In less than a decade Taranaki-based food manufacturer Van Dyck Fine Foods has carved out a market niche, providing a unique range of crepes, hotcakes and blinis to a rapidly expanding local and global market.

Van Dyck Fine Foods are one of New Zealand’s growing specialty exporters, sending their snap-frozen products throughout Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Commercial Director Inge Vercammen puts their success down to uniqueness and innovation.  Their machines can add fruit pieces and chocolate chips to hotcakes, offering a huge variety of unique flavour combinations, including apple cinnamon, blueberry, coconut raisin, chocolate, and chocolate chip. 

Van Dyck makes and supplies its products to some of New Zealand’s biggest food retailers, from Burger King to Wendy’s, Esquires Cafes to the Accor Hotel Chain, Quality Bakers to Spotless Catering. Their products are also available through distributors such as Bidvest, Gilmours, and in Foodstuffs and Countdown supermarkets.  

Venture Taranaki has been involved with Van Dyck from the beginning and has seen them grow from strength to strength.  Their current world class production facility makes 15,000 hotcakes an hour and employs 20 staff.

“Van Dyck have consistently met their annual growth plans,” says Venture Taranaki Business Advisor Zara Ryan. 
“The company is very committed to continuous R&D and improvement. As a result they have gained a lot of respect from both their customers and competitors. 
“Van Dyck operate to the highest standards and aren’t afraid to approach big players like Burger King,” Zara says. 

Investing in the quality of their products is another factor that has been instrumental in Van Dyck’s success.  In 2011 the company gained TechNZ (now Callaghan Innovation) R&D funding to work with a Massey University masters student to research improvements to the shelf life of their hotcakes. 

More recently, Van Dyck received further R&D funding to develop two new flavoured products to sell to their expanding international markets.

In 2014, Van Dyck expanded their factory to add a fully automated production line for Tandums, which are an individually wrapped hot cake snack with a sweet mascarpone filling, available in four flavours.

Inge completed her Diploma in International Trade recently, and Commercial Manager Ben Clare is now studying the same. They have been supported by Venture Taranaki through the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Capability Development Scheme, which is a programme aimed at increasing the capability of innovative and high-growth businesses.

Van Dyck were winners of the Supreme Award and Medium Business Excellence Award at the 2015 Taranaki Chamber of Commerce TSB Bank Business Excellence Awards, also taking out a Highly Commended in the Primary Industries category, and Commended in the Trades, Manufacturing and Engineering Industry Excellence categories.  They are certainly a high-growth and high-value exporter, and one to watch as the food sector in Taranaki grows.

To learn more about Callaghan Innovation R&D funding or NZTEs Capability Development Scheme call Venture Taranaki now on (06) 759 5150.