Explaining KMC

Potato power

KMC is an unusual company, with an unusual structure, a long history and a remarkable success record.

We do one thing – exceptionally well. We stick to what we’re best at – and this approach has proven very successful.

KMC was set up in 1933, as Kartoffelmelcentralen a.m.b.a. – a special kind of ownership structure in the strong Danish cooperative tradition. It was – and (almost uniquely) still is – owned by a large group of potato growers who wanted to pool resources in order to market their starch potatoes more effectively, and at better prices. More importantly, they also wanted to boost their revenue by moving up the value chain, by providing customers with more reliable supplies of better quality potato starch.

Now, almost a century later, KMC is still grower-owned, with all the unique advantages and benefits this provides. One key benefit of this distinctive ownership structure is that Danish agriculture, Danish water resources and the Danish countryside in general are subject to the most stringent and rigorously monitored environmental protection legislation in the world. This exceptionally strict monitoring means Danish-sourced starch potatoes are consistently ranked as the most disease-free, cleanest and most natural in the world. And always with documented provenance.

The indirect approach

The “starch” word is important here – KMC has nothing to do with potatoes for direct human consumption.

Our sole focus is on special varieties of potato grown and processed for their starch content, and on how different ways of processing and exploiting that starch content can help our customers – and their customers – achieve their goals. KMC products – whether in bulk or small volume/high value, focused on highly specific functionalities – serve as ingredients that help food manufacturers all over the world adjust, improve and rethink their products, their manufacturing capabilities and their commercial opportunities.

Production, processing and administration

If you work at KMC head office in Brande, Denmark, you may never see the potato growers and their farms, or set foot in the huge, high-tech plants in Brande, Karup and Toftlund where the potatoes are processed into an extensive range of different kinds of native potato starch and modified starches, as well as potato granules and flakes.

That’s why it is important to understand the unique background for the KMC success story, how we achieve such consistently good results, and what we do at head office. Our main role is to deal with all the administration, R&D, quality assurance, logistics and customer service associated with getting our products from the field to the end-user. The growers develop, grow and harvest the potatoes, the processing plants turn them into KMC products, and we at HQ do everything else. We’re inter-dependent, and any extra effort or any negligence falls back on ourselves – which means we are all equally motivated to succeed and to maintain the quality standards that have given KMC such a good reputation worldwide.

From bulk to specialist – and everything in between

In recent years, KMC has been through a big shift in emphasis from more basic starch products sold in bulk towards a comprehensive selection of highly technical/high-value solutions configured as ingredients that provide foodstuff manufacturers with specific capabilities and specialised functionalities.

This enables food companies to improve and rethink market capabilities for their products – boosting consistency, modifying product specifications for greater end-user satisfaction, reducing manufacturing costs, extending shelf life and making products look more attractive – as well as paving the way to niche opportunities and completely new markets by replacing animal proteins with cheaper, less temperature-sensitive potato-based alternatives.

That’s also why KMC adopted a new “Let’s take food forward” tag line in 2015.

We now service the whole spectrum of customer requirements, from bulk to specialist – and everything in between. KMC’s distinctive blend of exceptional technical know-how, practical problem-solving and no-loose-ends customer service also means customers come to us for both help and advice with developing new solutions and modifying recipes to get better products.

Revenue, exports and success

In recent years, our output, size and complexity have all grown significantly, as have KMC revenues and profits.

KMC now exports 95+% of the company’s total sales, and operates specialist sales companies in Denmark, Germany, the UK, Russia, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and UAE.

We are now the fifth-largest exporter of non-liquid goods with consistent growth rates in excess of 15% per annum. And we are in an exceptionally strong market position because we’re able to guarantee our customers the ingredients they need with the quality they require – because our owners grow them and deliver them.

The people parameter

According to our customers and working partners, a large part of KMC’s success stems less from what we do, more from how we do it.

Our capabilities are in the big league, but in world markets, KMC is still a relatively small ingredients company. So here at KMC we run a lean, intensely focused organisation staffed by enthusiastic, helpful people. We help each other get amazing things done.

We are here to help our customers with their business, so we keep all our business practices down-to-earth, practical and direct, and try to make sure that doing business with KMC is always a positive experience. Customers talk directly to the people who make the practical decisions, and can always get in touch with KMC experts for help, ideas or answers.

KMC survival and success depend on the know-how and skills of the people who work here. We’re intensely aware of how important our staff really are in linking and delivering KMC’s distinctive capabilities, and in keeping our customers satisfied. Our employees and their helpfulness are what customers remember …