Proud of the meat sector: from passion to efficient marketing

Martin Braamhaar (l) and Maarten Kraak
Vakblad Voedingsindustrie by Esther van der Lelie | pictures Koos Groenewold©

Put two original butchers together and the conversation soon turns to their passion for the butcher’s profession and a good piece of meat. Passion that still shines through in their current jobs at Diviande and Sismatec: producing, cutting and packaging fresh and frozen meat products and meat alternatives. 

Maarten Kraak of Diviande and Martin Braamhaar of Sismatec are both originally butchers. As young boys, they learned the butcher’s trade and worked as certified butchers. Both later moved on to other positions in the food sector. The passion for meat has always remained.

The passion

Maarten Kraak proudly talks about his experience in a top butcher’s shop in a village with 3,200 inhabitants. “I was one of the ten butchers in this butcher’s shop, which supplied many catering establishments and military homes in the Netherlands and Germany. Then I went into the meat industry, from deboner to manager of a meat pre-packing company.” For several years he has been working as production manager convenience and vegetarian at Diviande, producer and packager of frozen meat, fresh pre-packed meat and meat substitutes, part of the Jan Zandbergen Group. “Here we use the latest technologies to produce beautiful pieces of meat for industry, food service, Cash&Carry and retail, under our own brand or private label. Our process is based on quality and innovation.”

Martin’s path was different. After having been a certified butcher and having completed his studies in business administration, he went to work for a supermarket chain. “I did various jobs, from buyer to professional/commercial butcher, until I came into contact with Gerard Buis from Sismatec. In 2008, I became their new account manager and the tenth employee, and now there are 40 of us working in a new building in Almelo, with an experience centre where our own engineers carry out tests. We are experiencing growth in all segments, have many international customers and are proud of our 24/7 service.”

Efficient ‘tasting’

Martin came into contact with Diviande around 2017 through the Future Food Group, a sister company of Diviande, to which he had supplied a cutting and packaging machine. The good experiences with these machines came to the attention of the buyer of Diviande, Dick de Vries. He was sent out with the wishes of the work floor to select a new cutting and packaging machine. With the aim of saving time. In order to find the right solution for Diviande, Martin invited them to visit the Treif factory in Oberlahr. Maarten: “That visit really added value for us. You get to see the heart of production, with experts who know every detail. You experience how the machines work, the reliability, the precision and the benefits.

It’s good to see that Sismatec keeps innovating, that’s what we love at Diviande.

The choice

A factory test revealed the Treif Falcon Hybrid to be the most suitable machine. The Falcon Hybrid portion cutter ensures the highest yield when cutting portions. The test showed that this machine achieved the best results for Diviande in terms of cutting loss and quality of the cut.

The Proseal GT1e was also purchased. This is an automatic in-line tray sealer for skin, skin plus, skin deep and map packaging. The machine has a high capacity and speed, up to 60 vacuum/gas packages per minute. “Here we make the most use of the folder packaging, such as cardboard trays,” says Maarten. “It is nice that the machine has several options and that we can quickly change it for a different type of packaging in the shortest possible time. It is a solid and open design, so you can see what is happening and the machine can be cleaned easily.”

The collaboration

At Diviande they are pleased with the Sismatec machines. Both parties are very happy with the cooperation. Martin: ” It runs smoothly. We don’t aim for the quick sale, but for the relationship. Maarten: “It’s good to see that Sismatec keeps innovating, which is what we love at Diviande and Jan Zandbergen Group.” The men end the conversation with a final look at the meat sector, disappointed that knowledge and new recruits for the butcher’s profession are declining, but pleased with the consumer’s recurring interest in a really good piece of meat on the Green-egg.