Montanari e Gruzza, producers of quality

Quality always as the only reference point. DNA passed down from generation to generation by the founders.

Production of fresh cream for the industry and of high quality Italian butter, whose raw material is only milk cream collected daily by our own means from the Parmigiano Reggiano producing dairies in the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia with which the company has long-standing and consolidated relationships.

Dedicated supply chains, created together with farmers, aimed at enhancing the value of native cattle breeds for the production of Parmigiano Reggiano.

The research and selection of biodiversity has led to the creation of unique cheeses, as evidenced by the various specialties of Parmigiano Reggiano in the range, made with the milk of Brown Cows, Red Cows from Reggio Emilia and Bianca Modenese, as well as Mountain Product and organic Parmigiano Reggiano, for which the company boasts a complete supply chain that originates in the mountains of Parma where the company’s stables and dairy are located.

Montanari & Gruzza’s numbers continue to grow, with a turnover of over 80 million euros and a staff of 75 people.


Starting from the value that it recognizes to its territory and to the resources that it generates, the company has decided to invest in the care of animal welfare, through projects carried out in collaboration with farmers and research institutions, which aim at innovative models of breeding and feeding of cows, such as the “Noble” chain that provides for the feeding with fresh fodder and flax seeds, rich in Omega3.

But the link with the land starts from inside the company. From the two founding men.

Arturo Montanari and Arnaldo Gruzza joined forces in the 1950s, and since then cohesion has always been a crucial element for the survival and growth of the business.

A true extended family. Family and company, one and the same. Saturday and Sunday like Monday and Tuesday. There was no difference because the company was the fulcrum of life for all its components.

The noise of the forklifts and the voices of the workers mixed with the daily life of the family.

In the seventies, the “Montanari e Gruzza family” needed a strong change of pace in order to withstand the changes taking place in the economy of the time. 

At the age of twenty, he decides not to continue with university but to throw all his energy and desire to do into the company with the many sacrifices that this would have entailed. Leonida Montanari takes the reins of the company of his father Arturo, who died prematurely.

It is the facts that give the “stars” of visionary to the young Montanari. 

He was the first to grasp the potential of the modern distribution channel by equipping himself with a system for vacuum-packing Parmigiano Reggiano. 

At the same time, he invested in the improvement of logistics to guarantee a punctual and reliable service to customers.

The company’s own logistics, not outsourced, and therefore the quality of customer service, will become over time a crucial factor of distinction for Montanari & Gruzza. 

The real turning point in the business model, however, came thanks to another winning intuition: the realization of a capillary collection of the raw material, cream, at the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factories throughout the territory.

The first to be satisfied were the dairies themselves, who were happy to sell a waste material that would otherwise have been treated inappropriately by them, as they did not have the necessary equipment to complete the industrial butter production process.

A solution that has strongly linked the company with local producers and has allowed them to invest in diversified product chains for both the butter and Parmigiano Reggiano ranges, or to create their own unique ones such as organic.

Montanari & Gruzza has based its business model on trust in its collaborators and suppliers.

More than 230 consolidated suppliers of raw materials in the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia, a control of different sales channels and an export quota of 15% that grows every year.

Even if the numbers of staff and turnover are now those of a medium-large company, the members of the two families of entrepreneurs remain personally involved in order to give a vision of the future of the company that is increasingly focusing its attention on the sustainability of the supply chain process.

Meeting President Montanari, the impact of the man surpasses the history and achievements of his company.

Big hands, bright eyes and that delicacy in measuring the right words during conversation.

The admiring eyes of Margherita, who at his side doesn’t miss a single blink of her father’s eye. 

The sense of family can be felt strongly. As strong as the scents released by the more than 20,000 cheeses seasoned in the warehouses of Gaida.

The President speaks with an embarrassing modesty about his creature. He looks you straight in the eye.

He says that the difference compared to his competitors was made by his ” word of mouth”.

“My suppliers are the heart of my success. From the first day I selected and chose them, I owed them total respect.  I have been shaking hands with them for fifty years and this trust I have is reflected in my relationship with my customers.

Anecdotes and successes are told “on tiptoe” by the President for over three very pleasant hours.

But it is at the end of the interview that everything is explained: his strong handshake and firm gaze tell, more than any words, how Montanari & Gruzza has distinguished itself in its sector through the combination of farsightedness and constant seriousness of its captain and the two families whose name the company still bears today.                                               

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”.