June 19, 2024

In conversation with Stef Van de Perre

Creating sustainable food and travel experiences is at the heart of deSter. We chat to Stef Van de Perre ahead of deSter's return to WTCE...

Q. Can you give us a brief overview of what deSter has been up to these past few years?

As a leading provider of innovative food packaging and serviceware concepts for the aviation and foodservice industries, we are constantly evolving, as are the markets in which we operate. After a challenging period, due to the COVID pandemic, which hit the aviation industry very hard, our company’s sales were back to 344 million euros in 2023.

In 2024, we expect to exceed even the pre-COVID figures of 2019. In 2020, deSter merged with SPIRIANT, a global supplier of in-flight equipment, and in February this year we acquired the Spanish company Nupik, a well-established distributor and manufacturer of sustainable food packaging and tableware, now operating under the brand name Nupik by deSter. 

Q. It’s been three years since the merger with SPIRIANT. What impact did this have on deSter? 

After closing the merger in 2020, we started redefining the deSter brand in January 2021. With Equipment Management Services, the opportunity to offer in-house production to a larger group, and to become part of a multicultural company with a global presence, the merger was a win-win situation for both parties. At the same time, we revised our CI and carried out a brand refresh.

Q. Tell us about Nupik by deSter.

This transaction is another milestone in the development of our company. The location in Barcelona is equipped with a state-of-the-art, fully automated warehouse and additional production lines for paper cups and recyclable plastic food contact materials. It strengthens our production and supply chain capabilities and contributes to our sustainable strategy.

At deSter, we provide Nupik by deSter with a stable financial base to invest and expand the production capabilities in Spain. Our collaboration will enhance their product portfolio and increase its customer service levels. Access to our manufacturing facilities around the world and our global network of sourcing partners will improve their competitiveness and enable sustainable growth in reusables, compostables and recyclables.

Q. Where is the deSter situated?

Our company employs approximately 1100 people worldwide and has offices in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We also have manufacturing facilities in Lima (Ohio, USA), Hoogstraten (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain) and Prachinburi (Thailand).

Q. What are deSter’s current focus areas and how do they align with the sustainability goals of airlines?

As sustainability is indeed highly valued, deSter is taking the lead within the industry. We continuously support airlines in achieving their ESG goals. Since 2020, we only introduce products that are reusable, compostable or recyclable.

Our company is phasing out unnecessary single-use plastics and by 2025 all products will be either reusable, recyclable or compostable. deSter’s ESG performance supports our partners in their ESG performance.

Q. What innovations does deSter make to keep up with the times?

We have to keep moving and changing to stay relevant. Definitely in terms of design and development, but also in terms of implementing new materials and technologies. That’s why we are constantly investing in new machines and production methods.

A good example is our paper-based cutlery, which is replacing plastic and wooden cutlery. Thanks to our investment in a new patented production technology, we are now able to produce strong cutlery that feels good in the mouth and is fully compostable. When you combine it with organic waste, the product is completely and environmentally friendly gone after 12 weeks.

Q. What do you believe modern passengers are most looking for in their inflight experience, and how can deSter make that a reality? 

deSter upgrades passenger comfort while adding value with a focus on sustainability. The merger with SPIRIANT opened up a lot of opportunities in the amenity kits and sleepwear categories.

Our company has won some excellent contracts and established a wide range of collaborations, including quite an array of brands that have similar synergies with their ESG strategy and goals that they are excited to bring on board. deSter is also very excited to have one of its amenity kits nominated for the Onboard Hospitality Awards. 

Q. What message are you hoping to share at WTCE this year?   

We believe in the power of personalised experiences tailored to our partners’ unique needs. It’s about more than just offering solutions; it’s about crafting individualised journeys rooted in genuine human connection.

As we prepare for WTCE this year, we’re thrilled to inspire with our latest developments. Visit our booth to discover how we’re redefining sustainable food and travel experiences!


At the head of this world player stands Stef Van de Perre, President and Managing Director. Van de Perre has worked for deSter since 2011, previously in CFO and COO positions.