A sausage empire built up in difficult times


Market leader in the ham and sausages sector, Incarlopsa sells its entire production to Mercadona.

Emilio Loriente Piqueras, President of Incarlopsa. –

Article published by Maria José Muñoz. –

He has been working in the family business since he was a child. Fifty years later, 61-year-old Emilio Loriente Piqueras remembers the day when, at the early age of 12, he decided that he was not cut out for school and joined his brothers (Moisés, Clemente and Jesús) to toil in the family´s home-based store, market stall and pig slaughter activities, leaving him hardly any time for anything else in the tough 1970s. “I graduated from university when I was 12, and I don´t regret it. If I had studied, I´d be a teacher or a doctor now, but look how far I´ve come without studying. The most important thing that life has given me is my street career”, says the president of the meat enterprise Incarlopsa sitting in his office, the windows of which overlook the town of Tarancon in central La Mancha.

“We spent many years working our socks off after Incarlopsa was founded in 1978, as it was more than just work, it was 24 hours a day, and we expanded little by little”. The municipal slaughterhouse of Tarancon, where the pigs were slaughtered at the time, soon became too small for so much activity and they decided to open their own industrial slaughterhouse, which is now the site of the company´s headquarters. The entrepreneurial spirit and tireless work ethic of Emilo Loriente, who was already the head of the company by that time, didn´t wane in the slightest when a devastating fire completely destroyed the industry on a Saturday night in 2002. “There was practically nothing left, and we had to rebuild everything from the ashes. But I wasn´t scared off, not at all. I remember that everything was on fire and that trucks loaded with ham were coming out. The truth is I don´t know how I did that; if that happened now, I wouldn´t have the strength”, he emphasises.

Today, the slaughterhouse that burned down and was rebuilt in just ten months is one of the most modern and sophisticated in Europe. Its facilities are equipped with the company´s own state-of-the-art technology and systems that make it one of the most productive and safest plants in the world.

Loriente was the CEO of Incarlopsa until 2015, when he was appointed chairman of the board of directors, now made up of two generations (a son and several nephews) of the Loriente Piqueras family. “The coming generations won´t be here, because a family business needs to be professional and the owner is the owner; getting the owner to leave when he´s working is pretty difficult” he jokes.

In this new phase, somewhat further removed from the company´s day-to-day activities, he will surely not be able to resist the temptation to continue walking around the plants greeting the workers, some of which belong to his circle of friends and who, like him, have been at Incarlopsa for a lifetime. They have witnessed the expansion of a firm that now has a total workforce of 2,000 people at its six production plants in the autonomous communities of Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla y Leon, three in Tarancon (Cuenca) – a slaughterhouse, a sausage production plant and a fresh products filleting and packaging plant; one in Olías del Rey (Toledo) – an Iberian ham and shoulder drying plant; one in Corral de Almaguer (Toledo) – a white pork ham drying plant; one in Guijuelo (Salamanca) – an Iberian sausage production plant and slaughterhouse. “And now we´re going to implement a livestock project here (Tarancon), with a feed plant in Montalbo to breed a million and a half pigs”, he adds.

Incarlopsa, the national leader in the ham and Frankfurter sausage market, currently has 25,000 sows that produce 500,000 pigs a year; in addition to 5,000 Iberian sows that produce 60,000 specimens of this breed. “We produce around four and a half million pieces of white ham and a million pieces of Iberian ham, between ham and shoulder”, he explains.

The company has been selling its entire volume of production to Mercadona since 1999. “Are they happy? Both of us carry out quality tests on a regular basis, conducting research to ensure our products are better than those of the competition. We´re not the market leader by chance, but due to the quality and consistency of our products”, says Loriente, while announcing a project to export products abroad in the near future. “We will never sell them in Spain”.

– Published in the newspaper ABC on 30 April 2017 =