Patatas Meléndez

Patatas Meléndez, the Valladolid company that is getting closer and closer to becoming a benchmark in Europe

Javier Meléndez, CEO of Patatas Meléndez, has been linked to the countryside since he was a child. His family instilled in him the value of caring for the land and, after more than 23 years of experience in the agri-food sector, he is ever closer to realising his dream: to position his company as a European benchmark. Meléndez, with a markedly entrepreneurial character, has long been clear that he wanted to tackle two of the challenges facing the sector: the digitalisation of the countryside and ensuring generational change, but always respecting the link with the origin and quality of the raw material.

Link to the origin and passion for quality

Castile and Leon is the most important potato-growing area in Spain and it is precisely in Medina del Campo that this company, which has grown by 25% in volume and 63% in value over the last five years, is located. Javier Meléndez has no hesitation in affirming that caring for the land is one of his company’s main values. It couldn’t be any other way: the businessman remembers with special affection the first time his grandfather put him on a tractor and explained to him how to plough the land after sowing the seed, how to treat it with care and how to water it. Many years later, and managing a company with a turnover of more than 90 million euros and leading the most important business project in the sector in Castile and Leon, Meléndez’s objective is still the same: to be close to the source to obtain a potato with excellent flavour and texture.

In order to continue protecting the origin, Patatas Meléndez has developed a powerful Agricultural Plan which offers farmers greater stability because it guarantees the profitability of their production. The company has made great efforts to build a relationship with them based on transparency and works with growers by signing approved contracts that guarantee good practices in commercial relations. In addition, the company is constantly looking for new growers and production areas to boost potato cultivation, create wealth in the countryside and contribute to making the value chain sustainable.

Patatas Meléndez is located directly at source to control that its quality standards are met, which is why it has developed a powerful agronomic structure in the south of Spain called Agroquality; and it has landed in France and Portugal under Meléndez France and Batatas Meléndez, respectively.

In this way, all the links in the food chain are interconnected to offer consumers a product that fully satisfies their needs: from an agronomic department that advises growers on the most suitable varieties for each plot of land; the farmers who work with dedication and care; to the distribution chains that provide information on new consumer habits and with which Meléndez is aligned.

The most outstanding business project in the sector in Castile and León

The new Patatas Meléndez production plant is currently the most significant business project in the region. It is a firm commitment to the rejuvenation of the countryside, as new technologies will attract young talent, and to increasing the quality of the potato even further. For example, automatic traceability systems will make it possible to monitor the traceability of the raw material from start to finish and will benefit the management of the production process; and the Lean methodology will contribute to operational excellence.

This Industry 4.0 factory is a major investment in infrastructure and technology, and will digitise numerous processes to save time. This optimisation of time will bring with it an increase in productivity, and innovations such as automation, robotisation, transport by AGV or the selection of potatoes through Artificial Vision will be part of the day to day.

At this point, it is vital to add that this company from Castile and Leon applies innovation to all areas of the company, specifically in the launch of new product lines and in the large number of potato varieties it grows. For example, it recently extended its Microondable line with varieties highly appreciated by haute cuisine such as Vitelotte; and thanks to the acquisition of Patatas Prado, it incorporated Galician potatoes, with varieties such as Kennebec, Agria and Fina de Carballo, into its product portfolio.

Of course, and returning to its new production plant, it should be noted that it is a very valuable way of moving closer to sustainability. Patatas Meléndez, a company that markets around 180,000 tonnes of potatoes per year, has designed a strategy aligned with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this way, the company has joined the Global Compact to contribute to the transformation of the business sector into a more responsible one, and for the Ten Principles to be generalised as the basis for the management of entities in our country.

For example, the factory will incorporate technologies to make more efficient use of water and reduce its water footprint; it will use green energy to comply with SDG 7 (Affordable and non-polluting energy); it will reduce non-recyclable plastic in its packaging; and, thanks to a plan drawn up by Patatas Meléndez, it will eliminate waste going to landfill in the coming years.

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