Here is where our story starts
Wheat in the fields did not shine as nowadays in Spring. The sun was the same, but the tought times characterized the Spain of the early twentieth century. At that time, the current grandparents were born. Manuel, one of them, was born on the 27th of August, 1930. He currently enjoy being accompanied by six grandchildren. Santa Maria de Manán is the name of the parish where he was born. It is located in O Corgo, almost every resident from Lugo know where it is. He brought up in a humble family, in a farmer background. He was the tenth of twelve children and he represented the Galician rural past times.
Manuel Chousa started to work very young. He was used to home taskes, and at the age of 14th years old, he decided to go off to the city. In Lugo, he chose the bakery field because he was motivated by his brothers' career. He learned from them that life was based on hard work and perseverance, and as the time went by, he was slowly falling in love with his career.
The wink of an eye
Manuel enjoyed his lively youth. Even if he worked very hard, he had time to dance. He won Luisa over with music and the wink of an eye. He combined bread making with bread delivery to the beat of that music. He also combined lessons with being sleepy, and he spent all day long counting down the hours until he could see her again.
He had entered upon a new period of his life. He had left the familiary bakery, in order to learn new skills in another one. And, after that, without seriously having looked for a job, he found a new one in Falcón. This bakery had also survived until recently. Many customers still remember that old bakery, located in the old town of A Tinería.
A marriage on the eve of a holiday
After many days of work, he realised that his future was by his girlfriend's side. So, Luisa accepted the marriage proposal. They worked so hard, that they even took advantage of the eve of a holiday to get married.
He was 18 years old and his love became his main support.
Sharpening the wits
He was a man without realising it. He earned 12 pesetas a day. It was not too much, so he sharpened the wit. He started to sell milk from his village to town and coal for the old braziers. Manuel rode eleven kilometers on a bike, and he still remembers how difficult it was to balance weights on that old bicycle.
The youngest at home
And the years went by, as fast as they currently keep going by. Luisa and Manuel had their first child, it was a girl.
Even in military service, Manuel continued professional training
Concerns in bread making increased, and he didn't forget his career in military service, because even there we continued to train. William, the "Falcon" owner, was missing him for a year. When he came back, William didn't hesitate to keep the job, even though he knew he would not be there for too long.
The Chousa bakery was founded from his oven and from his flour
Manuel had good ideas for him and for his family. He rented his brothers' bakery and gained customers' loyalty. It is said that the good bread brought great confidence. This was a project full of challenges and experiences. It only lasted five years, as a result of the first bakery association of Lugo. They joined them to make and sell bread together, but Manuel continued believing in his way of working, in his inexhaustible craftsmanship and in Luisa. The harvest of wheat continued as a post-war with experience. Luisa and Manuel tried to come back to his oven and his oven with a new business. Thanks to family support, they opened a bakery in the neighbourhood of San Fiz. This bakery is still there, after 50 years of business, in the same place, with the same name. They created a sourdough starter that still lasts nowadays. It's a family project whose yeast was the result of hard work and perseverance. It has been baked slowly over time, and it was the origin of the first baked bread in Chousa. It was in 1959.
Challenges facing any start-up
In those days, mills fullfilled old flour sacks, and bread was baked on a hot stone in bakeries.
And that's how Chousa was, but with the challenges facing any start-up.
The eagerness of their own business strengthened Manuel and Luisa untiring efforts. The daily delivery was a result of intensive nights of work. A three-wheeler van was so full that sometimes it was hard to drive uphill. The van only had a rest on some Sundays, like them.
At that time, they baked two hundred kilos of flour. Moreover, the word was an agreement, so the lack of liquidity was never a problem. They fondly remember Julio Rebollal, the seller of yeast, and Tardienta, the seller of flour, because they sold raw material on credit to them.
The family grows
The family also grew as time goes by. The replacement of a new generation runned around batches without realising it.
The evolution of Chousa
Over time, they silenced their deep doubts that one of their first business investment had caused. Eventually, the Land Rover drived on slopes in an efficient way.
Over the years, demand progressively came to a more technical system and to an improvement. The increase in the number of employees became the business evolution of Chousa.
Despite the new equipment, Manuel continued relying on the heat that the handmade wood oven produced. He bought kneading machines and roll machines, but long time went by before he gave in. He finally succumb to modern electric machines.
On the scalding stone, the handmade bread was baked with Galician pies of pork shoulder and mixed vegetables. And besides, Manuel had bought one hundred hens, so that Luisa didn't know what to do with so many eggs. She started to cook sponge cakes and confectionery products which she seduced many customers.
