The products of De Smaakspecialst don’t just end up in store. One of the chains in the process is the packing of our products. This happens partially at the social working company of Senzer in Helmond. Senzer is commited to bring people into the labour market and give them work. In 90% of the case people can work at external employers. In some cases this is somewhat more difficult, because the limitation doesn’t allow it and somebody needs a little bit more guidance. These people start to work at the social working company to pack foodstuffs.
From our mission to produce responsible food with attention for people, animals and the environment, the packaging of our products at Senzer was a conscious choice. De Smaakspecialist is even the largest client. One department has been specially set up to package products for De Smaakspecialist, which has been renamed Organic Food Helmond. A group of some 50 people work meticulously to make the packaging look as attractive as possible. Many of the Smaakt flours, BioToday Oats to go and various RAW Organic Food powders, for example, pass through their hands. Because handwork it is! Olaf Fugers, Senior Labour Broker for Senzer, explains: “A large part of the work process is manual labour. Take the flours from Smaakt, for example. The labels have to be stuck on the packaging, the bags are pre-folded, and if it’s a small batch, the bags are also filled by hand and therefore have to be weighed. Although these people rely on repetitive work, they also don’t mind doing the same thing for a long time. A change in color label or a different flour already does a lot for this group.”
Olaf: ”The people that work at the department identify themselves with the brand, they know who they’re doing the work for. When Pieter Dirven visits they also immediately know that he is the ‘’boss”. What’s very fun is that they can see the products in the store. You’ll hear the employees say: ‘He, I was at the Jumbo and I saw Smaakt flour!’ And trying them out is also part of it. How else at De Smaakspecialist? “When the Oats to go just came in everybody was curious. It smelled of raspberry and they didn’t know it. Then we tasted it. Opinions were very split about the taste, but they loved that they were allowed to taste! The tasting helps to identify with the brand and they also got a Christmas package from De Smaakspecialist. It’s pretty unique that something like that happens. They absolutely loved it!
Recently Senzer’s location has gone through a big redesign and rebuild and they have gone through a professionalizing sweep. All to get the BRC7 certificate. This certificate gives a remarkable standard in the area of food safety. And the work has payed of: after the audit they got an A-rank status. “The new working environment and certification gives workers peace and stability. They did need to get used to the tough working procedures, but our people are convinced that you need to handle foodstuffs with care. They understand this, this focus group is so precise that they’re almost whiny about it. This is very useful for the work that they do.”