"We want Vicky Foods to be a leader in the food sector, innovative and sustainable"
Vicky Foods is the first company in volume in the pastry and bakery sector in Spain. It has three brands
–Dulcesol, Be Plus and Hermanos Juan–, more than 350 products, presence in more than 50 countries and 4 production plants. It is also a pioneer in implementing measures in favor of sustainable packaging: its Dulcesol brand began offering all its bread and pastry lines in biodegradable packaging in June 2020, a process that will end in the middle of this year.
· What are the origins of the company and what is the current situation?
Vicky Foods was founded in Villalonga in 1952 by my grandfather Antonio. At the beginning, the company operated exclusively as a bakery that supplied the entire region and it is in the 60s when my grandmother, Victoria, decides that it is time to innovate and diversify the offer. His creative and innovative vision, coupled with my grandfather's entrepreneurial ambition and desire to grow, gave a good result.
The great milestone of the company occurred when my grandmother invented Las Glorias in 1972, the first square cupcakes on the market. Its particular composition, its original shape and its competitive price were a success that helped to put the germ of what the company was going to be in the coming years. That was really the birth of the company and when we stopped being a small local manufacturer.
We are currently the first company in volume in the pastry and pastry sector in Spain with a turnover of 352 million euros in 2019, a portfolio of more than 350 products, presence in more than 50 countries and 4 production plants in Gandía, Villalonga, Xátiva and Oran (Algeria). In addition, we have an Innovation Center, 23 commercial delegations inside and outside Spain, an egg-producing farm and a packaging plant.
· In 2019, the turnover was 352 million euros, do you have data for 2020? Did the pandemic affect you or, being a food company, have you not noticed the negative effects that are harming other sectors?
We still do not have the official figures for 2020 but the forecasts are positive. In our case, the pandemic has not affected us negatively in terms of sales, although it was difficult to maintain supply in the first instance. But, thanks to the support of all the people who make up the company, we are able to serve all our customers and consumers.
· What are your star references?
As I mentioned previously, at Vicky Foods we have a portfolio of more than 350 products distributed in our Dulcesol brands, which includes all pastries and bread; Be Plus, our healthy eating line; and Hermanos Juan, the range of frozen bread and pastries for the hotel and food industry.
At Dulcesol we have more than 100 products and every year we add new references. Muffins, Soles, sponge cake and puff pastry sheet products are in general the most demanded by our consumers in the pastry range, while, in the bread category, we could highlight white sliced bread without crust.
On the other hand, in Be Plus the fruit bags and the new spreads that serve as dipeo are the main protagonists.
· What have been your latest news? Do you have a launch planned soon?
At Vicky Foods we are committed to diversifying high-quality products that are increasingly innovative, healthy, sustainable and that respond to consumer trends. A bet that is reflected in the three brands of the group.
Thus, with Dulcesol we have increased our portfolio in the bread category with references such as mini burgers or rustic Burger bread. In the pastry division, one of the main novelties has been 0% milk bread. This variety becomes part of the brand's range of products without added sugars that also have a sustainable packaging that reduces the use of plastic by 80% and can be recycled in the blue paper container. Finally, last year we presented the first Dulcesol ice cream line. In total, 40 references aimed at all audiences with different varieties, formats and flavors, which we will expand this year.
As for Be Plus, Vicky Foods' line of healthy products, there are launches such as vegetable-based hamburgers and meatballs, ratatouille, stew, beans with potatoes and artichokes. These categories join the different food lines that the brand already has, such as salads, salads, pastas, spreads, baby foods and bioactive smoothies with organic fruits and vegetables in pouch format. All of them are clean label and are presented in a convenient ready to eat format.
Finally, with Hermanos Juan we can highlight among their latest additions the mini croissants, with chocolate or sugar shavings, their new canes in five different varieties, the classic and cocoa saloons, and the sugar or cocoa cake with chocolate.
· Dulcesol led the change to biodegradable packaging. Specifically, what material are they made of and when is it expected that all your products will be available with this packaging?
Last year we announced that the Dulcesol brand began to package all the bread and pastry lines in biodegradable packaging. The implementation of these innovative packagings, which follow all EU regulations and incorporate a new technology that allows the material to degrade as if it were just another organic waste, began in June 2020 and will end in the middle of this year.
It is a pioneering initiative in the mass consumer sector in our country that affects nearly 150 million packages, including bags, multipacks and packaging for sale by weight, of all Dulcesol bread and pastry products. This change will reduce the impact on the environment, one of the company's objectives.
· This project is part of its environmental sustainability policy. What other measures are you implementing?
This initiative is part of Vicky Foods' CSR strategy and represents another step in our commitment to innovate and promote the design of products and processes that minimize the impact of our activity on the environment in which we operate.
The responsible management of raw materials and the reduction of waste, specifically the consumption of conventional plastic materials for containers and packaging, is one of the most outstanding lines of action. We have been applying a series of measures in our processes for years to reverse the use of this material under the strategic approach of 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle', among which the reduction of the thickness of the plastic sheets and the surface of the containers stands out. , or the investigation of substitute materials based on PLA (polyacid lactic acid) or other compostable and / or biodegradable polymers.
As a result of these works, in 2019 we launched the first ecological muffins on the market with 100% biodegradable packaging, from the film that wraps them, the cardboard tray and the capsules, and the line without added sugar that I mentioned a few moments ago.
· Do you also plan to change the packaging of Hermanos Juan and Be Plus products?
Of course. Within our objective is to eliminate the consumption of conventional plastics. Now we are focused on the implementation of these new containers to all the Dulcesol brand product lines, an ambitious project for us that will affect about 300 references.
· Regarding design, do you work with an agency or do you have a department within the company itself? What do you want to convey with the image of your products?
In general terms, for those projects that are key for us, we work jointly with two agencies, one specialized in design and the other that advises us at a strategic level. We always propose designs keeping in mind the philosophy, values and target audience of each brand and each product category.
· At Christmas, they incorporated QR codes on Dulcesol packages with recipes. What response have you gotten from the consumer? Will they continue to implement this type of smart packaging?
Last Christmas we included QR codes on the packages of various Dulcesol brand references with Christmas recipes for family cooking. To access them, the consumer only had to capture the QR code with the mobile phone camera to enter our blog 'Sweet Life'. In it they could find not only proposals for those dates, but a large multitude of sweet and savory dishes to prepare at home at any time of the year. The reception from consumers has been very positive, so we will continue to expand the experience to new products.
· They recently created the Vicky Foods Foundation for Research in Nutrition and Health and have just launched a call for an award. Why did you decide to create it?
The Vicky Foods Foundation was created with the aim of structuring the management of the social action carried out by the business group. Among its purposes is to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of activities related to training and learning.
As part of this commitment, we have just announced the first call for the 'Vicky Foods Foundation for research in nutrition and health' award. An initiative that aims to recognize the work of research and its development in the field of technological innovation for the production and use of products, the improvement of the nutritional profile, 'Clean label' projects, functional foods and personalized feeding.
The award has an economic endowment of 10.000 euros and the registration period for applications will remain open until May 31st.
· What objectives are proposed for this 2021?
Looking ahead to the next few years, we want Vicky Foods to be a leading innovative and sustainable food company in the food sector. With international projection and oriented to satisfy the new demands of consumers at a global level.