The history of our family company
Natural sweet specialties for over 100 years
The Grafschafter Krautfabrik has existed for a very long time: we have been producing our natural specialities with pride and passion for over 115 years. Sugar beet has been the cornerstone of our success, but the beginnings of our family company were however, in another business.
This video shows just how much passion and commitment go into our products.
Our family business
|1893||Josef Schmitz builds a brick factory in a field in Meckenheim near Bonn. In 1904 he starts producing sugar beet syrup as a by-product of the existing agricultural operations.|
|1920||His son Albert Schmitz joins the factory and turns the company into a limited company. The production of sugar beet syrup is increased under his leadership, and up to 1955 even the wooden barrels used for filling at that time were manufactured in-house.|
|1953||The sugar beet syrup is packaged in the now famous yellow cup to make the product stand out from the other jams and spreads on the shelves. It is also used as a light alternative to the heavy jam jars and buckets that are filled up in the shop itself. The sugar beet syrup is now available in food stores beyond the borders of Meckenheim.|
|1968||Dr. Ernst Franceschini becomes the new Managing Director of the company.|
|1972||Albert Schmitz turns the growing company into a limited partnership and his son-in-law, Dr. Ernst Franceschini, becomes the general partner.|
|1973||Albert Schmitz dies, and Dr. Ernst Franceschini becomes the sole Managing Director.|
|1974||Joint venture agreements are signed with companies in Belgium and Hamburg, and the product range is extended.|
|1976||The acquisition of the largest German apple spread manufacturer, the company Land in Herchen in the Rhein-Sieg region.|
|1990||The liquid industrial sugar mixtures division is established, and another production plant is acquired in Aldenhoven specialising in the manufacture of organic sugar beet syrup.|
|1993||The Grafschafter Krautfabrik expands and acquires the Dutch firm Frumarco BV with factories in Beek and Beesel. It also gains shares in the HZR, the Hanseatic Sugar Refinery in Hamburg.|
|1995||Brick production is finally discontinued, and the ring kiln is demolished.|
Grafschafter and the apple and sugar beet manufacturer Spelten from Wegberg and the Koppers syrup factory found the "Schutzgemeinschaft Rheinischer Zuckerrübensirup / Rheinisches Apfelkraut" (The protective association for Rhenish sugar beet syrup / Rhenish apple spread”. The protective association was designed to protect and preserve the Rhenish geographical indication of origin for sugar beet syrup and apple spread.Stefan Franceschini joins the company management on 1st August of the same year, representing the fourth generation of the family.
|2008||“Schutzgemeinschaft Rheinischer Zuckerrübensirup / Rheinisches Apfelkraut” makes its debut at the “Green Week” in Berlin. The Grafschafter Krautfabrik unveils the new brand strapline “Grafschafter. This is our nature”.|
|2009||The company increases its photovoltaic system to 310 kWp to exploit the use of alternative energy. This corresponds to a supply of alternative energy into the public grid of roughly 280,000 kWh a year and an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of 165,480kg.|
|2010||The packaging of the full Grafschafter range is redesigned and three new Grafschafter Gourmet fruit spreads also expand the selection of products in the premium range. The Grafschafter Krautfabrik is also awarded the Clean Tech certification.|
|2012||The Rhenish sugar beet syrup and Rhenish apple spread receive the European certification label “protected geographical indication” or “PGI”.|
|2013||The Grafschafter Krautfabrik achieves the IFS Food Version 6 certification.|
|2014||The export business for the new and existing foreign brands is further increased.
|2015||A new website and new corporate video are unveiled; the new face of the Grafschafter Krautfabrik.|
|2016||Joining the association Bio Innovation Park Rheinland.|
|2018||The Grafschafter Krautfabrik celebrates its 125th anniversary. The product range appeared in a new design and under a new brand logo in autum.
Dr. Ernst Franceschini