Born in the heart of Flanders Fields
In the bustling city centre of 20th-century Ypres (Belgium), Master Baker Popelier lays the foundations for a truly authentic artisan bakery tradition. But it really takes off when son Luc Popelier and his father start experimenting with traditional cookies in the original bakery. Their biggest challenge: producing the delicacies on a larger scale, without causing their products to lose their renowned qualities.
Turning an ambitious dream into reality
Luc Popelier’s biggest dream is baking his biscuits on an industrial scale and presenting them to the entire world. His ambitious dream comes true when in 1976, the two families – Luc & Monique Popelier and Frans & Roos Castelein – join forces to establish the Poppies company.
Taking the next step: frozen pastries
Poppies moves its operations to a brand-new manufacturing facility in Zonnebeke (Belgium) and takes on a new challenge: creating frozen pastries entirely in the spirit of the artisan Popelier bakery.
Délices de Comines, a new addition to the portfolio
The cookie range is extended and a second production site opens. “Délices de Comines” introduces the famous crispy rolled cookies called “cigarettes”. Both families work on a considerable expansion of the coconut product range in the “Délices de Comines” site. This location will eventually become highly specialised in coconut-based pastries and crispy rolled cookies.
Introducing deep-frozen mini-éclairs
After the growing success of deep-frozen cream puffs, both families concentrate on a promising extension of the range: éclairs and mini-éclairs. Both pastries are successfully added to Poppies’ portfolio.
We are ISO 9002 certified
Impeccable quality is more than an ingrained HACCP philosophy; it implies (among other things) a faultless consistency in taste, freshness and appeal. So we put great efforts into setting up a progressive quality system. The result? We get ISO 9002 certified!
Biscuiterie Willems joins the bakery
No biscuit is more Flemish than the caramelised biscuit or speculoos. A special, secret mix gives the cookie its characteristically sharp, sweet flavour. The Poppies group acquires Biscuiterie Willems, a bakery specialised in these caramelised treats. It’s an ideal addition to the existing Poppies product range.
Pretzels, another part of our famous Flemish heritage
In the meantime, Poppies comes up with new ideas for the Zonnebeke site. The bakers begin producing another traditional Flemish delicacy: pretzels or “krakelingen.” These biscuits are traditionally made with puff pastry, baked until they are light and crispy and finished with coarse-grained sugar to enhance its crunchiness.
Poppies’ passion for the noble baking profession leads its Zonnebeke site to produce another Flemish icon: apricot lattice slices or "carrés confitures". These fruity treats are made of puff pastry and apricot jam spread. They are baked until nicely crisp and crunchy, with the jam giving a caramelly touch. Another key characteristic is the “maze” shape of its top layer, which the artisan product is renowned for.
Two Flemish families with an American dream
America is craving for Poppies, and we know it! In 1997, an American wholesaler already introduces our gourmet products to the US market. Sales rise tremendously and in 1999 we move swiftly to set up our first branch in America: Poppies International Inc.
Celebrating 25 years of Poppies – and how!
25 years of growth, gaining expertise and exploring new markets make us reflect on past achievements and look forward to future developments. But it’s also the perfect occasion for a big birthday party! Together with our employees and customers we build the world’s biggest ever ‘croquembouche’. The gigantic pièce montée makes a banquet for everyone to feast on.
EM Biscuits becomes part of the Poppies group
With a new century comes a new selection of companies to strengthen the Poppies group. EM Biscuits is located in the Flemish city of Wevelgem, and specialises in Flemish “carré confiture” or apricot lattice slices and “frangitarte” or almond-flavoured slices.
What about waffles?
Another newcomer is the Jeanette company in Roncq, France. The result? Filled waffles are added to Poppies’ product range. The production will later be moved to the “Délices de Comines” site in Belgium.
Berlidon brings beignets and donuts
Poppies is also eager to acquire the French Berlidon company. This bakery, known for its frozen beignets and donuts, will be a third addition to the growing Poppies group.
Poppies Inc. now also in USA
After 2 years of working hard to get our new production plant up and running, we managed to organize a first large scale production run on september 11th, 2001... Today the USA has become our biggest market.
A brand-new site for Biscuiterie Willems
Biscuiterie Willems moves its production onto an entirely new site in Eeklo. An all-new building and state-of-the-art equipment turn the bakery into a flagship site, ready for the future. The two fully automated production lines for caramelised biscuits enable the company to respond to specific customer requests more efficiently than ever before.
Acquisition of Delizza Patisserie
The list of acquisitions keeps growing with Delizza Patisserie, a producer of deep-frozen cream puffs and dipped mini-éclairs.
Biscuits Popelier started with the production of filled puff pastry cakes. Later-on the site starts to produce brownies which allows Biscuits Popelier to grow very rapidly.
What are you craving for, UK?
After years of close collaboration with Norwich-based Icefresh Foods, which distributes Poppies’ branded and private label products in the UK market, the company becomes part of the Poppies group.
What’s up Germany?
The Poppies sales team succeeds in appealing to particular segments of the German market. So we establish Poppies GmbH to delight the Germans with our gourmet delicacies at an even faster pace.
Poppies explores the Netherlands
The company in Melissant starts producing ice cream and pastry in 1987. Culi d’Or originates from an ice cream plant. The Culi d’Or brand, distributed in the Netherlands, has existed since 1991.
From 2010 on, the company belongs to the Poppies group as “Poppies Nederland”. In Melissant, Poppies produces cream puffs, mini-éclairs and bavarois in various flavours and shapes.
De Beukelaer, leader in Pirouline rolled wafers
Poppies joins forces with De Beukelaer USA. This market leader for Pirouline rolled wafers is based in Jackson Mississippi.
How are you doing Sweden?
Poppies joins forces with Swedish “Delikatess Bageriet”, a specialist baker of pepparkakor, muffins and oatmeal cookies. Through a participation in the Swedish Delikatess Bageriet, Nordic retailers now also get to offer their customers cookies, pastries and desserts with the signature Poppies taste and freshness.
French macarons made in Flanders
Poppies brings in d'Haubry, creator of delicious French Macarons. From this year on, they will be sold under the brand “Macarons de Pauline and d'Haubry”. Initially only sold at ambient temperatures by d'Haubry, the Poppies team created the recipe for frozen macarons which were a perfect addition to our existing range of frozen desserts. Today frozen macarons are a rapidly growing category.
Poppies acquires Bekaert.
The acquisition strengthens the leadership position of Poppies in the private label sales for the crispy rolled cookies.
Poppies celebrates 40 years of taste, quality and togetherness.
Acquisition of Van Diermen
And the the list keeps growing even longer! Poppies joins forces with Van Diermen Masterbakers, located in Spakenburg, a historic village of fishers and bakers in the heart of Holland. Van Diermen is a specialist baker of choux pastries and other frozen desserts.
Conquering the world – one taste bud at a time
Today, we proudly continue the tradition we started in 1935. The Poppies International group now consists over a 1000 employees in 14 production sites and sells to 57 countries worldwide. A global network of sales organisations work hard to introduce Poppies to countries worldwide. Respect for the tradition of the artisan bakery craft has always remained a staple throughout our history. It is combined with our drive to constantly surprise the markets with new creations and innovative flavours. We’d love to see the whole world indulge in our cookies, pastries and desserts!