FAM, the Kontich, Belgium-based food cutting machinery specialist, has received the prestigious Leeuw van de Export Award presented by the Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) government agency engaged in supporting home-based companies conducting business abroad and foreign companies looking to set up or expand operations in Flanders.
In business since 1980, FAM’s equipment is highly regarded within industrial sectors engaged in slicing potatoes into french fries and chips, cutting mozzarella into strips for pizza topping, and pre-cutting vegetables used as components in ready meals, soups and salads.
With the slogan “We shape food worldwide,” the company has shown its strength on the international market. Together with sister firm Stumabo, a producer of high-precision knives, FAM is part of the Hifferman Group.
“Our excellent results in the past five years speak for themselves,” said CEO Mark Van Hemelrijk (pictured above at left with Guy Baeten, the company’s strategic market development director, seen at right). “But FIT is also rewarding our successful regional strategies. For example, we have a different approach for Europe, North America and Asia. We are living proof that you can develop a sustainable export strategy in which the local partners and suppliers play important roles.”
Export Drives Growth
In the past five years, FAM’s sales volume has increased by approximately 107%, from €14 million in 2014 to €29.68 million in 2019.
“This growth is 91.3% based on our turnover from exports,” stated the chief executive officer. “We are present in at least 97 countries across a number of continents, and there are no plans to stop expanding.”
The rising turnover from exports is hardly coincidental, but rather the result of a well-thought-out growth strategy.
“In the early years, the direction we wanted the business to move into was often based on gut feeling,” said Baeten. “If an opportunity came up and we felt that it was the right choice, we went for it. But at a certain point, you need a strategic positioning to shape your future. The requirements of your target market, the necessary capacity, your approach towards potential clients – everything was thoroughly researched before we took the next step.”
He added: “The way we targeted possible new markets was sometimes quite different, but it appears to have been successful. For example, almost 60% of pizzas in North America are topped with cheese cut by FAM machines.”