Saturday, December 4

Daniel Palacio: “Converting Tutti Pasta into Tutti Foods is the great challenge for the company” :: KPMG

-It has been and is being tough. Anyone who says it is not affecting them is lying or wants to hide it. We had been growing in a sustainable and orderly manner during the previous three years, and with the pandemic we fell more than 20% in turnover, which put us in losses. 40% of our business came from the hospitality industry and that market fell terribly.

– This year we are going back. It will be of much more contained losses. I believe that in 2022 we will already break even, and in 2023 we hope to return to the path of profits.

-Yes. If you work in the office, many times you go to the store and take a prepared plate of Tutti Pasta. This also disappeared. Before the pandemic, supermarkets accounted for 55% of our turnover, while catering and hotels accounted for 45%. But the photo has changed. Now, the proportion is 70% retail and only 30% hospitality.

“In the end, the prepared dish is going to be, yes or yes, mass consumption. It is very clear”

–The illusion is that your son achieves success and grows, and in this case my son is the brand we dream of, which is Tutti Pasta. But, when we made the investment in our Esquiroz plant 17 years ago, we took a very important leap and we need to give a strong boost to billing. Our product with the Tutti Pasta brand served as a hook, but the volume was generated by the private label production of Carrefour, Eroski or Alcampo, among others. A reference customer is the La Sirena frozen food chain, which has a considerable breadth of range and to which we make more than 25 recipes. In supermarkets, 95% is private label and 5%, Tutti Pasta. In hospitality, however, our entire market is the Tutti Pasta brand. What happens is that it is not visible.

– Exporting is not a convenient path for us, it is an obligatory path. If we have already been promoting it, the pandemic has made us bet on channels in which we see that we have growth potential. In 2019 our exports did not reach 35% and this year we will touch 50% at the end of the year.

-We are exporting to fifteen countries, mainly European, yes. Although we are also making inroads into the North American, Canadian and South American markets, but our export figure comes mainly from Europe, where the prepared dish has roots and where there is a very important consumption habit. I’m talking about countries in central and northern Europe, where we have a tour with our traditional dishes, and even more so with the innovative dishes that we have in place.

–34 years ago, when we started with Tutti Pasta, they told us: “how interesting! This is the future! ” And today they keep telling us the same thing. I like to hear the phrase because it means that there is a journey, but let’s see when it is present! (laughs). In Spanish supermarkets, the prepared dish is not yet a product of mass consumption, but the evolution in habits is what it is and there is no one to stop it. In the end, the prepared dish is going to be massively consumed. It is crystal clear.

–The prepared dish is dragged by a media wave that demonizes certain products, often without arguments. Because it seems that they are going to be enemies of the chef, of gastronomy, of the Spanish hallmark. But what there really is is a lack of knowledge. We make dishes with natural ingredients without any type of preservative, coloring, or flavor enhancer, which we freeze to preserve their quality. Frozen foods preserve their nutrients in a stable way over time thanks to the use of deep freezing processes at -40 degrees very quickly, which help to naturally paralyze the processes that degrade food.

–The profile is more urban than that of a town, a single-parent home, a professional with little time to cook who has to eat away from home and arrives tired at night. This type of life is the one that pushes the most to seek ready-made food solutions. Interestingly, more and more seniors are finding these dishes to be a practical solution for their lives.

Daniel Palacio, along with a photograph of his father, Santiago, with whom he founded the company in 1987.
Photography: Iñaki Porto

– We have had to look for alternatives to continue growing as long as the prepared dish does not awaken the great consumption. And in this way we have had to do prospects in the air catering market, in the industrial world with products for business to business, and we have had to innovate in the dish looking for a modern air and a nutritionally balanced content. We must go looking for trends that speak of healthier and more sustainable products, of packaging that eliminate plastic, and thus try to connect with the new consumer, more sensitized.

–Converting Tutti Pasta into Tutti Foods is the company’s great challenge. The prepared dish has been our differentiating product, where we have been pioneers. We believe that there is a lot of development in the prepared dish, with a great display of innovation with new habits and new sensibilities, and we believe that Tutti Pasta will evolve into Tutti Foods. Why, in addition to pasta, we can’t sell vegan meatballs with tomato and rice? Or chicken curry? That is the deployment we want to make.

-Yes. Tutti Foods is a higher ceiling. We have explored the path of Tutti Foods in historical customers and have had success launching meat dishes, vegetable dishes, also dishes with protein meat substitutes. It has worked. That leap is our new challenge as a company.

“We started twelve years ago.” We discovered that there was a gap where we could enter with our dishes prepared with a high quality and with a level of efficiency that allowed us to be much more competitive than local catering services, which had a much more manual work and higher costs for the workforce. We have a future strategy in inflight catering that is global.

–The frozen sauce in cubes, yes. It is a product that we launched as an innovation five years ago. And we discovered that there is an industrial channel where our frozen sauce cubes can be ingredients of a mix that another producer makes. There are producers of ready meals that go in bags – we pack on a tray – and that mix frozen pieces piece by piece. It is a natural sauce, without additives, that is frozen and that meets the needs of modern restaurants: zero waste, rapid heating, rapid dosage, very easy handling, one hundred percent health guarantee.

“He who does not innovate, does not differ and ends up being a heap”

– Lasagna, cannelloni and pizzas were known in the world of prepared dishes, but microwaveable prepared dishes were not known. It is a product category that we invented. We started making the first microwaveable dishes in 1990. And it was then, in 1995, when we started selling them to some restaurant and frozen food chains. Our product also differed because it was a fresh, frozen pasta seasoned with a sauce, which we made.

– He who does not innovate, does not differ and ends up being a bunch. And, in the end, as you prepare dishes, your obsession is how to improve those recipes, how to make them tastier, healthier, more colorful. There is innovation. And behind it there is efficiency, automated processes and cost optimization that generates savings that are then invested in innovation for higher product quality. There is also innovation there.

-Genes are inherited and in my family we carry innovation in our DNA. My great-grandfather, Cosme Palacio, when phylloxera arrived in Spain, he had to abandon his wineries in Laguardia, Bodegas Palacio, and he was the first to go to the banks of the Duero. Later, my grandfather, Ángel Palacio, was the first to bottle must in Spain, and this was the business idea of ​​my father, Santiago Palacio, who in 1964 founded Mosto Greip in Tafalla to make bottled grape juice, when juice is always Grape was meant to be fermented to make wine. At home there has been a history of innovation, but innovation always closely linked to need.

In figures:
  • 45% IN EXPORT
  • 50.000 DISHES A DAY


Passion for cooking and traveling

Daniel Palacio has always been proud of his father, Santiago, and did not mind working with him, but when he finished his studies he refused to join Mosto Greip, the company that his father founded: “It made me blush to go without having any work experience just for being the owner’s son ”.

In the end, life led him to work with his father, not in the musts company, but in Tutti Pasta, where he has been able to make his mark from the beginning. One day his father, after visiting a fair in Italy, told him that he had seen a pasta machine and suggested that he set up a business with it.

That “sounded like heavenly music” and they set to work to found Tutti Pasta. Daniel Palacio is a smiling, optimistic, enterprising, friendly, talkative and transparent man. A person who works to live, not the other way around, who puts his family ahead of work and who does not lack hobbies.

One of his passions is the stove – he taught his wife to cook – and another, travel. He likes to know very different cultures and has traveled half the world for pleasure. He does yoga because it “feels good”, he goes for a walk because “it is healthy”, he is attracted to medicine, he admires art and he spends time in his little garden.

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