They are named 1815 Waterloo, Vieux Liège, Ardenner and Campagnard. They are all different, but they all represent the same philosophy – a philosophy based on tradition and quality that is shared by a family of passionate Belgian cheesemakers.
For three generations the Loicq family has turned goat and cow’s milk into the most enticing authentic cheeses. The organic cheeses in particular have become real best sellers.
“We have always produced high-quality regional cheese characterized by a unique taste,” sums up Managing Director Didier Loicq. “My family is well-known, and people value our quality awareness, honesty and integrity. We stick to traditional values while following market trends. Organic products, gluten-free, lactose-free and regional products are increasingly in demand these days, and ‘back to nature’ is a strong trend. Our aim is to introduce new products on a regular basis that follow those trends. This is a great competitive advantage.”
The Loicq family started distributing products from former Belgian colonies before it gained a foothold in the cheese market. An important milestone was the acquisition of ChèvrArdennes in 1990, a specialist in goat cheese.
Due to its ongoing expansion, the company has three production units today: ChèvrArdennes for goat cheese, Fromagerie Biologique de Vielsalm for organic cheeses and Campagnard de Nivelles for fresh cheese. 30 employees and annual revenues of six million EUR mirror the company’s positive development.
The main driving force behind this dynamic is the products themselves. Their specific taste is the result of sound know-how and high-quality ingredients. “We merely process milk from local dairy farmers and do not add any flavour enhancers or preservatives. This way, our organic hard, semi-hard, soft and spreadable cheeses get their specific taste. Furthermore, we give them enough time to ripen. The older the hard cheese becomes and the longer it ripens, the drier and firmer it becomes. In general, this takes two months.”
Fromagerie Biologique de Vielsalm’s cheeses are distributed mainly via Belgian supermarkets, 80% under its own brand and 20% as private labels. Exports make up 15%. “We found our place in a niche market where our products stand out,” stresses Mr. Loicq. “Now, we are keen to continue developing premium cheeses that keep pace with trends and represent the art of traditional cheesemaking.”