By working together for over 60 years, GEA and food manufacturer Mora have developed a unique relationship. It’s a relationship based upon trust and confidence in each other’s abilities and dedication to achieving customer satisfaction and operational excellence through continual innovation.
Mora in The Netherlands and Belgium is part of Van Geloven, one of Europe’s leading food manufacturing companies, now part of the McCain group. The company makes a range of tasty snack foods, including croquettes, cheese souffles and frikandellen (minced meat sausage) in its factory in Maastricht.
Mora has used GEA heritage equipment since it started in the early 1960s. Today, the factory uses GEA machines exclusively.
We believe it to be the most modern production line for cheese products in the world.”– Luc Hecker, Manager Innovation and new Technology
Even with all that experience, food manufacturing companies still have challenges as market trends evolve and customers demand new products to meet their needs. Luc Hecker, who has been with the company for 39 years, explained that there are two major changes that his company is currently facing: the increase in demand for cheese products; and more use of air frying.
“Cheese is very important because we all eat a little less meat,” he explained. “Cheese is often vegetarian as well. The vegetarian and vegan market is growing rapidly, and cheese is an important part of that.”
Air frying is popular in homes and customers like their food prepared in that way. This means that Mora products must have complete cover from the coating and that distinctive crisp crust.
The improvements usually give us a year or two’s head start on our competition”– Luc Hecker, Manager Innovation and new Technology
The right performance
GEA worked with Mora to achieve the ‘air fried’ style their customers wanted through a process of ‘flash frying’ under precisely controlled conditions. But this cooperation was just the latest in a long history of teamwork that has helped cement Mora’s strong position in the market.
Luc recalls, for example, the development of the Chicken Club, a crispy-coated piece of chicken formed around a stick. “We worked with GEA to develop a machine to make it,” he explained. “GEA then agreed to keep it exclusive to us.” The companies often improve machines or processes that become standard over time. “The improvements usually give us a year or two’s head start on our competition,” Luc added.
More recently Mora has expanded its operations with two new complete production lines from GEA. Luc said that he believes the new plant in Maastricht to be the most modern production line for cheese products in the world.
Luc paid tribute to his primary contact at GEA, Marcel van den Heuvel who, he said, he’s worked with for 35 years. “We know each other so well, it’s a great collaboration.” He also appreciated the technical support team that help him maintain the equipment for long service life with minimum downtime. “If there’s a problem we can get help quickly from GEA,” he said.
Luc believes that the attraction of air frying will continue to grow. Now that the company is part of McCain he sees an opportunity for people, all over the world, to enjoy Mora products as well. “It would be good to see, and nice to think that it all comes from a small part of The Netherlands. That would be special.”