A rich history, a good year, and a bright outlook
Since the formation of Interfood in 1970 the business has scaled up and transitioned to become a global player, adding value to the entire dairy supply chain.
Today, Interfood is so much more than a traditional trader, fostering sustainability in the dairy sector and always thinking ahead and beyond our current strategic agenda. 2022 has been a good year and the future looks bright.
Seeing the opportunity
Born into a farming family in Weert in The Netherlands, it was Jules Joosten who saw the potential of trading in condensed milk. His entrepreneurial spirit and drive led to the formation of Interfood, together with his friend Jan Beelen.
Opening up the European market
During this period Interfood specialised in exporting condensed milk to Greece, and high nutrient milk to Italy.
It was a challenging decade but, within five years, Interfood had expanded its portfolio to include milk and whey powder, opening up the European market. However, the expansion required logistics expertise, and that was provided by our current CEO Frank van Stipdonk.
Interfood grew into a team of 15 by 1990 and, by that time, our portfolio included condensed milk, high nutrient milk, milk, and whey powder.
We began trading outside Europe, in Egypt and Cyprus, and working with local agents in Uruguay and Oceania.
Frank van Stipdonk steps in and transitions Interfood into a global player
In the early nineties, Interfood suffered the pain of losing Interfood founder and inspiration, Jules Joosten, more than just a colleague, part of our team.
Frank van Stipdonk agreed to take over the company as CEO and, in under a decade, it was Frank who transitioned Interfood into a global player, and one adding value to the entire dairy supply chain. Jules Joosten would be a proud man.
We celebrated our first successful bid on milk powder tenders from Algeria and Brazil in 1992 and began trading in eastern Europe soon after, opening an office in Ukraine. This was followed by expansion in Poland, America, and New Zealand, in each case working hand-in-hand with local shareholders.
In 1995, we celebrated our 25th anniversary in style, hosting a party in Orlando.
Becoming more than a trader
Expansion continued apace in the first decade of the 21st century, with new offices established in Australia, Miami, and Singapore.
To maintain our competitive advantage, we had to become more than a traditional trader, so we extended our professional service portfolio to include supply chain, technical, financial, and dairy risk management services.
We also set up our own research and development programme and the Interfood Academy to be able to offer a more tailor-made approach to customers.
Partner of choice
In 2015, we restructured the Group for more optimal global cooperation. At this time, all shareholders were placed on an equal level to enhance team spirit and Group collaboration.
Our strategic value propositions were also Revised to focus on market insight, risk management, supply chain solutions, and technical service, and to recognise and acknowledge our wider role in fosterin sustainability in the dairy sector.
In 2020, we celebrated our 50th anniversary. Although the pandemic prevented an in-person celebration, the alternative festivities were a great success and a fitting way in which to recognise our achievements since 1970.
In 2021, we redefined our purpose supported by new corporate values: teamwork, commitment, professionalism, continuous improvement, and responsible leadership, values that are now embedded in Interfood.
Adapting to the changing world
2022 was a challenging year for everyone including Interfood. The shock of the Russian invasion followed by the energy crisis accompanied by huge price rises in virtually all commodities, including dairy, created multiple challenges just as the world was trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic which disrupted supply chains.
These events are symptomatic of the increasing uncertainty in our world, so Interfood took the opportunity to re-double our efforts to be as flexible as possible and to maximise adaptability to respond to rapidly changing factors in our environment. By doing this we managed to make 2022 yet another successful year thanks to all of our colleagues contributing to the Interfood purpose, ‘Together for better’.
Accelerating our development
In 2022 we realised record volumes, up by 16.3% year on year. We believe we will be able to continue this growth in an increasingly sustainable manner. Our focus for the period 2023–2025 will be on accelerating efforts to realise the current strategic agenda and double down on sustainability efforts as we believe this will make us fit for the future. Our goal is to have completed our strategic objectives by the end of 2025 to ensure we have a solid basis for sustainable future success.
Ready for the future
We are already thinking ahead, and beyond our current strategic agenda, to determine what comes next. The future is coming into focus with the increasing importance of sustainability and transparency, noteworthy technological developments in dairy proteins, and the rise of plant-based proteins among many other opportunities.
We will continue to closely monitor these developments, and are already thinking of the possible implications for Interfood to ensure we can take any timely strategic decisions to be ready.