Grate expectations

Flexibility and quality are the definitive traits of Noordhoek Grated Cheese. Capable of meeting any sort of customer requirement, the Dutch company is a sought-after partner of industrial food producers and wholesalers across Europe

Achance meeting between Cees Noordhoek and Tijmen Koelewijn – the former selling cheese and the latter being in the business of bread making – happened to be fateful for both in 1998. It was that encounter that led to the creation of Noordhoek Grated Cheese and today, 20 years on, the company has become a leading distributor of grated cheese to industrial food producers and wholesalers in both its domestic Dutch market and across Europe.

Offering an extensive range of cheeses, Noordhoek grates some of the most popular and beloved kinds such as Gouda (traditional for the province of South Holland, which is also the region where the company hails from), Mozzarella, Edam, Emmentaler, Red Cheddar, White Cheddar… the list goes on. The business aims to excel by providing the highest quality of products and developing flexible ways to serve its customer base. Peter de Goede, Sales Director at Noordhoek, elaborates on the company’s two core strengths:

“For us, it is paramount to be able to give the clients what they need when they need it. Sometimes, they may require us to supply them with a product very quickly and in these instances, we are capable of modifying our production planning to be able to deliver,” Peter explains. “In addition, we can combine the ingredients that we use and the way we process those, as well as the size of the gratings. All in all, we make sure we work closely with our customers to create a tailored product that completely satisfies their requirements.”

Over the years, Noordhoek has obtained a multitude of reputable certifications that underscore the emphasis it places on sticking to the highest quality standards when grating cheese. “We have BRC and IFS certificates, as well as the Grated Cheese Quality Controlled label,” Peter comments. “It is quite difficult to get these approvals, but, frankly speaking, we are looking for them ourselves, because we want to show our customers that we are fully committed to delivering truly quality products.

“It is for this reason that we are also very keen on buying excellent raw materials. This means that we are not always the cheapest in the market, but we prioritise getting the quality right and we are convinced that the customers appreciate that,” he continues.

From its humble beginnings that involved the utilisation of just one hand grater, today Noordhoek operates a facility that covers 4000 square metres in the town of Bodegraven. “Due to our growth over time, we had to move twice to larger sites and even currently, we are doubling the size of our building, putting in an extra production line. The expansion is supposed to be completed in the summer of 2019 and we are planning to use the new production line for special products like bio or vegan cheeses, or even for the creation of smaller packages,” Peter discusses.

Also this year, Noordhoek is launching its new fancy label line that will consist of four packages in full colour, wrapping premium-quality products that are to be sold to wholesalers. “We will be offering grated Gouda, grated Mozzarella, a grated 50-50 blend of Gouda and Mozzarella, as well as diced Mozzarella. Each pack will weigh two kilogrammes and we will be able to sell this range not just in the Netherlands, but across all of Europe,” Peter enthuses.

Indeed, there are very few countries on the Old Continent where Noordhoek has not established a presence yet. Given the success the company has experienced in Europe, the natural step it is presently pondering over is intercontinental expansion. Peter lifts the curtain on Noordhoek’s ambitions: “Asia is one area of particular interest to us within the next five years. Starting this year, we will be exploring the possibilities of delivering outside of Europe, because, as you know, there are certain regulations we have to comply with.

“Another transformational change we may undergo is that we are considering starting to deliver to retailers, as well. Truth being told, we have already been asked multiple times to do that, but we have been too busy serving our industrial clients and we probably did not have the right production line to supply retail. Having now developed the ability to provide smaller and full-colour packages, however, we may try it in a few years’ time,” Peter wraps up promisingly.