As we’ve already said, transparency is of paramount importance to us! It’s important to us to tell you what we are doing. We find that consumers like that too and demand it as well. That’s why we’ve included a large number of questions here that we think you might want to ask. New questions are always welcome! There’s quite a lot to read already, so good luck :)!
Who is Yesper?
Yesper symbolises an enthusiastic farmer’s son who wants to transfer the farmer’s passion (his father’s for instance) to your plate. Yespers is a new, independent company. We have an autonomous position in the supply chain and that’s something we like and consider to be valuable. It means we can always act in your name. We started developing our products at the end of 2014: from concept to kitchen sample to negotiations with the producer and retailers in the Netherlands and beyond. Our mission inspires us to go that extra mile every day.
What is your mission actually?
We started Yespers to achieve a number of things. First of all we believe that if we really want to have an impact in the Food value chain, we need to have products that you as a consumer want to buy, because with turnover our story can become reality so:
- In the first place, our products must taste good.
- We make these tasty products using only natural ingredients.
- Our aim is to get these natural ingredients into our products in as few steps and processes as possible.
- We are transparent and honest about what we do so that you know exactly what you’re eating.
- We believe that everyone in the supply chain is entitled to a fair price; we don’t believe in a race to the bottom, but in a race to the top.
How do you make your fruit and vegetable spreads?
We develop the flavours of our spreads in conjunction with our partners. We outsource production to prestigious companies. Because we are working with foodstuffs, it is certainly important to be sure that this happens responsibly and safely so that they arrive in your home the way they are intended to be: full of flavour and appeal and of top-class quality. So we’re not standing mixing things in a garage; our production partners meet the highest food safety standards.
Exactly what and how much of each ingredient is printed on our packaging; there are no secrets, in fact we’re proud to tell you.
Because we want to get our products to you sustainably, we have chosen to use preservation technology that extends their shelf-life: pasteurisation (heating the product to a high temperature). This does slightly affect the flavour and the amount of vitamins and minerals, but we have decided that this is the way we prefer. It also prevents a lot of unnecessary waste. No preservatives are used!
Preservation techniques are continually being refined and we are always looking for even better techniques that will have less of an impact on our products.
What is in your spreads?
It’s important to us that you know exactly what you are eating, without any complicated and hidden “surprises” and/or small print. We want our spreads to offer you healthy and, above all, delicious products. Our spreads only contain fruit and vegetables and components of fruit and vegetables. To make the spreads spreadable, we add the entirely natural product pectin to them. And to enable the pectin to do its work, you need to add natural calcium citrate (the “salt” from citrus fruits, you could say). If you click this link (click on the word link) you can see everything our products contain.
Why do you pasteurise your products?
We heat the spreads briefly. This pasteurisation ensures that the spreads are healthy for you and remain so in a microbiological sense. But that is quite a deep question for us in its own right. On the one hand, we actually want to do as little to the product as possible, but on the other we are trying to deal as responsibly as possible with the valuable raw materials we use for our products.
In an ideal situation, we would make everything fresh and you would buy our entire stock within about three days so that we didn’t need to throw anything away. Apart from being good for the environment (an apple costs 70 litres of water, for example), not having to throw anything away also benefits your wallet. Someone has to pay for all that waste, after all, and as consumers, that ultimately means us. So our long-term goal is get you to buy everything within about three days and eat it within five days; until then we will preserve our products in the most natural way possible to retain all the goodness and limit the pressure on the environment and your wallet as much as we can.
Why is the farmer so important to you?
That’s really easy to answer: because we are dependent on him or her. There would be no product without the farmer. No product, no spreads. Some 50 farmers a week give up farming in the Netherlands and the average age of those remaining is rising fast. Things are no different in other countries. We are in urgent need of new farmers. That’s why we think it’s important that farmers receive a fair price for their products. In the first place, that’s good for the farmer, but it also benefits us as consumers. If we want to attract new people into farming who will grow healthy, delicious products for us, they have to be able to earn a decent living in a normal way. Putting bread on the farmer’s table (preferably eaten with our spreads) will ensure that there is scope for better products and a more sustainable use of raw materials. That’s the way to stop the race to the bottom; a race that can ultimately only have losers. It will also require efforts from the farmers themselves: they will have to produce with more focus on the market and come up with good quality products to stand out from the crowd. In other words, as consumers, we consider farmers to be important and farmers must be able to find and understand us, the consumers. That demands effort from both sides and we are committed to doing just that!
How do you make sure the farmer gets a good price?
Our aim with Yespers is to source as much as possible directly from producers. That gives us an understanding of price formation and skips unnecessary steps in the supply chain so that there is more margin left for producers. These can be individual farmers or growers, but could also be a cooperative. Because we can only conclude worthwhile contracts if they involve substantial volumes, we hope that you’ll find our spreads so delicious and healthy that we can get started as quickly as possible. We’re going to start with the bananas in our products first, which will come from a cooperative in Ecuador. We take account of a large number of things when setting a fair price, including the producer’s cost price. Farmers regularly supply goods below their cost price at the moment; you could say that this is just normal market practice, and that is true in a sense, but if it happens too often and for a longer period, we come back to our answer to the previous question. Farmers need to have a financial perspective to be able to respond more effectively to a rapidly changing market.
