New Lutosa Managing Director Meets and Greets at Anuga

The surf was up at the Lutosa stand during the just concluded Anuga trade fair in Köln, Germany, as the Leuze-en-Hainaut, Belgium-headquartered company introduced Surf Potatoes and a wave of other new products that included Spicy Krisspy Fries. The five-day exhibition also provided an opportunity to introduce Lutosa’s new managing director, Alain Duranleau, to buyers and suppliers.

new lutosa bossAlain Duranleau is now heading up Lutosa as its new managing director. Previousing serving as a McCain Foods executive for five years in France and Canada, he assumed the new position in September. With an MBA from HEC, University of Lausanne in Switzerland, his background in finance is strong. So is his international business acumen, as 15 years of professional experience includes positions at P&G.This reporter had the opportunity to dine with him and other members of the team on the afternoon of October 11, the last day of the busy show that attracted more than 165,000 visitors – up 3% over the last edition in 2015. The main course was venison, complimented with an assortment of value-added Lutosa potato specialities followed by an ice cream dessert served atop a Lutosa Belgian Waffle made according to a traditional recipe from Liege that features caramelized pearl sugar. The result, which underscores the Lutosa theme of “more than just potatoes,” is a waffle that’s smooth on the inside and crispy outside.

Mr. Duranleau, a Canadian national, took the helm of Belgium’s largest producer of frozen french fries and other potato specialties in September, replacing Erwin Wuyts. Having worked in the McCain organization for the past five years, he will be at home at Lutosa, a McCain Foods unit since 2013.

Lutosa’s new boss most recently served as vice president of finance for McCain Foods Continental Europe, Middle East and North Africa. Prior to that he held the same position at McCain Foods Canada in Toronto. Before joining McCain he was employed at Procter & Gamble for over six years, with financial analysis, strategy and business planning responsibility for business units in Switzerland and France.

“We are expecting strong growth ahead, as investments are being made to further grow international markets,” the managing director told “A major strength of Lutosa, along with its diversity in products, is agility and competitiveness in multiple markets around the world.”

Diversity and multiplicity indeed! The company packs 450,000 tons of finished product per annum, 86% of which is frozen and 92% of which is exported to 131 countries. Foodservice clients take 75% of the output, which ranges from fries and cut potatoes, to mashed potatoes, mashed and shredded specialties, oven potatoes, organic offerings, finger food and waffles.

Raw material is sourced almost exclusively from farms in Belgium and processed at plants in Leuze-en-Hainaut and Sint-Eloois-Vijve. After being calibrated and sorted, the spuds are washed and steam-peeled, visually inspected by an optical laser and cut into fries or further processed into specialities that run the gamut from mini-croquettes and noisettes to röstis, hash browns, nuggets, potato pancakes and other products.

The company’s 22 sales offices outside of Belgium span the globe from Germany, France, the UK and Poland to Italy, Poland, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, the USA, South Africa, Brazil, Peru and beyond.

Different customers call for different innovations in products and services, but many offerings are universal in appeal. The new products team believes that the latest items showcased at Anuga will meet with international approval. From the reception that crisply, crinkled-cut Surf Potatoes received, it should make a splash in the marketplace. Expectations for orders of Sweet Potato Fries, Potato Crunchies and award-winning Pom’Gourmet and dip’n eat Mini Pom’Churros are also riding high. – Reported by John Saulnier