As a premium ice cream brand, Bruno Gelato is dependent on two things: high-quality ingredients and having a reliable and consistent production process.
Great Italian-style ice cream is creamy, finely textured and melts really easy in your mouth. To deliver that kind of perfect ice cream Bruno Gelato does not compromise on anything. All ice cream the company produces contains between 60 and 75 per cent pure full-cream milk, delivered several times a week from regional dairies, and purees made of fresh fruit are always used.
The story of the traditional family company began with the opening of an ice cream parlour by the Italian Bruno Lucchetta in Rhauderfehn in northwest Germany in the 1980s. His premium quality Italian ice cream was a success. Since then, Bruno Gelato has established a strong reputation in the German market.
In 2006 the company abandoned the time- consuming procedures of partly handmade ice cream and moved to a newly built factory. Here, Bruno Gelato started continuous production to deliver its premium products in 5-litre containers to ice cream parlours, which were the main sales outlets at that time. But when a major supermarket chain started selling the ice cream in early 2013, Lucchetta saw a need to further increase production capacity. Also, the old machines were difficult to operate and the output was not stable. First, Bruno Gelato tested a prototype Tetra Pak® Continuous Freezer S1500 A2, the largest model in the product range with a capacity of up to 1,500 litres per hour.
“We agreed that Bruno Gelato would test the prototype for three months,” says Lutz Scheffel, technical sales and service manager at Tetra Pak. “We guaranteed fast service throughout the test period to solve any teething problems that might arise,” he says.
The machine delivered on its promise: reliable production and a considerable capacity expansion. Bruno Gelato soon placed an order for two additional S1500 freezers. “I’m very happy to work with Tetra Pak,” says CEO Bruno Lucchetta. “When parts need to be changed, they send me replacements within two days. This is most important, especially in the summer. Secondly, the machines work very precisely with a constant pressure. To make Italian ice cream, you need perfect machines,” he says.
Stable production is vital to ensure consistent high quality. The ice cream must be creamy, the ice crystals kept small, and the overrun – the amount of air injected into the ice cream – needs to be perfectly balanced.
“Our traditional Italian ice cream must be very creamy, so the ice crystals must be very small and fine,” explains Lucchetta. “With an overrun of just 40 percent, the ice cream is also very heavy. I expect it to have the same quality as the ice cream I used to make by hand,” he says. Production volume has doubled, thanks to the investment in new equipment. About two million litres of ice cream per year are produced. Bruno Gelato delivers ice cream to more than 1,200 ice cream parlours across Europe, and sales to retailers are rising fast. Annual sales growth of 30–40 per cent shows that consumers are more than willing to pay twice the standard price for Bruno Gelato’s appealing 0.9-litre transparent tubs, which reveal the delicious looking contents. From 2015, 0.1-litre containers are also available. To meet the fast-growing demand for its premium products Lucchetta is planning a new plant as well.
Bruno Gelato is based in Rhauderfehn in the north-western German state of Lower Saxony. It specialises in high-quality Italian-style ice cream and uses only fresh milk in its production. The company, which has around 40 fulltime employees and another 40—60 seasonal workers, produces two million litres of ice cream yearly. The products are sold to ice cream parlours, supermarkets, hotels, catering businesses and restaurants. The main market is Germany, but Bruno Gelato also exports products to other European countries, Russia and China. The range includes around 20 different flavours and in 2014, the best-selling flavour was chocolate-mince.