Our History

The Puratos journey

From humble beginnings to worldwide success, join us on our journey and discover our history and heritage.

We’ve evolved from a father-and-son start-up in Belgium, to a global group with more than 9000 employees, 93 innovation centers, and more than 65 manufacturing operations across 81 countries to date. It’s with great pride that we look back on this century of hard work, courage, and innovation. Thank you for making it all possible and let’s continue building the next 100 years of shared success!

drone picture of the Puratos HQ plant, Groot-Bijgaarden, 2020 headquarter head quarter belgium site production quality center
Puratos started in a garage

Puratos started in Brussels

 

Puratos was founded in Brussels, Belgium, when Henri Groot decided to produce and sell raw materials for bakers and confectioners. As a trial, he imported jelly from the Netherlands to help produce rusks. In 1920, he teamed up with his son and started producing products for pastry and ice cream. Father and son initially worked under the name Henri Groot & Fils, but later adopted the name Puratos, which continues to carry their legacy to this day.

Discover the key facts and figures of our company today, a century later.

Innovation is in our DNA

Innovation is in our DNA

 

Henri Groot and his son invested in research and innovation right from the start. So, the quest for new products is truly engrained in the Puratos DNA. The company’s first patent was for a leavening agent made from honey.

Then, Pura Malté was born. Made from a mix of toasted wheat germ, malt, and bran, this tasty bread was original at the time. The wheat germ was roasted in a machine invented by Professor Picard, known for his record-breaking helium balloon flights and for inventing the bathyscaphe—a kind of unmanned submarine. The bread was healthy too. In fact, its slogan was “Save your health with Pura-Malté!” To make the bread even more appealing, a special oval mold was used, as well as a bread wrapper. Today, we take branded packages for granted, but they were quite something in those days!

Puratos continues to invest heavily in innovation, research, and development to this day.

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Health & Well-being has always been a top priority

Health and well-being have always been a top priority

 

Puratos was first used as a business and brand name in the 1930s. By then, our young company had over 36 products in its range. After the tremendous success of Pura-Malté, we continued to research healthy breads. Germo Blè—a type of bread with a high vitamin content—and Pan'Or—a bread mix for those on a diet—were thus created.

People around the world strive to live healthier so that they can enjoy the good things in life longer and in a better world. That is why at Puratos, we strive to innovate to offer healthier solutions every day. Find out more about our Health and Well-Being solutions today.

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Pigeons saved the company

Pigeons saved the company

 

The war took its toll, and in the years to follow, fat and sugar were heavily rationed. Because these were essential ingredients, Puratos took a disastrous financial hit, and all our employees received a letter telling them they’d be dismissed. However, our company leaders would not let this happen, and searched for a miraculous solution.

In 1949, pigeon racing was a very popular pastime, especially among our bakery customers. We accidentally discovered that pigeons eating Pura-Malté bread looked much healthier and performed better in flight. We therefore visited pigeon clubs in the evenings to convince members that Puratos products would make champions of their feathered friends. Village after village, town after town, orders started rolling in during our late-evening tours. Puratos was out of troubled waters and began to flourish again—an incredible feat in the harsh post-war years!

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The first true bread improver and client service

The first true bread improver and customer service

 

The art of baking is never easy. Many factors could go wrong: the weather and temperature can take a turn affecting bread; the new season’s flour could be different; yeast can age poorly, and different machines might generate different results.

In 1953, we launched the T500—the first-ever complete bread improver to include fat, emulsifier, sugar, and vitamin C. The first product demonstrator began traveling all over Europe to introduce bakers to this new wonder. We also published a periodical magazine to make information more readily available. We introduced manuals and tutorials and even set up a red telephone to answer our customer’s questions.

Nowadays, we have a whole global network of Innovation Centers and a team of Technical Advisors at your service , to help you improve your Bakery, Patisserie, and Chocolatier skills.

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Headquarter in Groot-Bijgaarden and the start of the second generation

New headquarters in Belgium and the second generation

 

In the 1960s, we established our headquarters in Groot-Bijgaarden, on the outskirts of Brussels, Belgium, where we are still located to this day. At this point in our journey, the second generation of our Puratos family also started to join the company. They soon opened up a new era of internationalization, introducing new, innovative products and diversifying our product range.