Are your products fair trade?
If you mean the trademark Fair Trade, then the answer is no. Trademarks certainly have a useful function in making consumers aware of abuses, for instance. Such trademarks give consumers the power to insist on a change of behaviour from producers. For us, fair trade or fair chain is our “raison d’être” and our over-arching business objective. Our “trademark” is therefore our own mission, which we report on here and in all sorts of other ways. We feel that it is only logical that everyone who contributes to the success of a product is rewarded for doing so.
Are your products organic?
No, our products are not organic. Our aim is to source our products from our growers as sustainably as possible. That means that they protect their plants and trees with the minimum means. We’re following developments closely and are certainly in favour of being as organic as possible and want to promote that. We believe in a model for agriculture in which the aim is to avoid the use of chemical agents, but if (for example) a harvest is in danger of failing, measures must be able to be taken. To draw a comparison with “ourselves”: if we eat healthily we reduce our need to go to the doctor and therefore our need for medication. Our main priority is that the ingredients we use are absolutely 100% safe for consumption.
We certainly do not rule out the possibility that we may be able to put entirely organic products onto the market in the future. In the end, we respond to your demands as consumers. So if the demand is there, we will be happy to get going!
Are your products allergen-free?
Yes, the spreads are free of allergens and substances that can cause intolerance. The statutory test for these 14 allergens (regulation 1169/ 2011: we know what we’re talking about) revealed that our spreads are free of them. No grains with gluten, no crustaceans, no eggs, no peanuts, no soya, no milk, no nuts, no celery, no mustard, no sesame seeds, no sulphur or sulphite, no lupin and no molluscs have been found in our spreads.
Are your products gluten-free?
Yes, the spreads are gluten-free. And what’s more, no processing of wheat, rye, barley, spelt or Khorasan wheat takes place in the factories where our spreads are made. This ensures that no “contamination” is possible.
Are your products GM-free?
There is a short answer to that: yes. (A short answer is sometimes nice considering the reams of text above.)
How long will your products keep?
The spreads have only been pasteurised for a short time, which maximises their flavour but shortens their shelf-life. Keep an eye on the “use by” date on the pots and keep them in the fridge (check that the light is off, because light affects storage-life too). Once opened, the spread will only keep for a limited time and it ought to be eaten within about seven days (the more hygienically you use your knife or spoon, the longer the spread will last). Because we want to limit the amount of processing, you may see some fruit juice when you first open the pot and after you take some out the first time, but that’s no problem: just stir it in and carry on spreading it or spooning it out.
What should I do if there’s something wrong with the product I’ve bought?
Obviously, our aim is to do everything perfectly. But unfortunately, despite our efforts, things can occasionally go wrong. So if you have a complaint, suggestion or idea, let us know by completing this form or phone 0800-9377377 [0800-YESPERS] (from the Netherlands).
How sustainable is your packaging?
Our mission is to improve sustainability in the supply chain. And sustainable packaging is something we most certainly have. All the packaging of Yespers spreads is completely recyclable. Glass goes in the bottle bank and paper in the paper recycling container.
Will you be bringing new flavours onto the market?
Definitely; we’re continually working on improving our products and thinking up new varieties. We do this in conjunction with our partners but we listen carefully to you too. So if you’ve any ideas of ways we could or should improve our products or extend our range of flavours, let us know.
Will you be bringing more products onto the market?
Yes indeed; we are always thinking of new products that will enable us to further fulfil our mission. We do this in conjunction with our partners but we listen carefully to you too. So if you’ve any ideas of ways we could or should improve our products or extend our range of flavours, let us know.
Where can I buy your products?
You will be able to buy our spreads at all Jumbo supermarkets in the Netherlands from 14 September 2015. We’ll keep you informed via the website as soon as our spreads are available in other stores. We’re busy trying them out in different places so you might come across our products elsewhere (at childcare centres for example).
I am a grower and I’d like to become one of your suppliers
Great that you’ve been able to find us at the end of this long list! We are always looking for the best ways to fulfil our mission. If there are opportunities to do that in partnership, we will certainly follow them up. We’d be delighted to hear from you!
I have a question that hasn’t been answered here
If you have a new question, just put it in this form.
I have a nice recipe
We think it’s fantastic that you want to share a recipe containing a Yespers spread with other fans of Yespers spreads. You can always email recipes and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a look at our Facebook and Instagram pages for more suggestions and ideas.
Are your products vegetarian / vegan?
Yes, our spreads are vegetarian and vegan. Yespers fruit and vegetable spreads contain no animal products. The spreads do not contain any egg, honey or milk products such as quark cheese or yogurt either. Pectin, not animal-derived gelatine, is used as a setting agent.
Could you add more pictures in between all this text; it’s pretty dull reading as it is?
Good idea, we’ll soon get working on that!