The factory has two production lines and VSI claims it incorporates cutting edge technology to deliver a range of specially commissioned and private label food bars. It can make the full complement of VSI products, including meal replacement bars, sports and energy bars, functional bars with one or more components and healthy snack bars.
In addition, the site’s dedicated R&D centre would enable VSI to speed up product development, chief executive Gerard Janssens told FoodNavigator. “This is really new. What we are trying to do is shorten the development time because it’s a very time consuming element.”
The feature enables customers to meet with VSI and trial their own recipes in a development kitchen. Prior to this, VSI had other research and development facilities, said Janssen, “but that was more for our own use”.
Triple layered bars
The factory contains equipment that enables the firm to produce double and even triple-layered bars, the latter being a new feature for the business. It also houses machines that can handle drizzled coatings. It is already 50% operational and is scheduled to become 100% functional within two weeks.
The new site boosts the company’s capacity from 150 million to 250 million bars a year and has created 40 new jobs in the region, giving VSI 175 employees overall. It enables VSI to increase capacity and supply both within and outside of Europe, said Janssens. Total investment in the plant was “close to €10m”, he added
Construction prompted by organic growth
Construction of the new facility began a year ago and was prompted by VSI’s organic growth, said Janssens. “Every year for some time now we have had double digit growth figures.
We are extremely pleased that our new plant is now fully operational as it allows for even more efficient bar production. By being able to offer higher quantities we also hope to grow in other markets outside of Europe and expect to further strengthen our position worldwide.”
VSI already exports to the Middle East, Australia, South Africa and South America as well as serving European customers. It offers several levels of collaboration, from providing expertise and advice on single parts of production through to total development and implementation. The company can also handle small batch work.