A conversation with Klaas Greydanus, owner/entrepreneur of Greydanus Potato Trade.
Klaas Greydanus of the eponymous potato trade in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, has been “in the business” for over 20 years now. He has been a valued customer since Manter’s early years. We spoke to Klaas on the phone about his experiences.
Can you start by telling something more about your business?
“My grandfather started Greydanus Potato Trade back in the 1930s. My father continued the business and upgraded the company with a washing machine and packaging machines.” Greydanus Potato Trade initially had their facility in Marrum, a small town in the northernmost part of the Netherlands. In 1998 they relocated to a prime location in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. “In 1998 the company was taken over by me and my brother. And we continued the business at its current location in Heerenveen. Today we pack potatoes for supermarkets throughout the whole region.”
Why did you decide to relocate to Heerenveen?
“At that time we took over fellow potato trader Brouwer, located at the current location in Heerenveen.” With the acquisition of Potato Trade Brouwer, the entire company was relocated to today’s location. “We are now only minute’s away from the highway. Logistically it makes a lot more sense now.”
So who’s your customer?
Greydanus has continued to expand and grew into a potato trader of format. “We deliver to all the major distribution centers like discounter Aldi and also to franchisers like Albert Heijn, Coop and Spar (red. Dutch supermarkets).” A franchise is an independent entrepreneur who can choose for a local potato supplier. This way Graydanus is an important link between grower and consumer.
Do you work with a fixed network of farmers?
Supplying quality potatoes starts with certified farmers who get the best of nature with their knowledge and expertise, year after year. “We do not work with contracts, but the farmers we work with return to us every year. Especially the farmers here in Friesland (red. province in the Netherlands), they sell the vast majority of their harvest to us.” Greydanus knows the farmers and the farmers know Greydanus, with that said Greydanus ensures the supply of high quality potatoes.
How did you end up with Manter?
“That’s a long story, hahaha! At the time Herman was working for Lockwood, and Lockwood was taken over. Then Peter and Herman (red. Peter Lenferink en Herman Wehkamp) wound up going into business for themselves. We saw they developed very nice machines. It took a while before we made our first purchase, but we have had a Manter machine for about seven years now, to our full satisfaction I must say.”
Please tell us about the Manter machines you have?
“At one point Manter took care of a technical project for us. That’s when it became clear to us they had a lot of of knowledge about machinery. Nowadays we have two 16-head combination weighers (red. MD16) from Manter.” Depending on the customer’s requirements, the potatoes are packed by various weights from 1 to 25 kilo’s.
How happy are you with your Manter purchase?
“We are very happy. We have installed a checkweigher as well and we see that the machines weigh very accurate. We save a lot of money by reducing the give-away (red. “give away” too much product due to inaccurate weighing).” The MD16 weigher is also equipped with Level Control, with this the weigher achieves an even more accurate result and therefore more efficiency. “Furthermore, the customerservice is very good, with just one phone call it’s either solved or a technician is on its way.” This Manter service is offered worldwide through an extensive network of dealers.
How do you see the future in terms of packaging?
“I do believe plastic is good packaging material. You can easily recycle it. But if it’s in the mind of the consumers, like paper packaging for instance, we have to go along with it.” There is no growing demand for paper packaging in the fresh produce sector yet. Research to make paper suitable for the sector is currently still in an initial phase. “We are currently testing with paper bags, however this is not a succes. It doesn’t pack nicely, it is very fragile. We have to wait and see how it develops. Manter has a machine that can pick up bags separately, you could also use a paper bag with that, so on this subject Manter is responding to the needs of the consumer.”
What are your expectations for the future?
“We see that consumers prefer smaller packs. Where we used to pack 5 or 10 kilos, you can clearly see the shift to 2.5 kg and kilo packages. So we are gearing up for that.” With the Manter MD16 weigher weights from 500 grams to 15 kilos can be reached easily. Very suitable for the different packaging that Greydanus processes.
What would you like to say to Manter?
“Just keep up the good work and stay healthy as we say nowadays! We are looking forward to a long and successful collaboration.”
We wish the Greydanus brothers successful business and we look forward to a pleasant cooperation.
Interview by Cindy van der Pal