Catalan biscuit manufacturer El Rosal in Tàrrega has become international by selling its biscuits in 25 gourmet food stores in Belgium with a team of 10 people at risk of social exclusion and with difficulties.
The fame of the ‘arrugats’ biscuits stems from a mistake made by one of the workers at the biscuit factory. The worker was trying to make cylindrical wafer biscuits but was unsuccessful, so he would scrunch them up and leave them on platters. Those scrunched-up biscuits, which were imperfect in theory, became popular among the customers buying at the store so, one day, the person in charge thought that, since they were so popular, maybe they could be sold, and even better if they were dipped in a chocolate coating. Today, 70% of El Rosal’s production is these “arrugats”.
Until very recently, these biscuits were only known to Catalans, but since a short time ago, they have found a way into Europe, more concretely, into the demanding Belgian market, which is famous for excelling in the production of sweets. The pioneering European programme 'International Social Economy' has supported El Rosal in its internationalisation strategy.
El Rosal bakery offers comprehensive care to people living with disabilities, groups of youths and children, the elderly and others at risk of social exclusion and has 10 of them on their team.
So far, the “arrugats” can be found on the shelves of 25 gourmet food stores in Belgium. The bakery reached an agreement with a Belgian food distributor and has already exported 700 boxes of their famous biscuits. Up until now, El Rosal only sold its products in Catalonia, with an annual turnover in 2021 of almost €500,000.
Mònica Viladot, the person in charge of the bakery, says, “Starting to export to Belgium has been a real eye-opener and has paved the way to see that anyone can sell outside Catalonia.” Now, after consolidating the Belgian market, they are hoping to start doing business in other countries in the region.