Alpina Savoie: we visited the factory of the king of French pasta

A real raid! During the first lockdown, last spring, the pasta shelves were attacked. “We had to organize to double production. It was madness”, recalls Jean-Philippe Lefrançois, general manager of Alpina Savoie, whose Chambéry factory, visited by Capitalthen completed 7 days a week. The French pasta number 4, with 2.5% market share, behind the Spanish Ebro (31% with Panzani), the Italian Barilla (24%) and the French Pastacorp (12% with Lustucru Rivoire & Carret) ), thus ended 2020 with a turnover of 10% to 51 million euros, although it suffered from the collapse of the catering market.

These tokens are used to make pasta in the shape of ears of wheat, curved, star-shaped… © Raphaël Demaret for the capital

The story of Alpina Savoie is the story of a great move in the exclusive market. Founded in 1892 – Savoy, which had many Italian immigrants, had already adopted pasta – the company remained in the hands of the founding family for a long time. In 2008, a sharp increase in durum wheat prices and a heavy reliance on private labels, an unprofitable activity, introduced a backup plan. Taken over by Breton Galapagos, specialist in biscuits, since BPI and CIC joined the capital, Alpina has refocused by relaunching a local specialty, the crozet, a small square dough (15% of sales today) and by developing a hexagonal industry for its entire range, including couscous semolina.

This large piece of steel, weighing more than 300 kilos, is a dough mold. © Raphaël Demaret for the capital

Savoyard gets its supplies from about sixty producers of durum wheat that are organic or guaranteed free of pesticide residues, guaranteeing them minimum prices. Its products cost up to 3.50 euros per kilo, more than double the average price, but their quality of taste and their green side have allowed them to establish themselves in mass distribution. “We sell 1.5 million packs of pasta. Our positioning in the zeitgeist should allow us to double this score in the long term”, hopes Jean-Philippe Lefrançois.

The still moist vermicelli comes out of the mold. © Raphaël Demaret for the capital

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