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Co-creating new venues for growth


family business

length / size
36 months / 10 people working on client side

Global scope with a focus on Europe, the United States, China, Korea and Japan

GlobalData, Results

market trends analysis & insights
route-to-market strategy

portfolio re-engineering
sensitivity analysis & scenario planning

profiling & planning

board & stakeholder management
vision ownership & collaboration tools

Couplet sugars, a world leader in sugar production, called on beez to inspire new venues for growth ahead of regulatory changes. Using its customer-centric approach, beez identified the priority projects that fit best the new co-created growth plan. Results have gone beyond expectations.

Operating from Belgium, Couplet Sugars provides ‘special’ sugars to industrial and artisanal bakeries worldwide. The middle-sized family-owned business has been growing fast since its inception in 1847. On its sugar segment – notably used for Belgium’s famous Liège waffles – Couplet sugars is the world’s leader.

In 2014, the CEO Ignace Couplet appointed a new Sales Director, Marc Painsmaye. Together, they shared concerns about the impact on future sales of ongoing regulatory changes (ex: Nutriscore, UK law on share of sugar components) and consumer linking nutrition and personal health objectives.

They also had a common desire to break silos internally, foster collective intelligence, and build ownership of strategic decisions. Together, they sought to identify the optimal product portfolio and marketing techniques to drive B2B sales, especially in Europe, the United States, China, Korea and Japan.

In 2015, Ignace and Marc sought to find a consultancy that would support their dual objective of boosting growth while mobilising company staff. Ignace and Marc selected beez because of its top-tier business acumen, strong listening skills and effective consensus-building methodologies.

Given the broad and bold objectives of Couplet Sugars, beez suggested following its three-step ‘design thinking’ process: reframe, create, and deliver.


The “reframe” phase seeks to ensure that one remains focused on the right challenges once everything is considered. We thus started by reviewing relevant data about sugar market trends, customer profiles and the company’s track record. To that end, beez conducted 15 internal interviews with several managers, employees, and board members.

Confronted with the lack of up-to-date or relevant data, beez recommended purchasing selected global datasets (GlobalData) on bakery and sugar ingredient sales. beez then turned the collected figures into actionable insights about Couplet Sugars’ growth prospects. The aim was to gauge the impact of the sugar backlash on the size of the B2B markets for sugar-based ingredients. Once the outlook was clear, it became possible to assess Couplet Sugar’s market position and prospects and thus devise the most appropriate growth priorities.

It was also vital to acquire more knowledge about its customer base and prospects. So beez suggested hiring Results, its trusted partner with experience in running high-quality one-on-one interviews. After running 15 interviews with Couplet Sugars customers and prospects, beez compiled a SWOT analysis of how customers and prospects perceived Couplet Sugars.


Once beez shared the latest knowledge about Couplet Sugars’ position and prospects internally, it was possible to move on to the creative phase of the project: revamping the company’s portfolio strategy. To that end, beez designed a programme of five workshops (of one or two days) with a diverse selection of rising talents and management representatives, from finance, HR, supply chain, R&D, sales, engineering, and quality management. Together, we evaluated the current portfolio of products and services and ranked them by business prospects.

Then, we reviewed the 34 ongoing projects and decided to prioritise those that best met customer needs and expectations. beez then conducted a sensitivity analysis to ensure Couplet Sugars could manage the financial risks of business innovation in general and a constantly evolving regulatory and market environment. beez worked with a base and two alternative scenarios: one where threats would materialise and another with more promising prospects.

At the end of this thorough and participatory process, it was agreed to focus on 14 projects – and suspend some 20 projects. Everybody congratulated each other for the bold yet shared commitment.

Marc Painsmaye

Thanks to beez’s customer-centric approach,
the sales strategy we co-created
proved very efficient.
I received positive feedback
from both shareholders and board members.

Marc Painsmaye

Couplet Sugars


With the new priorities agreed upon and shared widely within the company, beez drafted a company-wide action plan detailing the road to market for each of the 14 innovation projects across the priority markets: Europe, the United States, China, Japan, and Korea. beez then supported Couplet Sugars CEO and Sales director in presenting their sales strategy and growth action plan to the Board of Administrators.

Once the new plan was approved, beez supported its implementation throughout the company. beez attended numerous internal and external meetings to provide tailored support.

In the end, throughout the 36-month project, Couplet Sugars experienced significant changes in how it collaborates and assesses projects, a process which beez has helped to facilitate.


At the end of a collaborative process facilitated by beez, Couplet Sugars – both leadership and staff – owned a strong growth plan based on qualitative and quantitative market insights. Following a comprehensive review of its product portfolio, it selected 14 projects out of 34.

Following the implementation of the 2016 growth plan, Couplet Sugars’ results have gone beyond anticipated performance indicators thanks to a very effective sales strategy.

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