Pralina: a champion of innovation thanks to the blockchain

  • 18 August 2020
  • Written by: The Secret Sanctum Team

History

 

Pralina was established in Melpignano (Apulia region, South Italy) in 1991 from an idea of ​​Mrs Dal Porto who, together with a group of friends, decided to start her project. They were all bright young professionals with degrees in Biological Sciences, some of them are still on the board. Pralina was established as an artisan laboratory in which sauces, soup, creams and condiments were prepared. Right from the start, the company was very attentive to concepts such as tradition, development of the territory, biodiversity, environment, sustainability …

Attention to everything is natural is also contained in the name (Pr. Ali. Na. in Italian stands for Natural Food). The company’s DNA was therefore traced since its foundation.

The business was successfully, their products went like hot cakes …Step by step, the desire to make their delicacies known even outside their borders grew quickly in the company. Exports to foreign markets began. Today Pralina exports to 23 countries.

But with Valentina’s entry into the company (Valentina is Mrs Dal Porto daughter), things begin to take the direction of innovation. Valentina, with a degree with 100 cum laude in International Relations from the University of Bologna, with a Master’s degree delivered by the European College of Parma, home of Italian agrifood tech, and strong business experience in consulting companies worldwide in the caliber of PricewaterhouseCoopers, introduced in Pralina a series of innovations that will lead the company to be one of the first in the world to use Blockchain technology in the food industry.

Blockchain technology

I admit my ignorance. I had always associated the blockchain with cryptocurrencies: bitcoin, Ethereum, litecoin … But Mrs. Avantaggiato explained to me that, in the case of Pralina, this is a choice to indelibly sign a pact of trust with the consumer, to show him the production process of their products.
In practice, on each Pralina package (for the moment only for the Biodiverse line) there is a QR code.

 

Scanning it with a QR Reader, you are not redirected to the site or to additional content on the history of the company, as you would expect, but you can access the entire production chain of that specific product you are eating. If you are eating a Pralina chickpea cream soup, you can see with your own eyes how the soup reached your table: you see the fields where the chickpeas were sown, you see the farmers who cultivated and harvested them (knowing their names, faces, farms), you see the bags arrive in Pralina, you see the chickpeas when they are washed, soaked and cooked by the Pralina staff, when they are put in jars, sterilized and labeled. You also see the shipping phase to retail.

In these times, when organic scams are on the agenda, and food adulteration as well, it is no small thing to be sure what you eat. Blockchain technology is in fact a digital, decentralized and shared register system, which crystallizes information and makes it unchangeable. It works like a chain of information, the moment something is wrong, or the moment someone tries to change a link in the chain, the whole chain can fall apart. You cannot retrace your steps, change your mind, modify your story, do differently from what has been agreed. It is all unchangeable. This technology is much more than just certification. And it goes far beyond supply chain traceability.

It also goes far beyond corporate storytelling.

The Blockchain in fact allows the consumer to discover, for example, that he is eating chickpeas grown in the absence of irrigation, information to which he would not otherwise have had access. Or think of the foreign consumer: very far from a food education like the Italian one, he/she can become aware of the various types of Italian cultivars. This is also how Made in Italy can be effectively protected abroad. Seeing with your own eyes that what you are eating has really been grown and transformed in Italy with the Italian savoir faire and appreciating the unmistakable Italian taste with your palate.

There is no legislation that obliges us to certify the traceability of the supply chain with this technology – explains Mrs. Avantaggiato – ours is a free ethical choice of transparency that aims to lay the foundations of a solid relationship of trust between producer and consumer”.

 

Products

Pralina line

It all started here: sauces, dressings, creams and pates for bruschettas.
This line includes tomato sauces (olives, peppers, porcini mushrooms, bolognese…), pesto, pickles,  dried tomatoes, jams…

They are the great classics of Apulian and Italian gastronomy.

 

I Bio Line

 

This is the certified organic line of Pralina. They are essentially ready-made sauces, spreads and pâtés (same products above) but 100% Organic.

 

Le Biodiverse Line

Biodiverse were launched in 2019. They are ready-to-eat soups made with ancient varieties of cereals and legumes from Salento area (saragolla wheat, chickling peas, black chickpeas, spelt) and offer a functional and balanced food.

