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Inca, a firm that can be aimed: target, private label.

To the observer, the Inca company offers several interesting aspects of the emerging new European coffee business. The young company is succeeding in a multiple of sectors - classic brand names on national markets, store brand and private label coffee products, soluble and specialty product segments, the trend towards 'Euro-branding' and pioneering on Eastern European markets. Rather than posing a problem, as it might for other more classical companies, such diversity is at the heart of Inca. The company has been created to meet market demands.

Given this mentality, it is not surprising to find that this Dutch company operates on 20 national markets, and too that its headquarters in s'Hertogenbosch are not combined with a coffee roasting/packaging factory, as is traditional, but rather with the central warehousing/distributing function. This, in itself, is emblematic of the Inca mentality, with emphasis not so much on the production process of specific goods for a specific market, but rather on a quick, reliable and economical response to pan-European retail demands via a wide array of readily-available, popular consumer products. For this new breed of the European coffee company, the menu and quality of business services are therefore as important as those of the product bases themselves.

The structure of the company confirms this, there being three arms: Inca Consumer Products BV, Inca Koffie & Thee BV, and Inca Productiemij BV. The last named arm is based with the production facility in Almelo, in northern Netherlands. In total, Inca works to maintain a balance among its consumer products, one-third of turnover is in coffee, one third each in chocolate products and cosmetics. Although tea figures in the firm's name and product lineup, it is of relatively minor importance.

While the company's coffee portfolio includes known trademarks, particularly under the long established Bridge and Coosemans names, a full 65% of the activity is in distributor labels (in-store brands). When it comes to instant products, some 80% of Inca's wares are under distributor labels. Although based in the Netherlands, the company actually regards Belgium, France, and now Poland, as its most familiar and successful 'home' markets. Inca can report working consistently with some of the biggest names in European food retailing and in private label, with a gaining momentum in Benelux countries and France.

The company's instant products represent about 60% of value in turnover. The line includes spray and freeze dried entries, regular and decaffeinated, along with coffee mixtures (barley blend, etc.). These are produced for Inca in country of origin. The instant is packaged mostly in jars, but also now in composite cans, sachets and in big filters. Inca's own house brands in instant are best known under the Incafe name, but are also sold as Bridge and Coosemans. Incafe is a nationally distributed product in Belgium and France, and is available in several Eastern European nations, Scandinavia, and nations of the Far East.

Roasted coffee production is handled both in the Netherlands and in Aartselaar, near Antwerp, Belgium. For its markets in Western Europe, more than 95% of the production is in vacuum packs of ground coffee. For its eastern European markets, Inca is still roasting and packing sizeable quantities of whole beans.

Although the private label sector has witnessed the lion's share of Inca expansion - the company is only seven years old and sees the volume of coffee packages produced doubling each year - the firm has also expanded in sales of its own coffee brand names. Four years ago, Inca bought two well-known Belgian names in coffee - Bridge and Coosemans. This production is centered in Aartselaar. Inca has expanded the Bridge and Coosemans distributions to national levels in Belgium and France, and now too into Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The Coosemans line is maintained as a quality family. Inca R&D is currently extending the family with an in-house developed Cappuccino-in-sachet product.

As well as being an important shareholder, Eric Bezemer is company president. He has been the center of how Inca has developed as the new kind of coffee company, one that can be aimed with precision at some of the most attractive targets in the contemporary beverage marketplace.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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