Francesco Vitaloni opened the Rosticceria San Carlo in 1936. His deli sold everything the locals needed, from chicken to fish to vegetables. With the help of his wife Angela and son Alberto, he also made and sold up to 20kg of Potato Chips each day. It was a great marketing tool for the thriving small business as local bars and grocery stores bought Chips off of the small deli.
In 1940, Mr Vitaloni moved to Greco, to start production on a larger scale, with the company changing its name into "San Carlo... le patatine".
Alberto took the company over in the 1950s and oversaw steady growth and expansion. It was not long before the company was distributing an expanded range of savoury snacks and cakes, as well as the Potato Chips of course, to regional stores and businesses.
In 1970, the company adopted the name San Carlo Gruppo Alimentare and moved its head office to via Turati.
During the 1990s, the company's growth saw it venture into other European markets via its own products and acquisitions. From 1988 to 1992 it took over French companies: Irpa, Gardeil, Painsol, Flodor and Soprex. In Spain it acquired Apreitivos Espanoles and Crespan. In England it took on the Tucker and Highlander brands. And in Italy San Carlo acquired Pai. Since that time San Carlo has continued its expansion, but it was this short four year period that saw the realignment of the company as an industry market leader.
After the turn of the millennium, new products were introduced and the distribution network grew to include: Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, North Africa and the Caribbean.
An interesting aspect of the company's modern marketing approach is to aim a range of Chips directly to children. While many major companies do much the same with child 'friendly' packaging designs, San Carlo do it overtly.
As well as its other snacks and savoury products, San Carlo produces over 100 tons of Potato Chips a day. It has 11 factories, 2,200 employees, 170 warehouses, and 1,300 salesmen.
San Carlo Gruppo Alimentare S.p.A.
Address: Via Turati, 29, 20121 Milano, Italy
San Carlo Potato Chips