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Monaco: Veggie trend benefits wholefood manufacturer Linck

by Kai Kreuzer (comments: 0)

Jean François Ordureau (left) and Gregory Verhaeghe. Photo Kai Kreuzer

Vegan and vegetarian foods are on trend worldwide. “The younger generation of under thirty-year-olds in particular is buying animal-free products in ever greater numbers. This year we're anticipating growth in turnover of 120 % in this segment", says a delighted Jean François Ordureau, the man in charge of marketing and sales at the manufacturer Linck. The producer of soy cutlets, vegan cold cuts and cheese substitutes is domiciled in Monaco, although production is located in Belgium. 80 % of production is sold via private labels. The company, founded by Jean-Pierre Verhaeghe in 1998, is more than satisfied with how things have developed over recent years. It was his passion for sailing that brought the entrepreneur to Monaco in the 1980s. At the beginning of the 90s he and his two sons Gregory and Antony set about launching the firm.

Under the name Fit Food (, Linck offers a wide variety of meat alternatives made with corn starch, rice starch or coconut oil. Whereas the vast majority of manufacturers of vegetarian food rely on soya as the basic raw material, Linck has created its own profile with soya-free alternatives. All products in the Fit Food brand come from controlled organic cultivation and are manufactured without the use of soya. The 29 products range from Wiener sausages, cold cuts, salads and cheese style substitutes. The total number of products is 119 because most come in a variety of offerings and pack sizes. The salami flavour, for example, comes in slices, as whole sausages, diced or minced. This also applies to carrots, mushrooms, pistachios and texas. 

Linck markets organic products containing soya under the brand name Veggitude: rissoles like Cordon bleu, wheat & soy protein balls, nuggets and wheat & soy protein steaks. These are also available as private label products.

About 80 % of total production belongs in the vegetarian sector (including dairy products and eggs) the rest are vegan. Gregory Verhaeghe is expecting the current above-average demand for animal-free food products to bring about a shift in market share this year, so that approximately 65 % will be vegetarian and 35 % vegan.

According to the firm itself, the proportion of organic in total production is 87 %, with their own brands Fit Food and Veggitude being wholly organic. The Linck own brand in association with Biofiness distribution (also wholly organic) aim at large-scale consumers like canteens, schools and college cafeterias. Although in the early years the firm concentrated exclusively on organic with the Fit Food brand and distributors like Tartex, it later developed the conventional own brand Veggifood, with supplies going not only to Spain, Belgium and Italy but, above all, to the Near and Middle East. “When we began developing the market outside Europe four years ago, we found there was no particular interest in organic. So we created a conventional brand with the same products as in the case of Fit Food“, Ordureau explains.

There are practically no limits to the imagination when it comes to substitute products. In many cases – take dairy-free sliced cheese as an example – you can't detect any great difference in either texture or taste. “We're looking at the alternative market of tomorrow and are constantly developing new products with it in mind“, says Ordureau with an eye to the future. Lasagne, bolognaise, carbonara sauce, sliced meat, meat salad, meat balls and ready meals - the brothers Antony and Gregory Verhaeghe are delighted: animal ingredients are no longer necessary for an endless number of tasty dishes and they foresee the market developing robustly in the next few years. They are currently anticipating growth of 20 to 30 % a year. For the two young directors of the firm it is extremely important that they have no affiliation to any meat processing enterprise.

Production facility on the French-Belgian border

In Tournai in Belgium, 20 km east of the French border town of Lille, stands the 5,000 m² factory where they produce goods for despatch to 38 countries worldwide. They have 40 permanent employees and another ten during the season in March and August/September. At the company headquarters in the old town in Monaco, not far from the prince's palace, they have only five staff working in a two-room office.

Whereas Linck products are marketed in many countries via the wholesale wholefood trade, as for example by Bonneterre in France, in Germany they don't sell on such a large scale through the specialist trade. Their products are sold exclusively to retailers by, for example, the Hamburg firm Vegafit ( and the internet distributor AVE located in Nabburg near Nuremberg. The abbreviation AVE stands for Absolute Vegan Empire. (

Monaco does a lot for environmental education

“I see the younger generation of 15 to 30-year-olds a powerful lever“, Jean- François Ordureau explains. “They're increasingly committed to organic and more interested in nature and health than the previous generation. They want to save the world and that's why they're frequently turning to healthier and animal-friendly nutrition“.

Days when children concentrate on the environment, called “Monacology“(, are a special event in Monaco. In the second week in June, they are organised with the support of the city administration for around 1,000 children and young people between 8 and 16 years of age. The participants are divided into working groups of ten that address various themes to do with the environment. Linck took part for the first time this year with its own stand and it organised many tasting sessions and ten-minute presentations.

The eco approach of the management and employees in the company is there for all to see: energy-efficient machines, energy-saving lighting, packaging made from nearly 100 % biodegradable plastic, recycled cardboard and the use of environmentally friendly washing-up liquid and cleaning materials. Supplies are delivered to the trade in reusable plastic crates. The company is certified by Ecocert, Certisys and Halal Correct ( The last certifier is important for sending goods to Arab countries, but increasingly to Europe and the USA too.


Video on production at Linck on the internet:

Homepage of the firm Linck:





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