“It… could… work!”

Gene Wilder in the famous scene of Young Frankenstein

Can a small company teach important technological devices to large companies and even multinationals?
It can, and we verified it.

It was 2005, first days of February. During a meeting for the fine-tuning of a new sauce that we had decided to produce, soy mayonnaise, without eggs and therefore vegan, we confronted ourselves to overcome the problems of consistency and texture of the emulsion.

The solutions that emerged were of different types: someone said to decrease the amount of sunflower oil, someone else said we needed to increase soy milk, another one suggested to heat the components or to increase the time of the emulsion, and so on.

At one point, Franco, our mastergravy at the time, said, “Why don’t we try a functional thickener?”
And what did we ask him in chorus?”
Xanthan gum,” Franco replied with confidence.

Xanthan gum is a relatively recent technological adjuvant, already successfully used to produce vinaigrettes, but it is present in numerous gluten-free products, in which it builds a pattern similar to wheat gluten, which prevents the separation of the different compounds of the food. It is obtained by bacterial fermentation of glucose, through the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris.

On the labels of many foodstuffs xanthan is indicated by the acronym E415.

A small amount is enough to greatly increase the viscosity of a beverage or the consistency of a food. Like other natural thickening products used in food, such as carrageenan, agar agar, arrow root, fish glue and pectin, Xanthan gum is used to make gluten-free flours sticky. It is also used in the preparation of all those products that must remain dense even after being chilled or heated, for example: sauces, gravies, desserts, protein bars

But let’s go back to February 2005, during our meeting on soy mayonnaise. Until then, no one had ever thought of using xanthan to make an emulsified sauce. The tests to verify Franco’s hypothesis gave exciting results and gradually, in the following months, we began to use it in all our sauces, even in those containing eggs.

In the following years, also Unilever-Calvè, Kraft-Heinz, Nestlè, etc. started to use xanthan gum in emulsified sauces.

How can multinationals copy from a small company?
Phipp Kotler explains this well in his book “Marketing 4.0”.
The flow of innovation, which was previously vertical (from companies to the market), has become horizontal. That is, research, from the internal laboratories of the companies, has passed to the market. Today innovation is horizontal: the market (in our case Tuttovo) provides the ideas, the companies (that is, the multinationals) market them.

Procter & Gamble started this process in 2000, transforming his R&D model into a “connection and development” model. The new model draws ideas from external sources and then markets them using the internal financial, commercial and marketing resources of P&G.

And then followed by Unilever-Calvè, Kraft-Heinz and so on, by all the other food multinationals. But in our case, Tuttovo has been “source of inspiration” not only for a technological adjuvant and therefore for the formulas, but has also invested the various types of sauces developed by us with effort, investment and a lot of passion and dedication.

As happened with the Andalusa sauce, recently copied by Kraft-Heinz. Or like our Italian Mayonnaise, copied from Calvè-Uniliver and called with the name of Refined Mayonnaise (sic!). As even the sub-claims were copied, that is the sauces’ names we have been producing for over 20 years.

In short, what they told us at school that it was not good to do is now the hallmark of large companies and multinationals: copy, copy everything, always copy.

Paraphrasing the final line that Humphrey Bogart pronounces in the film “Deadline – USA“, we can say bitterly:

“It’s the market, baby, the market.
And you can’t do anything … nothing”

Humprey Bogart in “Deadline – USA”
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