Agristo is standing treat for 35th anniversary
Agristo is standing treat for 35th anniversary
Every month for a year you can win a 'fries party' for 35 people
Agristo celebrates its 35th anniversary and wants everyone in the wide region around its branches in Wielsbeke, Harelbeke and Nazareth to share in the experience. "We are offering a party with a chip stand and fry-up snacks for 35 people every month for a year." say CEOs Hannelore Raes and Filip Wallays. "However, the coming year will not only be marked by our yellow golden crispy anniversary. We will also continue to grow and are therefore looking for 100 new production collaborators."
Anyone who wants a chance to win such a 'Chips party' can register at www.agristotrakteert.be. "It is important to motivate why you deserve such a party. The more creative your motivation, the more chance you have of being selected as the monthly winner. We will then provide a mobile chip stand at a location of your choice in the wide region surrounding our branches. And with plenty of golden crispy fries and matching fried snacks you and your 34 friends won't go hungry at all." (laughs)
Let everyone know
That Agristo is as proud as punch of that yellow golden crispy anniversary, the company can't hide at all. "There is a new banner on the façade of our Wielsbeek branch that is entirely devoted to 35 years of love for the potato. Our competition is also promoted on giant billboards in the region around our branches. And our collaborators will certainly not be forgotten. We hope that the corona figures continue to evolve favourably, so that at the end of this year we can bring together all our collaborators from the Netherlands and Belgium for a big anniversary party."
35 years of love for the potato
The story of Agristo goes back to 1983, when Antoon Wallays and Luc Raes decided to set up Agrigel together with Antoon's father Etienne. The childhood friends had both grown up on an agricultural farm. Antoon harvested vegetables with agricultural machinery during the holidays. In his first job at Begro, Luc bought vegetables from farmers. To be able to work on their own account they bought two bankrupt companies in Germany. All machines moved to Harelbeke where the parent company was founded. June 1986 is the official start of the vegetable processing plant. In September 1987 Agrigel switches to processing potatoes into fries. The first markets are France and Germany, with retailer Intermarché as its first major customer.
However, in France the name Agrigel turned out to be a registered trademark of Unilever. For this reason, the company was renamed Agristo in 1990. After the turn of the millennium, the company crossed the border into the Netherlands, acquiring a Lamb Weston production unit in Tilburg in 2001. Eight years later, a new production line for large volumes was commissioned there and in 2012 a new automatic high rise cold store was built.
Rapid expansion in Belgium
In 2011 Agristo acquires Willequet in Nazareth. In 2015 the construction of a new automatic high rise cold store, capable of storing 17,5 million kilos of fries, was started. A year earlier Agristo had also taken home the Lion of the Export. The West-Flanders' growth spurt started in the spring of 2016, when the old Unilin premises in Wielsbeke were purchased. Production started on one line at the end of 2017, after which a second line was quickly built. From this summer, on the Wielsbeke site, the hypermodern headquarters will also be put into use by the site's office staff and the collaborators of the Agristo group. Meanwhile, further investments are being made in Harelbeke, Nazareth and Tilburg.
Second generation in charge
In 2011 founders Antoon Wallays and Luc Raes hand over operational management to their children Kristof, Carmen and Filip Wallays and Dieter and Hannelore Raes, with Dirk Decoster as external CEO. In 2018 Filip and Hannelore take over the CEO torch, and the management expands with 5 collaborators who had already won their spurs within Agristo. In June 2019, the company is plunged into deep mourning when Luc Raes dies in a tragic accident.
Further sustainable growth
After 35 years, Agristo is not resting on its laurels, on the contrary. "We have the ambition to continue growing in a sustainable way. We are building a third production line with a packing department in Wielsbeke, which will start up at the beginning of next year. For that line, and for our other sites in West and East Flanders, we are looking for a total of about a hundred new collaborators. On Thursday 30 September and Saturday 2 October we are therefore again organising job fairs, both in Wielsbeke and Nazareth," conclude Hannelore Raes and Filip Wallays.