Working together to reduce meat consumption
Imperial Stegeman is well known throughout the Benelux as a manufacturer of artisanal meat products. The company joined Foodvalley NL, Innovation field Protein Shift, in March 2021. Collaborating on every level of the chain to further the transition to a sustainable food system is an important priority for Imperial Stegeman.
When the Dutch company Stegeman merged with the Belgian company Imperial Meat Products, the two parties researched what it is that binds them and which values and views they share. CEO Remco Kok: “In all businesses and products we saw the same craftsmanship, and the same care with which we treat our products. But aside from this focus on taste and quality, we also pay more and more attention to the world around us. Meat consumption goes hand in hand with carbon dioxide emissions, high water consumption and deforestation. And that conflicts with our aim to be more mindful and aware.”
Strategic ambition 0 – 50 – 100
Remco continues: “To reduce our footprint, we strive to waste 0 per cent. Zero wastage of the precious resource that meat is, but also 0 per cent wastage of packaging and energy, for instance. Step 2 of our strategic ambition is to reduce meat production by 50 per cent. Of course we are butchers by trade, but we realise it’s essential to make a turnaround and cut down on meat. This calls for new products: fully plant-based meat substitutes, hybrid products or completely different but tasteful products like tapas. For many people that’s quite the change. There’s a substantial chance people will have a disappointing experience with meat substitutes or the like and are consequentially ‘lost’. We want to prevent that from happening. And that is why our focus on craftsmanship, taste and quality is extremely important.”
Getting a movement going together
The third point of Stegeman’s strategic ambition is 100 per cent transparency and collaboration. “Only by collaborating within the chain and being 100 per cent transparent we can fulfil the first two points of our ambition: 0 per cent wastage and 50 per cent meat reduction. That is exactly why we joined the Foodvalley network, the Foodvalley Protein Cluster and the Shared Facilities. This last initiative is all about making production capacity and facilities available, and that fits our ambition perfectly”, Marketing Director Inge Ooms explains.
Link between small companies and large companies
“Imperial Stegeman has the perfect company size”, according to Remco Kok. “There are six production locations in the Benelux and we have over 1,200 people working for us. That’s small enough to be an entrepreneur and to collaborate on an equal footing with other companies. But at the same time it is large enough to really get a movement going, even on an international scale, thanks to our parent companies Campofrio Foodgroup and Sigma Food group. That is why we can play an important role within Foodvalley NL, as a link between small companies and large companies. And our contacts with retailers will be valuable as well.”
Remco Kok, CEO
Inge Ooms, Marketing Director