When Panaderia Chousa started in 1959, no one could foresee that this business would become a major industry, Ingapan, which currently has a presence in 20 countries and a 75 million euro turnover. Ingapan today has nine production plants aimed at the preparation of frozen dough, of which three are for hand-crafted products. The company has a catalogue of more than 400 references in bread, ‘empanadas’, cakes and ready meals.
Ingapan’s turning point came in 1993, when what until then had been a traditional chain of bakeries was transformed into an industry oriented to large-scale production of frozen dough for bread and ‘empanadas’, with the idea of transcending into the Galician market.
“The route we have set is to take the good work of hand-crafted preparations to an industrial level”
“The route Ingapan set was to take the good work of hand-crafted preparations to an industrial level. Progress has been spectacular from that commitment base to quality and we are currently the fourth largest producer of frozen dough in Spain,” says the company’s sales director, Manuel López.
The Company’s main markets are found in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, but its presence has already reached the other side of the Atlantic, with a delegation opening in Florida (United States) last year. Ingapan’s products maintain a diversified distribution which is distributed among major retail outlets (50%), traditional markets (20%), hotels and restaurants (20%), and other miscellaneous customers (10%).
The key to success in the company is based on three axes: quality, natural products and origin. “We look after the process beginning with the selection of the raw material. We generally work with Galician suppliers, nearly always with companies who have been working with us for years. In meat, milk or wine products, the origin is Galician. In the case of wheat, a large part of our consumption is supplied by a Galician windmill,” explains Manuel López.
“The Galicia Calidade seal is particularly important when it comes to selling products that do not have GIP, like ‘empanadas’”
“The tuna also comes from 2 Galician companies and has been certified as ‘Dolphin safe’, which ensures a type of fishing that minimises the accidental catching of dolphins. Environmental commitments with the consumer are also important,” he points out.
The various ranges of Ingapan products have the Galicia Calidade seal as a guarantee, a certification that the company values as positive. “In products related to Galicia, like ‘empanada’, this has a special importance, because there is no Geographical Indication to protect it,” indicates Manuel López. “Every day the consumer looks more at the seals of guarantee”.
New ‘Galician Bread’ GIP
With regards to the promotion of Galician Bread in the markets, the impending implementation of the ‘Galician Bread’ GIP is greeted as “necessary” by Ingapan. “At domestic level, we needed an identifying mark. When you go to other communities, you see that bread is sold with the Galician designation when that product is prepared outside Galicia and does not follow any quality standards,” explains the company’s sales director.
“In other communities there is bread with the Galician name that is not produced in Galicia and that does not meet quality standards”
The commissioning of the Indication, as requested by the Xunta at European level, will be positive “both for hand-crafted bakeries as well as industrial plants with a hand-crafted base, such as ours, where the cutting and stretching of the dough is still being done manually,” says López. “We are already preparing to adapt our production lines to the new GIP in order to open up markets both in Spain and internationally”.
From ‘Fast Food’ to ‘Fast&Good’
The bulk of Ingapan’s market is focused on the savoury range (‘empanadas’, pasties, etc.) and bread, but a segment that is increasing in consumers over recent years, is the number of ready meals, also especially looked after by the Galician company. “More than ready meals or fifth range – cooked and frozen – we like to talk about high-end solutions for catering professionals”, values Manuel López.
The company strives to eliminate additives such as preservatives or artificial improvers. It looks for ‘clean label’ products
“Instead of ‘fast food’, we are orienting ourselves at producing ‘Fast Good’ (fast and good),” he says. The chefs Héctor López and Juan Carlos Clemente are on board to advise on the preparation of the dishes, and they decide on final dishes based on traditional recipes. “For example, our ‘Kentes’ burger is made with traditional rustic Galician bread from the ‘Chousa” brand.
Ingapan’s line of work also focuses on eliminating the use of additives. “We do not use artificial improvers or preservatives. We are looking for natural products, products with the ‘clean’ label commitment,” describes Lopez.