Berief: “Plant-Based Nutrition has Made a Place for Itself at the Heart of Society”

Bernd Eßer, Berief
Photo: Bernd Eßer

Berief is a German producer of high quality, organic soy and vegetable products with variations of plant meats and sausages, sandwich spreads, soyghurts, and drinks. For more than 30 years only the best organic quality has been selected; cultivated and harvested in Germany and the adjacent European neighbouring countries.

Bernd Eßer, manager at Berief, spoke with vegconomist about the vegan market and its future.

What does your current vegan product portfolio include?
Rooted in the idea of producing plant-based products, Berief Food GmbH has specialised in three categories during recent years. With 35 years of experience, we are now able to offer our customers a multi-faceted ‘round-the-clock’ portfolio of vegan products. Our customers can take advantage of a wide range of foods including tofu, various plant-based products in pots such as yoghurt, cooking sauces and cream alternatives, and soya, cereal and nut drinks.

What new arrivals can we look forward to from Berief Food in the coming months?
Our product management and product development are committed to the prompt identification of trends and reacting to them with suitable product ideas before actual demand even emerges. Parallel to these new developments, we are optimising our core products, for instance through targeted raw material research and recipe refinement. We are also focussing on improving our packaging – after all, we believe that resource-saving production and sustainable packaging concepts go hand in hand.

Last year, we converted to basic raw materials from Naturland for the production of our Berief Organic Oat and Spelt Drink, and we are extending this commitment to other products, too. By the end of this year, the Berief Organic Almond Drink will also be made using Naturland ingredients, and we will complete the conversion process with our Organic Soya Dinks Natural and Naturell, too.

Just in time for summer, we will be launching the refreshingly fruity Organic Coconut Tropic Drink under the Berief brand. It will be released in a 0.5 l TetraEdge carton with one-step screw cap.  Which we use on all of our drinks.

In terms of new products, we can reveal that we are currently developing both new plant-based yogurt and drinks, and more ideas will follow – keep your eyes peeled!

How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
Next year, our company will be celebrating its 35th anniversary. We are proud to have been owned by the Berief family since our foundation. Twenty years have passed since they made their consistent and uncompromising pledge to organic production.

Today, we only use high-quality, organic raw materials which, wherever possible, are procured locally. All of our main raw materials, such as soya, oats, spelt and rice, are cultivated in Europe. Another advantage is that through its Naturland certification, the oats and spelt used to make our Organic Oats and Spelt Drink originate exclusively in Germany.

Berief
Berief GmbH

Which countries do you presently export to?
We currently export to 19 countries and mainly serve European nations. We are also spending time on the ground and speaking directly to customers there in order to understand demand in the specific markets.

How do you think the vegan lifestyle will develop in coming years?
Currently, demand for plant-based nutrition is still in its infancy. Despite this, it’s already clear that it’s much more than just a trend. Plant-based nutrition has made a place for itself at the heart of society. A quick walk around any supermarket is enough to confirm this. The number of products is growing and quality is improving. Countless companies are conducting research, testing and sampling; we can look forward to many new product varieties.

Indicators like the internet with its mega-trends and influencers make products and companies more visible. Consumers are receiving more information about the potential of plant-based nutrition. Following a vegan diet has long ceased to be merely cool or hip – we’re observing a fundamental change in society’s thinking, regardless of age or social environment. And this is happening throughout today’s mega-trends.

How is Berief Food preparing itself?
For instance, through trend scouting and networking in the hotspots for plant-based nutrition. We make sure we are on the ground, but we also take advantage of the opportunities posed by digitisation. As a family-run company, speed is a key virtue. This, coupled with endless curiosity and an embraced positive error culture, will support us in meeting the demands of our customers.

Through our knowledge of the potential of plant-based nutrition, we have made huge investments in our site and are currently in the process of commissioning another production section, which will be ready by the end of 2019. Parallel to this, we are reinforcing our specialist teams with additional experts.