Some mates with … Orlando Foce
30 Apr 2020
We chatted with Orlando Foce of Industrias Químicas y Mineras Timbo S.A. , Head of Foreign Trade and Industrial Sales.
What is the history of the company?
I.Q. and M. Timbó S.A. is an Argentine company that since 1936 has been manufacturing and marketing a wide range of products for home consumption and industrial use. We produce household and industrial salts, sweeteners and olive oils that are required both in Argentina and abroad for their quality and flavor. Our flagship product is Celusal brand table salt. In turn, we sell balsamic vinegar, table olives, pickles, seeds and spices.
What are your values?
The company’s values are: integrity, teamwork, commitment to our people, achievement orientation, pursuit of excellence and customer orientation. These values are a guideline when it comes to working and when we share them we have a strong sense of belonging towards the company.
Why did you decide to turn to olive production?
The idea arose at the beginning of the 90’s. At that time we had the intention of diversifying ourselves by developing products that from the commercialization were compatible with the salt that, until then, was our only product. In turn, in those years, tax benefits were granted with the aim of encouraging agricultural production in areas that until then had hardly been exploited and thus foster the development of new regional economies. It was then when we decided to become olive producers and we began to invest in the development of our own plantation in the Central Valley of the Province of La Rioja and over time we developed our own factory with the aim of making olive oils and quality table.
What certifications do you have?
We have organic certification Argentina + UE and also with the certification under NOP standards of our oil olives. In addition, we have undergone the corresponding equivalences to market the products in the markets of Canada and Japan under the COR and JAS standards, respectively. In turn, our products are certified gluten-free as they are TACC-free and Kosher certified.
How important are they?
Our certifications distinguish us, give us prestige and we believe that they are a very important asset of the brands we manage. They are an added value that the consumer highly values.
What is the production process like?
The process is annual and in our area of La Rioja it begins first with the harvest of table olives in the months of February and March. Then begins the stage of the olive oil harvest from March to June approximately. The olives are harvested in bins that are processed within the first 24 hours after harvest. We produce under a continuous process where we have two grinding lines that break and knead the fruit to form a paste. This paste contains the water, oil and all the solids of the fruit. The paste first goes through a centrifugation process with a decanter to separate solids from liquids and finally ends in a subsequent centrifugation process that separates the oil from any remaining water. Finally, through a network of pipes, the oil is transferred to our tank room where it is stored at a controlled temperature.
What are the brands you sell?
We have three brands, La Toscana, Célebre and Timbó. These last two are used exclusively for the external market.
What are the different types of oils that you produce? We produce three varietals from our own farm: arbequina, barnea and coratina. In turn, we carry out milling work for neighboring producers who lack a factory to process their olives.
What characteristics do they possess?
From the very beginning of the investment in the farm, we worked to define what types of oils we wanted to produce and market. We constantly work to be consistent in maintaining a high quality level and an even and stable flavor over time. Olive harvests and varietals are like vine varietals and their harvests are not always the same. There are more intense years, more fruity, more oil-laden and with more or less yields or sometimes less concentrated, more subdued. There are many variables that influence in addition to natural conditions, there are the own conditions of the processing of that fruit. That said, our oils have a fruity cut, with notes of freshly cut grass and are balanced on the palate. The spicy or bitter notes of personality attributed mainly to the coratin present in the oils are moderate and adjusted to the Argentine palate. In the case of our clients from abroad we have defined specific cuts for those markets, working together with our clients and they differ from what we offer in the local market more than anything due to cultural issues or culinary customs in those markets.
What benefits does the oil provide the consumer?
Extra virgin olive oil is an extraordinary food. In countless publications it is named a super food. It has the quality of reducing cholesterol, it has many antioxidants that help improve the general cellular process, it helps to prevent arthritis, type I and II diabetes, provide softness to the skin and hair, etc. There are innumerable health benefits of a genuine product like ours, but it also has the plus of being an extremely rich and palatable product. We feel very close to it given our Italian and Spanish influence on local home cooking.
In what format is the oil sold?
We market it packaged and conditioned for sale to the public in 250m and 500ml bottles and in 500ml and 1 Lt cans. In turn, there is a gastronomic presentation of drums of 5 liters.
What next plans does the company have?
Timbó was always characterized by investing and innovating. This is how we have several exclusive products in Argentina, such as our oils naturally flavored with herbs or spices. The context of this particular year is too complex to think of an immediate activation plan, however, we always have projects under analysis and the most immediate thing is to expand the family of La Toscana branded wines to accompany our oils.
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