The Asturian man
The business lines got used to lifestyles, and modernization brought different professional avatars. The Asturian man was a close person, a distributor of almost whatever Chousa needed. While he repaired machines, he sold the necessary in bakery on credit. These great solutions were accomplished by Manuel and the Asturian man in a good mood and friendship relation.
One life, one baker
After decades of a hard way in his career, the children were getting older. They were nourished by the experience and the aroma of freshly baked bread. A Citroën spread the delivery route. In days such as San Froilán, Luisa remember the pain in hands after having whisked ninety dozen of eggs. Meanwhile, Manuel struggled with customers' orders. There were many customers asking for hamburguers in “Tiroler”, a former sandwich bar located in the city center of Lugo. Their words were always more valuable than a bank guarantee. The first bakery was bought with loyalty and flour not payed that he asked for suppliers. This way, little by little,it is how he created his own business. He is still linked to his business. His children and grandchildren are still waiting for this new path... A way of life that he would chose again and again: being a baker.
The new generations
Games, deliveries and loaves of bread took place in his childhood. Meanwhile, his vocation as an inherited professional was getting bigger. His new career has just started. Manuel and Luisa had been always enjoyed the priceless help of their children. They were part of this exhausting sacrifice that had consolidated this company. This fact has doubtless provided them with an early experience. After that training, they set up business. At that time, they shared their lifes with people who were involved in their career path. Nowadays, they are a big family.
The same dynamism and excitement
Shortly after, the family opened another bakery at the end of the A Coruña avenue. Every day they faced endless working hours. The same dynamism and excitement that had built the Chousa bakery, remained indefatigable.
The 80's brought along with many birthdays and professional concerns. They attended a bread fair for the first time. It was held in the modern Barcelona, and their suitcases were plenty of good ideas to implement. Thus, iniciatives were launched in the new premises. These iniciatives were yet unknown for Lugo. They gathered their proposals under the name of Don León, and opened every Sunday surrounded by the smell of freshly baked bread. They had broken out of the routine, which involved yesterday's bread on Sundays. Furthermore, customers could also taste whole wheat bread, bread with grains or new pastries. It became the first bakery in the city, so his good acceptance needed more sacrifice. At that time, 1987 was about to end. They always were supported by distributors and suppliers during these months, because they paid a lot, but they didn't get paid. And, even like that, they continued looking for new products to trade.
The first Don León is founded
Lolo and Roberto worked in Falcón, while Ruben Suárez ran the bakery at number 215 A Coruña Avenue. He got this bakery because the former owner was about to close. These three partners came together and founded the first Don Leon in the premises at number 215 A Coruña Avenue, in 1987. When they founded this Don León, Lolo and Ruben,were still in charge of Chousa. A couple of years later, and after succeeding in their first store, they set up seven bakeries and confectioneries more (Bread Boutique).
Seeking frozen dough
They began to research frozen products in order to increase its storage life. So far, products were manufactured on a daily basis. Therefore, the vast majority did not last more than a day, which did not allow them to sell outside the province. "We needed non perishable products," says J.M.Chousa. They attended several fairs in Catalonia and France, and they came back with new ideas in mind. They started to produce frozen doughs: Galician pies and Saint-James pies, as well as a pilot project in Chousa bakery.
All companies joined in one: Don León and Chousa. They came together to start the Ingapan S.L. company. From then on, all business activities were under this designation. In 1993, they moved to a warehouse measuring 620 m2 in number 52, industrial state of O Ceao (Ceao 1). There, they started its industrial production up, and they purchased more modern machines in the interest of working straight away with frozen doughs. The increased demand had just started.
Borders were getting closer, but looking back was getting very hard as well Don León and Chousa had a business activity under new brands, but these were already looking at a new forecast. Ingapan represented the beginning of industrial production, from the small backery to the factory, from the three-wheeler delivery to the heavy and slow transport. But that beginning it was not easy. The first memory is about work again. The early investment betted on modern and competitives machines. They knew how to adapt new ages to that old oven of Chousa. This oven was still the same with which Manuel and Luisa had achieves so many dreams.
The first delegation
So, they purchased an adjacent industrial premises. Now, orders came to numbers 52-53 in Agriculture street. They had fully entered into the world of frozen dough. They continued offering new products, both fresh and salted. In addition, they managed to remodel the facilities, providing them with cold rooms. It became an unique opportunity to create the first delegation. Lugo had to be this city.
Intersicop trade fair, "The Ingapan boom"
It was inside Intersicop trade fair, in 1994, where Ingapan placed his stand for selling products in Spain. This fair was about industrial bakery and confectionary. It was a completely success for the evolution of Ingapan. They came back with many distributors and new customers. At that point in time, they decided to keep investing in that business. They started the extension of Ceao 1. They bought the premises located next to the one before in 52-53, Agricultura Street to this effect. Years went by, and they kept on growing. They increased the supply bringing new sweet and salted products to market such as pies, cakes, small pasties, etc. In 1994, their pies production reached 2000 units per day. From this stage on, the company started a remodeling of facilities and an important investment in new equipments. In the same year, the first delegation in Lugo was created.
