In Lorp-Sentaraille, the Senchou factory produces ketchup from Ariège. A winning bet for La Compagnie des Pyrénées, the parent company, which sends its bottles internationally.
It is in the premises of La Compagnie des Pyrénées, in Lorp-Sentaraille, in Ariège, that the sauces and in particular the Senchou ketchup were created five years ago. From Ariège know-how, the brand’s products are made with an essential family spirit. “There are about forty of us working here. There really is a family atmosphere,” says Nicolas Schrevel, manager of the Ariège site.
As soon as you enter the production part of the factory, the smell of tomato, the flagship food of ketchup, is present, without being too aggressive. Along the three production lines, the conditions are not the same for all employees. At the beginning of the line, in an automated way, the glass bottles are blown. A few meters further, in another room, the cooks are busy respecting the cooking time and the preparation of the sauce. All with large pots where the smell and texture of ketchup gradually take shape.
Carrots, beets, peppers…
In a small room, close to the cooks, an employee checks the products being produced and tests new recipes. Because we always have to surprise consumers more, with unusual combinations of flavors. “We want to develop by shaking up the codes of ketchup,” says Nicolas Schrevel. With carrots, beets, cayenne or Espelette peppers, the tastes are sometimes surprising, but bring a little exoticism to a great food classic.
A little throwback to the production lines. After having made the recipe, the ketchup is immersed in its glass or plastic bottle, thanks to an automated line carefully controlled by several technicians. Having passed the capping and pasteurization stages in the furnace, the ketchups are almost ready. All that remains is the labeling to ensure, here again automatically. Setting the use-by date is the last step. There are two solutions for this: “We have an automatic line for glass bottles and a manual line where our employees stick the labels on the plastic bottles. It’s a tedious step, but you can’t afford to do it with machines. The bottles are too flexible and therefore deformable for the maneuver to be fully automated,” he explains.
Once put in boxes and on the pallets, the ketchups are ready to be shipped to Ariège, France and internationally.
Produced a few days a month in the factory, which also manufactures jams, Senchou sauces, whether in glass, plastic or stick, have IFS and organic certification for certain ranges. Based on local products, with in particular tomatoes coming mainly from the South-West, Ariège ketchup is distributed in supermarkets, in restaurants and also increasingly for export. “It’s a real pride to see our products exported all over the world. In February, we sent an entire container to Scandinavia. It makes Ariège know-how shine everywhere. »
With the mention “Ariège manufacture” on all products, this pride in the region is a real asset for the influence of the brand. “We have an American partner who is prospecting our products in the United States. Recently, he came to visit the department and the factory. He saw all the elements of our French terroir to represent us abroad. Despite strong growth and ever-increasing demand, the company intends to keep its Ariège footprint and its family values. : “A relocation is not even in question. If we remove the department’s production, we denature our sauces. Ariège is one of our products. Ariège can be proud and everyone here wants to continue to carry our brand and our products as high as possible. A quality stamped blue, white and… ketchup, of course!