Italian bakery giant stakes a bigger claim of the local gluten-free market

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Morato Group is ramping up its presence in the gluten-free space with the bolt-on of Massimo Zero. Pic: GettyImages/JoyImage
Morato Group is ramping up its presence in the gluten-free space with the bolt-on of Massimo Zero. Pic: GettyImages/JoyImage

Related tags Morato Group Massimo Zero Gluten-free baked goods Pasta Cerealto Siro Foods Nt Food Harry's Restauration

Italian baked goods company Morato Group has bought a majority stake in Massimo Zero, a manufacturer of gluten-free pasta and biscuits.

The growth of the Italian conglomerate continues to ramp up.

Earlier this year, Vicenza-headquartered Morato strengthened its foothold in the French market through the acquisition of Harry’s Restauration, a company that controls a hamburger bun production plant in Gauchy. The plant was sold by Barilla France, which retained its presence in France with four production sites.

Hot on the heels of acquiring the bakery branch of Cerealto-Siro in 2020, Morato also snapped up the Spanish cereal and biscuits manufacturer’s production plant in Briviesca.

The moves highlight Morato’s strategic goal to develop at least 50% of its sales from exports, however, it is not forgetting its home turf.

The Roberto wraps maker has bought a 51% share in Massimo Zero, which means it takes over as the major shareholder from private holding group Botzen Invest Euregio Finance.

Botzen Invest has been a pivotal player in the Massimo Zero’s journey since 2021 and retains a 45% stake.

Massimo Zero produces a vast assortment of gluten-free dry pasta, using an exclusive blend of 100% Italian flours. In 2018, the Merano-based company expanded its portfolio by introducing a line of gluten-free biscuits.

The strategic management and commercial strategy of Massimo Zero will fall under the purview of Nt Food, which Morato brought into its fold in 2022. Under the guidance of its founding partners Nicoletta and Giovanna Del Carlo, NT Food manufactures gluten-free bread, biscuits, snacks and flour mixes, including products sold under the Nutrifree and Nutrisì brands. With the addition of Massimo Zero’s facility in Alto Adigeo, Morato now runs five gluten-free factories in Italy, strengthening its role as a specialist in the sector.

Developing the market of bakery products

Clapping flour everywhere alvarez
Pic: GettyImages/alvarez

Morato CEO Stefano Maza said the deal was “part of our strategic plan aimed at developing the market of bakery products through consolidation in Europe.

“In particular, this acquisition will allow us to create significant synergies at the level of product innovation, process and distribution, opening new interesting opportunities in specialized channels and segments, and strengthening our range of branded products.”

Altavilla Vicentina-headquartered Morato Group spa – which is majority owned by Aliante Equity, with the Morato family holding a minority share – has an annual turnover of €505m ($549.86m) generated through retail, private label and B2B sales in Italy, Spain and France.

The company operates 21 production sites (65 production lines) in Italy, Spain and France, with a 1,870-strong workforce producing 200k annually of wraps, breadsticks, bruschetta and sliced bread under various brand names.

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