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[interview] Rutger Anema (formerly AH / Allerhande) starts Good Chef

1. How did you enter the food trade?

‘My name is Rutger Anema. After my study Industrial Engineering, I worked for almost 18 years in marketing & sales for a number of beautiful Dutch brands, Douwe Egberts, Albert Heijn and Hema. From home there was always attention for good food and drinks, during the weekend extensive cooking and cakes were baked at our home. When I started working I also wanted to work for a great product and brand. This then became coffee and Douwe Egberts. Later on, Albert Heijn crossed my path and I was editor-in-chief of Allerhande for 7 years. ‘

2. All kinds of things, what did that time mean to you?

‘The time as editor-in-chief at Allerhande was a great time. Helping and inspiring the whole of the Netherlands with a group of foodies was a fantastic job. The power of Allerhande is to lower the threshold, in this case to cook more during the week with fresh ingredients. I brought this “lowering threshold” to Good Chef, where I want to make it easy for people to eat less meat and eat more vegetables. “

3. What took care of you ‘move‘to Good Chef?

‘A few years ago I decided for myself to eat less meat and more vegetables. I realized that eating meat is not always healthy, but also has a major impact on the planet. It started with one day a week. In the meantime I do not eat meat for most of the week and I eat a lot more vegetables. I feel healthier and it gives me a good feeling to be so concerned with my own impact on the environment. Now I know from my own experience that really tasty vegan cooking is quite difficult, especially for the part-time vegetarian or vegan. Not everyone is used to this and has the time to put into practice the cookbooks of, for example, Yotam Ottolenghi. Together with my desire to do business myself and my passion for good food, this gave me the idea to set up my own company, Good Chef was born. ‘

4. What is the marketing insight behind Good Chef?

‘More and more people want to eat less meat and animal products because they are concerned about the impact it will have on our planet. Less meat and more vegetables are also much healthier for you. Yet you see a gap between what people want and what they do. Very few people make it to eat 250 grams of vegetables per day. And tasty cooking without meat is quite a hassle for the part-time vegetarian. With Good Chef we respond to the need to eat less meat and more vegetables. We are inspired by top chefs who give vegetables a leading role on the plate. We have picked up this global trend in the form of dishes that are completely plant-based or vegan, from pasta to curries, from flammkuchen to pasta sauces and soups. All our dishes are freshly prepared by our catering chefs, contain more than 200 grams of vegetables, are immediately frozen and freshly frozen delivered to people’s homes, so that they can heat it up when they want. Less food waste, in our kitchen and in people’s homes. After all, dishes never have to be thrown away because they are no longer tenable, in our kitchen and in people’s homes. ‘

5. When did you start?

‘We just started Good Chef, we went live last Friday, November 27. The idea was born at the end of last year. Since the beginning of March we have really started working with it, just before the first corona wave. Then I started developing the dishes in collaboration with a club of catering chefs. The development took some time because they were specially developed for the freezer. You want the dishes to be cooked just right when they come out of the oven or microwave. ‘

6. With whom did you start the business?

‘Together with Raaskal, a club of young catering chefs, I was able to set up Good Chef. They cook for the higher catering sector, such as broths, sauces and soups. They only work with natural ingredients – E numbers are prohibited – and with fresh raw materials from their own region or from Dutch soil. ‘

7. Like to tell about how you market the food brand.

‘We don’t want to be alone plant-based selling dishes, but also being an inspiration platform to cook without meat and animal products. We mainly focus on part-time vegetarians and vegans, because that is where the demand for help is greatest. Most vegans and vegetarians know how to cook without meat. We will mainly make content that makes people happy and helps them. Together we can really make a difference for our planet. ‘

8. Frozen meal delivered to your home: pandemic trend or here to stay?

‘Our vision is that the freezer will play a more prominent role in everyday life. You have seen this abroad for some time. Freezing has long been proven to be a good and natural way to preserve food. At the time of freezing, all good nutrients and flavor are literally frozen until you heat it up. This is in contrast to refrigerated meals where freshness decreases after preparation. Ultimately it also helps in reducing food waste. Did you know that in the Netherlands we throw away an average of 34 kg of food per person per year? ‘

9. What are the follow-up plans?

‘We want to grow with Good Chef together with our customers towards a climate positive company. Not just through our climate-conscious products, but in all areas of our entire company. We use as little packaging as possible, always recyclable and almost no plastic. Food waste is prohibited with us. Our goal is to become a B corp. Ultimately, we want to give more back to the world than we take.

10. Which New Year’s wish do you give fellow (food) marketers?

‘Of course I wish everyone good luck and good health, but above all I wish the best for our planet. I hope everyone will consider eating less meat and more vegetables in January when they come up with their New Year’s resolutions. A vegan day would come in handy. Good Chef is happy to help. ‘

text: Peter van Woensel Kooy


Rutger Anema


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