There's a striking blue building in the Netherlands, near Westland. This recently expanded premises houses a company called Snijpunt. Every week, it processes 100,000kg of bell peppers and 35,000kg of other fresh vegetables into semi-finished products. "We've worked hard to optimize processes and products. As we continue to do so," begins Mark van der Salm, Snijpunt's managing director. "We keep moving forward, most recently mainly in the area of shelf life."
Water of a constant quality for these bell peppers
Snijpunt supplies food production companies with an appropriate range of fresh vegetables. "We take the pre-processing of vegetables off their hands. We deliver these peeled, scrubbed, halved, or diced. We do all this on 12 different lines in our vegetable processing facility."
Once inside this company's blue building, you quickly realize it's a modern, automated operation. Snijpunt is a Harvest House member. So it has short, fast lines of communication with fruit-vegetable growers. "Together with our modern, high-capacity machines, this ensures that can process both large and small orders quickly," says Mark.
"Processing is fast, and all its components are optimized. That means we can guarantee the products' freshness. Thanks to our transportation partners, we can do same-day deliveries within the Netherlands. For our export customers, the processing time to delivery is half a day at most."
Warehouse: The building's expansion was completed in 2020. Snijpunt added room for production lines. That led to an increased maximum capacity
Snijpunt's main clients are vegetable processing companies, foodservice suppliers, caterers, meat and salad producers, and meal manufacturers. These are in eight European countries. "We're happy to share the knowledge and experience we've gained over the years with them," Mark adds.
Constant quality, of water and air too
The company aims to optimize its clients' processes. They do so by offering products that are as well suited as possible to the production process. "This lets them focus fully on their end process, which is where their true specialism lies." Van der Salm and his team are continually trying to find ways to improve the company in small ways.
This is so it can further develop food safety, product quality, efficiency, and shelf life. "For example, we're currently focusing on our production areas and product storage rooms' air quality. We took several air samples, and their values didn't meet our high internal requirements. So, along with an external partner, we started a project. It's yielded very positive results."
A look inside: Bij Snijpunt processes products all year long. The Harvest House growers are increasingly demanding this year-round need. This development will professionalize more in the future
"The new measurements show we're achieving a more consistent air quality. That provides an improved environment for our products. And it benefits their shelf life. An added advantage is that our staff also have a healthier air quality. We have 60 full-time staff. But in spring, during peak times, we employ 25 more," explains Mark.
Snijpunt closely inspected its cleaning water too. They usually replace this several times a day. "We're now using a new technique. It ensures that the cleaning water maintains the same low microbiological values throughout the process. This method means we ensure constant low levels. We also save many liters of water per day."
The business was founded in 1998 as part of a bell pepper cultivation company. It, therefore, knows this market best. "We specialize in bell peppers," says Mark. "But we're constantly developing. So, we've gained a lot of experience in other vegetables and processing solutions. We now also process cauliflower, broccoli, onions, radishes, pumpkin, celeriac, and sweet potato."
Snijpunt's primary goal is to continue developing in our existing product group. Expansion into other products is not a priority. There are steps in the chain and our production process. None of these must affect any of the products' freshness. To guarantee this, Mark and his team are always looking for better options. "And if there are none to be found, we can always make or create them," he concludes.