smart break, a combination of know-how for vending and takeaway professionals

November, 27 2023

Antoine Dupuy & Rodolphe Debacker explain the birth of smart break, its acquisition of Segi and APS, and its aim to provide a range of professional, innovative products and services to the vending and takeaway sectors. An interview that puts into perspective the emergence of this new player in the vending sector.

Food&coffee Markets: smart corp has successively acquired Segi France and APS… How did the merger come about?

Rodolphe Debacker: smart corp, with its subsidiary smart wood, has become the world leader in ice cream sticks. Our 100 % French, family-owned group is now a key player in the ice cream and the beechwood stick industry. Beechwood is a product that has enabled us to branch out into other markets. In 2021, we started diversifying by integrating the smart paper cup factory, which until then, was making the SEGI’s Quali-T-Cup© paper cups. The growth and potential of this market in recent years naturally led, that same year, to a rapprochement with SEGI based on a shared vision, and to its merging into our Group. In 2022, smart corp continued expanding its product catalogue with the acquisition of APS, the Sarthe-based company specialising in paper stirrers for hot beverages. The outlook for this product is very encouraging! The entire portfolio of offers and products now comes under the smart break commercial flag. Our aim is to become a holistic industrial player able to propose a consistent offer that is competitive because we are producers, as well as being environment-friendly given we are replacing plastic with products from sustainably-managed forests.

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Antoine Dupuy & Rodolphe Debacker

F&CM: What are the synergies according to you?

Antoine Dupuy: The vending market is getting increasingly professional and structured, with players intent on strengthening their purchasing approach around exemplary products. For over 18 months, paper cups have become highly sensitive and particularly technical products. They are harder to handle than plastic cups, and SEGI’s decades of experience in the vending business makes a whole difference in the technical and logistical development of these products. In addition, our beechwood stirrers have also required clear-cut technical skills to meet the specific requirements of hot beverage vending machines. Not to mention the regulatory changes relating to materials (wood, paper) used for these products: this has required in-depth work to reach and guarantee perfect compatibility between new products and hot beverage vending machines (coffee, chocolate, tea, etc.).
smart break has now a unique catalogue on the market of products and accessories dedicated to the vending and takeaway sectors. Management professionals are already familiar with our instant products (tea, flavoured tea, gourmet coffee, etc.), which are also the result of our know-how and perfectly-mastered technical skills. Not forgetting COVIM coffee beans and Drink’n Like soups that come to complete the catalogue of reference products required by the most demanding professionals. The synergies between the product ranges of the two companies’ are obvious, and mean that our customers can count on the support of a major national player.

F&CM: What are smart break’s anchor points?

Antoine Dupuy: Our approach is based on the fundamental pillars of environmental requirements and innovation. Our wish is to support our customers in those practices arising from the ecological transition led by public authorities, by providing more and more environment-friendly products (paper cups, paper stirrers and beechwood stirrers from sustainably-managed forests). In addition, we will continue investing in an increasing number of technical products suited to vending machines, a business that remains in a class of its own, with its own specific characteristics. We are working to develop new concepts and solutions in order to help create value for our vending and takeaway partners and customers. It is no secret that today’s purchasers are sensitive to an environment-friendly approach. Many of them are developing increasingly comprehensive CSR approaches that include using suppliers being on the same line of thinking. And of course, the end consumer is also committed to responsible consumption. Fully devoted to this philosophy, smart break and the whole smart corp Group, offer an ever-expanding range of products and accessories meeting new environmental requirements.
The vending cup remains one of smart break’s trademarks.

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