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The Bakery Academy Story

Bakery Academy was founded by Jos Vast in 2009, partly as an idea that sprouted in 2004 and partly in a response in constraining the research & development department which he was responsible for. Where the initial activities were mainly desk research and providing support for artisan type bakers, we achieved our first industrial clients in 2011. In 2011 Kees Vast joined Bakery Academy as well, after selling the industrial bakery Vast Banket/ Vast Bakeries he owned with his brothers and several external investors. After providing mainly product development support in 2010 and 2011 we decided to invest in our first test bakery/ test kitchen on 12 m2. Within one year the place was too small for all the ingredients and equipment needed to fit in there and the decision was made to invest in our current Bakery Academy Application Centre, situated on 400 m2. Since 2013 we are working outside Europe as well, starting with giving bakery R&D training in Chili, Mexico and Peru. But since then we have expanded our bakery consulting services, product development projects and bakery courses as well in Algeria, China, Iran, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi-Arabia, Uganda and Zambia.

About Jos Vast, Founder and Managing Partner

‘Already when I was 11 years old I told my teachers and parents I wanted to be in the baking industry’.

As I grew up next to the business of my family, Vast Banket, I was already around in an industrial bakery as soon as I could walk. At the age of 16 I had my first jobs in the bakery: weekly and special cleaning intervals. During holiday periods I was allowed to work on extruding lines, laminators and if required I was in the warehouse helping out. At the age of 18 I decided to follow an education at the University of Groningen(RuG): Technology, Science & Business Management. Simultaneously I was team leader in the bakery for starting up a new extruder and a rotary moulding line.
In the years following during the university I supported the management team in business and strategy planning and after having left for almost 1 year to Verkade I re-joined Vast Banket in Business Analysis and IT manager before finding my spot on R&D and Quality. At that time my first idea for what now Bakery Academy is grew as well.
By 2008 I felt I missed the challenge and approaches my University gave me in my toolkit to conquer the world and by changes in the family business I felt my future wouldn’t be there. In my vision there should be a funded approach that support the ‘gut’-feeling of the baker: there were science and experience of baking can work together in creating better products and processes.

Picture of Kees Vast
About Kees Vast, Investing Partner

Since the age of 14 I was helping my father in the bakery, quitting school and taking over when my got father ill. In the years that followed my brothers helped out in the bakery as well and together we invested in automating our bakery: each time we invested to make the capacity of 1 weeks production in 1 day. In 1984 we were situated on 4 different locations which we integrated on 1 location of 7.000 m2 and three production lines.
During the 90’s we took over three other bakeries which we integrated in 2001 by expanding our bakery to 14.000 m2 and 8 production lines. I have developed a masterplan on how the business could continue to expand by doubling in the same location.
When me and my brothers sold the business I didn’t want my knowledge and experience go to waste. My son Jos had then started already his Bakery Academy and I decided to join him in 2011. Since then I enjoy being back to the roots where it all started: the love of the product. Nowadays I am responsible for most of the trials in our Application Centre and am guiding the young apprentices in their practical skills. Occasionally I work on projects at our clients facility where my experience and passion are appreciated.

How the idea grew

During the time as Manager R&D Jos recognised that he faced a couple of challenges in order to be running the department in such a way that it could be successful:
– Knowledgeable and Experienced people going into retirement with the next 10 years
– Poor education of newly entering production staff and food technologists (for both Quality as R&D department
– High failure ratio, making that that R&D department was more troubleshooting than developing
– Health related trends without concession to shelflife and taste: Clean Label, Less Sugar, Fat and/ or Sodium.
By taking on this challenge Jos led his R&D Team to a succesrate of product development 25%, moving the average turnover out of innovation moving form 6% in 2006 to 30% in 2008. This is still today one of our trademarks in how we approach our development projects for our clients. Introducing as well the first cake in the market with 40% less fat and 60% less sugar. The cake was even nominated for the Most Healthy Innovation of the year 2007 in the Netherlands.

You can recognise us by:

Passion for Baking
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With Passion Creating, Driving and Transferring Knowledge in the art of Baking