“We were doing things right, but we needed to give our traditional business a further boost to meet new consumer tastes”. This is how Inés Ortíz, head of R&D&I at Embutidos Ortiz, justified the firm commitment to innovation of the Riojan company, which has been making traditional sausages since 1915. She did so at the Day One Innovation Summit organised by Caixabank, on a day when the Emprendedor XXI Award was also presented to the company Hunty. Inés Ortiz was a member of the jury.
“One of the things we have inherited is the desire for continuous improvement. That is where we decided to draw up a Strategic Business Plan and that is where the innovation line was born, almost as a fundamental vertex of this business plan”.
Once it had decided to focus on innovation, Embutidos Ortiz had to define the exact approach. Inés Ortiz pointed out to the numerous entrepreneurs who had gathered at the event that “We needed to reach a consumer who was demanding different things but we did not want to lose our identity or our charcuterie tradition. That’s where we decided to make chorizo with the same recipe as our great-grandparents, incorporating vegetable proteins that were already on the market as an absolute trend, but in our case not as a meat substitute but as an improvement in the nutritional improvements of chorizo, which is what the consumers we are targeting are looking for now: they want to continue eating chorizo but they want us to improve it”.
The innovation process at Embutidos Ortiz was not without its difficulties. According to Inés Ortiz, the first of the challenges they had to face was “We decided what type of consumer we wanted to target and how to reach them. Consumer trends are now very different. We talk about white label, absence of additives, ecology, organic… That is why we decided to maintain the premise of the meat tradition and at the same time reach these new demands”.
“That’s why we decided that our market niche was going to be a consumer who didn’t want to give up traditional foods, but we opted for the natural recipe that we had always had: pork, paprika, salt and garlic. To this we added vegetable proteins to reduce the fat in one case and in the other to achieve a product with a reduced salt content”.
Once the innovation process has been initiated and presented within Embutidos Ortiz, the challenge of selling the products arrives.It is obvious,” says Inés Ortiz. that what you innovate you have to sell, and for this we have to have the confidence of the distribution network. In our case, Carrefour were the first ones to back our products, and they also invited us to take part in their Innovation Awards. And at the same time, we saw that it was essential to open up to communication and marketing, the thing is that our company is a very traditional company and we are still at that stage of growth. For me, the challenge is to find the right market niche and take all the necessary resources to reach both the distribution network and the consumer who, at the end of the day, is the one who has to buy what we innovate”.