It all started with licorice kittens – the Katjes. This became a large confectionery company that is now mourning its founder.
DIt all started with the small, tough licorice kittens, known as Katjes in Dutch. After them, Klaus Fassin, who grew up in ‘s-Heerenberg in the Netherlands, named the confectionery company that he founded right across the border in Emmerich on the Lower Rhine.
He was twenty years old at the time and had just finished high school with the Jesuits in Nijmegen. The kittens were followed by the soft cat paws and the “salty herrings”. Fassin had the right feeling for the tastes of the customers and a skilled knack for advertising and marketing.
When he entered the fruit gum market in 1971, he opened another chapter. The recipe he devised for the Katjes Yoghurt Gums is still a great success and one of the best-selling products in the range.
In the late 1980s, he was one of the pioneers in switching to products that were as natural as possible, replacing artificial colors with fruit juices and purees. Animal gelatine also disappeared from the ingredients, Katjes became a trendsetter for vegetarian fruit gums and liquorice. Brands such as Wick cough drops, Ahoj-Brause and Sallos were added.
Several new plants were built in Emmerich, and Katjes rose to become one of the largest confectionery companies with around 500 employees and an annual turnover of more than 200 million euros. As Katjes now announced, founder Klaus Fassin passed away at the weekend at the age of 89.