Conquering the world with Belgian Fries

From supplier to potato partner: how Agristo lets its customers thrive

Context and question

Agristo was founded in 1986 by the Wallays and Raes families and is a renowned value player within the frozen potato products sector. The potato processing company generates a turnover of more than 600 million euros in over 120 countries and employs some 1.000 employees. From its headquarters in West Flanders and various production sites in Belgium, the Netherlands and India, the family-owned company processes potatoes into frozen potato products such as Belgian – no, not French – fries. This is of the highest quality for private labels and consumer brands on a global scale.

Under the wings of co-CEOs Hannelore Raes and Filip Wallays, the family company has grown exponentially in recent years, but is also facing an increasingly complex environment. The European potato belt for instance, is severely affected due to climate change and producers such as Agristo are under pressure from increasing protectionist measures that are pushing producers towards local production and processing. In addition, a wave of consolidation is raging through the sector, the war for talent is getting stronger and stronger and new technological evolutions are succeeding each other faster and faster… A complex, challenging cocktail that incites Agristo’s management to self-reflect and think proactively about the future, for which the organisation is looking for support: how can Agristo define a supported ambition and strategic plan to ensure its sustainable growth in the future?


Agristo wishes to fully tackle the business question, and that starts with a thorough analysis of the ‘as is’ situation. In doing so, the organisation wants to both learn from within (inside-out) and be inspired by what is happening around it (outside-in). Together with innovation expert and trusted partner nexxworks, we worked out a tailor-made process.

First, we used a questionnaire to collect the relevant internal documentation and gauge the trends, evolutions and dynamics that most worry Agristo management. This input formed the base for the inspiration week that followed later (see bellow). In the meantime, this was further enriched with insights from both internal conversations – in which we captured the different visions that live within the organisation – and external conversations – in which we heard the voice of the customer.

After that, the Agristo core team – aka Potatoholics – was immersed in the day after tomorrow for one week. During the outside-in week at nexxworks’ Ghent Upgrade Academy, we dove into industry and consumer trends, dynamics and best practices, brought by experts, inspirational speakers and seasoned business leaders. As such, the Potatoholics were literally and metaphorically taken out of their day-to-day environment and ‘box’ and everyone could completely open their minds. Each inspiration day was followed by a reflection moment in which we captured the main insights and immediately made the first translation from inspiration to strategy. An intense, but also very fun, dynamic and substantively valuable week that we consolidated in an extensive SWOT, key success points & key business issues that formed the basis for the next step: the ‘to be’ OGSM.


Starting from Agristo’s unique strengths, we formulated an inspiring ambition together with the core team, to put everyone on the same page. The various perspectives – from individual internal visions to the customer perspective and market evolutions – then fed a well-founded strategy that enabled the organisation to achieve the desired, sustainable growth. For this, we used the OGSM methodology in which we brought Agristo’s Objective, Goals (objectives/pillars), Strategies and Measures (actions) together into a one pager strategic plan. The strategy was concretised into various subprojects with corresponding project leads, KPIs and timeline.


With its ambition and strategy on one page, supported by the entire core team, Agristo gained a tangible guideline and foothold to put its approach into practice and clearly communicate the choices internally. Shortly after, a project team for each pillar was hands-on, as the Potatoholics are, put together to develop this further and fully implement it to this day.

One of the defined projects was to sharpen and strengthen the Agristo’s employer brand with the aim of better reaching potential, new employees as well as further helping existing employees grow and engage into true Potatoholics. The Agristo-Callebaut Collective tandem later that year elaborated on this. Up until today, there are frequent follow-up moments with the Agristo team to monitor the overall progress of the strategic plan and revise it where necessary.

It is no news that Agristo is a Belgian gem. Today, the company is more ready for the future than ever: Agristo’s growth, despite the storm of challenges, such as the out-of-control price hikes of key ingredients, sharply disappointing potato harvests, Covid-19 and other factors, is holding steady on course. The organisation has strengthened its position as a true partner of private label and consumer brands by integrating the end consumer as a starting point. And it is also being recognised for this: in 2022, Agristo was crowned as Trends Supergazelle, being the strongest growing company within the large company category. Later the same year, the potato processor was also nominated as Company of the Year.

Het Agristo groeiverhaal
"Callebaut Collective helped us to question our strategy and ourselves, but also to effectively reshape it. Together, we defined a new starting point, and they helped us to start implementing our strategy. As such, they made a fundamental contribution to the growth of our company."
Filip Wallays