Frit Ravich, a business built on trust

Judith Viader is the general manager of Frit Ravich, a second-generation company specialized in the manufacture of chips, snacks and nuts, and snack-food distributor with over 1,000 employees, exports to 27 countries and €302 million in net sales in 2023.

Frit Ravich is a family business founded in 1963 by my father, Josep Maria Viader, in Maçanet de la Selva in Girona, Spain.

The company traces its roots to a story of friendship and determination when my father, 21 at the time, joined forces with his neighbor, Lluís, to help him find a livelihood following an illness that had kept him bedridden for 11 years.

Lluís began making potato chips in his family kitchen, which my father and uncle Ismael would distribute. This went on for several years, until the team decided to relocate their operations to a nearby 200 m2 factory.

The foundational values of camaraderie and encouragement to help people achieve their life goals would play a key role throughout the company’s history and purpose-driven approach to leadership.

Dual business model

Frit Ravich has a unique dual business model as both a producer and distributor of snacking products, which is a core driver of our success. We manufacture over 1,000 references of potato chips, snacks and nuts, and also distribute for Mars, Ferrero, Mondelēz, Kellogg’s, Haribo, Lacasa, Chupa Chups, Nestlé, Red Bull and other premier global brands.

Outside Spain, the company has a subsidiary in France and exports to 27 countries. In 2023, we recorded €302 million in net sales following three years of double-digit growth.

My early days in the family firm

I joined Frit Ravich when I was 27 to start up its marketing operations. Two years later, I was appointed general manager, while my father stayed on as CEO. My goal was to grow the business, build on its success, and move from a local business model to a national model with an international vision.

Becoming a general manager at such a young age had its pros and cons. It was a lot of responsibility for someone so young, but I had an amazing team to support me. At the same time, I didn’t have preconceived notions about what was possible, which made me bolder and more open to new ideas.

I displayed another typical trait of the young–I thought I knew more than I did! Over time, I have learned how important active listening is. Knowledge is never captured in a PowerPoint: knowledge is out in the field, in the factory, in the logistics center.

Everyone contributes to the company’s success and does their job exceptionally well, which is why it’s so critical to listen and learn from them.

Omni-channel operations

Frit Ravich operates in the food, impulse, bulk, and hotel and catering channels. We serve more than 50,000 points-of-sale every week and process over 4,000 orders every day, which are delivered in a 24-hour window.

This level of service requires stellar manufacturing and logistics operations, and state-of-the-art technologies to support them.

Nowadays, companies need technology in order to compete, and in this regard, Frit Ravich was ahead of the curve. Back in 1988, we were among the first companies to digitalize our sales operations and process online orders by incorporating POS terminal technology.

In 2023, we invested €5.4 million to optimize our processes and drive new product innovations as part of our ongoing quest for excellence.

Rich partnership network

Our dual management model allows us to combine the best of both worlds and keep a pulse on B2B trends and consumer market shifts, which we share with our partners.

While competing against multinationals is challenging, our family-owned structure offers greater agility when it comes to making strategic decisions. We don’t require “organizational buy-in” or multi-level approvals common in many larger companies, and do our best to make decisions agilely and consensually.

Like most family firms, we also aspire to leave a positive legacy, embrace longer-term horizons and forge deep, trust-based relationships among our employees, clients and business partners.

Frit Ravich has long been known for its people-first vision, empathy and proximity with our key stakeholders. These values were especially evident during the pandemic, when many of our catering and hospitality clients were forced to shutter their operations overnight. Our sales teams called each and every one to try to alleviate their concerns and offer any assistance possible.

Sustainability for the long run

Frit Ravich aspires to grow sustainably to ensure our involvement 20, 30 or 100 years from now, and continue creating value while always staying true to our principles. We are currently on a robust growth path, expanding our sales, product portfolio and talent pool in 2023, with plans to incorporate 80 new employees in 2024.

In terms of environmental sustainability, Frit Ravich’s commitment has long been clear. We began using solar power in our installations more than 20 years ago, and since then, have invested over €3 million to expand our photovoltaic park.

That said, I think the conversation on sustainability needs to go beyond environmental impacts by considering the supply chain as a whole and ensuring a fair distribution of the value created at every stage.

At the same time, it’s also short-sighted to solely focus on growth and environmental responsibility without considering the economic component.

Innovation on the horizon

Frit Ravich marked its 60th anniversary in 2023. Echoing the words of my father, the company owes its success to the outstanding group of professionals who have celebrated its triumphs and navigated its challenges with the same enthusiasm as its original four founders back in 1963.

Growing up, my father was adamant about the critical value of trust. “A deal is a deal! Once a pact is made, it can never be broken!,” he would tell us. Guided by his example and relationships built on trust, I look forward to continue driving innovation and ongoing improvement at Frit Ravich.