Good taste, high quality and a keen sense for trends. According to the AVO management, this is the basis for the success of AVO-Werke. Today, the company with its more than 650 employees is one of the leading specialists for processing spices in Europe. With a range of over 8,000 products, it is a reliable partner for a wide variety of customers in the food industry.
When August Beisse, Friedrich Vodegel sen. and Friedrich Schnittker founded the "Handelsgesellschaft für Bodenerzeugnisse m.b.H." as equal partners on 15 September 1921, they could not have imagined the success story of the future AVO-Werke.
After only three years, the trading company repositioned itself in the face of rapid developments in agriculture and the butcher's trade: The business model changed from a trading company to a producer of spice mixtures for the production of sausage products for butchers and home slaughterhouses and their distribution.
Production and administration were set up in Osnabrück in 1924, starting from Bramsche. The company name changed to "AVO-Werke August Vodegel G.m.b.H. Bramsche Osnabrück". Since then, August Vodegel, founder of the large-scale slaughterhouse Vodegel and long-deceased father of Friedrich Vodegel senior, served as the name giver.
Only another four years later, the premises were too small and the company moved within Osnabrück to Wachsbleiche. August Beisse was now the sole owner and changed the company name to "AVO-Werke G.m.b.H. August Beisse" in 1929.
As a reaction to the difficult time of the world economic crisis, auxiliary materials were added to the product range. A sign of this was the first trademark application in 1934, "Tauchfix" for dipping masses. From 1936, the Osnabrück-based company expanded its portfolio and added soups, sauces, stock pastes and cold dishes to its range. The vegetable ingredients were grown on the manor Habighorst near Celle, which was acquired for this purpose.
In 1944, the company buildings burned down completely. After the reconstruction, company founder August Beisse died in 1950. His son Jochen Beisse continued the business, but was killed in a car accident four years later. At the request of August Beisse's widow and sole owner, Dr. Otto Breun, a chartered accountant and tax consultant from Mannheim, took over the management of the company in 1955 and acquired the majority of the capital. Since then, AVO has remained in family ownership.
Under Dr. Breun, the company was restructured. Aids gained importance in meat and sausage production. From this time came brands that have retained their appeal to this day: Avoplas, Avoglut, Avo-Blitz, Avo-Gold, Erpu and MEISTERCLUB are just a few examples.
Although the focus was on the development and expansion of the range of sausage seasonings and auxiliary materials, the production and distribution of ham and roast nets, for which AVO held the patent, made a decisive contribution to growth. In the early 1960s, the nets were an innovation at butchers' trade fairs of the time.
By the mid-1960s, the buildings in Osnabrück were so badly in need of renovation that a new building seemed more sensible. Therefore, the new company headquarters were built in 1968 at the current location in Belm Powe. In 1969, the first technical seminar was also held there. New mixtures and solutions for the requirements of meat and sausage production were developed in the company's own laboratories and product development department.
The trend towards convenience products was increasingly gaining ground. AVO was already producing marinades and pastes in a former dairy at this time. In the early 1990s, AVO was a pioneer and exclusive development partner of the meat and sausage industry for the production of industrially produced and self-service-packed meat specialities. For this purpose, spice mixtures and marinades had to meet not only taste requirements but also special technological requirements, which were continuously adapted and developed over time. This period saw the birth of the Lafiness, MariTop and Liq-Würz brands. But the classic spice blends such as Bonanza, Dallas, Denver, Santa Fe, Küfer Steak and spice blends for gyros also enriched the range of meat specialities for varied menus among consumers.
Since 1996, the company has been managed by Guido Maßmann and Bernhard Loch. Bernhard Loch is responsible for production, logistics and administration, Guido Maßmann for sales, marketing and product development. In order to lead the company into a successful future, the two managers changed the corporate strategy: absolute customer orientation is considered the top maxim of daily actions.
The path taken was to prove particularly successful: From 1995 to 2020, the annual turnover rose from 44 million to almost 200 million euros. During this period, the company grew from 252 to 650 employees. More than 8,000 articles, two-thirds of which are customised developments, show the effect of the implemented strategic reorientation.
During this time, AVO developed into the market leader in the field of processing spices in Germany and Europe. Its customers include companies from the food trade, the food industry and the food retail sector. Starting from its roots in the meat and sausage sector, AVO developed further business areas. These include fish, poultry, dairy products, baked goods, catering and alternative proteins. AVO is also currently a partner for numerous successful start-up companies.
Up to this point, the internationalisation of AVO-Werke was a rather situational business with a focus on neighbouring European countries. Under the dual leadership of Bernhard Loch and Guido Maßmann, the business was systematically expanded. As early as 1993, the company Les Epices d'Ingwiller in France was taken over. In 1997, AVO founded a subsidiary, AVO-Werke Sp. z.o.o., in Kobierzyce, Poland. In addition, AVO works with selected partner companies worldwide.
The economic success is reflected in permanent investments in state-of-the-art plant and production technology as well as in the optimisation of processes: 1997 construction of the new liquid production facility in Belm, 2001 expansion of production and warehouse, 2005 addition of a new storey to the administration building, 2007 expansion of the development department, 2010 completion of the fully automated high-bay warehouse and commissioning of the 1,600 square metre photovoltaic system, 2011 plant expansion in the dry area with new weighing technology and highly developed mixing and dosing systems, and finally 2020 plant expansion with the construction of the new logistics centre for finished goods with a fully automated high-bay warehouse. In total, investments of 100 million euros were made during this period.
The fact that the company is well equipped for the future is also evident in times of pandemic. "We are coming through the current global crisis comparatively well and will close the 2020 business year with an increase in turnover," sums up Managing Director Guido Maßmann. "In addition, we have been able to accelerate many developments in the digital field enormously. Our trademark is and remains customer proximity, and it is precisely this that we will intensify in the future through our digital presence and thus create new areas of experience for our customers. We see this as the perfect complement to our 65 field staff, who of course continue to bring our customer focus to life."
In parallel, measures in the area of sustainability will be deepened. By 2023, AVO aims to be qualified according to the "sustainable business management" standard of the ZNU, Centre for Sustainable Business Management at the University of Witten/Herdecke. Furthermore, it is the management's declared goal to transform AVO into a climate-neutral production site through the certification "ZNU goes Zero".
In view of these challenges, Managing Directors Guido Maßmann and Bernhard Loch look to the future with confidence. "AVO continues to stand for continuity and reliability together with the flexibility and innovative strength that characterise our company," explains Bernhard Loch.
"We look forward to continuing the success story of AVO-Werke together with our customers and business partners as well as our employees. We are optimally positioned for the future," both managing directors are convinced.