Lotus to bake speculoos outside of Flanders for first time


The smell of speculoos biscuits will soon be wafting out of a new production facility in the US, as the Flemish family-owned company expands

‘Exceptional’ growth

Lotus Bakeries will bake its famous speculoos biscuits outside of Belgium for the first time this year. While the company, famous for its speculoos biscuits and spread, operates factories in a few European countries, until now all the speculoos has been produced in its headquarters in Kaprijke, East Flanders.

Though best known for its traditional speculoos products, Lotus also produces other kinds of biscuits, as well as waffles and fruit bars. A family-run business, it was started by entrepreneur Jan Boone in 1932.

The expansion into production abroad includes two factories, one in the US and one in South Africa. The investments follow a seven-year period in which Lotus doubled its turnover. The company’s worldwide sales in 2018 was more than €556 million, a growth of more than 6% on the previous year.

Part of this had to do with takeovers: In 2015, the company acquired a controlling share in the UK’s Natural Balance Foods, which makes snacks under the Trek and Nākd brands. Last year, it took over Kiddylicious in the US.

Still, 2018’s organic growth was 5%, “which is exceptional,” Lotus CEO Jan Boone, grandson of the founder, told De Tijd. “We’re seeing an average growth per year of 3 to 4%. In several countries, we have far exceeded our expectations.”

In 2016, the US became Lotus’ biggest market for speculoos biscuits, sold as biscoff cookies (pictured). Now Lotus will bake the biscuits outside of Belgium for the first time, with a €65 million investment in production facilities in the US state of North Carolina. Construction of the facility is already largely complete.

The South African factory, meanwhile, will produce the company’s Bear brand fruit snacks. The company has about 1,500 employees worldwide.