Added value to the product, continuous investment and commercial diversification are the pillars that sustain the success of Complejo Alimentario SA, CALISA, the Motta Group company that celebrates 21 years of activity this month.
Grupo Motta was born in 1958 as a regional company that only supplied the Entre Ríos market. At present, it distributes its products daily to all of Argentina and to different destinations around the world.
In 2000, Grupo Motta started Complejo Alimentario SA, known as CALISA, specialized in processing poultry meat and adding value to processed products.
We interview Augusto Motta, Chairman of the Board and CEO of CALISA to tell us how the company has received these first 21 years.
When did you start leading the company and what balance do you make?
In 1995 I entered the business world alongside my father, who is the founder of the group, Héctor Motta. Towards the year 1998 I carried out managerial tasks related to the Feller Poultry Cabin and, that year, we began to envision the new Grupo Motta project: CALISA.
Since its inception, CALISA has been inserted in the poultry processing industry, founding its business model on three fundamental pillars: Added value, continuous investment and commercial diversification.
These guidelines have been fundamental for the constant growth and development of the company.
Currently, I believe that we have made great qualitative leaps. We link not only our image to issues of innovation and development, but we work under the parameters of Sustainability and Social Responsibility. This is part of our entrepreneurial spirit, started by my father and now continued by the second generation.
Our goal as a company is to produce food, but also to transmit values and contribute to improving the quality of life of our people, the province and our country. That is what we aspire to.
In 2020 the pandemic arrives and everything changes. Were there projects that had to be postponed? Did opportunities appear during this stage for new projects?
The pandemic was undoubtedly a turning point in all areas. The bewilderment and challenge of learning on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, although we had to adapt and continue to do so, the investment projects did not stop. We always kept our sights on the next 10 years.
For this reason, in parallel to the investments in progress, we developed a Covid Program that we call ACTIVATE, where we play a strong social role, producing supplies and equipment required to face the pandemic in our own company and together with local suppliers. In addition to internal use, we collaborate with hospitals and health centers at the local and regional level. At the same time, we set up a Covid Committee with permanent monitoring and protocol control to preserve and care for our people and their families.
What is CALISA 2?
It is the new poultry processing plant that will be inaugurated at the end of 2022. The project is advanced by 60%. It is located on a 36,000m2 site in the town of Racedo, Entre Ríos. Our plant currently has a slaughter capacity of 12 million birds per year which, with CALISA 2, will achieve, in a project of 5 to 10 years, an increase of 400% of its production.
The project involves a total investment of U$s25 million for the expansion and modernization of processing operations.
It is a great leap, framed in the technological parameters according to the present and the future to come.
What is the present of poultry production in the country?
We could say that we have full productive and operational capacity to supply both the Argentine market and the foreign market as well. The most important challenge facing our sector is to create the conditions to continue modernizing our production chain, incorporating technology that supports the traceability and quality assurance of our products.
During 2020 and early 2021 we evidenced a historical fact in the internal consumption of Poultry Meat. For the first time in history in Argentina it was equated to the consumption of beef, reaching 50 kg. per capita.
Restaurants, hotels and retail chains remained closed for almost all of 2020, how did you make up for this inconvenience?
One of the great challenges began in 2020 with the fall of foodservice. From our “Asado” plant, 100% cooked products are made for a wide portfolio of clients in the gastronomic sector, ranging from chefs and restaurants to chains such as Subway, Burger King and Mustard.
The drop in consumption to practically zero led us to rethink the commercial strategy and make decisions about the commercial units to bring a large percentage of the products closer to new commercial Developers (distributors) and final consumers (Supermarkets). That is why we launched the line of "family" products in containers that guarantee the Original packed of products with the highest international quality standards. The pandemic changed the concept not only in the frequency of purchases / volume but also in the need to have food that certifies quality throughout its process.
How is the CALISA product line composed?
We have product lines that include whole, cut, fresh and / or frozen chicken; processed products and Foodservice products (cooked 100%).
In recent years, consumer trends in value-added products allow us to detect increases in sales related to battered products (raw, baked and pre-fried).
What supermarket chains do you currently work with?
Since February 2020, we have made the commercial decision to consolidate our presence in the retail segment based on a portfolio of differential products based on values related to quality, safety and nutrition. That is why we increased our internal market share from 0.8% to 5%, with presence in national chains such as Dia% Supermarkets and important regional chains such as La Reina Supermercados in Rosario, Alvear Supermercados in Santa Fe, among others.
What percentage of production is destined for the domestic market and how much abroad?
CALISA is one of the main exporting companies in the sector, with a participation greater than 45% of its production for international markets. With the new start-up of our new refrigeration plant, we will be able to expand our production capacity by 100% in the first 5 years, with the firm conviction and vision of expanding our participation in the international market.
We are currently exporting to Angola, Benin, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Rep. Congo, Democratic Rep. Congo, Cuba, Guinea, Haiti, Comoros Islands, Namibia, French Polynesia, Russian Federation, South Africa, Uruguay, Vietnam. Among the enabled markets are Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, the European Union, Liberia, Ghana, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Thinking about the environment, they inaugurated a system of forest irrigation and zero effluent. What does this work consist of and what is the impact on the environment?
Sustainability is a valuable asset for the Motta Group. In the industrial zone of Racedo, the Forest Irrigation and Zero effluent project was inaugurated in December 2020.
It is located 2.5 km from the CALISA, where the effluent treatment system is located that will supply the property with irrigation water. It involves 4500 meters of pipes and 77.5 km of ditches to supply the 32 forested hectares with a total of 26,656 trees. The project allows the rReduction of the water and carbon footprint, the minimization of the impact on the water resource and the circular economy because the waste water of the establishment is reused, incorporating it as a key input in a new production process.
In terms of sustainability, we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and their impact on the value chain, they are approached from the different areas, working and identifying effective contributions.
Currently, we are also working on an internal restructuring, working hard with the human resources area. We believe that the emphasis in this stage should be placed on promoting, caring for and empowering the talent of professionals and collaborators.
How is the traceability and quality process that you develop with your products and suppliers?
Regarding the products, we work under the BMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards that involve personnel, infrastructure, facilities and equipment, maintenance and distribution. Food is produced under the HACCP system that regulates and gives greater confidence to food safety in all its production processes. It has the FOOD BCR certification, world standard for food safety and international HALAL authorization for its commercialization in the Islamic market. Regarding Animal Welfare, we work in compliance with the animal welfare of the birds, in all stages under the guidelines of the European Union and the National Chicken Council.
Regarding suppliers, control audits are carried out with visits to facilities in order to guarantee optimum quality throughout the value chain. This strict surveillance allows us a rigorous control of the entire traceability process.
CALISA is quality, it is innovation, it is a team that adapts and grows in community.