Spain's pizza leader

by Arvin Donley
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Having established itself over a 20-year-period as a leader in Spain’s meat processing industry, Casas Tarradellas saw an opportunity in 1997 to expand its business by introducing frozen pizza to the Spanish market.
The decision has paid major dividends for the family-owned company, which has maintained the leading position in the chilled pizza market for the last 15 years.
Since its founding by Josep Tarradellas Arcarons in 1976, Casa Tarradellas has experienced steady growth and today has a turnover of €687 million and has grown its workforce to 1,400 employees.
“Casa Tarradellas is one of the leading food processing companies in Spain and one of the 10 most valued brands by Spanish consumers,” the company told World Grain.
It has nine facilities — three of which began operating in the past three years — that focus on the production of feed, meat products, flour and pizza.
The company has four production facilities equipped with multi-faceted technology that are focused specifically on making both chilled and frozen stone oven pizzas.
“For Casa Tarradellas, concern about the origin of the product is fundamental,” the company said. “Its meat industry tradition already establishes this principle by obtaining the best meat for the production of its ham and bacon, 75% of which comes from herds on its own farms.”
Casa Tarradellas has two feed mills, aimed exclusively at supplying feed for its pork livestock.
New flour mill
With the goal of producing the best possible flour for its pizza dough, Casa Tarradellas constructed its own flour mill in December 2010 with modern installations to undertake research into producing the ideal flour for each of its pizza recipes.
Cost of the facility was €15 million. The mill is located near four of the company’s chilled pizza plants.
The 1,500-square-meter facility features the most advanced milling technology from Bühler AG, Uzwil, Switzerland, including Sortex color sorters, and has its own laboratory for the specific analysis of the flour produced in the mill.
“Casa Tarradellas takes great care with each of its recipes,” the company said. “Thus it has a wide range of varieties of pizza in order to adapt to different tastes. These recipes do not only vary in the ingredients of toppings, but different bases are also made with different mixtures of flour, from its own mill, according to the variety of pizza.”
Also in this flour mill, Casa Tarradellas is studying what kind of wheat is better to obtain for the flour it needs.
With the new plant, the company now has nine production facilities in the Osona region, which is known for the production of high quality wheat.
In order to explain the importance that the company affords to the care of the ingredients, specifically wheat, Casa Tarradellas has led a campaign designed to show the starting point of the production of its pizzas. On July 10, television viewers of the main channels in Spain were able to see live footage of Casa Tarradellas harvesting wheat that will be used to make flour for its pizzas.
“With this new research center, Casa Tarradellas shows again its commitment to work hard and take care of the product from the very beginning of its production chain,” the company said. “It opens new possibilities of innovation and to show the willingness to keep working on the product in order to offer even better
food proposals.”
In addition to being the first company in Spain to produce chilled pizzas, Casa Tarradellas also was the first to offer gluten-free pizzas cooked in stone ovens.
“To achieve this, it has been necessary to design a production center totally isolated from the other pizza production centers,” the company said.
Besides pizzas and fresh dough, the company’s other best-selling products are fuet (dried sausage), boiled ham slices, bacon strips, Pâté and Mixto grilled sandwich.
New PET plastic plant
Casa Tarradellas is in the process of building a recycling and PET plastic co-extrusion plant that is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Representing an investment of €10 million, the center will apply state-of-the-art technology in the recovery and co-extrusion of PET plastic, the company said.
“This project is another step forward in the implementation of the company’s environmental policy of proximity, enabling it to safeguard the source of its product ingredients and to reduce the logistical impact of its operations,” the company said.
Casa Tarradellas is building the 3,700-square-meter plant for the recovery and reuse of the PET plastic offcuts currently generated by its packaging lines.
“This project makes Casa Tarradellas the first company in the chilled food sector to be equipped with the capacity to recover waste from its own packaging,” the company said. “Through this project, Casa Tarradellas is continuing the implementation of its sustainability policy, while reducing costs and increasing competitiveness.”
The material recovered from nearby plants is cleaned, sterilized and then co-extruded between two layers of virgin plastic, ready to be used for packaging new products, Casa Tarradellas said.
“Furthermore, unlike other packaging recovery plants, the recovered material is 100% traceable, since it comes from the company’s own plants,” the company said. “This aspect will ensure an even higher food safety rating for the products we produce.
“Casa Tarradellas currently uses 20% recovered PET plastic in its pizza packaging. Thanks to this new technological initiative, the goal is for this figure to rise to between 30% and 70% of the final packaging, according to the product type.”
Casa Tarradellas said it has been a pioneer in Spain in the use of the PET package, a 100% hermetically-sealed package which achieves the maximum guarantees of conservation and freshness of the product.
The company said it is very important to be able to demonstrate the work and efforts invested in each and every one of the products, which is why it uses transparent packaging.
“This way, consumers know what they are buying, because they buy what they see,” the company said.