for this. Garlic Solutions now supplies more than a million garlic cloves per week. Their clients are located throughout the EU. "Garlic is a widely-used cooking ingredient. Customers often only use a few cloves from the bulb. The rest is wasted. Our loose cloves offer a solution for this", says owner and founder, Kaz Abbekerk.
This young entrepreneur has a background in packaging. He saw the potential for supplying loose garlic cloves. Now, Garlic Solutions' cloves can be found in a many-a-meal box. Garlic Solutions does not, however, supply the garlic cloves directly. It is done in bulk packaging via wholesalers. "Every square meter of the old building was being used. Some excess capacity is also good. Here, in the new building, we have room to grow again", says Kaz, enthusiastically.
There are two new breaking lines in the new building. This includes a machine that peels the cloves. "As far as I know, we are the only business that processes loose, unpeeled garlic cloves, semi-automatically. It might sound a bit pretentious, but we like competing with the whole garlic bulbs. The worldwide garlic market is enormous. It will not move completely to unpeeled garlic. It is, however, inevitable that some supermarkets will eventually move from bulbs to cloves. Currently, most of the garlic bulb is thrown away. After all, consumers only use four, not 36, cloves of garlic in their spaghetti sauce", he says.
Garlic Solutions buys the garlic from a few Spanish growers. China dominates this market. "This may do for some buyers. The Spanish garlic, however, is of better quality. They also break better. This quality starts with the cultivation in the field. There are more losses with the Chinese garlic", explains Kaz. He has built up a whole workforce. On busy days, 15 to 20 people work at Garlic Solutions. There are also three people in the office and another that handles shipping. "If needs-be, I will jump in to help at the sorting belt. We do not do 'no' here."
A major challenge was how to deal with the large amount of waste. A solution was found. An organic laminate supplier that produces "garlic tables" uses the byproduct. Kaz has already embarked on a new adventure - making premium garlic powder. "We think meal and sauce manufacturers should be interested in this. In a few years time, we want to have made our mark on the powder market. "