The Food & Beverage Technology Club received Fuji Oil Europe on 22 January. 31 participants braved the first snow of the year in pursuit of inspiration at the Auberge du Pêcheur in Sint-Martens-Latem. They were there to know all about the growth and efficiency of the food manufacturer. This is a brief report of this event.


History in a nut shell

Fuji Oil Europe is located at the port of Ghent and is part of the Japanese Fuji Oil Group. The group is active worldwide in three main areas: oils and fats, cocoa and chocolate products, and soy products. The Fuji Oil Group was established in 1950 and during the first years focused on the market in Asia. In a later phase they expanded their production activities to Europe, the USA and Brazil.

Trends

Around the turn of the century, the demand for oils and fats changed significantly and palm oil was introduced. "New market players had prices that could not be beat," said Bernard Cleenewerck, CEO for Fuji Oil Europe. "We, therefore, set up a plan of action focusing on innovation and know-how. We defined three key issues: quality, efficiency investments and new business such as Flanders Fillings & Compounds which focuses on the niche market of stevia, sugar-free and lactose-free chocolate products."

CEO Bernard Cleenewerck and Technical Director Ronny Voorspools (Fuji Oil Europe) shared their vision with the members of Agoria's Food Technology Club

"We follow market trends closely", emphasized Cleenewerck. "This allows us to respond immediately to changes in demand, food safety, sustainability and functionality."

Fuji Oil Europe plays an active role in patent politics and monitors the market to ensure nobody violates any patent. Breaches occur regularly and are immediately followed up. They also keep up with patents submitted by their competitors.

Investment policies

In 15 years, Fuji Oil Europe invested more than 70 million euro and focuses on three main issues: innovation and expansion, efficiency and diversification. "The installation of heating grids in the factory has decreased the consumption of gas by a third and the rinse water by as much as 90%", says Technical Director Ronny Voorspools.

The packaging line has also been fully automated using comprehensive and integrated software systems. "This results in various challenges: how to identify pallets, how to transfer data or how to organise stock management and is the ERP system adapted to the custom-made products for specific customers?", continued Voorspools. "Our new system has answers to all these questions and guarantees maximum flexibility and service."

The seminary ended with a drink and a network lunch where all participants could discuss topics with Bernard Cleenewerck and Ronny Voorspools of Fuji Oil Europe.

Would you like to know more about future activities of the Food & Beverage Technology Club or would you like to become a member? Please contact François de Hemptinne.