The year 2013 will be an eventful one for the Italian family-owned company MongeÂ as the company celebrates the milestone of its 50thÂ anniversary.
The celebration will be doubly significant: while celebrating the past, and the company's 1963 founding, Monge is also looking to the future, with a ribbon cutting for the opening of its new advanced dry food facility which, in the words of CEO Domenico Monge, "will put us well on the way to becoming a true one-stop shop for the consumer and enable us to produce wet and dry food for virtually every market segment on the same production site."
The initial core Â wet petfood business was actually established five decades ago by Domenico Monge's father and company founder Baldassarre Monge, stemming from the simple idea of mincing, packing, freezing and selling for pets the fresh byproducts coming from the family's own chicken farming and slaughterhouse activity. The 40 years following that choice have been dedicated to shaping and consolidating a market leadership in wet food production through continuous investments in innovation and process improvement, keen focus to building value all along the supply chain and introducing new concept products in the Italian market. One such product is Monge's unique oven-baked chunks, which are obtained through a hot air food technology and feature an "al dente" texture and a roasted aroma for high palatability. Today, MongeÂ produces over 240 cat and dog food recipes in cans, alutrays and pouches in multiple sizes, from single servings of 80-85-100 grams up to 1.650-gram packages.
But this growth Â must always fall in line with the company's determination to guarantee its products' top quality and right prices for its customers. Â
Staying true to this assertion has been the basic company mission from the beginning, explains Domenico Monge. "Monge has put its effort over the years in achieving the highest possible flexibility and efficiency by increasing control on the overall supply and production chain," he said. "While already permeated by this philosophy back in the day-using chicken by-products from our farm as the main fresh raw material in a sort of original and 'natural' vertical integration-Monge took steps to further enhance this point of strength, resulting in cost effectiveness and a high level of service to the benefit of customers," he said.
The integration has expanded significantly since then. Today, Monge's logistics platform includes 40 trucks for optimized cost efficiency, delivering both finished products to the market and raw materials to its production site. The company has a dedicated line for the production of its cat food stand-up pouches; it internally manufactures empty cans produced from steel sheets, and it currently covers part of its energy consumption through 20 sq. m of solar panels placed on the roofs of the different buildings and plans to add more in the future.
According to the Â company, the decision behind the two latter implementations was made, in addition to promoting efficiency, allowing cost savings and boosting competitiveness, to support eco-sustainability and environment protection, as part of Monge's core values and desire to integrate economic goals with social and environmental goals.
"The internal production of cans, for example, saves over 2 million km per year to our trucks for the transport of empty cans," said Domenico Monge, "meaning less fuel consumption, less pollution and therefore more respect for this world, people and pets."
In addition, the company is moving toward a management system according to the parameters of the standard Social Accountability 8000, including environment protection through a set of actions ranging from the use of alternative energies to water treatment and measures to reduce air pollution.
With the completion Â of the new technology packed dry food plant, Monge will extend over a large industrial area, including two production facilities, a warehouse, offices, laboratories and logistics. The same spirit of innovation, attention to high standards and a sense for challenge that animated the activity in the wet food segment can be found in the company's dry food project. It was planned years ago and officially started with the market introduction of the first dry food range in 2009, under the superpremium brand Monge 5 Stelle exclusively sold through the pet specialty channel, in both the dry and wet versions.
In the three following years two more complete cat and dog dry food ranges were launched: Superpremium LeChat Excellence + SpecialDog Excellence with fruit, and premium quality LeChat and SpecialDog, both sold in pet shops and retail. While traditionally present in retail with wet food through several company brands and private label productions, entering the dry food segment marked a more direct approach to the specialty channel.
The latest big dry food investment made by the Monge family is part of the company's constant goal to fulfill all consumer requirements, cover every market segment, be in line with market trends and take advantage of each distribution channel potential. "For the same reason," said Domenico Monge, "we feel ready to confront even more the international markets, and are already working to expand in the near future our export activities, currently representing around 15% of our total sales to more than 50 countries all over the world."