In 1995, new delegations opened: in Tenerife and in A Coruña. Many Ingapan products started to maintain a commercial network on the food distribution trade.
Growing and opening borders
The family was still fully involved in their company. They were responsible for five Don león stores, gradually opened throughout the city as the rest of their business. A new delegation in the Canary Islands was opened. And meanwhile, in San Fiz, Manuel continued meeting Chousa. Luisa, in turn, was always paying attention of every task, and all his grandchildren already knew a lot about pastries. The February of 1996 lasted twenty-nine days. In A Coruña, another delegation was opened with the substancial presence of products in the Spanish market. The output to foreign countries like Portugal, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Germany was now a bit closer.
We leave home
1996 was distinguished by an international expansion towards new markets. Portugal, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Alemania were the first foreign countries where Ingapan products were handed out.
Hornos Salvatierra (Horsal) was founded
Horsal is a factory built in Salvaterra do Miño, Pontevedra. It's specialized in manufacture small units (mini pasties), and specially in puff pastries. They commercialised through Ingapan delegations and distributors. It was at this moment when the delegation of Ingapan Pontevedra was created, in the interest of delivering this area and Portugal market with Chousa products.
Atlantic Pan and Dona Vaniri chains
Atlantic Pan is a bread factory in the Canary Islands, Tenerife. Once they immersed themselves in the world of frozen doughs, they met other manufacturers. They got along very well with them, so they all decided to build a bread factory in this area. The main reason was the expensive transport to the Islands. Ingapan already owned a delegation in the Canary Islands, managed by Eduardo. This factory doesn't make Galician bread, only French bread or baguettes. In 1998, they accepted the challenge of expanding Dona Vaniri business under a franchise agreement. They had settled in Lugo, because the business group originally came from this city. Furthermore, they had studied the feasibility of this project. Nevertheless, they were not present in Spanish market until 2002.
A year later, after this upward trend, Hornos Salvaterra was founded. A manufacturing plant in the province of Pontevedra boosted Galician sales, and it set up one more delegation in Rias Baixas. The initiative have just started... In confectionery, weights of ingredients should be accurate. The calculation of each ingredient is a new ingredient for the process of products. Maybe they used this form at every step of their business development. Without decreasing work hours, or rather, the time spent in a vocation, they decided to launch a chain of franchised bakeries. The first Dona Vaniri opened in Lugo. Like that, they proved the feasibilty of a business that today sells bread in more than thirty stores. The twentieth century, almost constantly growing, said goodbye. Ingapan faced his future with a strong investment in human resources. New departments were created and the sales appearance was strengthened, expanding a market that applied for more presence.
A year of big investment
1999 became the year of the biggest investment in human resources by the company. The staff in sales deparment doubled. It was the year of the Portuguese market consolidation too. They had been carrying out an intensive sales activity for 3 years.
The early 21st century
A new project
The career path strengthened relations with companies of this field. From offices and new projects a new project rose up. It came from the same humble beginnings of a great idea. On a napkin, he scribbled down the first technical project of a new plant to produce Galician loaves of bread. A year later, the first ovens from Hornos San Fiz, carried out the first tests in the industrial state of Begonte, a village in the province of Lugo.
Hornos San Fiz
The market still demanded Galician loaves of bread, so Ingapan and Europastry, another frozen dough manufacturer, better known as Fripan (one of his brands), joined forces. That way, they built a new factory in Galicia from scratch. It only makes Gallega Rustic Galician Bread and Meiga Rustic Galician Bread. This project emerged from a lunch where Galician octopus was served. The CEOs of two companies scribbled a plan of the future premises on a napkin. They chose Begonte as the ideal area to build the factory. They just started with one line, but demand kept on growing, and eventually they created two more with 3 consecutive shifts in 24 hours. That year, an IT deparment was created, and the company website was modified. The invoice value increased more than 15 millions euros. It was a great achievement.
During a decade, when they had been industrially modernised, they knew how to deal with the needs of that age. They knew very well how to link traditional ideas and quality with it. They were awarded with the pretigious designation of “Galicia calidade” (Galicia, source of richness) in the label of every packaging. This dream became true because of their rigurous quality policy. Currently, they are exporting to eighteen countries.
The strengthening of a dream
Bread was their main activity, and the upward trend drove them to a third adventure at Agricultura street. They decided to improve efficiency in patisserie and pasties. They built Ceao 2 that it's the biggest and more modern plant in comparaison with any other before. Maybe it was when the dream strengthened Chousa bakery became, at last, a big company. From this last labyrinthine business empire, a new company appeared in 2004, under the name of Grupo Ingapan.
