It all started in peaceful and quiet Holten, in the nineteen fifties. Except in the ‘Dorpstraat’. It was there that Jan Kalfsterman cut up his meat. Kalfsterman was affiliated to the Dutch Association of Top-Quality Butchers. Together with other first-class butchers in the area, he established a working group, just as many butchers in the rest of the country were doing at that time.
In 1959, a number of members came up with the idea of building a proprietary sausage factory. Initially, the idea fizzled out from lack of interest but in 1960, Jan Kalfsterman brought the initiative back to life and was able persuade ten members to go along with him. These ten pioneers made their first sausages in a workshop behind Kalfsterman’s slaughterhouse. The sausages quickly became very moreish. In order to properly control their business interests, on April 1st 1960, the ten members established the First Dutch Quality Butchers’ Cooperative (ENKCO).
The sausages found their way to butchers outside the ENKCO group. Within a year, the workshop was too small and they were on the look-out for a new place. In 1961, premises were built on Kerkhofsweg in Holten. Soon there were fifteen people working there.
In 1966 the law changed and grocers were also allowed to sell pre-packed frozen meat. ENKCO continued to grow. The hotel and catering branch and institutional customers like nursing homes purchased large quantities of meat. ENKCO also benefitted considerably from the rise of the supermarket chains.
In 1987 Kalfsterman retired. In 1991 the British company, Perkins Food, acquired ENKCO and in 2003, ENKCO took over Bakker in Lekkerkerk. The well known chilled vacuum balls are a product of this and are sold in retail. The vegetarian Vivera brand was also part of the Bakker acquisition. That year ENKCO also took over Boltjes from Boekelo. ENKCO grew further through the acquisitions.
In 2006, the new premises on Vletgaarsmaten are built. A modern production location with associated office space. In 2008 Encko acquires Olde Olthof Vleesspecialiteiten (Meat specialities) in Enschede. In 2011, ENKCO expands its strategy in order to further diversify by introducing a new line of cheese soufflés and later, dough products. The Culifrost production unit is located in Rijssen. In 2014, the holding company ENKCO Foodgroup splits its activities into three private limited companies:
- ENKCO: quickly ready meat and egg products
- Vivera: meat substitute products
- Culifrost: cheese soufflés and dough products
Using these activities, ENKCO Foodgroup wants to give further shape to its growth ambitions. Nowadays ENKCO continues to differentiate itself by means of developing innovative products. The range has become broader. ENKCO pays great attention to market development, for example by closely monitoring animal welfare and developing recipes with fewer E-numbers.