Crecs, Gardeil, Highlander, Pai, San Carlo, Wackos
Address: Via F. Turati, 29, 20121 Milan MI, Italy
Phone: +39 02 6265 1
Website: www.sancarlo.com, www.flodor.fr, www.pai.it
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 Classica Chips
The San Carlo Classica is a very good measure by which all plain, ready salted, original flavours, could look to for a starting point. The taste was a warm, slightly sweet, and particularly oily potato, with a very mild smattering of salt. Hopefully, if manufacturers do look at these chips as an example to learn from, they would start by including less saturated fat, which was unfortunately quite high, according to the nutrition label.
San Carlo Piu Gusto Vivace Chips
A Nose Plunge Test did not suggest there would be any flavour, but there was. They were a mildly salty potato infused with pepper flavour. The colour of the Pepper was red, so we will presume there is a difference between this type of Pepper and the ordinary black Peppercorns that most Crisps manufacturers use. This was laced with a very mild, but tangy Lime. The combination was altogether rather inoffensive and safe, but still enjoyable.
San Carlo Piu Gusto Esotica Freschezza Lime e Pepe Rosa Chips
A Nose Plunge Test did not suggest there would be any flavour, but there was. They were mildly salty potato infused with pepper flavouring. The colour of the pepper was red, so I will presume there is a difference between this type of pepper and the ordinary black peppercorns that most crisps manufacturers use. This was laced with a very mild, but tangy lime. The combination was altogether rather inoffensive and safe, but still enjoyable potato chip.
San Carlo Croccante Chips
There was a flavour somewhat like a butter-free fluffy roasted potato with droplets of oil-infused warmth. The consistency was good because of the ridged nature of the cut, which also added thickness. Sadly, there was too little salt added to the potato to make them stand out, which was a great shame because I thoroughly enjoyed them.