Our history

Zandbergen was established by Johannes Zandbergen in 1927. He operated a  butcher shop in the centre of Leiden in the Netherlands. The shop was known for selling the best meat in town. He had thirteen children and many of them followed in their father’s footsteps. His youngest son, Ton Zandbergen, succeeded him and took over his father’s butcher shop in 1970. With his wife’s active support, they began expanding the business rapidly. Together with Ton’s brother Cor, they opened more butcher shops and began supplying meat to restaurants, hotels and hospitals in Leiden and the surrounding area.

Zandbergen has a history as a family business spanning generations

The two brothers’ commitment to top quality combined with their real Dutch entrepreneurial spirit led them to decide to begin sourcing meat from other countries and to begin focussing on meat imports. In 1973, they moved their business from the butcher shop in Leiden to an office and warehouse in Zoeterwoude, which provided easier access to Schiphol Airport and the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. This marked the foundation of Meat Import Zandbergen Brothers B.V.

World's Finest Meat

The business was achieving rapid growth and Cor and Ton began travelling the world to find like-minded partners who shared their vision. They started with meat imports from North and South America and laid the foundation for building strong relationships with meat packers overseas. The first exclusive partnerships were formed with Argentinian and Uruguayan meat packers, including Canelones, Nirea and Las Piedras, in 1983. These rock-solid partnerships still exist to this day.

Cor and Ton began travelling the world to find like-minded partners who shared their vision

Tyson Foods - Focus on quality

IBP, which became part of Tyson Foods in 2001, began working exclusively with Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat as their European distribution partner in 1994. The partnership with IBP and Tyson Foods helped Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat build a reputation as a supplier of premium beef in Europe. The company became a preferred meat supplier for many retail chains, cash & carries, food manufacturers and wholesalers and grew into one of the largest players in the European meat industry.  

Next generation

Two of Ton’s three children, Joris Zandbergen and Barbara Zandbergen, joined the company in 2000. Cor retired in 2002. The two brothers could look back with pride on the successful organisation they had built together over nearly half a century. Virtually all wholesalers in Europe sell their quality meat. The name Zandbergen has become synonymous with passionate entrepreneurship and the highest quality meat.

The two brothers could look back with pride on the successful organisation they had built together over nearly half a century

Joris and Barbara both hold university degrees in Business and Economics. When they joined the company, they began by gaining experience in the various departments. It soon became clear that Barbara would focus on Human Resources, while Joris would concentrate on purchasing beef and boosting product flows. During this period a new strategy was also implemented at the Zandbergen Group. Customers had become increasingly demanding and in order to provide them with just-in-time delivery and to be able to operate more independently, the company decided in 2007 to build its own cold store called Frigomundo near the head office premises.

Frigomundo cold store

The Frigomundo cold store facility opened in early 2008 and is one of the most modern facilities in the Netherlands. This new facility, which is located only a few hundred metres from our head office on the same industrial estate, means the entire product flow is centralised. Everything is privately stored under our own supervision, allowing optimum service and efficiency, while minimising costs and negative impact on the environment.

TMT Taurus Meat-Trading & 373 concepts

Ton Zandbergen’s youngest daughter, Charlotte, joined the family business in 2006. She holds a degree in Marketing and Communications and consequently brought expertise in the field of marketing to the company. Zandbergen embraced the idea of value creation and ‘service and experience’ were added to the Zandbergen proposition alongside quality. Supported and inspired by their father, Barbara concentrated increasingly on optimising the internal organisation, while Joris focussed on building more alliances and partnerships around the world. The company expanded the cooperation with TMT Taurus Meat-Trading GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) in 2010.

TMT Taurus Meat-Trading is a 100 % subsidiary of Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat. Recognised in the market as a specialist in New Zealand meat imports, the company trades the brands Silver Fern Farms and Lanz (Crusader) within Germany. TMT Taurus Meat-Trading is also an importer of North and South American beef.  This subsidiary gives Zandbergen a stronger foothold in the German market. The partnerships with Silver Fern Farms and Crusader also create considerable added value for both companies.

The next step of the new marketing strategy was to create more own brands

373 Concepts was established in 2011 in order to implement the new marketing strategy. The first brand was born. It is a wholesale proposition that helps create private labels for major supermarket chains in the European markets. 373 Concepts services brands such as Aldi, Albert Heijn, Rewe, Carrefour, DekaMarkt and many others through product ideas, concepts, identity and labels. 

The next step of the new marketing strategy was to create more own brands. The idea of The Frozen Butcher stems from the ambition to create a 100% pure product that was traceable from farm to fork, which has no additives and delivers on the highest qualitative values.

The Frozen Butcher

Hello, we are The Frozen Butcher. We strive to use only the best meat from all over the world. So we can make the best meat available for Sophie, for Oliver, for Fernando, for Chloe, for Lars. For you. For everyone! We are craftsmen with an innovative approach. Wherever we find the perfect meat, we freeze it at minus 35°C immediately! So it’s frozen in time and fresh on your plate.
The Frozen Butcher is now available in all European markets and sells over 6 million products a year. We offer the best consumer-tested meat products and keep growing from strength to strength.

We strive to use only the best meat from all over the world


Thanks to the success of The Frozen Butcher, Zandbergen continued to expand its brand portfolio in frozen meat products. The ‘Believe the Freeze’ philosophy was ready to penetrate a very difficult and complicated market: chicken.

Based on everything that had been learned in freezing meat, Zandbergen embraced the idea of roasting and frying the chicken product before freezing it. This keeps the chicken fresh and tasty, it is ready to use, it does not contain artificial flavours, preservatives, gluten or allergens and it’s made of 100% chicken. A highly innovative quality product, reliable, low fat, full of protein and packed with plenty of nutritional plusses. The brand is currently being introduced very successfully in the sport and health markets and will be available on European supermarket shelves for the first time in July 2019.

The future of food

We work with the world’s finest meat at Zandbergen and the drive to continuously improve our market performance is in our DNA. We take a sustainable approach that focuses on respecting animal welfare, conserving natural resources and battling climate change. We believe in helping improve the world through a more balanced food supply. Our mission is to provide honest, high-quality products that combine animal protein with plant protein and to demonstrate sound leadership in the food industry.

In 2018 we transformed our business

As one of the largest European meat importers and a producer of high-quality meat products, Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat announced in April of 2018 that it will represent Beyond Meat in Europe. The California-based startup is widely recognised as the plant-based meat category leader. After explosive growth in the U.S. market, the startup is now expanding into Europe. “As a family-owned company, we think about the long-term relationship we want to build with our consumers and suppliers. If we want to maintain our leading role in the meat industry, we believe we must anticipate on the changing behaviour of consumers,” Joris Zandbergen explained. “Looking to the future, we envision ourselves as a supplier fulfilling our customer’s protein needs, rather than being solely a meat supplier.” 

Discover more about Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat