«We are all bettereaters here»

Pasta that could have been made by an Italian Nonna. Vegetarian convenience products that are fuelling the trend towards reduced meat consumption. The Hilcona Taste Factory in Landquart is the address for contemporary food with a manufactory character.

The Hilcona Taste Factoryʼs production facility is surrounded by the impressive mountain scenery of the Grisons. However, its employees are not distracted from their mission of enjoyment by the spectacular scenery surrounding the small town of Landquart.

They produce pasta, vegetarian products and, among other things, the local speciality of Capun with great care – and often also with the help of their hands. These are chard leaves filled with a meat or vegetable batter.

«We see ourselves as a manufactory where high-quality products are created in small quantities and with a lot of manual work,» explains plant manager Sinuhe Hofstetter. «As the smallest company in the Hilcona Group, we are very flexible and dynamic in this respect.»

One booming segment at the Hilcona Taste Factory is vegetarian convenience products. While tofu is already more of a classic here, the company is still in the discovery phase for the production of hummus – the chickpea spread originating from Arabic cuisine.

«With new trend products such as this, we benefit from the fact that we produce in small batches,» reports Sinuhe Hofstetter. «So we can always bring new flavours and combinations to the market and then see what is well received by the customers.»

One of the siteʼs babies that cannot complain about lack of popularity is the plant-based «Green Mountain Burger». Now the next big première for «The Green Mountain » brand is coming up: in October, the first meat alternative based on a kind of meatloaf will be launched on the market – bakeable, vegan and even lower in calories than the original.

As usual in the Bell Food Group, quality is also a top priority in Landquart. Among other things, many of the products made here are of organic quality. Tofu, for example. The soy beans from which it is made are certified organic and originate one hundred per cent from Switzerland – which means that the transport distances are also short.

Even though the Hilcona Taste Factory has only been operating under this name for a good year and a half, its roots go back to 1841, when one of the first pasta factories in Switzerland was founded in Chur. This gave rise to Frostag Food-Centrum AG, which in 1998 set up a production facility for fresh and frozen products at its current location in Landquart. It has been part of Hilcona since 2017 and has been successively developed into a competence centre for pasta and veggie products.

Today, 130 to 150 employees work in the production area, which now covers approximately 5000 square metres, depending on the season. Sinuhe Hofstetter always has an ear for your suggestions. «We shape our success here together. After all, we are all better-eaters,» says the plant manager. 

Four of the nine production lines alone are dedicated to pasta, which is produced here in semi-dry, pasteurised, floured and – especially for food service customers – deep-frozen form. The other five lines are used for convenience products, which now make up more than half of the Hilcona Taste Factoryʼs range.

And what happens if a product is too well-received by customers? Then the Landquarters transfer production to another location. One example is «Pasta Traditionale»: Thanks to its success, some varieties have been produced in Schaan since the beginning of the year – four to five times the amount per hour.