In 1885, a family-owned Dutch veal processing facility opened its doors and got to work. The owners didn’t know it at the time, but their humble operation would eventually grow into one of the world’s largest veal producers, earning the highest distinction in the land – as purveyor to the royal household – along the way. Today, they’re still pioneering and expanding, with no plans to stop any time soon. That company is T. Boer & zn – who imports through Thomas Foods International here in the United States and may be better known here for their brand Royal Dutch Veal.
The operation consists of more than 400 employees who process more than 400,000 calves every year. The veal – easily among the highest quality in the world, is shipped to over 60 countries.
That quality, for which Royal Dutch Veal is so famous, is a result of several steps in their process. Most importantly, they’re part of the VanDrie Group, a vertically-integrated supply chain that is able to establish and maintain high standards for how each of the 1,200 farmers they have under contract are to raise their calves.
The VanDrie program maintains the highest standards of animal welfare possible. Animals are milk-fed with no added hormones. They are raised in groups, in well lit, ventilated stables. Finally, each animal is traceable from birth to store shelves, with full transparency to government inspection to ensure animal welfare at each step of the way.
The United States eats far less veal than it once did, but there are signs that may be changing. Decades ago, animal rights groups successfully turned much of the country against the domestic veal industry with revelations of the inhumane treatment of animals. As awareness of the standards that companies like Royal Dutch Veal uphold begin to spread, more and more people will be curious to try it. Especially when seeing it on restaurant menus; it’s a chance to try something out of the ordinary.
As Royal Dutch Veal continues to grow, US chefs would be wise to try getting ahead of the curve and see how their customers respond to veal of the highest quality.