With the new technology, the company from Valladolid will guarantee the traceability of all raw materials to Spanish consumers
During the first months of this year, Patatas Meléndez has been working very hard both in the fields and in the lab aimed at responding to the market’s requirements and to continue as the top national company in the sector.
Over this period, they have analysed the surface areas where they cultivate this produce; they have selected the most suitable varieties, from the agronomic point of view, for each farm and region in the country; they have planned the sowing process in order to be able to carry out a staggered lifting of the potatoes to maintain the production over time and not concentrate the offer; and they have reached agreements with the farmers. All of this aimed at being able to offer consumers quality new potatoes, which are 100% Spanish, from the first days of May.
One of this year’s challenges on which Patatas Meléndez has particularly focused is the digitalisation of the company’s entire production process, from the fields to the table. The company’s CEO, Javier Meléndez, affirmed that the idea is “to make the farmers and the workers in the fields into participants in the Industry 4.0, as the first link in the chain of value and the starting point for a traceability that this process seeks to maintain. This project will help us reach a greater professionalisation of potato growing.”
According to Patatas Meléndez’s predictions, this digitalisation process will allow the producing sector’s current challenges to be met, amongst which are the sustainability of agricultural production, a more efficient use of the resources and an increase in productivity, all in a setting of climate change and an increasingly globalised market.
The digitalisation of Patatas Meléndez will conclude with the start up of the new factory, covering over 21,000 square metres, which is being build alongside their present installations in Medina del Campo (Valladolid) and that will be a reference in the sector, with the most innovative technology, based on maximum efficiency.
The future new premises will incorporate the digital transformation available on the market with installation of data use processes, IoT, and Machine Learning. “Our aim is to have the most up-to-date potato factory in Europe, in a sector that is ever evolving,” Javier Meléndez affirmed.
The digitalisation of the primary sector and its connection with the future Industry 4.0 Plant that is being planned will allow Meléndez to construct a ‘blockchain’ process that will guarantee the complete traceability of each product. In this way, it will be possible to identify the exact place of origin of the potato that is about to be eaten, along with all the selection processes carried out until it reaches the tables in Spanish households.
Adapted to what the market demands
At Patatas Meléndez, they are constantly working to discover what consumers want – and they are increasingly more demanding regarding quality and very concerned about health and the environment, to adapt their produce to these trends.
A result of the work by the R&D+I department, and following the market trend towards healthy produce, they have launched several different ready-to-eat dishes with all the guarantees of freshness and fast preparation, as required by the lifestyle of today’s consumers. This is how the Microwavable line was born: fresh potatoes with a fast preparation method that maintains the product’s organoleptic characteristics.
In this process of adapting to society’s demands, and in line with the new trends in food technology, Patatas Meléndez is also developing changes in the packaging. The company is opting for smaller packages that are easier to handle (3 and 5 kg), and that are more sustainable, biodegradable or reusable. Additionally, looking to the next few years, the leading company in the potato sector has the strategic aim of gradually reducing the plastic in their packaging in a commitment towards looking after the environment and, therefore, reducing their negative impact on climate change; all of this in line with the current demands by ‘aware consumers’.
In order to also respond to consumers’ needs and within the global digitalisation process, Patatas Meléndez has opted for selling all its products in the different formats on its web site.