Sponsored by Alfred Nolte GmbH
Our aim is to combine our customers’ new food product ideas with high quality food processing at affordable prices
For almost 20 years, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has been working with governments, the private sector, and civil society to combat malnutrition. Speaking with Ben Cooper, GAIN executive director Lawrence Haddad discusses how food companies can make a positive contribution to global efforts to end hunger and increase access to nutritious foods.
What branches of food processing are you focusing on?
Alfred Nolte GmbH has specialized on the development of air and heat technology that customers in the whole of Europe rely on. Our portfolio includes high-quality machinery and components for the food processing industry and other machinery such as belt conveyor roasters and dryers, fluidized bed batch roasters and seasoning or salting machines, all of them in various sizes.
We mostly construct machinery for the roasting of nuts and kernels as well as specialty coffee. Furthermore, we are getting more and more experience with legumes, beans, roots and herbs. Our customers range from shop roasters to large industrial producers, but there is one thing they all have in common: a deep and faithful relationship with us. As a great deal of our products is developed on demand and according to the customers’ specifications a good communication throughout the development process and even the product lifecycle is essential.
What has changed for your customers in the last three years?
The good news is that the market for natural, diversified high quality food and natural medicine is permanently growing. This applies to all the products e.g., nuts and kernels as well as specialty coffee and legumes, beans, roots, herbs and many more. Consumers are getting more and more quality conscious which leads to the demand for more variety and people are willing to spend more money for high quality.
The worldwide pandemic affected the market a lot but differently than one might think as the need for high quality food rose. People had to stay at home and the distribution of the products shifted. Producers had to react quickly and efficiently and sales channels changed. At the same time, it was exciting to see that sales volumes for natural, organic, healthy products have increased. A fact that suits us well, being a machine manufacturer and partner of the producers.
What are your Unique Selling Points as an organization and what makes customers love working with Alfred Nolte?
We are very open-minded and love our customers’ new ideas. The size of a customer’s company or the exact industry are not important as we discover new industrial segments every year. We listen carefully to our customer’s new product ideas and develop concepts in order to make their dream come true. That is why we are way ahead when it comes to innovation and customer-specific solutions. A short response time, friendly and reliable project managers and high flexibility make us easy to deal with, I think. What our customers appreciate most is the high product and service quality and of course the reliability of our made-in-Germany machines.
In addition to quality, environmental consciousness thinking is a very important factor within our company. We only work with stainless steel and use efficient components with low energy consumption. We have also been able to reduce the exhaust rates of our roasters and dryers more and more which pays off: Our sustainably produced products are durable and run cost-efficiently throughout their entire life cycle.
What are the latest developments within Alfred Nolte?
We have been very busy this year working on some new: The new small continuous roaster (50 – 200 kg/h) was only launched last winter and two of these new roasters have already been implemented at customers’ sites. Their owners love the good price-performance ratio of this entry-level model and appreciate the combination of high quality and reliability at an affordable price. It is a small continuous roaster and the perfect match for all natural products. It works in the same way as our large belt roasters but is tailor-made for manufacturing or recipe creation and thus offers all the advantages of a professional machine.
We have also worked on a new shop roaster with a unique design as it comes up with a completely transparent roasting chamber which makes it an ideal roaster for shops. The prototype with 2.5 kg batch capacity immediately convinced our partners and new customers in the specialty coffee roasting community. The roast master loves the direct control of the process and he and the consumers adore the beautiful quality of the roasted coffee. I am therefore proud to announce that we are planning another size for bigger batches and we are sure that we will sign the first contracts for this new model soon.
And there is much more to come: Our new product plans include the design of odour reducing equipment for small roasteries in urban environments. It will work very efficiently with green electricity. Stay curious!
The inevitable question: What impact has the pandemic had on you and your customers?
We experienced big differences between small or middle size, family-owned businesses and big companies. The family-owned enterprises were able to adapt and make decisions quickly and also to make the necessary investments. Large companies postponed decisions and investments. In most cases this was due to the fact, that they were unable to fulfil their own requirements, e.g. travelling to see references or getting together in complete boards to make reliable decisions.
However, all the companies were happy to get through the pandemic quite successfully because the food industry is special: Compared to other industries, there are never any sharp declines in the food industry.