Jams with a Green Soul

Disposable “marmalade” is often associated with moments of happiness. 

Breakfast, work breaks and moments of relaxation in hotels or restaurants.
A couple of teaspoons to spread on a slice of toast to start the day with a little sweetness. It’s hard to imagine that “behind” that moment of joy there could be an industrial food giant.

Menz&Gasser is an Italian excellence. Founded in Lana in 1935 in the province of Bolzano from an intuition of Mr. Menz and Mr. Gasser. 

In over eighty years of life, the company’s growth path has been studded with many successes until it became the leader in Italy for jams and the European leader for single-portion jams.

Production and packaging of finished products (such as jams and honey) and semi-finished products based on fruit and vegetables, sweet and savory, both under its own brand and for third parties, addressing different sectors: G.D.O, Ho.Re.Ca, confectionery and industry.

Today the company is active in two plants in Italy (the main one in Novaledo, the structure dedicated to industrial production in Verona) and has recently built a new industrial site just outside Kuala Lumpur (MAY) for the production of semi-finished products for the markets of Southeast Asia.

Despite the fact that its own brand is not very well known to consumers, the Trentino/Alto Adige company has the supremacy of a large part of the jam sold under the brands of the Italian large-scale retail trade. 

Turnover is close to 150 million Euros, with over 400 employees.

If the numbers shine thanks to massive investments on innovative production processes that guarantee safe and high quality products, there is also a record that the economic numbers do not tell but that instead daily the environment records.

The sustainable development conceived by the company has translated into important investments for energy saving such as the use of virgin vegetable biomass, a by-product of wood processing, for the production of clean and renewable energy; the installation of a biogas co-generator from production waste and a park of photovoltaic panels.

Investments in sustainability in recent years exceed 10 million euros and have led the company to produce and package with a C02 impact close to zero.

Behind the scenes of these results, however, there is a story at the antipodes of investments and business optimization. The love of their land and its inhabitants. Respect for the local community. So when, in November 2018, the incredible gusts of wind hit Trentino, causing a massacre of plants with more than 8 million fallen trees, the company Menz& Gasser decided to make its own contribution to the survival of the wood industry, setting the price of wood chips for 5 years at the current price before the disaster, well above the market price.

A sign of gratitude towards the economy linked to local forestry, which risked being brought to its knees by the climatic event.

A dialogue between the company and its territory that is constantly being nurtured. The environment to be protected as part of the company’s life.

Through the use of provincial funds, which have covered part of the cost, the company has purchased 55 E-bikes (electric bicycles) given on loan for use to employees who live within a radius of 15 km from the company. With the obligation on the part of the employee (who has had to contribute economically for a minimal part), to use the bicycle in the route home-work at least once a week.

“The history of the company, which has experienced highly impactful events, has generated this mentality of management that is strongly proactive in distributing the company’s success to the territory and its people,” explains Michele Bernardi, Marketing Manager. “One of the most significant events was the furious fire that destroyed a large part of the company in 2002 and seriously jeopardized its survival. In order to guarantee deliveries to the remaining loyal customers, the Gasser family (in the meantime, Matthias Gasser, the current owner, had also joined the company) decided to rent the production facilities of competitors, on which to produce with their own employees and their own recipes. In 2004, Menz&Gasser acquired a production facility from Hero and in 2006 opened the new site in Novaledo. Since then, the Gasser family has continued to invest in facilities, personnel and production lines”.

Today the factory occupies an area of just under 100,000 square meters, has a covered area of 50,000 square meters and operates 10 packaging lines for single portions, jars, sachets and buckets.

Successes that go hand in hand with an almost maniacal safeguarding of the health of the local environment and its community.

Matteo Donelli

International manager and journalist, he has held the role of president and vice-president of companies in the USA, China and Brazil on behalf of an Italian company. Journalist for Emilian and national newspapers, he is author of the books “Orientarsi in Cina” and “Brazil, storie dell’altro mondo”.