On Luciano Pensante’s desk, among papers and documents, there are the monthly reports of Prontofoods’ revenues, neatly separated by business area: the last Excel column of the statements reports the value in old Liras. «Entire dynasties work for me – explains Pensante -, there are fathers, their children and now I have also hired grandchildren. There is Sabrina from the quality control office, who lives in Valcamonica, in Bienno, and every morning she travels almost 150 kilometers to get to Montichiari.” In the history of Prontofoods there has never been an hour of strike. «I am perhaps the only entrepreneur who, during the last years, unilaterally decided to increase the salary of all collaborators, from 120 to 300 euros more per month».

With the Ristora brand the group is the absolute leader in instant tea, but Prontofoods also means chocolate, granular milk (it is the only Italian producer), dairy creamers, cappuccino, chamomile, instant coffee, barley, herbal teas and chamomile in filters, sweeteners in sachets and tablets, fructose, puddings and other products, present in large and small organized distribution, discount stores, horeca and supplies 80% of the Italian vending machine market. 

«Where there is food we are there – declares Pensante -. Now we are focusing heavily on capsules: a major national advertising campaign will start in September with Iva Zanicchi as testimonial.”

Prontofoods of Montichiari has two production plants, next to the Montichiari site (80 thousand m2 covered and 220 employees plus around fifty temporary workers) there is the Sant’Olcese-Bolzaneto site, province of Genoa (the famous Idrolitina brand comes from here) ; since the end of 2018 there has also been Crastan of Pontedera, among the leading European producers of coffee substitutes, barley and soluble cereals.

Prontofoods closed 2022 with a turnover of 144.5 million euros (the highest ever), up 15% compared to 124.9 million in 2021 (the financial statements do not consolidate the results of Crastan of Pontedera which in 2022 had a turnover of approximately 50 million euros).

A good result if we consider that the sector in which the group operates recorded in 2022, at a national level, an increase in terms of value of 5.8% and a decrease in terms of volumes of 6.6%.

Prontofoods exports its products (branded and private labels) to around 80 countries and in 2022 it managed to increase exports to the European area by around 24% and to the non-EU area by 40%. EBITDA was substantially stable, with gross operating margin amounting to 26.8 million, «we were not able to fully recover the costs of raw materials»;  the operating result went from 18.1 million in 2021 to 19.2 million in 2022. The year closed with a good profit: 5.8 million euros after taxes of 4.1 million and after having expensed depreciation of 7, 4 million.

«2023 is going well – explains Pensante -. In the first six months of the year, revenues recorded growth of approximately 13.2 million euros. We don’t know how sales will go in the second half of the year, the rise in interest rates is putting many businesses in difficulty.”

In recent weeks, the acquisition of a 14 thousand square meter piece of land was finalized, bordering the Prontofoods factory in the Fascia D’Oro di Montichiari, where a new production area and new finished goods storage warehouses will be built by 2024, «to grow we have need for space”.

The first expansion step involves the construction of a 5 thousand square meter warehouse. The investment is important: more than 10 million euros between the building and new granulation plants and packaging machines, but it will make it possible to shorten times and make the delivery of the thousands of references in the catalog more efficient.


Source: Giornale di Brescia