05/05/14 Updated 31/05/19

Innovation and adventure in portion cutting

A passion for your trade, a willingness to take risks, and an endless thirst for innovation: these are the magic ingredients of success for fish supplier Vishandel Almelo in Katwijk aan Zee, where owner Piet Beekhuizen and his son Marco have found an ideal partner in Marel.

For almost forty years, Vishandel Almelo has supplied a wide range of fresh, fried, and poached fish products to care institutions, company restaurants, producers of ready-made meals, large-scale hotel and catering companies and wholesalers.

“I had a fish shop on the Almeloplein in The Hague from 1976, but I got bored very quickly,” Piet Beekhuizen explains. “So, whenever I had a moment, I’d go round the old people’s homes in the neighborhood to see if they were interested in our products. Well, they certainly were! They were particularly keen on the idea that we could fry the fish and deliver it to them hot. It was from that point that things really started to take off.”

Their success led them to larger and larger premises until they ended up buying a 2600 m2 property on the Ambachtsweg in Katwijk aan Zee. This is the location from which Vishandel Almelo still operates, supplying daily deliveries of made-to-order products to one-stop suppliers, as well as directly to the consumer.

At the cutting edge

The people at Vishandel Almelo are strangers to complacency and are always on the lookout for new opportunities. For example, the company is increasingly focused on convenience. “Convenience is becoming more and more important to customers,” says Beekhuizen. “So if that’s what the market expects, we are happy to oblige.”

This new focus has already resulted in a completely new convenience division, fitted out with the latest in production equipment. In their drive for innovation and to serve the market as effectively as possible, Beekhuizen and his son have found a reliable partner in Marel.

“It really helps to work on it together with a partner who knows what our business is all about and can think along with us. Marel is exactly that type of partner: expert, committed, innovative and service-orientated,” says Marco Beekhuizen. “We are constantly searching for new forms of innovation, as well as ways of improving our efficiency.”

The new Marel I-Cut PortionCutter that Vishandel Almelo recently acquired is a good example of this. A fantastic buy, according to Marco: “Hand-cut portions of 50 grams can sometimes turn out to be 60 or 40 grams instead. But by using this machine, we get 50 grams every time. No human hand could portion a product with that degree of accuracy. This means less wastage and a much better return. On top of that, the machine is very easy to use and to clean. Our operators are very pleased with it.”

And it looks like there will be more to come. With the growing demand for convenience in mind, father and son already have their eye on other Marel equipment, for example for cooking fish. Their passion for innovation and automation, and their drive to serve the market flexibly are clear, and Marel is proud to be a part of their constant evolution.