The case: Plant-based customisation for international chain
From snacks and delicacies that you take home to dishes that you enjoy in the shop. Although the core business of one of our food service customers is primarily non-food, the chain is also known worldwide for its food products. Because of its great impact on the environment, the multinational company is committed to sustainability. Until only recently, it sold quite a lot of meat products. All the more reason for it to present itself in a more sustainable way in the food department and to put more plant-based alternatives on the menu. Schouten helped with the development
“Briefing is guiding – but we also think proactively”
Customisation from briefing and collaboration
Daan Vetters, Sales Manager QSR at Schouten explains: “From the outset, it was clear that we would develop a 100% customised product. The basis was a clear briefing with the important requirement: as few allergens as possible. That way, the product is accessible to everyone, and the customer can introduce it to all branches worldwide”.
“Our R&D team worked closely with the customer’s R&D team. Transparency in the development process was paramount. The briefing was the guiding principle. But we also thought along proactively about improvements in taste, texture, and price. Finally, the products were tested for taste at the head office”.
“Looking into the kitchen to overcome bottlenecks”
Challenges in practice
In addition to taste, Schouten pays attention to the preparation of plant-based products in practice: “After all, the Q in QSR is there for a reason. Service to guests must be fast and optimal. That’s why we look at whether a product also fits in with the working and preparation method in the kitchen”.
“We prefer to watch at the busiest time of the day to see what works and what doesn’t. We also check how long products remain good and tasty. This allows us to overcome bottlenecks in a timely manner”.
From out-of-the-box idea to plant-based end result
Schouten previously developed a vegan burger aimed at children for the customer: “We recently completed the R&D of plant-based meatballs and nuggets. At first, this was just an idea: we hadn’t thought about a recipe or ingredients at all. Together, we developed this concept into concrete products. These will come on the market this spring”.
“Because we often develop plant-based products together with the customer, we know how they work in operations. That’s why we’re regularly able to surprise them with out-of-the-box ideas. In turn, they can surprise their own customers in the shop or at home with products that make life easier and more sustainable”.
Compliance and quality in the plant-based sector
Because the international retail chain uses the plant-based products worldwide, they have to comply with laws and regulations that differ by region and country. “That’s why we do a full compliance check. We check whether all ingredients are actually allowed to be exported to that country. And whether the information on the label is legally compliant”.
In addition to compliance, Schouten pays full attention to quality: “As a producer of vegetarian and vegan products, we consider it important to meet the highest quality standards. That is why we have our own quality department and work with several BRC- or IFS-certified production sites. That means customers like this international retail chain know that we work with the right ingredients and production methods”.
Need inspiration in the plant-based sector?
Do you also want to add (more) plant-based products to your assortment? Do you have any ideas for vegetarian or vegan products? Call customer care or fill in the contact form.