Industry focus: Food in Netherlands

AKD

AKD 'has multiple experts within a lot of disciplines making it easy to get advice' and the team 'is very good at making legal issues comprehensible for food business operators'. It provides a comprehensive service ranging from all the regulations that impact food content and labelling and product safety to commercial contracts, IP and competition law. Senior associate Erik Dans is valued for his 'sharp analysis' and ability to identify 'all the downsides and when it is better to let it go or fight for your business'. Barbara Mutsaers heads the practice and Huib Berendschot offers considerable experience in the food industry from an IP point of view and counts Nestlé and Unilever among his clients. The team assists long-standing client Herbalife with issues relating to IP protection,  media and data protection.

Hoogenraad & Haak, advertising + IP advocaten

Led by the well-known Ebba Hoogenraad, and with assistance from associate Sarah Arayess, the health, beauty and food team at Hoogenraad & Haak, advertising + IP advocaten advises on all aspects of food law including labelling and contentious cases such as product recalls. Arayess is advising Eurofins Food Safety Solution, the food testing specialist that counts Aldi among its clients, on various food labelling issues. Its client roster includes Illy Café, Yakult and Heineken Netherlands.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff 'offers strong, relevant advice', and for one client 'the speed of response is crucial'. The team provides a full, multi-jurisdictional service to clients in the food and beverages industries including advising on corporate, IP and complex regulatory regimes. Professor Gert-Wim van de Meent heads the practice and has a focus on domestic and EU regulatory, competition and procurement law; Yves Van Couter heads the Benelux group. The team advised Bacardi and its group companies on the Dutch and Swiss aspects of  its acquisition of Patrón Spirits International – its PATRÓN brand. Harmen Holtrop, who co-chairs the corporate group advised Nimbus on the disposal of Meneba, the major grain miller.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh fields a substantial team that offers a full service to clients in the food and agricultural sectors including issues of food safety and relevant technologies. Leading partner Jolize Lautenbach and senior associate Silvia Gawronski have a focus on regulations; Teska van Vuren handles a range of corporate and private equity matters and Anne Marie Verschuur brings her IP expertise to the mix. The team is assisting a number of clients including Spack Trading in disputes with SKAL, the control authority that certifies organic companies and products. Other clients include Coca Cola, Danone, Unilever and ForFarmers.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons provides clients in the food industry with specialist corporate, M&A, tax, employment and dispute resolution services. It is highlighted for being 'well organised, cost-efficient, and for having strong expertise in different areas'; it is also valued for being able to 'work in an international environment'. The team's client roster includes United Biscuits, Dutch brewer Bavaria, Coca-Cola European Partners and OranginaSchweppes. Department head Pieter van Uchelen focuses on corporate, M&A and private equity work and he advised Nimbus in respect of the sale of 45% of the shares in Halo Foods to a German company, a matter governed by Dutch law which required the approval of the German competition authority. Leo Verhoeff and employment specialist Joris Oster are other noted practitioners.

Van Doorne

A substantial team at Van Doorne offers cross-border, sector expertise in areas as varied as commercial/M&A, real estate, litigation, IP and employment. It provides advice that is 'to the point at short notice and has solid knowledge of all areas of law that a corporate has to deal with'. Lisette Bieleveld, who heads the team and leads the commercial work advised Superunie, a buying cooperative for supermarket chains, on its acquisition of the BIO+ brand. Bart van Reeken focuses on outsourcing and IT agreements and disputes. IP partner Kriek Wille is advising Texelse Bierbrouwerij, the well-known Dutch specialty beer brewer, on an ongoing conflict with its former director who started a competing brewery under a confusingly similar brand.

Allen & Overy LLP

At Allen & Overy LLPKarine Kodde and Jan Burggraaf focus on a range of corporate and private equity matters within the food and beverage sectors.  The team advised Jumbo as part of a consortium with Coop, on the €410m acquisition of EMTÉ Holding from Sligro Food Group. 'Pragmatic' competition specialist Kees Schillemans is highlighted for having 'a strong sense of business challenges in the food industry'.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Corporate practice head Saskia Blokland leads the 'highly responsive' team at Norton Rose FulbrightPaul Vine's focus is on the finance side of the food and agricultural sectors. The team has handled a number of large-scale acquisitions as well as issues such as product recalls. It also advised a client on all public law implications concerning the development of a new production facility in the Netherlands and on related, complex EU regulations.