Interview with Peter Doodeman

It is with pride that we are presenting our modified version of our CSR annual report based on our 2014 results. I am proud of the sustainable developments we have realised, and particularly of our organisation, our resolute members of staff and our Brabant mentality. Despite the fact that we were taken over by a new investor, TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. , which we are delighted about incidentally, ‘Our’ Van Geloven still feels like the family business that Ad van Geloven, Marcel Moermans, Chris van Lieshout and Peter Welten founded. Our people support sustainability; ultimately it is of strategic importance for the future of our company.

Care-free enjoyment
With this CSR annual report, we are once again demonstrating our progress in sustainability. We feel that this is important. Snacking is a party, after all, so you must be able to enjoy it care-free, and to successfully do snack business. We accept our responsibility with respect to people, society and the environment, ensuring healthy profits within the chain. Van Geloven’s sustainability policy is based in three pillars: Good Life, Sustainable Formula and Sustainable Production. These pillars are all included in this CSR report.

Last year, we also successfully modified our recipes, including for our iconic snack, the hamburger, with only natural flavours, fragrance and colourants, while retaining its much-loved taste. This development means that we are leading the way in the market. The expectation is that 100% of our snacks sold via the supermarket channel (Mora and Hebro) will be available without any artificial flavours, fragrance and colourants in about three or four years. Also in terms of reducing salt and transfat and the unsaturated fat content in our frying oil, we have made major steps forward. Naturally, we are also continually negotiating with our suppliers to find ways to make our meat procurement and processing more sustainable. The shift that retailers are making is leading to us, and we follow in their footsteps as smartly as possible. This way, we make optimal use of ‘plus’ meat, upholding superstatutory requirements relating to animal well-being and the environment. For example, in 2015 all our pork will be classed at a welfare level equivalent to the Animals Protection Foundation’s 1 star for Better Life. For chicken, we observe the upscale towards Chicken for tomorrow. We have purchased our veal pink rather than white for many years. In 2014, we started using Burgundian beef from Dutch dairy cows. This typical stewing meat is only available in restricted quantities, but it really makes our croquettes the most delicious on the market. We use horsemeat only in out-of-home products. We perform our own audits on our suppliers in order to ensure quality and animal well-being. For the rest, we are studying the option of purchasing horsemeat from a company in the south of Europe which has a good reputation in the field of animal welfare. Obviously, tasty snacks don’t have to contain meat, which is why we spent a lot of effort in 2014 in the development of the Happas snack concept. It is based on vegetables combined with cheese and spices. This concept can only be prepared in the oven. These sustainable developments can be implemented thanks to the resoluteness of our people. Overall, we are aware that we have some rounds to go. But we want to this in a realistic frame, step by step, in collaboration with our suppliers.

Also in terms of the environment, we can safely conclude that we are leading the way. Ever since the 2001 MJA (long-term agreements relating to energy reduction), extensive progress has been made. We remain committed to the MJA3, the current version (from 2012), aiming for a 2% annual reduction in energy. In addition to MJA3, we also implemented a policy on water and waste reduction.
Last but not least, we feel it is important to facilitate parties for people in non-party situations. For quite some time, we have been making funds, people and products available to two major charities: Zonnebloem and Make-A-Wish the Netherlands. These are valuable partnerships that we cherish. Additionally, we motivate employees to facilitate local parties where it is not always expected by making resources available. In this way, we helped to organise an incredible 250 parties in 2014; I am so proud of that.

Both feet on the ground
In short, we can look back on 2014 with a great sense of satisfaction. We deal with a society with increasing demands in terms of sustainability - and justifiably so. With the ubiquitous presence of social media, themes can become hot overnight. This makes it crucial to keep both feet on the ground, setting the right objectives and priorities. That is quite a challenge sometimes. We closely monitor all developments around us, and then we setour own agenda. These are well-considered choices, where we determine our own priorities. That is exactly our strength: we do what we believe in!

We do business using that motto, every day again. We are proud of our increasing sales in a decreasing market and do everything to retain and increase it while considering people, the environment and society.

My personal goal is to put our CSR policy higher on the internal agenda, and talk about it more on the external side. I trust that you will read this annual CSR report for 2014 with interest. And do feel free to hold us accountable for our promises!

Peter Doodeman,

CEO Van Geloven