ofi in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a trade hub for nuts, spices, dairy, and cocoa within Europe. Official figures estimate that the Dutch cocoa sector alone has an annual turnover of 2.5 billion euros and generates more than 10,000 jobs 1 – 400 of them in our cocoa business. 


Today, our business here includes two cocoa processing facilities in Koog aan de Zaan (Koog) and Wormer, a logistics operation, dedicated Cocoa Innovation Center, and a Customer Solutions Center, offering tailor-made solutions for new products and applications using ingredients from ofi’s portfolio of cocoa, coffee, dairy, nuts and spices.


deZaan, our premium cocoa ingredient brand, is built on over 100 years of heritage. Founded as a small factory on the banks of the Zaan River, it has played an important role in the rich history of Dutch cocoa. Today, it continues to drive the industry in premium cocoa innovation and production, exporting the Netherlands’ reputation for cocoa excellence worldwide.


IDH, Sustainable cocoa consumption and cocoa production

Protecting the environment

We’ve taken action to cut emissions and waste from our cocoa processing facilities in the Netherlands. In Koog, we cut our CO2 emissions by 23% in 2022 by switching to green electricity and installing a circular biomass boiler, which uses our waste cocoa shells as fuel. And in our Koog and Wormer facilities, we’ve reduced the amount of ammonia released naturally during production and in the alkalization process by 84% and 74%, respectively.


Find out about our shell biomass boilers 

Find out about our ambition for sustainable cocoa

Our work in the community

We want to help create thriving communities wherever we operate. That’s why we contribute to several local causes and initiatives in the Netherlands. From partnering with a technical college in North Holland on an internship program to train the next generation of manufacturing talent to providing financial support to local food banks.

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olam food ingredients turns cocoa shells into power to fuel factory

Two circular biomass boilers have entered operation at olam food ingredients’ (ofi’s) cocoa processing factories in the Netherlands and Germany, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


The boilers use cocoa shells, a by-product of the production process, as fuel to generate steam, which in turn powers the crafting of cocoa ingredients from ofi’s premium brand, deZaan, at its factories in Koog aan de Zaan, Netherlands, and in Mannheim, Germany – where it believes it will be the first cocoa shell boiler of its kind in the country.

Cultivating the next generation of process engineers

For over a decade, ofi has developed the next generation of process engineers and technical excellence in the Netherlands in partnership with Food & Process Tech Campus of Regio College in Zaandam. Tijmen Hoeve, ofi's Training Coordinator, shares three reasons why we invest in internships and how they add value to our operations and the wider society:


Developing in-demand skills


It all started with a skills gap in the industry. In the Netherlands, we have a shortage of technical skilled occupations such as engineers, ICT, and technicians, and the Covid pandemic hasn't helped the situation either. European Commission reported that in 2022, there is still a shortage of engineers. And to highlight the labor issues on the continent, it announced 2023 as the European Year of Skills. 


This challenge also requires long-term support and investment to make a difference. The internship ofi offers, which has been running since 2012, is connected to the Food & Process Tech Campus program. The four-year course, aimed at 17-21year olds, gives students a mix of theory and practical experiences in a real-life setting. Over four years, students can apply their technical understanding in our facilities in Koog aan de Zaan or Wormer. 


Investing in the future


Equipping students with the right skills to enter the workforce is a way to help future-proof the industry. Since 2012, ofi has given 5,000 euros annually to the college, which has helped to fund its practical room and the necessary safety equipment and contributed towards the teacher's salary. In some cases, we've even employed some students who have come through the program. It's a great way to develop talent that deeply understands your business.


Giving back to the community


I started my career in the food industry, working in various roles in food engineering. After 12 years of food tech, I channeled my passion into training the next generation of process engineers. Teaching is in my blood. My grandfather was a headmaster, and my father was a teacher, as is my brother, so I felt like a natural next step in my career. 


When I moved into education, I helped develop the curriculum for the Food & Process Tech Campus course and have previously worked at the college itself, so I have a strong understanding of what the students need to be successful in the course and to transition into the industry. I'm proud we support a local college, within walking distance of our facility in Koog aan de Zaan. Hear from Zlatan what it's like to be an intern at ofi.

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