"We have a clear corporate philosophy that is closely linked to our values"

- Kai Bergander
Mutti is a family business that has existed since 1899. Old traditions, which are constantly being rediscovered and further developed, coupled with technology and innovation are the recipe for success. Not to forget: The marketing. In an interview with Paul M. Müller, Kai Bergander, National Key Account Manager Food Service at Mutti Deutschland GmbH, talks about tomatoes, awards for farmers and emerging trends.

PMM: What makes Mutti's tomato products so unique?
The uniqueness of Mutti's products lies in our focus on the quality and freshness of the raw ingredients. We work with around 800 farmers in Parma and the surrounding area and in southern Italy. We only use Italian, sun-ripened tomatoes, carefully cultivated and rigorously selected by the farmers to ensure an authentic and genuine taste in every product. Our innovative production process, developed and patented in several steps by the Mutti engineering team, also allows us to preserve the naturally fresh taste of the tomatoes. And, to come back to the uniqueness of Mutti: We have a clear company philosophy that is closely linked to our values: quality, transparency, fair payment, appreciation - we are a family business and we live it.

PMM: What happens directly after the harvest?
Around 2-3 kilos are harvested per plant. The tomatoes are loaded directly onto the truck and driven to the factory. There they are subjected to a strict quality inspection. If the quality is not right, a truck may well have to drive straight back from the farm. Conversely, if a farmer provides us with extremely good quality, he is paid accordingly. At the end of the season, we use this principle to select the best farmer who receives the "Golden Tomato", which is a bit like the Oscars (laughs). That's why we award more than 60 farmers from northern and southern Italy every year. We now award the Golden Tomato in the following categories: "Tondo di Parma Tomato", "Plum Tomato", "Cherry Tomato" and "Baby Roma Tomato".

An exciting fact in passing: with the "Mutti Polpa" product, for example, it only takes a maximum of six hours for the tomato from the field to reach the can.

PMM: How can Mutti keep pace with the rapid growth in cultivation and production?
We have enough capacity - that is not the question. The question is: what is the availability of raw materials? And we are currently in a very good position here. To keep pace with the rapid growth in cultivation and production, Mutti has adopted a strategic approach that combines technological innovation and environmental sustainability. We continuously invest in research and development to support farmers in optimizing agricultural and production processes while ensuring sustainability and maintaining the highest quality standards. We also work closely with the University of Parma, for example

PMM: When will the first tomatoes be planted in northern and southern Italy this year?
The planting of the first tomatoes in northern and southern Italy began at the beginning of March and follows the seasonal schedule, which was drawn up on the basis of the optimal climatic and agricultural conditions for tomato cultivation.

PMM: As a tomato producer, how do you meet the increasing demand for convenience products with your product range, especially in the food service industry?
Our main focus is still on our classic products such as pelati, polpa and tomato paste. However, we also have items in our range that already have a high degree of convenience, such as our pizza and pasta sauces. These products are increasingly in demand, especially from customers who are not traditional Italian restaurants.

PMM: Is climate change a challenge for Mutti and how do you protect yourself against drought, heavy rainfall and other natural disasters?
Climate change is a major challenge for everyone, and everyone - institutions, companies, individuals - has a role to play in halting these phenomena. As Mutti, we are constantly working with our supply chain to introduce the most innovative technologies - such as the drip irrigation system, where we work underground and above ground to minimize water loss. We have a closed water cycle in production. We constantly reintroduce used water. We process everything from the tomato - even the leftovers at the end are used as fertilizer or pig feed. We adhere to certain rules in the company, we separate waste - which is not always common in southern countries like Italy. Every employee also has their own metal water bottle, which they can use to draw water. Everyone can contribute to sustainability - even in small ways.

PMM: How do you see the partnership with your customers, especially with your German sales partner Paul M. Müller?
The partnership with customers such as Paul M. Müller is, as the name suggests, very much characterized by partnership. Due to the diversity and requirements of our customers, it is important for us to have partners who can deliver the desired service and push us with our customers. As our harvesting fields, production sites and warehouses are located in Italy, it is important to send only full trucks on their way as far as possible. The Paul M. Müller company makes it possible for us to supply customers quickly, over short distances and in small quantities by loading other goods. In this way, we can respond to needs together. We deliver quality to PMM with our products - PMM delivers quality with service to the customer. Quite apart from that: Open, honest communication is important to us - and having reliable partners like Paul M. Müller. I haven't been with Mutti that long myself, but I can say that I really enjoy working with my colleagues at Paul M. Müller.

PMM: What was the trend item with the biggest growth in your range last year?
In the past year, Polpa (fine tomato pulp) has increasingly pushed itself into the limelight. We have seen particularly strong growth in polpa in the practical bag-in-box packaging. Although this will not completely replace the can, it is already finding its way into many businesses. This packaging has several advantages over the can. It is easier to open, the volume is less with a bag in the bin. And: the shelf life is the mom-and-pop quality we know from cans. However, there are still many customers who prefer cans because they can better estimate leftover quantities by looking into the can, for example.

PMM: Why Polpa?
Thanks to the short time from the field to final processing and the special processing method, our polpa retains all the freshness of the freshly harvested tomatoes. Mutti Polpa is bright red with a creamy consistency. It is a unique product because it combines the tomato juice with its pulp, which is already chopped into very fine pieces.Our polpa can also be used for long cooking times, even at high temperatures (e.g. in the oven).

PMM: Why is Mutti so unique in terms of marketing?
Mutti is a family business with a long tradition and a corporate philosophy based on clear values - we have already talked about this. One of the most important is the high quality of our products. To this end, we continuously optimize our standards in terms of supply chains, production and product innovations. The Mutti brand stands for high quality based on the sustainable use of resources. In recent years, we have invested heavily and consistently in communicating these values. In the same way, we have been communicating the special nature and value of high-quality tomatoes and our Italian passion for tomatoes to German consumers for years. Mutti is now very well known in Germany and is perceived very positively as a brand. Incidentally, Mutti does not come from the German word Mutti, but is the family name of the Mutti family.

PMM: How do you manage to build a brand that enjoys a good reputation beyond the country's borders?
Building a brand with a good reputation beyond national borders requires a constant commitment to improving the quality and authenticity of our products as well as a targeted and global marketing strategy. Through advertising campaigns, participation in international trade fairs, collaboration with renowned chefs and a strong presence on social media, we have strengthened our presence in foreign markets and gained the trust and appreciation of consumers worldwide.

Personal details:
Kai Bergander has been working as National Key Account Manager Food Service at Mutti Deutschland GmbH for around a year. He previously worked at Giovanni Rana and in the baking industry. He has always been interested in food - he originally comes from a family of bakers.

Market report by mail

We provide you with fresh industry news and informative interviews - just enter your name and e-mail address and click "Subscribe"!


In Person

you can reach us Monday - Friday from 7:30 - 17:00.