They are soups with intense and genuine flavors, traced with Blockchain technology and available on the company e-shop or on Amazon. The Biodiverse were created to satisfy a critical and attentive consumer, who wants a balanced and nutritious diet, but does not have the time to cook. It is for those who want to have a tasty and healthy lunch break at an acceptable cost. They can be consumed in the office because they are packaged in single-portion glass jars, with the guarantee of consuming a food of the highest quality, which can also be stored for 24 months thanks to the sterilization carried out through a thermal process, without the addition of any preservatives or additives.

 

Il Piccolo Bio Line

 

 

It’s the last-born in the Pralina family. A line entirely dedicated to the little ones and intended for that particular phase of our children which is weaning.
Il Piccolo Bio is a line of 100% organic baby-food, based on legumes and vegetables, sources of vegetable proteins, without the addition of salt or sugar, and without additives or preservatives. Pralina uses only aromatic herbs from Salento (thyme, oregano, basil, parsley) to flavor the baby food (sauces or purees). The choice of these herbs helps not having to indulge in the addition of salt or sugars, and moreover such a food philosophy accustoms the palate of the little ones to a more decisive flavor, without compromise. Food education also passes from here.

 

Ristorante Italiano Line

This is the line of ready-made sauces dedicated to the foreign markets. Following the great success in the US market, the line has been inserted continuously in the Kings Store chain stores.

 

B2B

Pralina is certified with the IFS International Featured Standard. There’s an entire company division dedicated to the customized production for several international and domestic private labels.

The most important agreements are with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commercial, Marketing and Communication Policies

The commercial and marketing division of the company has always been personally followed by the founder, Mrs Dal Porto, who has never liked aggressive commercial policies. In fact, Pralina, despite its two million euros turnover, does not have a network of commercial agents to this day.

<< The most used sales tool in this company has always been the trade fairs. It’s the customers that find us >> explains Mrs Avantaggiato. The trade fairs are the most important ones in the world: Sial in Paris, Anuga in Germany, Nordic Organic Food in Malmo, Bio Beurs in the Netherlands …

Nevertheless, for a year now Pralina has hired a new commercial director, who is gradually introducing new criteria in sales policies.

On the Communication and Marketing side, Valentina restyled the corporate communication and entrusted the company storytelling to a number of top-notch digital influencers.

 

Certifications

Since 1997 Pralina has adopted its own Corporate Self-Control Hygiene Manual which provides for internal rules to ensure the highest degree of hygiene and safety of its products, equipment, department machinery and operators.

In 2000 the company obtained the ISO 9001: 2000 certification relating to the quality management system, thus continuing its path of quality research not only for products but also for the business organization.

In 2007 it obtained the ISO 14001: 2004 environmental certification, testifying to the strong tension of the company to improve its credibility as a reliable and responsible manufacturer.

In 2008 Pralina obtained, pursuant to EC Regulation no. 853/2004, Community recognition for the production of canned meat, fish, dairy products and egg products with the APPROVAL NUMBER E9V7F.

In 2012 it obtained the certifications:
1) BRC Global Standard British Retail Consortium GSFS rev. 6 for Food Safety with grade A
2) IFS International Food Standard rev. 5 with higher level for product audits for distributors brands.
3) Praline is also certified for organic production.

 

Religious certifications

Pr.Ali.Na. S.r.l. has criteria of sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene of such a high standard that it is also an attractive company for private labels with religious certifications such as Kosher or Halal, the most stringent in terms of hygiene. Several references have been introduced to the international market (European and US) of halal or kosher products.

 

Result

Today Pralina is a company that has a turnover of over two million euros, has 12 employees and exports to 23 countries. In 2019 it placed 561,797 kg of product in the various markets.
Growth was driven by strong final consumer demand, both in established markets (Europe and the US) and in emerging markets (United Arab Emirates, China). It has managed to thrive in a global economic market that has been stagnating for several years and even in 2020, in full Covid emergency, it has demonstrated a strong ability to operate successfully in a virtually immobile market.

 

Corporate social responsibility

Pralina combines corporate responsibility and social responsibility, respect for the local community and respect for the wider international community. And “respect” is not only the acceptance of rules, it is also a proactive action to introduce progress for the benefit of all. Corporate social responsibility is in fact closely linked to the system of relationships that the company establishes with its employees, with its suppliers, with institutions, with society, the environment, investors and customers. Companies usually produce and distribute value, but they must do so with respect for the community (people and things) in which they operate. Pralina is very active in this sense. Let’s see specifically how it works.

