The origin of the company dates back to 1988, when two enterprises – Garrido y Penedés, S.A. (San Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, 1967), and Ciriaco Rueda, S.A. (Valladolid, 1953) were merged. These spanish companies had a long experience in the packaging and marketing of pulses. In this way, two brands – “Garrido” and “Rueda”, were joined. Alimentos Naturales’ main facilities are located in the industrial area of Onzonilla (León). In 1999, Alimentos Naturales absored the company Envasadora Agrícola Leonesa S.A., - founded in 1973 as a result of the fusion of Comercial Industrial Fernández S.A. – Koifer (León, 1968), and Depósitos Generales S.A., (Barcelona, 1973). In 2001, the group bought the brand “Tachinho”, in Oliveira de Azemeis (Oporto – Portugal). 2004 witnessed the foundation of the company Alimentos Naturales Algerie SPA in Algeria (marketing the products under the brand “Garrido”), and the construction of a packing plant in Dar el Beida (Alger – Algeria). In 2008 the company Naturalim S.A. was founded in Morocco (marketing the products under the brand “Garrido”), and a packing plant was built in Casablanca.
Solutions to attract consumers
Pulses have been grown since ages, and along with tropical fruits and cereals, have been the basis of human diet. Today, the consumption of pulses differs from one country to another. For example, it ranges from 3 grams in Sweden, Germany, and other countries in nothern Europe, to 71 grams in India. The consumption of pulses is inversely proportional to the consumption of animal proteins. Therefore, those countries that consume a lot of meat and animal fats (less healthy), eat less pulses. In Alimentos Naturales S.A., high quality is affordable at a low price, attracting customers of all ages. Alimentos Naturales, S.A. offers a wide range of products, like the best assorted dried and cooked pulses, and recently launched organic products and ready meal dishes. The firm adopts its produts to the demand of the customers, also improving the service to achieve the satisfaction of the clients. Its policy is based on the principle of making the products available easily to the final client. This conviction has encouraged the company to use several distribution channels, offering its products not only through big chains located in urban areas, but also through little shops situated in more distant zones. Today we cannot forget the difficult situation of the market submerged on a global crisis. In these circumstances it is important to distinguish food with good nutritional values. Pulses offered by Alimentos Naturales help to mantain the human body in good health at a good price.
Development of product lines
Without any doubt, the most successful products are pulses on its traditional form. However, customers are demanding new solutions, like ready meal dishes. Alimentos Naturales has developped a new line “Legumbrísimas”, launching a range of products based on the mediterranean cuisine. Beans, chickpeas and lentils are prepared according traditional recipes “Alubias a la Montañesa”, “Alubias a la Ibérica”, “Garbanzos a la Hortelana”, “Garbanzos a la Marinera”, Lentejas a la Riojana”, “Lentejas con Vegetales”. The main innovation of these dishes is that, despite of the traditional recipe, they contain only 3% of fat, which is very important for customers that look for a healthy diet without giving up well known tastes. In order to satisfy its customers, Alimentos Naturales S.A. has accepted new challenges, launching on the market a completely innovative Healthy Line. The first product of this range is lentils containing natural freeze dried extracts of Traschurus – a type of marine fish. It contains lipoproteins that reinforce the inmune system and help to get rid of the excess of blood cholesterol. The new Healthy Line guarantees all the benefits of pulses: high quality proteins, great ammount of fibre, and helps to reduce cholesterol and glucose levels. Due to these benefits, its consumption is recommended at least 2 or 3 times a week. The strategy of development for the whole group Alimentos Naturales is focused on the increase of pulses consumption, improving the quality and continuous research and development (project I+D+i – Spanish National Plan for Development, Scientific and Technological Research). The group is particulary orientated to quality, which has a great impact on human nutrition and health. The old proverb says “We are what we eat”.
The group works on several aspects in order to increase its strategical potential:
- Enlarging its offer through continuous efforts in I+D+i, trying to satisfy new groups of customers, collaborating with universities as well as public and private institutions, not only to improve products for the benefit of customers, but also protecting the natural environment.
- Development on international markets, introducing products in countries with tradictional consumption of pulses.
- Control and management of raw materials from the origin – the field – looking to achieve a certain proportion of self-supply. In 2007 and 2008, Alimentos Naturales S.A. started to plant chickpeas in Andalusia (southern Spain). The company plans to extend this policy to other countries like Algeria and Morocco, and to other products, like lentils in Castilla la Mancha (Spain), and beans in Argentina.
Currently the group employs 183 people (105 in Spain, 60 in Algeria, 15 in Morocco and 3 in Portugal). The company understands the importance of well trained and qualified employees. Only the involvement of all staff can guarantee the development of the company and the personal growth of its employees. Having in mind this principle, Alimentos Naturales always studies internal processes in order to improve them.
Exportation as a key for development
Alimentos Naturales is constantly addapting to follow a changing and growing market. Today, the phenomenon of concentration touches distributors and manufacturers. Alimentos Naturales is a good example. The firm also spreads its activity on a global market, entering markets like Portugal, Algeria and Morocco, with a direct presence. The European market is served from the factory in León (Spain), which also exports to other regions (USA, Angola, Saudi Arabia...etc.). Exports allow the company to reach many countries, proposing dried and cooked pulses, mainly under the brand “Garrido”.
Industrial cerfificates and environmental protection
Alimentos Naturales is aware of the importance of stragegic factors like quality and environment protection, as the best arguments on a commercial policy. The company is committed to implement policies for the development and improvement of its products and services in order to satisfy our client’s needs. The company got its first quality certification in 1996, from the “Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación (AENOR)”. It also got from the same organism the environmental certification in 2003. These certifications guarantee the implantation of a quality and environmental management system, under the standards UNE-EN ISO 9001:2000 and UNE-EN ISO 14001/2004. Alimentos Naturales has also been awarded for being an organic food packer, being a member of the Council of Organic Agriculture of the region of Castilla y León. In 2008, the company was awarded by the magazine “Actualidad Económica” – Economy news – for promoting the Healthy Line and particulary the product Inmune Lentils was chosen as one of the best 100 ideas of the year. These important signs of recognition for Alimentos Naturales S.A. confirm the fact that efforts put into research and working on innovation are efficient.
Written by Berenika Wilczyńska