Chestnuts and flexibility – a winning recipe
Food processing is a competitive industry. A machine manufacturer must not only design top-notch equipment but must also adapt to new government regulations, changing consumer tastes and increased societal attention to health and hygiene.
Adaptability and creativity are key to the success of Boema S.p.A., an Italian-based designer and manufacturer of machinery for the food-processing industry. Its proactive flexibility has been apparent from the outset. When two young entrepreneurs, Giovanni Giorgio Bosio and Mauro Ponzo, started their business in Neive, Piedmont, in 1979, they wanted to name their mechanical workshop after themselves. But BOsio E (for “and”) POnzo would have become BOEPO, which didn’t sound right in Italian, so they used Giovanni’s last name and Mauro’s first to create BOEMA. It didn’t hurt that the name sounded like La Bohème, the famous Italian opera.
World leader in the sector
Bosio and Ponzo adopted a winning strategy from the outset, perhaps inspired by a line in the Act Two opening chorus of the opera: Caldi i marroni! (hot chestnuts!). They decided to focus on the peeling and processing of chestnuts, a heretofore ignored niche market, and invented machinery specifically for chestnuts. It became their calling card, and their designs for this machinery are still used today. “We are recognized as the world leader in this sector,” observes Marco Bosio, son of the co-founder and sales manager for the company.
However, chestnuts are seasonal, and seasonality limits growth, so the founders gradually expanded to nonseasonal secondary products such as purees, jams, frozen and fresh-cut food and baby food. To compete effectively, they offered not only technical skills but also the ability to meet client expectations. “That is our ‘value-added’ today – knowledge of mechanical processes plus creativity plus intuition plus attention to the needs of clients in a variety of food sectors,” says Bosio.
With these positive confirmations, we began to propose SKF Food Line ball bearing units to other clients.
Giovanni Icardi, technical manager, Boema
A more delicate handling of the product
Another step forward came when the company introduced steam peeling. Boema wasn’t the first to use steam in potato and vegetable processing, but the company’s solution allowed for a more delicate handling of the product, a competitive advantage for fruit.
In 1994 Boema opened a commercial office in Poland. It became a production center in 2006 and has expanded several times, as has the original center in Neive.
Bosio is optimistic about Boema’s future prospects. “People have to eat, so our market will continue,” he says. He cites the company’s strategy of ad hoc customized projects, calling it an advantage. “We mold every project to the specific needs of that client,” he says. “Our focus is not a single piece of machinery but a complete production line.”
He predicts that food-processing machinery in coming years will be more flexible, more hygienic and cleaner. It will be more automated and require less maintenance. And it will call for flexibility and creativity, exactly the qualities that have characterized Boema since the beginning. The applause will continue for this Italian opera.
Corso Scagliola, 197 – 12052 Neive, Cuneo, Italy
FME Food Machinery Europe Sp.zo.o., Wyzne 261A – 38-120 Czudec, Poland
Privately held company
Custom-made production equipment for the food sector, including:
- Machinery to process puree and concentrates, jams, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, sauces, chestnuts, chocolates and creams
- Stainless steel tanks and mixers
Number of employees
30 million euros