How to live Convenience

Interview with Manuel Kropfmüller, Head of Sales and Marketing at Eisberg Austria GmbH

Eisberg Austria Headquarters
Eisberg Austria is a state-of-the-art convenience operation with its own research center

We live convenience - this is the philosophy not only of Eisberg Austria GmbH but of the entire Eisberg Group. The Marchtrenk site of the convenience specialist is a state-of-the-art facility that was opened four years ago to meet the increasing demand for convenience products - and a company that is second to none in terms of sustainability, quality, and production safety.

The Iceberg Austria GmbH is one of several production sites of the Europe-wide active Iceberg Group, headquartered in Switzerland. The factory opened in 2019 in Marchtrenk, Upper Austria – a state-of-the-art convenience operation that sets new standards in sustainability, quality, and production safety – specializes in convenience products.

"Our range currently comprises over 260 products, from fresh-cut convenience and snacking products to chilled and frozen vegetarian, vegan, and poultry convenience items. Our core business is private label products for retail," explains Manuel Kropfmüller, Head of Sales and Marketing, who was on board as the first employee of the managing director Franco Mühlgrabner even before production started four years ago. "We love convenience and we live convenience."

Manuel Kropfmüller, Head of Sales and Marketing of Eisberg Österreich GmbH
Manuel Kropfmüller, Head of Sales and Marketing of Eisberg Österreich GmbH

The history of the Iceberg Group dates back more than 50 years and began in 1972 when two Swiss entrepreneurs merged their vegetable farming businesses – at that time still under the name Gastro Star Switzerland. Today, the company produces more than 60,000 tonnes of fresh convenience products per year with 1,750 employees and eight processing plants – four of which are in Switzerland and one each in Austria, Poland, Romania, and Hungary. Its clients include the retail sector, foodservice companies, the restaurant industry, including system gastronomy, in 15 countries.

Iceberg Austria Poultry Convenience Products
Recently, Iceberg has also been distributing its poultry convenience products under the new private label 'hubers: snack it – love it!'
Iceberg Austria Wraps
Sustainably produced wraps and other convenience products are the specialty of Iceberg Austria

In addition, Eisberg has recently started distributing its poultry convenience products under the new private label 'hubers: snack it – love it!'. Since 2016, Eisberg has been part of the Bell Food Group, one of the leading European suppliers of meat and convenience products with over 12,000 employees in 15 countries. The company's roots go back to 1869 when Samuel Bell opened his butcher's shop in the center of Basel. The Bell Food Group's range includes meat, poultry, charcuterie, seafood, and ultra-fresh, fresh, and shelf-stable convenience products such as salads, sandwiches, ready meals, pasta, soups, or spices.

"The Bell Food Group decided in 2016 to establish a new site in Upper Austria," explains Manuel Kropfmüller. The reasons for this were the demand for regional products and the ongoing trend towards convenience items and snacking products. "In September 2017, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Marchtrenk site took place with a 6,000 m2 production hall. Production started in 2019. Today, there are 24,000 m² of production space in four production halls, each with 6,000 m², three of which are currently active."

Iceberg Austria Production Lettuce
Lettuce destemmers in Hall 1: Iceberg Austria is one of the most modern convenience facilities
Austrian Iceberg Poultry Convenience Production
Growth segment: Hall 4 is primarily used for the production of poultry convenience products

Advantages through Synergies

Eisberg Austria employs over 520 employees from more than 45 different nations. "Our employees are continuously trained and educated with regard to Food Safety," says Manuel Kropfmüller. "The turnover is currently 100 million EUR – with a tendency to continue rising with the stable trend towards more convenience. The biggest challenge is to manage the fine line between high-quality convenience products and affordable food," says Manuel Kropfmüller. "We benefit here from synergies within the Eisberg Group and the Bell Food Group. This provides us with a lot of support, especially in the areas of system integration and knowledge transfer."

Eisberg Austria has its own development and research center. "Here, we proactively develop new food concepts and products together with our customers. At Anuga, we introduced our new own brand for poultry convenience with Asian influences ‚hubers: snack it – love it!‘," explains Manuel Kropfmüller. In the in-house research center, Eisberg Austria works not only on new product innovations but also on more sustainable packaging solutions.

Iceberg Austria Production Facility
The production facility in Marchtrenk sets standards in terms of sustainability, quality, and product safety

Reducing Food Waste

In the future, Eisberg Austria aims to further expand its international business. "Within the Bell Food Group, we are considered a beacon project as we combine several brands and assortments under one roof," explains Manuel Kropfmüller. At the same time, they want to continue to design new, innovative food concepts. Last but not least, a major focus is on reducing and preventing food waste. "We work with various organizations in this area and try to raise awareness for this important aspect of food production," says Manuel Kropfmüller.