BelgoSweet looks back on over 25 years of experience and pioneer work in the field of sweet promotional ideas. The company’s product range unites innovative exclusive products with a great deal of Belgian spirit.
Chocolates from Brussels, cuberdons from Gent, waffles from Liège – Belgium is well-known for confectionery in all its facets. It is hard to believe that there were no suppliers of sweet promotional products in Belgium up until the end of the 1980s. In those days, Guy Desseaux, who is today the CEO of BelgoSweet, was a real pioneer: “I visited the International Sweets & Biscuits Fair, ISM, in Cologne at the beginning of 1988,” recalled Desseaux, who had previously gained experience at the Belgian chocolate manufacturer, Côte D‘Or. “The German company, Jung Bonbon, one of the leading suppliers of promotional sweets in the German-speaking zone, exhibited at the trade show. I thought to myself: I am going to try and do the same in Belgium.” In the same year, Desseaux founded the company, Belgium’s Best, the first specialist for sweet promotion on the Belgian and Dutch markets. “Belgium’s Best experienced strong growth for a good 15 years thereafter, at the beginning of the century we had around 15 employees, made a turnover of 4 mil. Euros and maintained own shops in Luxemburg, Atlanta and Singapore. I didn’t want to run a company of that size anymore so I sold Belgium’s Best in 2004 to the manager. Today, the company belongs to the Gemaco Group. My new challenge was a new product: the Papermints.“ Desseaux launched the original mint strips that melt in the mouth all over Europe. “After a few years the novelty character of the Papermints had worn off,” added Desseaux. “So in 2009 I founded a new company: BelgoSweet.”
By 2009 the times when “Sweet Promotions” were a novelty and USP were naturally long gone: Countless competitors with exchangeable line-ups had in the meantime elbowed their way onto the market. BelgoSweet doesn’t just want to be another one of them, but instead sees itself as a lean specialist. Desseaux: “Today’s market for promotional sweets is extremely competitive. One has to stand out from the masses and that is precisely what we do. Of course, we also offer the common standard items, but our own products that don’t exist in a comparable form are our speciality.“ First and foremost the Papermint Cool Caps for instance: The mint capsules that come inside a glass tube comprise of an outer shell that melts in the mouth leaving fresh breath and an inner capsule that is swallowed and provides a fresh feeling in the stomach for a long time afterwards. The refreshing dispenser that was distinguished with a Promotional Gift Award 2014 is customised with a cardboard folder and a small flag on the glass tube. “The Cool Caps are not only one of the strongest menthol products on the market, their ‘two-phase system’ is also unique in Europe,” commented Desseaux.
The individualised Macarons Parisiens are also something special. The French bakery speciality comprises of two layers of fine merinque with a delicious filling in-between. The macarons are available in twelve different flavours and are made by small patisseries. In 2014, BelgoSweet acquired the French company, Impressions Gourmandes, and with it the know-how and the individualising technique of the sweet cakes. “Our macarons are not only top quality, we are the only company on the market that can imprint them using edible ink,” explained Desseaux. According to own accounts, the third exclusive product of the Belgian company is their advent calendar filled with individualised small 5 g chocolates. For minimum order volumes of 250 pieces, the exterior of the BelgoSweet advent calendar can not only be full-surface imprinted, but each individual chocolate can be personally designed to meet the customer’s specifications. It goes without saying that only the finest Belgian chocolate comes into question for the filling. In fact, the product range contains plenty of Belgian specialities – BelgoSweet offers filled chocolates of the renowned manufacturer, Leonidas, as well as biscuits by Jules Destrooper and Gavottes or the traditional cuberdons. The striking cone-shaped candies are available in 30 colours and 20 flavours and are also combinable. “Other suppliers also stock filled chocolates and cuberdons, but we develop our own packaging,” explained Desseaux. In any case the customer receives a product that is fresher than goods purchased in retail outlets, as Desseaux reported: “We always order on demand and we are sent everything directly from the factory.This means that our products are not only super fresh, we can also offer attractive prices.“ In addition to exclusive products and Belgian sweets, BelgoSweet offers a wide selection of other sweets – from fruit gums, bonbons and glucose, to cookies and nuts through to mint pastels and apples. Last, but not least organic and fairtrade chocolate as well as muesli bars are also included in the line-up.
The BelgoSweet team comprises of six people. The team also includes Desseaux‘s son Laurent, who is the Account Manager Benelux and Nicholas Charlier, the Export Manager. The company’s headquarters that are located in Ohain, Walloon, near to the historic site of Waterloo, accommodate offices and administration, the printing shop and a small warehouse. “We also work together with external printing service providers, but we need little storage space – most of the storage room is occupied by the tins and packaging that we fill and individualise ourselves,” said Desseaux. “One of our strengths is our flexibility: We deliver small order volumes, are fast and flexible. And every customer has his own fixed contact person – the communication routes are short and uncomplicated as well. We follow the motto: We make sure that what we promise, is made possible.“ Virtues that have earned BelgoSweet a high degree of recognition as a true specialist not only in Belgium, but in the meantime far beyond.
// Till Barth
photos: Till Barth, © WA Media (1); BelgoSweet (2)
A detailed report about the Belgian promotional products market can be found here: Part 1.