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Well-attended farewell reception for notable potato packer

Bram Werkman officially steps aside at Landjuweel after 50 years

Last week, Bram Werkman bid farewell as the director of potato wholesaler Landjuweel after 50 years of loyal service. About 100 people from the industry, ranging from suppliers, customers, former supermarket buyers, and suppliers, gathered at Beachclub Kaap Hoorn to reflect on Bram's long potato career with him.

"In recent years, I have been working towards this farewell by gradually entrusting more responsibilities to the other board members. This transition has been smooth, and I now step back with great confidence," says Bram, who will remain in an advisory role. The management team will now consist of CEO Michiel Meijering, Commercial Director Robin Smit, and Head of Purchasing Frank Poelman.

Michiel Meijering, Robin Smit, and Frank Poelman.

When asked about the most significant changes he has witnessed in his long career, Bram first mentions the shift in stocking stores to distribution centers. "Also, moving to the current location in Oosternieland was a major step. We were the first in the market to start washing field crop potatoes, a practice not yet seen in the industry, which brought enormous benefits. We immediately switched to washing all our potatoes. Potatoes had a somewhat dusty image for a long time. By washing them, we not only achieved a much cleaner production space, but also literally shook off the dust from the potatoes. The introduction of automatic reading subsequently meant we needed far fewer people in the sorting room."

Regarding potato consumption, Bram is optimistic. "For years, the consumption of fresh potatoes showed a declining trend. During the Corona period, we saw an increase in potato sales, and currently, we notice that potato consumption is stabilizing and even showing a slight upward trend in the Netherlands and Belgium. More and more people are discovering that potatoes can be used for more than just boiling, frying, and roasting. We are leaving behind the notion that peeling potatoes is a lot of work. Especially, the sale of specialties has shown nice growth in recent years."

As the biggest challenges for the sector, the potato trader mentions the weather extremes, which have particularly made their presence felt in recent years. "This seems to be leading to a growing realization that we are dealing with a natural product. That awareness is beginning to return a bit. It would be great if we, as a supply chain, including supermarkets and consumers, could find more common ground."

Now that Bram officially steps away, he also has more time for other things. "I certainly won't be bored. As a young rascal, I already had some sheep, and now I manage 15 hectares of grassland with sheep, cows, and horses among others. Moreover, I hope to visit the company often. Stopping work after retirement is bad for your health," Bram concludes with a laugh.

For more information:
Frank Poelman
Tel: +31 (0)595 454 200
[email protected]

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