Every time when passion for excellence and hard work meet, the result is an exceptional product. Kaandorp Cheese is certainly one of that.
A family business since 1929, with its 3rd generation (2 brothers, Matthijs and Stefan Kaandorp) now in charge, this cheese company expanded from a traditional local Dutch wholesaler to an international company. The cheese is left to ripen into the hands of specially equipped companies, and then a special attention is given to cutting and packaging. Responsibility for expanding distribution is in the hands of Carla Bos (Commercial Director Europe) and Humphry van Hesse (Export Director Overseas).
Mr. Humphry van Hesse talked to Diplomat Magazine about Kaandorp Cheese history and its future prospective.
‘Customers feel at home at our organization due to the orientation towards service. The words ‘family business’ say it all. The two owners, two brothers, give everything for this company. Through their way of leadership, they take their staff with them in their love for their profession but also in their pursuit of perfection. In other words, everyone is on the same page, and people step in where necessary. There is no thinking and working in boxes; that is one of the secrets of this well-oiled machine’.
Mr. Van Hesse talked about the variety of cheese and how it may be accompanied by the right kind of wine, in order to enhance its given pleasure. ‘Each type of milk gives the cheese its own taste and adds diversity to the total cheese shelf.
Cow cheese has by far the largest share. The other variants are also considerably more expensive in terms of price. For people with cow milk intolerance, it is a Godsend that there is also goat cheese, for example. In the last 10 years, however, we have seen the sales of goat cheese in particular rise enormously.
A dinner can be accompanied by various wines: white, red, port, etc. Different kinds of meat go well with different wines. It works the same way with cheese. A cheese board is often served for dessert at dinner, accompanied by a selected glass of wine’.
You can certainly feel the passion for his job in his words. He just loves what he does!
‘Gouda cheese is a typical Dutch product in which no concessions are made. However, there are possibilities to adjust production processes in order to give the cheese the predicate of Kosher, Halal, or Organic, for example. By adding certain herbs, a taste can be created that is accessible or widely used in certain countries. Organic cheeses are an important part of Kaandorp Cheese’s organization.
Kaandorp moves along with the changing world. Certifications such as IFS (last year, Kaandorp had that and achieved a score of 97.71 %.), SKAL (organic), Halal, FDA, Cifer, and BPOM are part of its expertise now. All audits have been successfully completed. We are always very cautious about sharing information about innovative products and new markets.
The basic selection is always based on the highest demand worldwide. The difference between processed cheese and naturally ripened cheese is something we like to explain in order to get a better idea about taste, shelf life, and food safety. As real cheese connoisseurs, we know what people like. The real Gouda cheese is praised all over the world’.
In recent years the company expanded worldwide and is now present on markets far away from the native Netherlands.
‘Because I already had a reasonable network from my international advertising and marketing background, I was able to contact and negotiate our entry on the Chinese dairy market. The expansion to Florida was a test phase for Kaandorp, in which it was able to test brands and concepts on a small scale. Based on these findings, the company is now on the verge of rolling out these concepts. COVID has caused some delay, but this also had some advantages. The time we have gained has given us some new contacts and relationships with the prospect of long-term commitment’.
Mr. Van Hesse clearly has a very good eye for business. ‘As export director, I am always looking for new ways to bring our products to other local markets. I often work with embassies in order to find out more about the corporate culture of each country in advance and to be able to reach the right people. Sometimes embassy members even join me on my first economic trip to a new country. Because I have been visiting the various embassies for years, it is therefore not surprising that we are present at such diplomatic events, as ‘Diplomat after Summer Party’ organized by Diplomat Magazine at Leonardo Royal Hotel in The Hague. We wish to present our products and have them tasted by those who are not yet familiar with them. People can also visit our website or stay in touch through our regular newsletters’
And for sure, people will definitely want to follow more of the Kaandorp Cheese story, after first tasting their marvelous varieties of cheese.