Interview to Jordi Gallés: "We invest in further innovation"
A family business which bakes bread following the artisan way, but invests more than ten million Euros a year in innovation to increase the quality of its products.
Madrid, 28 December 2012. Did you realise that 30% of the bread Spain consumes is frozen? And that third of what they consume is provided by a Catalan family? Did you know that this Spanish bread is sold as well in Portugal, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, USA, Mexico, Panamá, Costa Rica, Japan and South Korea? We refer to Europastry and the company president Jordi Gallés.
This young entrepreneur leads the company after the dead of his father more than a year ago, and he is aware of the risks that chairing a firm that turns over 380 million € a year entails. However, he has no fear. "I am the third generation of the company; it all began with my grandfather. He had a bakery and realised that even though the effort he made, he could not offer the same product quality to his customers in the morning than in the evening. He started frizzing the dough as it is the best preservative. Today, customers buy less bread than before, but want it to last longer. We invest in further innovation". In 2010, the company invested 10.3 million € in R&D. "We are always launching new products. We make bread the way as my grandfather did, but we froze the dough so that the customer gets the product at its best. We apply the same technique to the pastries. It is all about satisfying consuming needs, but the flavour has to be the same traditional taste", he claims.
Despite the interests in hiding this, the best establishments and retailers purchase their products from this family business. "If you reveal this you drive me and my clients under. Some show off they make their selves bread and pastries, but the truth is that it is ours. Still, they do not cheat as the products they are selling are fresh and home made. We do not produce processed, packaged or in bulk food, it is made the very same day".
Pastries had bad fame, especially after the healthy trend became more important during the last years. However, they have no problem when selling their products. "We count on indulgence. For instance, when somebody decides to eat some pastry that usually does not have, the quality of the product is important to delight it. If you fatten, you better do it with something that you like".
Neither Europastry nor their products are a known brand, but that is due to the fact the company does not invest in advertising. As did his father and grandfather, Gallés believes it is better to invest in quality. "I do not care that my brand is well recognized by consumers. To me, what matters is the recognition of quality. My customer is the intermediary (hotel trade, specialized stores or supermarkets) and he does know me and the final consumer, who buys bread and pastry to the intermediary because of the quality of the product. We are only bakers, as were my ancestors."
The company currently employs 2,800 workers and "we keep on generating employment," despite the economic crisis. "In fact, we will open a factory in Tarragona. The company is familiar, but none of the family works in it except me. It's about being professional and because of this reason we incorporated a partner in 1995 (a venture capital firm that purchased 20% of stake). They have helped us grow."
Europastry is the leader company in frozen dough in Spain and Portugal, and the third in European. "Nowadays, sending bread to South Korea or to Canary Islands is almost the same cost. We always try to export our products to countries with tastes that are alike. For instance, China has very different traditions." Which is the next challenge? "Extending the range of products and putting emphasis on butter and unrefined ones, this is the tendency. Consume is at extremes: either we lower the price or quality. We want to be the best at first."