Industrias Cárnicas Loriente Piqueras, S.A. (Incarlopsa) is a family business which has been dedicated to the slaughter of pigs and the production of ham and sausages for almost 40 years. We spoke to the company´s CEO, Clemente Loriente, to find out more about the reality of a Mercadona inter-supplier.
What are the origins of Incarlopsa?
The company was founded in 1978 with a small slaughterhouse in Tarancon (Cuenca) and was initially dedicated to supplying retail butchers in its area of influence, mainly Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid. The company gradually grew and we have now been a Mercadona inter-supplier for around 20 years. So much so that around 96% of our production is marketed through the brand’s supermarkets.
What products do you supply to Mercadona?
Our basic offer comprises ham, both white pork and Iberian pork. We also produce Iberian sausages and cooked sausages.
What is the current structure of Incarlopsa?
We now have five production plants. Two of them are located in Tarancon, the pig slaughterhouse, the ham slicing plant and the sausage manufacturing plant. Then we have two ham drying plants in the province of Toledo, one of which is the biggest in the world, with a capacity for drying four and a half million units a year, while the other has a capacity for another million and a half, for a total 6 million units of ham. The fifth plant is located in Guijuelo, which produces joints of Iberian pork. Altogether, Incarlopsa employs 1,100 people directly and more than 800 indirectly.
How would you define the company’s work philosophy?
The fact that we have managed to position ourselves at the forefront of the market and become an inter-supplier of a company as demanding as Mercadona is due to two main factors: food quality and safety. When talking about quality, everything begins with the raw material, with the genetic selection of the pigs, to which you can add a careful diet and our efforts to ensure the best possible animal welfare. The combination of these factors means that our products reach consumers – the bosses, as we call them at Mercadona – with all their properties and all their flavour. People that buy from the shelves of the leading retailer know they will always find the same quality in the products we manufacture under the Incarlopsa, Hacendado and La Hacienda del Ibérico brands.
And what about food safety?
It’s essential. That is why all our plants are IFS certified and we have implemented a demanding critical control point analysis system that enables us to monitor this factor in the most sensitive phases. Furthermore, Incarlopsa is ISO 9001-certified and is extremely environmentally aware, which is reflected in the company´s ISO 14001-certified system and in the investments made to endow our production plants with purification systems and other equipment geared to reinforcing sustainability.
Tell me about investments, which have been considerable in recent years…
Indeed. The company has invested 165 million euros over the last 5 years to accompany the growth of Mercadona and to ensure we are capable of providing them with the service they need. These investments have largely involved our ham dryers and will increase in 2016. In fact, we are going to invest another 37 million this year in the construction of a new pig slaughterhouse in Tarancon, which we expect to be operational by early 2017.
What role does price play in Incarlopsa´s success?
The efficiency of our production chain has enabled us to optimise production costs and provide excellent value for money, which is much appreciated by consumers. Indeed, all these efforts are rewarded on a daily basis when customers pick up our products from Mercadona´s shelves. This is why it´s so important to continue to invest as a means of guaranteeing the quality of our products, which are always marketed with the maximum freshness at the lowest possible price.
What challenges face Incarlopsa in the future?
As I was telling you, the future consists of accompanying the growth of Mercadona, both in Spain and, if this should occur, abroad. Our relationship with them is excellent and long-lasting, but we are aware that we can´t relax for a minute as any decline in quality would give rise to a real problem. That challenge turns into a stimulus and that´s why we will continue to invest in innovation, food quality and food safety as the pillars of our day-to-day life.
Is there still room for improvement?
If you look at the company’s record from a certain perspective, you will see that Incarlopsa has evolved positively in recent years, but I´m convinced that there is still plenty of room for improvement in two senses; firstly in relation to routine work, where we need to excel on a daily basis to avoid making mistakes, and secondly in the area of research and development, through continuous investment in technological enhancements in a sustainable manner and in harmony with the environment and society, while upgrading our products in order to meet the demands of our “bosses” with the maximum guarantees.
– – PUBLISHED BY EL MUNDO ON 31/01/2016 – –