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Speculoos: no longer a Belgian secret

Several Belgian companies with a long heritage of making quality speculoos biscuits have recently geared up to let even more markets enjoy this Belgian delicacy.

 

Booming business

Lotus at Expo2015 MilanoLotus Bakeries has been making speculoos ever since 1932 and has steadily grown due to the increased demand abroad. Exporting to 45 countries, foreign markets have become even more important than the Belgian market for Lotus Bakeries, with the United States, France and the United Kingdom as the biggest export markets. Last year, the free Lotus Biscoff sample that every visitor to the Belgian Pavilion at the Expo2015 Milano received made the Pavilion one of the hotspots at the world expo.

Up until now, all of the biscuits were produced in Belgium. Given the tremendous success of their star biscuit in the US, Lotus Bakeries now decided to invest 35 million dollars to open a first production site abroad. Starting 2019, Lotus Bakeries will produce caramelized biscuits in the United States using local ingredients. One thing will remain the same however: the US-baked speculoos will taste exactly the same as the first biscuits that were produced 84 years ago in Belgium.

Lotus is now backing its global ambitions with a TV ad featuring another Belgian brand with worldwide appeal: Chelsea soccer-star Eden Hazard. Given Hazard’s popularity in Asian markets, Lotus is aiming to let its speculoos biscuit “score” in markets like China and Indonesia. 

South Koreans like it wrapped

Vermeiren Princeps’ origin goes back to at least 1650. As established local village bakers they made speculoos biscuits in addition to daily bread. With the demand for speculoos growing, Vermeiren Princeps started to specialize in biscuits in 1919. Top quality ingredients are carefully mixed and slowly baked into those wonderful speculoos biscuits. The whole process takes over 24 hours, which might make these the slowest biscuits on earth. 

However slow the baking process, export is booming at a much quicker pace. The company exports its products to 25 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa and has recently added South Korea to the already impressive list. To accommodate the South Korean market

Vermeiren Princeps adapted the packaging of their speculoos biscuits. Whereas Belgian consumers traditionally take their biscuits straight out of the pack, Asian consumers tend to prefer their cookies to be packed individually. Vermeiren Princeps therefore invested 500.000 euros in a new machine wrapping each individual speculoos biscuit the way South Koreans like it.

Meanwhile, foodies in markets across Eastern and Southern Europe are also discovering the Belgian secret. It looks like Vermeiren Princips might even further increase their 85% export ratio…

 

Vermeiren Princeps video image