The family-owned Berief Food GmbH is a pioneer for plant-based products on the German market, with over 35 years of experience in the production of plant-based foods. Just recently, the company added two new oat drink variants to its range.
We spoke to Bernd Eßer, Managing Director of Berief Food GmbH as well as board member of BALPro (Verband für Alternative Proteinquellen), the German Association for Alternative Protein Sources, about the company’s 2021 in review and thoughts looking ahead to 2022.
What were the highlights of 2021?
We in Berief Food were able to follow our successful path of recent years again in 2021. For this, we thank all our staff and partners that make this possible on a daily basis. Berief is also growing in 2021. With 370 employees Berief reached a new maximum and the company still has many interesting positions to fill, now and in the future.
In 2021 Berief further developed the site in Beckum and prepared it for the needs of the next few years. Here the central focus is on digitalisation of the processes. This path will also be consistently followed in the next few years.
With the first Organic demeter ghurt products, a new milestone has been reached with the Berief brand. The brand itself is continuing to expand unabated in the Drinks and Tofu categories, in some cases significantly faster in sales and turnover than the market.
And the subject of sustainability can enliven Berief Food GmbH more and more and has turned the plans into action.
Last but not least, the Berief brand was launched with its first exclusive TV sponsorship campaign on ZDF and in Q4 2021 alone it is generating over 500 million contacts.
Which milestones for 2021 is the company happy to look back on?
In January 2021 we were able to report successful certification by ZNU (Centre for Sustainable Company Management). With regard to responsibility and sustainability, the new partnership is supplemented by Climate Partner, with which Berief was certified Climate Neutral in Scope 1, 2 and 3 in 2021.
Exports were strengthened and expanded. Here too the course is set for the next few years.
In 2021 the brand business also achieved additional turnover successes. The brand is establishing itself in the management of communication for the retail trade and end consumers with ever-increasing confidence and professionalism. The company is looking forward to the future challenges and opportunities in the market.
Overall it is above all the many small milestones that are being achieved that we are happy to look back on. Nevertheless, we see the biggest milestone of overcoming the unplanned challenges and the services being provided by everyone day in day out as one of the biggest successes.
Where will those interested be able to meet the company in person in 2022? (Exhibitions/events)
Our ability to plan for exhibitions and events for 2022 is subject to similar conditions to those in 2021.
Whether digitally or live and face to face, we will be actively represented at the relevant exhibitions such as Biofach, PLMA and others in other European countries next year.
We also envisage renewed participation in end consumer events and exhibitions, perhaps with the first participations as early as 2022.
What are the plans for 2022?
The plans for 2022 are for further development in almost all areas in accordance with the plan and the targets that we have set ourselves.
Berief will further establish itself in the retail trade, increase its presence with the Berief brand in the POS area and act even more proactively. The successful intensification of the export business will be driven further forward in 2022. Europe will be one of the main focuses here.
The media campaign launched on the TV in 2021 with our partner ZDF will also be continued in 2022. The gross contacts of over 500 million generated in 2021 will be followed in Quarters 1 and 4 2022 with further campaigns, with an associated considerable growth in gross contacts.
The retail trade and end consumers can look forward to new products under the Berief brand in all product categories such as Tofu, Drinks and Ghurts throughout 2022. As ever, the first ones will be presented at Biofach 2022.
As in previous years, we will be busy again with the further development of our site.
The subject of sustainability is coming into ever sharper focus at all levels and in all areas of influence. Following the achievement of Climate Neutrality in 2021, local tree planting campaigns with almost 9,000 trees are envisaged for Quarter 1, which we are very pleased about.
What will be the challenges in 2022?
In almost all sectors, not only are delivery times lengthening but in some cases costs are also increasingly enormously. In addition to the costs of raw materials and packaging, those for energy and construction materials are also affected.
Thanks to the happy circumstance of continuing growth, we are still able to offer new jobs in many departments for which we need to attract qualified and skilled employees. We will be even more in evidence for this purpose in 2022.
Since we in Berief focus on the subject of organics, for us this also includes the subjects of maintenance of social standards, biodiversity and suitably comprehensive documentation. We began with these subjects many years ago but we still have a long way to go, even if we believe that we already have a lead over others.