“Up until thirty or forty years ago in northern Italy, there were (and there still are, albeit increasingly fewer in number and in increasingly remote, distant places) unintentional, oblivious and practically unknown “pockets of resistance”, where ancient buildings, age-old customs and time-honoured craftsmanship could be observed and admired in all their intriguing integrity.”

Due to a deep-seated and profound belief, on which I have also theorised, I have always thought that the undeniable technological and civil process of humankind does not inevitably consist of the systematic, indiscriminate and total destruction of the past, but only of the sacrifice of those manifestations of the past that are most contrary or harmful to progress; also, I have always believed that the better future world we all aspire to will never be just that unless, in creating it, we also preserve, respect and show reverence for all that was better in the past world.”

– Mario Soldati, A trip to Ozzano, the city of Brandy, 1970

 

Production

The passion that Gruppo Montenegro brings to the management of its various businesses has enabled its products to become fond favourites in millions of Italian households.

The Company has always been guided in its work by the determination to offer products that reflect Italy’s food traditions, as well as the use of the finest raw ingredients and the most advanced production, preservation and storage processes. In order to guarantee the utmost safety in this area, the Company has adopted a Quality Management System with an annual audit carried out by management. The system is designed to promote innovation and improvement of safety procedures and, from raw materials to the finished product, all verifiable potential hazards are assessed during each step of the production process and at subsequent steps, such as warehousing, transport, storage and retail sale.

The company is able to offer consumers quality products thanks to an approach geared towards continuous improvement that involves the entire workforce, know-how and the development of a relationship of mutual trust with suppliers.

Gruppo Montenegro is committed to the purchase and use of the best raw materials and, market permitting, it chooses the finest Italian produce.

Sourcing our Raw materials

Herbs and spices belong to a rich and fascinating market in which tradition increasingly goes hand-in-hand with technological innovation. Cannamela has been operating in this market for over 60 years and has grown in step with consumer demands, building relationships of trust with leading operators in the supply chain and developing an extensive, in-depth understanding of the peculiar traits of this world.

Herbs and spices represent a large category (the Group handles over 200 different varieties) and are grown in countless countries around the world, in tropical humid climates as well as arid regions and the more temperate countries of the Mediterranean basin.

The first link in the value chain is comprised of farmers who, despite often farming quite small plots of land, still account for almost 90% of annual production.  Because of the long journey from field to fork and the numerous uncertainties due to external pressures, farmers are often identified as the weakest link; fluctuating patterns in demand and corresponding price fluctuations, together with harvest uncertainties due to climatic factors, are critical areas which, unless special external measures are taken, inevitably fall upon the producer. The main challenge which this market presents, and which Gruppo Montenegro has embraced, is to ensure a fair allocation of value to each link in the chain.

In Gruppo Montenegro’s diverse offering in the market of herbal teas and functional infusions, Bonomelli Chamomile Tea undoubtedly plays the leading part.

The raw material comes directly from Group-owned farmlands in the southern Italian province of Foggia, with the addition of only a small percentage from external suppliers.

This choice was driven by both the quality of the product offered by the Foggia site, which has been producing chamomile since 1940, and by Gruppo Montenegro’s desire to carefully control the cultivation of this delicate plant which is very sensitive to adverse climatic conditions such as prolonged drought or flooding caused by heavy rain.

In addition to the Foggia area, Montenegro buys chamomile from suppliers operating mainly in countries around the Mediterranean, with a few exceptions including Argentina. Here, too, the first link in the value chain is farmers, who as soon as they have harvested the raw material, take the flower heads to the processing site, which handles the subsequent stages and all dealings with the Group.

Bonomelli also operates in the tea supply chain and, drawing on its many years of experience, has selected only suppliers who are able to guarantee the finest tea leaves, operating fairly in a way that respects quality, workers and the environment.

Once it reaches our plant, the tea undergoes a delicate process to remove the caffeine, without detracting from any of the other components that give the drink its unmistakable aroma and unique taste.

