This week, in the Netherlands, Frank Hessing received his company's Superkey. That signals the completion of this business' production site in Greenport Venlo. And so, with this sustainable Fresh Vegetable Plant, Hessing takes an important step toward making the company even more environmentally friendly.
From this year, thousands of vegetables will roll off this production site's conveyor belt every day. Hessing wants to use this to encourage people to eat even more fruit and vegetables. That will be good for both their health and sustainability.
Frank Hessing (right) received the Superkey from Frank van de Ven (left) of the construction company Bouwbedrijf Van de Ven.
Frank Hessing, Hessing's General Manager: "With a mission to 'get people to eat more fruits and vegetables,' you know, with a plant like this, you're taking a big step in reaching that goal. We started the initial development in mid-2018. At that time, we wanted to expand our production sites. It turned out that our current locations weren't suitable, so we opted for a new building."
"The factory was designed in 2019, and in early 2020, we started looking at locations. Greenport Venlo was ultimately the most logical choice. It's close to the largest horticultural areas in the Netherlands and our customers. I'm proud of all our colleagues and other parties with whom we could realize this," says Frank.
Automated processes mean soon, the new production site will be processing 320.000kg of vegetables into more than 850 different vegetable products every day. "There will be 100 cutting, washing, drying, and packaging production lines for fresh vegetables. That will enable us to guarantee production continuity. But we're going beyond a simple vegetable processing plant."
"We've designed the factory in such a way that we can also handle future product innovations. It's a true high-care environment where we can make all shapes, colors, and sizes in terms of meals. For example, we'll soon be able to process raw meat for steamed meals," Frank explains.
According to him, the factory is Europe's most sustainable Fresh Vegetable Plant. The building, for instance, meets the latest sustainability standards, has no gas connection, and has 12,000 solar panels on the roof. "Here, too, we've taken it further. We use the energy released during product cooling to heat our offices. We also use the water for washing our products extremely sparingly."
"And since we're now closer to the cultivation areas and our clients, we drive fewer miles. All these sustainability steps are just the beginning," Frank continues. "We have great sustainability goals, and with every step we take, we consider how well we keep those steps balanced with the earth's ability to deal with them."
The completion of the plant is an important milestone for Hessing. The company is concluding a construction phase, but, says Frank, this marks the beginning of a critical new phase. "For us, the completion heralds the start of a transition. We'll now start installing new machines. In early March, production will begin, and within a year, all the machines will have been transferred from their current locations," Frank concludes.
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