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The next level of bread improvement

Next-level bread

 

By the mid-1970s—20 years after we introduced the revolutionary T500—the competition had finally caught up with us, at least from a technical point of view. If we wanted Puratos to stand out from the crowd, our laboratories would have to come up with something fresh fast!

In 1975, the S500 was created. Thanks to this next-level improver, we were gradually able to open up new markets in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The S500 has since become a major product for our group, with over 100 formulas adapted to local needs around the globe. We now sell the S500 somewhere in the world every 80 seconds!

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The start of Belcolade, the real Belgian chocolate

The start of Belcolade—the real Belgian chocolate

 

In the 1980s, foreign groups started to buy major Belgian flagship chocolate companies one by one. The country risked losing a part of its national heritage. At the same time, Puratos realized that chocolate was the missing link in our baking and pastry-making portfolio. This is how Belcolade was born.

The origins of cocoa beans and how they are treated, fermented, and dried can really affect the taste of chocolate. As such, Puratos insisted on full control of all its ingredients and the chocolate-making process, including sourcing our cocoa beans. All these factors make Belcolade great-tasting chocolate!

For more information on Belcolade, take a look at https://www.belcolade.com/

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Mastering the full production process

Mastering the full production process

 

By the end of the 90s, Puratos was the only company in the sector to produce all the necessary building blocks of a high-performance improver or bread mix in-house. We also launched our sourdough range around this time, under the name Sapore. An anagram of the word “operas,” all Sapore products are named after a famous work, like Traviata, Norma, Oracolo, and many more.

Discover our current range of improvers and sourdoughs.

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The launch of O-tentic and the further expansion of our product portfolio

The launch of O-tentic and the further expansion of our product portfolio

 

By using the latest fermentation technology, Puratos created O-tentic—a product that allows bakers to easily create breads with a unique aroma profile and authentic character. All of that with just four ingredients: flour, water, salt and O-tentic!

In 2004, Puratos acquired PatisFrance—the leading French distributor and manufacturer specialized in processing fresh fruits and nuts. Together with the launch of other new products like Harmony Sublimo, Cryst-o-fil, Ambiante, and Acti-fresh , this enabled us to further extend our product portfolio for Bakers, Patissiers, and Chocolatiers.

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Taste Tomorrow, the first global consumer survey for bakery, patisserie and chocolate

Taste Tomorrow—the first global consumer survey for bakery, patisserie, and chocolate

 

As the world continues to change and evolve, we understand that it’s critical for you to be able to anticipate what will come next. That’s why, at the end of 2011, Puratos gathered, for the first time, data around the world from consumers on their habits and opinions when it came to bread, pastry, patisserie, and chocolate. This resulted in our unique Taste Tomorrow survey, which provides in-depth insights into global and local consumer attitudes and choices, tracking the evolution of trends and revealing new ones.

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Launch of our Sensobus, a fully equipped sensory analysis lab on wheels

Launch of our Sensobus—a fully equipped sensory analysis lab on wheels

 

We know that taste is a key factor when looking to buy bakery, pastry, patisserie, and chocolate products. But how can we help our customers to create the best-tasting finished goods? By going directly to consumers and asking them, of course!

That’s why we launched the Sensobus in 2012. This unique, fully equipped sensory analysis lab on wheels can travel to the places our consumers shop for food and greet up to 300 people a day! Since its launch, a full range of mobile consumer sensory analysis solutions have been developed across the globe. Its traditional research is done the contemporary way.

Find out more about our Sensobus.

Sensobus
Opening of our unique Sourdough Library

Opening our unique Sourdough Library

 

Here at Puratos, our passion for sourdough has deep roots. We’re convinced that The Future of Bread Lies in its Past. We’re excited to share this understanding of fermentation with our clients and help them create tasty, high-quality breads, just like the good old days!

In 2013, we launched our Puratos Sourdough Library in Saint-Vith, Belgium, at the Center for Bread Flavor. In it, you’ll find an authentic collection of sourdoughs from all over the world. There are over 130 sourdoughs preserved in our unique Sourdough Library today.