There are just four key components that go into our spirits and liqueurs: wine distillate, alcohol, beet sugar and botanicals. The recipes of our spirits are closely guarded secrets, scrupulously followed by the heads of production.

The main focus of attention is the organoleptic qualities of the raw materials and semi-finished products because, given the need to use them in products that require specific processes including ageing, their chemical-physical and sensory characteristics must remain unchanged for many years. The need to employ raw materials of the highest quality makes it essential to establish proper selection standards for suppliers and this, even in today’s global market, greatly restricts the field of potential candidates.

The undisputed star of the Cuore oil supply chain is corn. For the supply of this raw material, Gruppo Montenegro deals directly with refiners who, given the stringent quality constraints imposed by us, choose to use almost exclusively European corn.

The cultivation of corn (maize) is the subject of heated debate even among the scientific community, regarding the advisability or otherwise of growing genetically modified corn, also to combat contamination by toxins produced by parasitic fungi that attack corn in certain environmental conditions, often resulting in an entire crop no longer being suitable for human consumption. Amid this climate of uncertainty, the Group decided to err on the side of caution, choosing to use certified GM-free corn only.

Meal and flour are used to make Polenta Valsugana and, together with yeast, Catarì Instant Pizza.

In Polenta Valsugana, the meal used is cornmeal and, for the same reasons of uncertainty indicated above, Gruppo Montenegro decided to take the precautionary measure of using GM-free corn only.

Catarì Instant Pizza, meanwhile, uses wheat flour, which we purchase directly from one of the biggest Italian suppliers who is extremely attentive to the sustainability of his business.

Suppliers

The company prefers to cultivate long-lasting relationships with its suppliers (over 5000), characterised by the creation of shared value and the development of new areas of expertise on both sides, and it devotes particular attention to the supplier selection process.

The first stage consists of having suppliers complete a questionnaire in order to verify the strengths and weaknesses in their business. This is followed by an audit whereby a committee of experts assesses the potential supplier’s organisation overall, from management of procedures to objectives and development plans. Once approved, the supplier is included in the scheduled audit programme, organised internally based on critical weaknesses detected and improvement targets.

Our ability to reach these objectives is amply demonstrated by the average duration of company-supplier relationships which, considering the first 30 suppliers in terms of expenditure, is over 16/17 years, with some particularly long-standing relationships dating back more than 30 years.

All around the world, Gruppo Montenegro has always worked with small and medium-sized farm companies and it is precisely by supporting the development of these local businesses that it helps to improve the quality of life of an ever greater number of people.

Because of the many different sectors in which the company operates, it is not always possible to guarantee direct control over what happens higher up the chain. For this reason, by consolidating our relationship with suppliers who share the same philosophy, Gruppo Montenegro has created a network of subjects with the ability to monitor and promptly address any critical issues that arise.

Certification and documents

FSSC 22000

This is a certification scheme developed by the Foundation for Food Safety Certification for the certification of food producers and manufacturers. Its aim is to harmonise certification requirements and the methods for achieving food safety systems in the supply chain.

   

UNI EN ISO 22000

   

This is the voluntary international standard for the certification of Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS).

   

BH OH SAS 18001

  

This standard sets out the requirements for an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS), to enable an organisation to control its OHS hazards and risks and improve its performance.
     

UNI EN ISO 14001

  

This international standard sets out the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS).

     

«Organic product» certification

The ORGANIC label is awarded to those products obtained through environmentally sustainable farming, that is to say growing practices with a low environmental impact that make responsible use of natural resources like water, soil and air, while also maintaining a good level of biodiversity.
  

Kosher product certification

   

This is awarded by special rabbinic authorities. In order for a product to be certified as Kosher, it must meet extremely stringent quality standards and all production and packing procedures, in addition to every single ingredient used in its preparation, must comply with the strict dietary laws of Kashrut.
  

Product certifications

DTP 030 GM-free product

DTP 096 Corn oil rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins

Product certifications

NON GMO PROJECT VERIFIED (Precooked corn flour for Express Polenta)

Product not derived from and not containing GMOs