Puratos marks its centenary by reaching a 2 billion euros turnover and reaffirming its guiding principles


7 Feb 2020

February 4, 2020 marks the 100th birthday of bakery, patisserie and chocolate leader Puratos. A milestone that will be celebrated by its 9,500 employees across the 70 countries where the group is present. To honour its century-long commitment to innovation, Puratos will launch three new innovation centres across three continents in 2020. To continue its international expansion and engagement with emerging markets, Puratos also signed two new joint ventures in Kenya & Ethiopia in January. The group looks forward to the next 100 years with a strong commitment to you and future generations, as well as a continued focus on innovation, health & well-being.

Commenting on this important milestone for the group, Puratos CEO Daniel Malcorps said: "Our centenary is an opportunity to a reaffirm our commitment to our vision and our values: a robust scientific approach, a constant quest for innovation, with health & well-being as a cornerstone and a deep-rooted belief in the valuable role that food plays in society."

Innovation is in Puratos's DNA

For a century, Puratos has been committed to innovation. The family company, which started in a Belgian garage with the vision of simplifying the lives of bakers and confectioners, has become one of the world’s leading ingredients manufacturers. It is hard to imagine the bakery, chocolate and patisserie sectors today without Puratos innovations. From the launch of the first branded bread (Pura-Malté) to the discovery of the now legendary T-500, Puratos has been at the forefront of change. Today, Puratos invests 2.7% of its annual turnover in R&D and the group employs more than 1,000 scientists in over 70 R&D centres and 90 innovation centres across the globe. Complementing these efforts in 2020 will be the launch of three new innovation centres to be built in Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico. In Europe, the existing Spanish innovation centre will be fully refurbished with state-of-the-art facilities to provide customers with all the tools they need to boost their business.

Health and well-being have always been a top priority

Puratos has always been a trailblazer in health and well-being, even as early as the 1920s when the group launched its Pura-Malté bread. Pura-Malté was based on a mixture of toasted wheatgerm, malt and bran, and was revolutionary for its time. Today, this commitment remains as relevant as ever. Taste Tomorrow, the world’s largest consumer survey in bakery, patisserie and chocolate, confirms that health is still one of the key criteria for consumers when buying baked goods. Puratos has worked endlessly with customers to improve the nutritional value of its products and launch clearer, ‘cleaner’ labels, as well as organic and plant-based ingredient alternatives. Health and well-being continue to be the priority in Puratos’s product development processes and the company works constantly to produce products with the highest possible nutritional value without compromising taste or quality.

100 years of passion and expansion

As early as 1955, Puratos was setting its sights on international expansion when the group began exporting its products to neighbouring countries. Global expansion exploded in the 1990s with a number of strategic acquisitions. Today, over 90% of the group’s turnover is generated outside Belgium, of which nearly one third is produced in emerging markets. This year, Puratos will strengthen its position overseas, specifically on the African continent with the creation of two joint-ventures in Kenya and Ethiopia. This local presence in key countries will enable us to strengthen our relationships with customers, localise production and develop new products and concepts using local raw materials.

What about the next 100 years?

Sustainability: The Cacao-Trace Programme

An example of Puratos’s commitment to sustainability is its gamechanging approach to the responsible sourcing of cocoa. Unlike other cocoa sustainability programmes, Puratos Cacao-Trace focuses on quality rather than quantity. Through Cacao-Trace, Puratos helps farmers deliver cocoa beans of superior quality, which in turn earn them extra revenue. This Puratos unique added value strategy is resulting in tangible impacts on farmers’ living income. Thanks to this programme and by increasing farmers’ living income, farming will remain an attractive activity for them to pass on to their children and build a promising future for the next century and beyond.

Community: bakery schools that bring hope to underprivileged youngsters

As a family company, Puratos believes it is important to make an impact in the world that goes beyond economic value and one way that we address this is through our Bakery School Foundation. When the company began operating in India, it was struck by the lack of educational opportunities for underprivileged youngsters. At the same time, Puratos noticed the challenge in finding qualified technical advisors, whilst its customers faced serious shortages of skilled bakers, pâtissiers and chocolatiers. In order to help those less fortunate and teach them the skills they needed to work in our industry, Puratos decided to open a bakery school. Later we established a foundation. Today, the Bakery School Foundation has already invested in bakery schools in India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. By 2030, the Bakery School Foundation aspires to continuously enable 1,000 young people from developing countries to live their passion in one of the Puratos bakery schools.

Puratos CEO Daniel Malcorps concluded: “We are already looking at the next 100 years in terms of innovation, sustainability and expansion. We have already achieved a 2 billion euros turnover and we aim to reach 5 billion by 2030. This will be possible thanks to having the right people at all levels of the company, from employees to board members.”