Puratos Canada Inc.: Inspiration Through Innovation

Puratos Canada Inc. (Puratos Canada) is the Canadian subsidiary of the Puratos Group, an international company dedicated to supplying bakers, pâtissiers and chocolatiers with a wide range of ingredients. The Puratos Group’s product range includes bread improvers, innovative bases and mixes, sourdoughs, fillings and more.

“The Puratos Group was created almost 100 years ago,” says François Magnée, general manager of Puratos Canada. “And we have been an innovative partner for the baking industry in Canada for the last 25 years, with operations across the country.”

Puratos Canada is still family owned, and the company has remained true to its roots despite expansive success. According to Magnée, the Puratos Canada team makes a point to work with local suppliers and strategic partners even though the company employs its own sales force all over the country.

A Global Presence

The Puratos Canada team benefits greatly from the Puratos Group’s multinational presence. “It allows us to develop products based on the distinctive needs of consumers in each of the countries,” says Magnée. “We’re bringing different cultures together, which is very unique. We started our development in the European market and then expanded into other areas with current operations spanning across more than 100 countries. Our more recent expansions include a $40 million new plant in New Jersey, a chocolate facility in Brazil, and expansion of business in Australia and India.”

While geographic expansion is vital to the Puratos Group’s growth, quality remains the priority of every subsidiary, including Canada. “We combine taste and nutritional value,” explains Magnée. “We combine health and pleasure with convenience to the customer. That’s the key in our success as a business-to-business [B2B] company.”

Regional customers also benefit from Puratos Canada’s international operations through the introduction and easy supply of new products. “Our company introduced the Italian ciabatta to Canada about 20 years ago,” explains Magnée. Many of Puratos Canada’s artisan bakery clients benefit from a constant influx of internationally trending ingredients and flavours.

The company’s high-end research and design department is drawing on the past to improve production capabilities, including S500. The Puratos Group’s S500 is a bread improver that offers added elasticity, high tolerance and better quality control, even during short freezing. “We believe the future of bread is in its past,” says Magnée. “Our best product is S500, which we launched in the ’70s. In 2013 we will be launching the most advanced version of it to meet changing customer needs.”

Puratos Canada’s urge to improve dough products extends past its own walls. “We help our customers make bread, rolls and pastries in a very traditional way,” says Magnée. “While we don’t offer any finished products, our goal is to work with our customers and help them innovate and create new products. We’re B2B with a consumer approach; we study their unique needs and develop products based on them.”

Mobile Research

The company has also introduced a unique research tool that has collected data from a broad spectrum of consumers around North America. Puratos Canada’s Sensobus is a mobile sensory analysis lab that is often found collecting consumer feedback on products near local supermarkets and grocery stores. The Sensobus can collect data from 300 consumers per day, with researchers offering taste tests and administering questionnaires about sensory experiences and market possibilities, including appearance, taste, texture, consumer purchase behaviors, packaging and labeling.

The mobile lab travels around Canada collecting valuable data for Puratos Canada and its clients. “We will drive from Vancouver to Quebec, showcasing our products to customers,” says Magnée. “Last year we did a survey and analysis to measure consumer preference for cakes. That information has a lot of value to our customers and helps them develop their products. We have a Sensobus in North America and one in Europe. We’re hoping to build more in the future.”

The collected information through the Sensobus helps Puratos Canada stay on top of market trends and continue to customize products to suit consumer needs. “We never compromise quality for cost,” explains Magnée. “Our customers’ success is based on the quality of the products. In the food industry we know that we can’t compromise on quality. If the consumers don’t like a product, they’ll never buy it again.”

Relationships that Last

Puratos Canada’s will to succeed shines through not only its own products, but also its consumers. It is clear that relationships are the keystone of Puratos Canada’s business model. The company relies on a massive network of strategic partners, suppliers and customer contacts to ensure each product exceeds expectations.

“Stability is key in the vendor community,” says Magnée. “They supply us with material, but we also learn from them. That information is important, and what they have to offer helps us build on our ideas and improve the quality of our products.”

Relationships with existing customers are also helping the company expand its reach to new customers in different avenues of the industry. “We are also partnering with food service partners,” explains Magnée.
“Building and maintaining relationships is at the center of our approach and in line with the company’s core value: passion,” Magnée continues. “We’re passionate about food and we want to share it with our customers. It drives our innovation and our success.” A history of pure passion has kept the Puratos Canada team in a leading market position for years, and Magnée says it will continue to drive the same level of innovation for the future of the Puratos Group as well as Puratos Canada Inc. for years to come.