Ingapan group was founded
Over recent years, the company was consolidated at the Spanish market since 1995. They focused on international expansion. increasing its presence in several Spanish and international food fairs, such as: Intersicop Alimentaria, La Feria Gourmet, several regional trade fairs in Spain, IBA in Germany, IFE and Gourmet London in United Kingdom, Europain and SIAL in France, Alimentação in Portugal, and SIAB in Italy. The fiscal year end with a final turnover of 30 million euros.
Aware of their past
The grandchildren of the company inadvertently started to make decisions. They had inherited their grandparents excitement. From their work, new ideas emerged. Thanks to the experience of the business manager, Manuel Lopez, they got the Kentes brand, a fast food chain, off the ground. They respected the traditional process when manufacturing allowed it. They accomodated the progress when they were young. They updated beyond the product as their predecessors did. Furthermore, they are currently involved in a new market of refrigerated containers. They handle, nowadays, the future of the company, aware of their past.
The world of frozen. The first Kentes car
In the summer of 2008, Ingapan discovered a new market: the frozen products. It started working on a pie able to be delicious as the first day after 60 days on the fridge. It invested, for example, in thermoforming machines and in gas injection pumps in order to build a new chain of pain packaging. The Galician pie Kentes was born. It was made following the traditional recipe and in a traditional way, but counting on the help of nowadays advantages. This product was only made in two tastes: tunna and meat. On June, 2008, the first mobile Kentes, a trailer for itinerant trade activities is presented. They had everything that they needed: sandwiches, pies, drinks, etc. They drew a brand image on the vehicle, and they started travelling on it to several events, concerts and festivals. During this year, they were awarded the quality certification by the prestigious BRC.
Updating of Kentes corporative image
On October, 2009, Kentes rolled out a new change of image, a new trademark, different packages and a new philosophy under the slogan: “Cambia tu idea de tradición” (Change your mind about tradition). A healthier, traditional and at the same time, innovative image.
The second decade of the 21st century
A new factory in Outeiro de Rei is founded in order to make salted products (pre-cooked pies) in a state measuring more than 10,000 m2 . Nowadays, more than 7,000 m2 are filled by industrial buildings. Koama became part of Grupo Ingapan, because it bought 33% of this business. Carris Hoteles, another 33% and Cafés Las Candelas the last 33%. This company is dedicated to premium processed food manufacture for hotels, restaurants, etc. Ingapan S.L. started delivering abroad the Yaya María brand since May, 2010, . It is a brand with a wide variety of assortment (croissant, white bread, etc.) which they only deliver abroad. The Kentes brand developed a new concept of Mobile Kentes. They replaced the trailer with a van. It was as confortable as the trailer, but it could be moved more easily from one side to another.
New offices in the UAE and México
New trade offices were set up in United Arab Emirates and Mexico. We also exhibited for the first time in the IFA trade fair of London, in 2011, and in Anuga in 2011. We went to both fairs with the cluster. In Anuga, we started a business relationship with a good customer. The commercial department had been trying to reach him for long time ago. It was Pingo Doce.
The Ingapan codes are stablished
Ingapan codes were identified before numbering with a G. They were born with the idea of reducing the amount of codes generated by Spyro, and in order to unify them. Ingapan codes allow us to sell the same product under different brands, e.g., xuxos or Berliner doughnuts codes are G4200002. Chousa and Avoa shares the same code, the same box and therefore, the same stock. New Ingapan Corporate Group boxes are created. Carris Hoteles stopped being part of Grupo Ingapan, now that the corporate groupe decided to work only with companies related to food industry.
The commercial department builds up
Apart from the newest of Chousa in March 2015, the commercial department bet on a new and inusual strategy. The majority of the sales representatives that were with us are promoted from within, and 9 new people are hired. Meanwhile, Chousa, started working with Lo Siento agency in Barcelona. They made a restyling of the brand, and they adapted it to modern times.
On June, 2015, Antonio Fernandez is promoted from within. He has been working with us as a sales representative in the north area for 16 years. We opened Ingapan Bizkaia in a premises measuring 1271 m2. Rubén Becerra is promoted as well. He has been working in Ingapan for 15 years since 2000. He is until now the CCO of Ingapan Pontevedra, and the opening of a new delegation in Miami was suggested to him. The main objective is to study the market in order to set up a factory of small pies in this city. The delegation of Ingapan Pontevedra went to Raimundo Camiña who has been in Ingapan for 9 years since 2006. He has been promoted after having worked many years with us in the Accounting Department.