In Belgium, Industriële Koeltechniek Roose (IKR) recently installed a new cooling and freezing system at De Aardappelhoeve. This potato specialist is increasingly focusing on the convenience market with its brand, The Potato Chef, which required a new storage location. "The IKR system let us realize this smoothly and quickly," begins De Aardappelhoeve's Ellen Nemegheer.
In 2010, Wim Roose took over IKR's reigns from his father. From a very young age, Wim had accompanied his father to jobs. The company is currently mainly active in the meat and general food sector but has made the move into the fruit and vegetable sector too.
"Our experience in the different sectors helps us find optimal cooling and freezing systems for fruit and vegetable clients, too," Wim says. "Both sectors use similar installations and refrigeration techniques, which is why we want to expand into fruit and vegetable refrigeration." IKR, mainly active in the industry, has installed several systems at fruit and vegetable companies, like DV Fresh and now De Aardappelhoeve.
"We met by accident. We know each other privately, and our companies are practically in each other's backyards. Bart (Nemegheer) approached me at a party, saying he needed a new cooling and freezing system for The Potato Chef's products. After a few conversations, we quickly discovered what he wanted was what we could offer. It was a perfect fit, and we got started pretty quickly," Wim explains.
"To get started was quite a job, though. The system had to be installed in an existing building, so we had to move some piping from another refrigeration system." Bart adds, "And it had to be done quickly. We had an IFS audit scheduled for early March, so the new production space absolutely had to be ready by then." Everything, thus, had to be streamlined to meet the deadline. "We did that with no issues. We started in late January, and the rooms were entirely ready for use in mid-February."
The result? A CO2 system with a processing space (where everything is packaged) and a cooling and freezing space for (sweet) potato products. "The freezer room was mainly for our sweet potato croquettes and sweet potato fries," Ellen continues. "That's because we're on agricultural land, so we can't do processing at this location—only washing and packaging. We, thus, outsourced the processing to our Dutch partner, who delivers the croquettes and fries back to us in frozen form. So, we needed a freezer room to store those products."
The Potato Chef range further includes seasoned or spicy potato wedges, slices, and cubes. "These don't come frozen; a different nearby partner delivers those freshly frozen, and we then store them in the cold room. These facilities mean we can now store the products at optimal temperatures and deliver frozen fresh products to retail on demand," Ellen explains.
She believes IKR can help more companies in the sector with their refrigeration and freezer needs. "We worked perfectly together from the get-go. They brainstormed the process, and we could always approach Wim with questions or problems." Thus, even though his business has now expanded nicely, Wim still makes a point of being a recognizable face throughout the process.
"We're a relatively small company, but I think that works to our advantage. We have a flat structure and always work in short lines. Also, we use the latest technologies and offer everything from A to Z, from engineering to installation and automation. We, therefore, hope to help more companies in the sector in the future," Wim concludes.
For more information:
Industriële Koeltechniek Roose
14 Industrie Street
8755, Ruiselede, BE
Tel: +32 (0) 516 88 766
Ellen and Bart Nemegheer
7A Putterij Street
8700, Tielt, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 514 02 500