“We consider ourselves great craftsmen, not industrialists”
Giuseppe Ambrosi, president and CEO of the Ambrosi Group, underlines the role of quality as a corporate value, but also the importance of innovation and a wide range of offer, with a view to industry 4.0
«The price of Grana Padano, together with that of other hard cheeses, reached maximum levels in summer 2019 and the trend seems to have reversed only in recent months. The trend is not necessarily linked to an increase in production, which remains fairly balanced in relation to the constant growth of exports, or, rather, to the reduction in internal consumption.
Giuseppe Ambrosi, President and CEO of Ambrosi Group SpA
Grana Padano has always been part of Italians diet although it is getting more and more popular also abroad, due to its increase in versatility within cultures with different culinary habits and the healthy diet trend. » This is how Giuseppe Ambrosi, president and CEO of Ambrosi Spa, the dairy group of Castenedolo (Brescia) which ranks at the top of the premium segment in the traditional Italian cheese market, comments on the performance of one of its flagship products. «Consumption of Grana Padano in the world in particular continues to grow – he explains – and today they are worth 40% of total production. »
With an annual production of around 90.000 wheels, Grana Padano remains at the centre of Ambrosi’s core business. Also, at the headquarters, a modern ageing warehouse for 120.000 wheels has just been inaugurated: «A cutting-edge structure – explains Ambrosi – from a technological point of view because, equipped with the latest generation equipment, automatic machines for loading and unloading the wheels, turning and brushing for an industry 4.0 perspective. » The new warehouse is also striking for its milk-white external wall with wheels of Grana Padano set like jewels within it which at night light up and shine.
Cutting of the curd
HIGH QUALITY IS ESSENTIAL
The Ambrosi Group has always paid great attention to the quality of Grana Padano and other PDO products by developing a different production chains that segment the offer, for example also thanks to the certification of Halal products, and offer the consumer various choice options. « It is part of our corporate DNA – underlines President Ambrosi – the rigorous selection of the best quality of raw materials, careful and respectful traditional processing, perfectly aged and packaged user-friendly, high quality products. To produce great PDO products, one has to respect and pass on a know-how that has enriched the company’s assets for generations. We do not just treat only raw milk, but a piece of culture of our country starting with the milk producers who are part of this noble supply chain. As a transformer, we must then make the raw material into a product of the highest quality and strive to make it appreciated by consumers all over the world. For this reason, rather than industrialists, we consider ourselves great craftsmen. »
A significant example is the Grana Padano marked with the BS 601 serial number: the Castenedolo dairy is equipped with the most modern production systems which, in compliance with the Consortium’s regulations, transforms the high-quality milk collected every day in the area whilst constantly checking every step of the production phases up to the distribution.
Control starts from the cattle feed, thanks to the cultivation of land and the production of milk on the farms owned by the Ambrosi family, but also thanks to milk producers who have always shared Ambrosi’s guidelines and quality standards.
The team of cheesemaking technicians in the Castenedolo dairy
n 2010, Ambrosi bought the Grana Padano producing Bassi Dairy in Castiglione delle Stiviere (Mn), to double the production of Grana Padano. In 2013, the new expansion of the Grana Padano production, ageing and packaging plant was carried out at the Castenedolo site. The growth in production over the years has been significant and today it is mainly concentrated in the Castenedolo site.
The plants have been extensively modernised: «Over the years, important investments have been made – emphasises President Ambrosi – to automate everything as much as possible, always in compliance with the Grana Padano Production Specifications. For example, all the handling of the wheels are carried out by a system of “tapis roulants” and robots to ease the work of the employees.»
Transportation of the fresh wheels
INNOVATION IN PACKAGING AND SERVICE LEVEL
«Our positioning on the market – underlines Ambrosi – is linked to the concept of the highest quality for all our products. In the case of Grana Padano, we are leaders in the category of Riserva cheese and therefore in prolonged ageing. Another strong point is the use of the most innovative packaging technologies available on the market, also in terms of materials, to improve, for example, product conservation. The offer ranges from classic vacuum to thermoformed, from containers or bags for the grated variety, chunks and flakes up to a line of snacks to offer a very high range of choice.»
The freshly produced wheels placed in plastic moulds.
Overall, the Ambrosi Group has four plants in Italy and three commercial branches abroad. 45% of the turnover is achieved in international supermarkets in 64 countries worldwide through direct branches or distributors. The main export markets are today France, Germany, the United States, Japan and England. The internationalisation process continued with the most recent acquisition, by the Ambrosi Uk branch, of Anthony Rowcliffe & Son Ltd, an English company specialised in the import and distribution of high-quality cheese and food products.
In 2018, the turnover of the Ambrosi Group was 368 million euros and in 2019 it reached 390 million euros.