From our CEO
Interfood CEO Frank van Stipdonk reflects on our good financial and non-financial performance in a challenging year for the world, and how we are living our purpose as a business—‘Together for better’—integrating sustainability into our DNA in tune with our vision of a responsible dairy industry.
I am both delighted and proud to introduce Interfood’s Integrated Report for 2022, although it reflects on a year in which the world faced serious and mounting global challenges. While some regions were still battling against the pandemic and its aftermath others suffered under immense geopolitical uncertainty and pressure, causing supply disruptions and volatile prices.
On the topic of ongoing global issues, including the situation in Ukraine, our primary concern remains the well-being of affected populations. We hope for peace and stability in all regions. At the same time humanity’s collective burden on the planet and its precious resources urgently demand a transformation in historic business models to achieve a standard of value creation in harmony with the natural world for our benefit and that of future generations.
Amid these enormous challenges, I am proud to report that Interfood has remained on course and continued to live its purpose as a business, ‘Together for better’, enabling responsible dairy consumption and enriching the lives of many. We are thrilled to share our strong results for the year, both on a non-financial and financial level.
I would like to highlight how we are embedding sustainability into our DNA and positioning Interfood as a responsible leader among our business partners. To continuously raise the bar for ourselves, we dedicated 2022 to defining relevant and ambitious targets in line with our sustainability strategy. To substantiate our commitment to these ambitions, we converted our existing loan to a Sustainability Linked Loan meaning that our progress on three sustainability KPIs will have financial implications.
Our dedicated team has done an excellent job developing our sustainability value proposition, facilitating customers and suppliers with the knowledge and network to work on their sustainability targets.
These developments represent real progress in tune with our vision of a responsible dairy industry, and we continue to step up and take an active role in working towards a more sustainable future.
Our HR organisation has grown from two into a professional network of global experts able to achieve a uniform performance cycle around the world, integrating our values—teamwork, commitment, continuous improvement, professionalism, and responsible leadership—and investing in our people. In line with our desire to be a data-driven organisation, we have also initiated a partnership with an external security specialist, increasing our progress towards an even more secure global digital environment.
We also continued to invest in our intellectual capital and business operation systems, allowing our team to excel through operational excellence. This year’s extraordinary price volatility has brought our first-class risk management solutions into even sharper focus, and we have further refined our risk management capabilities accordingly.
Our Group net income reached a record €34.0 million in 2022. This has been fuelled by significant progress on our main strategic objectives, some which I have just highlighted, and marked some major achievements including the launch of Kalla, our own Interfood whole milk powder brand sourced exclusively from sustainable suppliers, building on five values: product safety and quality, greenhouse gas emissions, animal care, biodiversity, and soil. It is our ambition to extend Kalla to include other products in the years to come.
I find that our Interfood team is world-class, and we would not have been able to realise all of these achievements in 2022 without them.
A bright future ahead
After a successful 2022, we are looking forward to 2023. While dairy prices are expected to remain volatile, we will continue to provide our business partners with optimal solutions to manage these uncertainties. We will continue to invest in operational excellence, allowing continuous provision of services for our clients. Our role in a sustainable food industry will grow through the expansion of our Kalla brand, as well as working towards our newly defined KPIs. There are a multitude of exciting initiatives on the horizon, including an ambition to validate our commitments with certifications and external endorsements. We will also keep a watchful eye on dairy alternative solutions, and closely monitor the construction of the state-of-the-art cheese and whey factory in Estonia in which we are investing. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, I was thrilled that I could get most of our colleagues together for our regional team events, but saddened that our team in China was unable to participate. In 2023, I hope to welcome them all to our necessarily delayed, but no less momentous, 50th anniversary celebrations.
On reflection, it was a very challenging—but ultimately successful—2022 for Interfood. We only continued to thrive thanks to our close collaboration and long-term ties with business partners, and by constantly developing our skills to provide the best solutions, services, and insights, striving for better, every single day. But our goals go well beyond our core offerings and business aspirations: we have always been committed to contributing to a sustainable planet, where we can all enjoy dairy responsibly, both now and in the future.
I am honoured to present this in-depth report of what the Interfood team has achieved this year together with all our stakeholders. Enjoy reading and, ‘Together for better’.
Frank van Stipdonk,