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One of life’s simple pleasures, ice cream has become the hallmark of MANE Italy’s Flavour division, which produces a range of pastes and other products for industrial manufacturers and artisans.

Famous around the world, there is no doubting the popularity of Italian ice cream. What’s less well-known is the part played by MANE Italy in supplying the key ingredients for gelato to clients ranging from global food companies to domestic champions. With exports to the rest of Europe, Africa and Asia, the ice cream business accounts for most of the production by the division, which is located in the town of Bareggio, 10 kilometres west of Milan.

About 80% of the site is devoted to the manufacturing and warehousing of ice cream products offering a variety of tastes, appearances, and textures. “We are the only site in the Group producing pastes, which are based on either fat- or water-based technologies, depending on the requirement,” says Silvio Frazzei, General Manager of MANE Italy. Though mainly supplying pastes for ice cream producers, the Company has recently explored new segments, such as pastry, bakery, and confectionery, and is now working on projects in these areas with MANE offices around the world.

To cater for consumers’ evolving tastes and dietary needs, Bareggio has two different workshops with distinct production lines:

  • fat-based pastes including 4 different lines:
    • vegan pastes for ice cream, which is proving particularly popular in northern Europe. MANE is one of the first industry players to produce paste for vegan gelato;
    • pastes containing gluten, such as the company’s hugely successful biscuit coating for ice cream. By having a separate line, the risk of contamination of other products by potential allergens can be avoided;
    • white pastes;
    • chocolate pastes.
  • different ranges of water-based pastes including:
    • pastes that are concentrated using a vacuum concentration boule;
    • Various turbo-mixes for simple pastes.

Pastes are packed in buckets or tanks depending on the final customer’s requirements.

In 2024, the Company plans to install an aseptic line for production and filling tanks or pouches for yoghurt and other dairy applications.
The plant also has three bottling lines – two for toppings and a separate one for savoury products.

Excellence in ice cream

MANE Italy’s expertise in gelato is well-known throughout the desserts segment and has led to Bareggio becoming the Group’s only site to provide a private label service. This involves manufacturing specific products for a major customer and then packing them with the client’s own branded labelling.

However, despite taking up most of the space at Bareggio, production is not the only activity on the site. It is also home to:

  • the flavour division’s sales teams, who look after the sales of flavours and ingredients to all segments of the Italian food, pharma, and nutrition market;
  • the Ice cream Centre of Excellence (ICE), a research and development facility that is helping to drive the innovation and agility needed to create new business opportunities.

“When it comes to innovating in ice cream, we work with the client to create more complex, added-value products – flavour profiles, colours, inclusions, etc. – using different technologies, and then fine-tune them very quickly,” says Silvio Frazzei. “So, almost everything is tailormade for the customer, and our minimum order quantities are low. Put together, it’s a package that makes us unique in the business.” Along with the agility and quick turnaround times that Bareggio provides its customers, the facility also boasts an impressive array of certifications for both its processes and its treatment of employees. These include:

  • BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standards), a set of globally recognised standard for food safety. MANE Italy received an AA+ rating in 2023;
  • IFS (International Featured Standard) for the food industry;
  • GEEIS (Gender Equality European and International Standard) for gender equality in the workplace;
  • SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), an ethical audit methodology for all aspects of business;
  • Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainable agriculture for MANE Italy’s use of coffee and cocoa.

A sustainable facility

Like other MANE sites, the focus on production excellence, innovation and caring for people is matched by an equally important drive for sustainability. Though the main factory acquired in 2000 is not a new one, the Company has been steadily investing in improvements, such as:

  • a new water treatment plant and rainwater collection tank in 2019;
  • solar panels to generate hot water for production process in 2021;
  • the installation of charging points last year as MANE began the transition away from fossil fuels for its sales representatives’ cars.

Looking ahead, there are plans to replace the roof in 2025 and install solar panels to be more self-sufficient in electricity, and to add external insulation that will improve heating/cooling. The Company has also started to measure its consumption of water and energy, along with the amount of waste it generates, as part of a future project to be ISO 14001 certified for environmental management.

Along with technology and innovation, Bareggio’s future will also be about its people. The Company is making significant investments in training and coaching to ensure that the knowledge and experience of today’s employees are passed on to the next generation. “Having grown from 28 people to 40 over the past 10 years, talent management, succession and the transmission of skills are very important,” says Silvio Frazzei. “We try to hire people with different experience, to bring added value and to support growth at an international level.”