As happens with many consumers, many companies are increasingly aware that a shift from animal protein to vegetable protein is underway. In recent years, many ‘meat companies’ have started to produce meat substitutes or have enlisted the help of external partners to add a vegetarian variant to an existing range of meat products. About two years ago, we entered into a partnership with our neighbor HAK. Together we are established in the small North Brabant village of Giessen. As you may know, HAK does not offer meat products, only legumes and vegetables. HAK was interested in bringing to the market some meat substitutes based on legumes and thereby represent the brand on the meat substitute shelf as well. In the winter of 2016, we organised a winter BBQ and tasting session together and discussed the first product ideas. A constructive cooperation started, which led HAK to announce as early as in May 2017 that they would be making the step to the refrigerated section. A distinctive packaging form was chosen, with smaller bowls and a unique sleeve with a small opening in the shape of a bean. We also worked together intensively in this process to arrive at a suitable solution. HAK made use of our expertise in the field of product development, production and packaging forms. On the other hand, HAK knows best how to communicate about legumes, proteins and the tasteful and powerful positioning of these kinds of concepts. Arjen van Strien, HAK’s sales director, spoke briefly about our collaboration in our Jubilee magazine, which was published this year on occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Schouten family business. “In our capacity as bean experts we launched a bean burger, primarily as a marketing stunt. It turned out to be such a success that we asked Schouten to bring this burger into production. We match in our no-nonsense and hands-on mentality, and we keep each other focused. I believe that in twenty years’ time, vegetable food will be the standard. Schouten already took a considerable lead in this. The future looks bright.” Would you also like to collaborate with Schouten for your vegetarian concepts? You are welcome to contact us.