1987 Pere GallesBaker and son and grandson of bakers, founded Europatry. By then it had developed the network of bakeries Moli Vel. Europastry was born from an idea: to look for a formula for freezing bread dough that would keep all its properties and deliver it fresh to the customer. And after many tests he found it. It involved making the bread the traditional way, letting the yeast ferment, cooking it to 80% and then freezing it. The customer would finish cooking. Today the company is managed by his son. Jordy Galleswho learned the trade between flour and yeast in the family workshop.
Innovation to grow
The baguette was the symbol of the early years (it sold 80%, today it’s only 8%). Pans & Company sandwiches were made from it and the athletes ate them at Barcelona 92. At first they focused on developing different breads. “We use traditional, artisanal recipes without additives or preservatives and adapt the processes thanks to new technologies. We project old recipes into the future. In this sense, the rest, the fermentations, the use of sourdoughs, which were used before industrial yeasts, are fundamental”, concludes Jordi Gallés: “My father founded the company from an invention. That’s why we carry innovation in our DNA.” At Europastry, they believe that the production of artisanal bread can be mechanized as it is not linked to manual labor but to the way each stage of the process is carried out. Therefore they emphasize fermentation, the use of leaven and time. A muesli bread takes eight hours, a baguette two. Grain breads are in the healthy stream alongside Gourmet Saint Honoré.
research centers. They have four R&D centers (in Spain, the United States and the Netherlands) employing 32 people, including biologists, bakers, engineers and nutritionists. Each center specializes in different products. Last year, its R&D team, which develops artisan breads, received the MOF award for the best bakery artisan in France. A library in Belgium that keeps the best sourdoughs to preserve them keeps their Saint-Honoré sourdough. The Ministry of Health has awarded them for their healthiest products.
New Products. The company invests around 90 million a year in research and development and launches around 400 new products a year (half of which die out), accounting for 5% of its sales. According to Gallés, the entire enterprise revolves around the innovation of products, systems or processes that function in a multidisciplinary manner. “I go to the R&D center every day,” he emphasizes. The CEREAL research center in Sant Joan Despí (Barcelona) has the production capacity to develop and test the first series of new products on the market.
Depending on the success, the payout scales. This center generates annual sales of around 3 million. In total, the company has 22 production centers, some of which are very specialized and have, for example, kosher certificates or halal products. 5,200 employees work there.
Europastry is the leader in frozen dough in Spain (it controls 30% of the market) and the fifth largest in the world. 51% of its 80,000 customers (by value) are in bakeries located in large distribution stores; 33% in the Horeca sector and the remaining 15% in the traditional channel.
One of the company’s key moments was in 2000 when it launched its frozen donuts, or “dots.” “It represented a qualitative leap – explains Gallés- and now it is the product that we sell the most”. Every day 3 million units of 200 different types leave their production lines, the widest range on the market, making them one of the world leaders in this segment. The new line can simultaneously produce four different flavor, filling and decoration products. They can also customize the recipe based on their customers’ interests. “We are the advanced raw material for bakers and businesses of all types and sizes. In the case of Dunkin Donuts, we make them from the original recipe and sell them in many markets. We adapt to the needs of our customers, which is why we have more than four thousand references.”
Also croissants. After the donuts came the shortbread. “Products with margarine or lard were deeply rooted in consumer habits, and those with long-fermenting butter were considered exclusive products because they were around 30% more expensive. We have decided to enter this segment. Our leitmotif is to produce less volume and better quality. We have adapted to market trends. The consumption of bread and pastries has been declining since the 1960s or 1970s, formerly a staple food, now a dietary supplement. Now the consumer is asking for more quality, more gastronomy and healthier, and we bet on that.”
No growth without globalization
The beginning of internationalization begins precisely with the donut. “It’s a very globalized product, just like the croissant, and it gives us significant entry into different markets.” The company is now represented in 77 countries. “The strategy for entering a market always involves baked goods, especially donuts. Bread travels very badly and pastries very well. It’s a matter of volume. Logistics accounts for 40% of the price of bread, which is not the case with baked goods.” 90% of its pastries come from its factories in Spain. Once a country is imbued with it, if circumstances are favourable, a bread factory will be set up. In the United States, where they sell for $200 million, bread is 95%. “We crushed a lot of stone there until we bought a small bread factory. They use a lot of mould, so a handmade one like ours is very popular”. The factory in Holland supplies all of Central Europe and the Nordic countries. Growth through the acquisition of various companies has been significant in recent years.
This is the case with the acquisition of the Ingapan Group in Galicia, Confeitaria Torres and Atlantic Pan or American Wenner Bakery. “As a company, we define ourselves as multi-local. The general strategy, the technological knowledge and some products that we want to test come from our central offices, but the decisions to launch a new product, how it is elaborated or developed, are decided in the subsidiaries”, affirmed he.
To learn from mistakes
One of the keys to success was focus. “We had a number of bakeries where 500 people worked. They worked well, but they didn’t reach the level of excellence of the rest of the company because we didn’t give them the same attention. We considered whether we were a shop owner or a pasta maker and in 2014 we decided to sell them. Now that network is twice the size of what we had. You can’t cover many things. Specialization is essential.” That was a change of direction.
Gallés uncovers some mistakes. “We have launched a boxed frozen bread and boxed frozen donuts for sale in supermarkets. It was a failure. In Spanish supermarkets, fresh attracts the most, followed by chilled and dry. Frozen is the latest. We had to leave it. It is strange how much the freezers in Northern Europe are very successful, selling 80% in the case of bread. We also need to focus on the customer and we are not the end user.
One kilo of bread causes around one kilo of CO2. Agriculture is responsible for 70% of that kilo. Of the 30% that is left, it is the rest of the value chain. Europastry has strategically planned to be an active value in the fight against climate change in its sector. “We are concerned with the topic of sustainability,” explains Gallés. “That is why we have started a program to reduce the carbon footprint. Together with cooperatives of farmers and flour producers, we have created a good practice manual to reduce the use of fertilizers, crop protection, water saving and the use of selected seeds, as well as traceability from field to fork, among other things. This year we have planted 5,000 hectares with so-called responsible flours and in 2025 we want to reach 25,000 hectares.” In the processes they have reduced 30% in 2020 and in 2021 they want to reach 36% more. It’s your next challenge.
very tasty results in Europatry
The results of Europastry in recent years have been spectacular. Success has accompanied the company’s new products, the result of many hours and efforts in research and development. Their innovation strategy has led them to launch numerous products, some of which have become icons and keys to their success, such as the “dots”, the shortbreads or the artisanal breads, which are fully in line with the healthy eating trend enter. Only 2020 shows declining results, the result of the difficulties that the Covid has caused mainly one sector of its customers: the Horeca sector. Europastry sells a third of its sales in bars and restaurants, one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.
The company in figures
3 million from daily donuts of 200 references
22 plants the production
80,000 customerssome like Granier, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.
4,394 references active.