 

Territory

<< Food is for us also a tool to tell the history of our land with its load of values ​​>> says Mrs Avantaggiato. In fact, thanks to Blockchain technology anyone can access the story of a territory that is not just sea (the sea of ​​Salento is one of the most beautiful in the world, just think that one of its stretches of coast is called The South Italy “Maldives”), but it is also land, a land rich in biodiversity, a veritable treasure trove of products with a strong local identity, the result of the selection made by a young generation of wise farmers who have included the cultivars that best respond to the geomorphological and climatic conformation of the territory.
In recent years, they have planted various varieties of ancient grains, in a totally different way than their fathers. It is not any more a question of intensive crops that impoverish the soil, but on the contrary, it is a question of crops that enrich the soil.
Finally, the choice to cultivate ancient grains is not dictated by marketing reasons, but rather by reasons of environmental sustainability, food safety and taste. In fact, “modern” intensively cultivated wheat varieties were introduced in recent decades expressly to meet the needs of the food industry, which needs strong flours (therefore with a high gluten index, and therefore harmful), because they can be processed quickly and at high temperatures to shorten production processes. The ancient grains planted in the Salento fields, on the other hand, are all indigenous varieties that were cultivated before the grains were selected for industrial purposes. That means they are healthy and tasty. In fact, the real flavor of wheat had practically disappeared with the affirmation of very refined flours.
Today the differences in flavors and nutritional facts between the two different varieties (new vs old) are indisputable.

 

Local economy

From the perspective of corporate social responsibility, not only the relationship with the territory in which the company is located matters, but the role of the company in the context of the community in which it is located is also very important. Pralina believes that its economic growth and its profits cannot be at the expense of the community of people who live and work on the same territory.
This is why the company has developed a specific project, linked to the Biodiverse, created expressly for the purpose of supporting the entire local economy. Pralina made a pact with the farmers of the area, cemented by Blockchain technology, which aims to support the local economy.
In practice, Pralina undertakes to purchase the raw material, at a set price, from a series of local farmers, and the farmers, for their part, undertake to convert the abandoned fields into lands for the cultivation of native varieties and undertake to do not use fertilizers or pesticides. Pralina carries out random checks to verify that the agreement is respected.
Blockchain technology makes this mutual agreement, which generates growth of the territory and its economy, visible and transparent to everyone (including the consumer).

It is not excluded that the company decides to apply the blockchain to other production lines too, after having studied the impact and verified the success of this pilot project.

 

Environment

Pralina’s responsible way of operating is also reflected in the environment.
Procuring raw materials from the territory is in fact zero impact. There are no trucks that arrive at the company overloaded with goods after having traveled kilometers and kilometers and consumed carbon dioxide, methane or other gases. Pralina has effectively adopted a business model that significantly reduces the emissions of pollutants from the environmental system and the greenhouse effect: everything is at km 0.
As we have seen, the origin of the raw materials is not even linked to the exploitation, impoverishment or pollution of the territory of origin.
Furthermore, the environmental impact of production is also reduced to a minimum. In fact, energy efficiency criteria, optimization of production cycles, and reduction of consumption have been introduced in the company, which combine respect for the environment with savings for the company.

 

 

The same applies to waste management when ecological and recyclable materials such as paper and glass are favored.
Pralina has 100% abolished plastic.

 

Employees

Also in terms of social responsibility towards employees, Pralina is attentive. It has a corporate non-discrimination policy that embraces not only gender identity, but also race and sexual orientation. These differences are all equally represented in the company.

 

Culture and Sport

Several cultural or sporting events have been supported by Pralina over the years, from the sponsorship of the local football team, to the supply (until a few years ago) of buffets for the artists in the backstage of the Notte della Taranta international festival.

 

Conclusions

As a company operating in the sector of critical and conscious consumption, Pralina has demonstrated to the whole world that the role of a company is not only the economic performance, but it’s to make itself the protagonist of the social, cultural and economic life of the community in which it is active. Corporate social responsibility is a very important competitive lever, especially if the company develops its business in line with a precise model of sustainability. Pralina is a winning business reality, in continuous expansion and with a particular charge of authenticity that makes the company atypical in the industrial sector and in the specific area in which it operates. A reality to learn from.

 

© All rights reserved.

guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shares