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Opening of the first Bakery School in Mumbai, India

Opening of the first Bakery School in Mumbai, India

 

When Puratos began operating in India, we noticed many children on the streets. They were young, with little hope for the future. Their parents earned minimal wages and could not invest in their children’s education. At the same time, it was becoming increasingly difficult for us to find qualified technical advisors—a struggle we shared with our customers, also facing a severe shortage of skilled Bakers, Patissiers and Chocolatiers.

That’s how the idea for our Bakery School took shape, and only a few years later, in 2014, the very first school opened in Mumbai in collaboration with the Bakery School Foundation. This was followed by many others, including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Romania, and the Philippines.

Read more about Bakery School Foundation.

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Launching Cacao-Trace: a game changing approach to sustainable sourcing

Launching Cacao-Trace: a game-changing approach to sustainable sourcing

 

The traditional way of working in the chocolate industry doesn’t make for a sustainable future. Moreover, the prices farmers are paid for cocoa are far too low. This has forced many of them to stop cultivating cocoa and convert their plantations, or simply quit agriculture altogether.

At Puratos, we’re committed to ensuring a sustainable future for chocolate. What sets our sustainable cocoa sourcing program apart is that it focuses on creating value for everyone, from the cocoa farmers right through to consumers.

The Cacao-Trace program guarantees that farmers are paid the best possible price for their cocoa beans. They receive a premium price and our unique Chocolate Bonus of 0.10 euro per kg sold. Meanwhile, consumers benefit from taste improvement. As with our exceptional fermentation expertise and un unparalleled international network of post-harvest centers we create superior tasting chocolate. A win-win all around!

Learn more about the Cacao-Trace programme.

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The new shareholders join the board and strengthens our commitment to the next generation

New shareholders join the board, strengthening our commitment to the next generation

 

One of the strengths of family-owned companies is that they think in terms of generations rather than quarterly results. In 2016, the new generation of shareholders joined the board and stressed the importance of creating an impact beyond economic value. This has been one of our clear commitments for the past 100 years, and we’re keen to carry it through to centuries to come. We do it for the farmers and suppliers we work with, the people at Puratos, the communities we live in and work for, our product heritage, the health and well-being of our customers and consumers, and last but not least, for Planet Earth.

Discover Our Commitments To You And The Next Generations.

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100 years of Puratos

Our legacy for the future

 

No one can ignore the urgent need to reduce our global environmental footprint. Climate change, intensive food production, and harmful emissions are just a few of the major concerns we all face today.

That’s why Puratos took off on the ambitious Mission to Mars program. By using the harshest conditions of planet Mars as our extraordinary source of inspiration, we aim to further boost the innovation mindset and help our customers grow their business in a more sustainable way, by having an overall positive impact on the entire production chain for bread, patisserie, and chocolate. And help us continue innovating to provide healthy, nutritious, tasty foods for life on Earth in the future.

To support the development of ground-breaking products, services, and ingredients, and drive collaboration with start-ups and SMEs, we created our FoodTech Venture fund, Sparkalis, in 2021. Sparkalis will empower food-tech changemakers and start-ups to turn ideas into success.

Thanks for joining us on the Puratos journey. We hope you found it inspiring and look forward to sharing more wonderful experiences with you in the future and steadily move your business, people and the planet forward.

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The sky is the limit

Beyond

 

There is little doubt that humans are likely to become an interplanetary species. Probably before the end of this century we will have founded a colony on another planet – namely, Mars! To establish a durable and sustainable colony on Mars, the Human Martians will need to produce the bulk of their food themselves. For this, specialists agree that the ideal staple food will be bread. This is because bread is universally accepted and the most complete and nutritious food item allowing for innumerable varieties. But, to make bread one needs to investigate the possibility of cultivating grains in hermetically closed and fully controlled environments. The whole process needs to be considered, from grain seeds to crops and from crops to tasty bread.

The key to solving these problems may lie in our past. We may have to return to stone milling, since there are huge amounts of basalt on Mars. At the same time, innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence will need to be introduced. Very important is the fact that the discoveries we will make will lead to formidable innovative applications on planet Earth; sometimes in unexpected fields. The Puratos Group is already seriously working on such spin-offs which, we hope, will contribute significantly to make our lives here on Earth more comfortable, healthier, and much more sustainable.

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