Millions of people around the world are affected by food allergies, which lead them to find alternative solutions for their daily nutrition. Combining flexible technology with high productivity, the longstanding partnership between the Germinal Group and GEA Bakery has taken the Italian producer of organic, healthy and functional products from strength to strength. The result is a wide range of products that can be enjoyed regardless of food allergies, an alternative solution aimed at improving the health and well-being of people.

 Tackling food allergies with baking technology
Cookies entering the oven

Based in Italy, Gruppo Germinal (Germinal Group) is considered to be one of Europe’s most influential producers of organic and gluten-free baked goods, as well as the “undisputed leader in the category of organic and gluten-free baby cookies and healthy foods.” Originally founded in 1977 as Germinal Italia, the company has been in expansion mode for some time and, in 1981, “Il Mangiarsano” was established in Castelfranco Veneto. By 2008, the current Group Mangiarsano-Germinal was born from the union of these two historic dynasties. “The main driver of the Mangiarsano company was to supply healthy food products that are good for the consumer,” explains Emanuele Zuanetti – Chief Executive Officer. Germinal group produces organic sweet and savory products, organic ready meals and organic pasta.

Tackling food allergies with technology

Emanuele Zuanetti
Emanuele Zuanetti, Chief Executive Officer at Germinal

The collaboration between the two groups started in 1998 with the installation of a hybrid line dedicated to the production of cakes, pies and tarts. The strong partnership between GEA Bakery and Germinal Group consequently led to the installation of a second production line, designed for rotary molded, wire-cut and coextruded cookies. To complete the Germinal’s portfolio of products, GEA Bakery installed a third line for rotary molded cookies and sheeted products such as biscuits and crackers.

“Since the very beginning, we’ve put a strong emphasis on what we call organic products that target the growing number of people with allergies and intolerances. In fact, the entire Mangiarsano production facility has been designed with this aim in mind. Having tripled in size since 2001, when we had just two production lines, the 13,000 m2 plant now boasts three automated and highly innovative production lines that allow us to produce sweet and savory bakery products in numerous and various shapes.”

“What’s more,” adds Emanuele Zuanetti, “we pay particular attention to allergen management, ensuring the absence of cross-contamination to produce gluten-, dairy- and egg-free products. In all, we can process up to 14 different allergens with multipurpose lines that can output up to 7300 tons of differently shaped products each year.” The company also has numerous international certifications that highlight the excellent manufacturing standards that are in place. “This provides a high level of confidence for our customers and assures them that we operate in a very safe and professional way.”

Constantly looking to grow and explore new markets, the Germinal Group has been partnering with what is now GEA Bakery ever since their journey began. Having recently acquired the market-leading organizations Comas and Imaforni in 2015 to establish the Business Unit Bakery, GEA offers industry leading equipment and complete production lines for the production of bakery products. GEA’s expertise spans every stage of bakery product processing, from ingredients reception and bulk handling to liquid and powder processing, control systems, refrigeration and packaging services. “I started my career in the food industry in 1995 as an artisanal baker,” notes Emanuele Zuanetti, “and, even then, my ambition was to create special products. Realizing that the market was receptive to my ideas, at the start of the new millennium I began to industrialize the production of baked goods.

“What always distinguished my collaboration with GEA Bakery - Comas and Imaforni at the time - was their strong ability to transform my suggestions into technological solutions, especially as I was so focused on managing and controlling allergens in the facility. I needed a constant exchange of ideas and concepts to be able to develop technological solutions that would ensure safe production standards.”

The high production values and long-term reliability of GEA machines has since been proven during many years of successful collaboration. “It’s a consequence of the company’s ongoing willingness to accept insights, feedback and even constructive criticism and then transform that information into technological solutions that deliver both flexibility and safety at the same time,” adds Mr. Zuanetti.

“As I mentioned previously,” he adds, “the Germinal Group has, since its inception, always been working within the organic segment; by definition, that means taking care of the environment. For many years, now, I’ve strived to promote a secure agricultural supply chain and embrace the circular economy.”

GEA at Mangarsiano

Creating a circular economy in the allergen free sector

“Our Group collaborates with many suppliers — of legumes, cereals and the ingredients that we process every day in our facility — and we benefit from professional relationships that have been in place for more than 30 years. “In fact,” says Mr. Zuanetti, “all the raw materials we use are organic and are carefully managed throughout the entire supply chain, even when they’re still in the fields on the farm. We are the only company in Europe who can ensure the circularity of the raw materials that are processed to make our products.”

In conclusion, Emanuele Zuanetti adds: “I believe that the healthy living trend is going to be a central focus for us and our customers for the next 5 years and will be critical for the development of companies in our sector. Day by day, the market is moving faster in this direction. The increasing global demand for healthier food is driving organizations such as the Germinal Group to develop products that add value to the wellbeing of people around the world … and is something that will be a very important focus for us in the coming years.”

Whatever the complexity or scale of your process line or plant, GEA industry experts, technical specialists and project managers work with each customer at every stage to tailor the right solution, from initial consulting and planning, through to installation and commissioning. And through our world-class service options, we can ensure the reliable and robust operation of every piece of GEA technology for the whole of its service life.

The increasing global demand for healthier food is driving organizations such as the Germinal Group to develop products that add value to the wellbeing of people around the world … and is something that will be a very important focus for us in the coming years.”– Emanuele Zuanetti, Chief Executive Officer Germinal Group