Sainsbury’s pesto: from the Italian field to the shelves

27 August 2021

“Atlante is the supplier of Sainsbury’s Own Label pesto since 2016. Our pesto is made with fresh Italian basil and it is available in all Sainsburys’ stores and online.

We work closely with the Producer to ensure range meets Sainsbury’s high quality standards. All recipes are the result of a concerted work with Sainsbury’s development team and the Producer, so as to guarantee a perfect alignment between the actual product and the client’s expectations.

Our range complies with Sainsbury’s product safety and technical requirements: Andriana Dicusar, Atlante’s Product Technologist in charge of pesto, underwent Sainsbury’s Technical Induction Process and is therefore perfectly aligned with the customer’s ways of working on quality and product safety. In turn, we made sure that the Producer was in line with Sainsbury’s standards as we followed step by step its onboarding as a Sainsbury’s supplier.

We always make sure that the products we supply are made with the best quality ingredients. That’s why Sainsbury’s Pesto is packed during the fresh basil season, between June and September. We always guarantee excellent standards even though it can be challenging, as basil quality is not always consistent throughout the season.

This year we have witnessed a general increase in raw material cost, also affecting pesto: sunflower oil and cheese prices went up dramatically. Pesto being produced 100% in-season, mitigating the costs increase is quite challenging. Atlante focused its efforts on the area where it could make a difference: logistics. Starting September 2021, Pesto will switch from delivery via PCC to direct deliveries into Sainsbury’s depots, thus unlocking supply chain cost efficiencies.

We always strive to improve our products and the processes behind them: we are currently working on a project aimed at reducing the waste incurred during production when switching from one recipe to the next.”

Gabriele Rubini, UK Business Unit Manager

“We deliver a product made with the best basil, carefully selected by an agronomist on the field. We have a very close contact with the production site and I go there physically around twice a year. Five years ago, when we started our collaboration, I used to go there almost monthly.

Pesto production involves mainly machines rather than workforce, so it is an industry that usually does not present particular issues linked to the explotation of workers. Our Producer is certified SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) and every time I carry out an audit in the production site, I make sure that it complies with Sainsbury’s ethical standards.

The fields are located between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, in the North/Centre of Italy. The basil is collected by tractors and in less than 24 hour it is brought to the factory, to guarantee its freshness.  Besides basil, Sainsbury’s pesto is made with fine cheese belonging to Italian tradition, like Grana Padano and Pecorino.

I was formed by Sainsbury’s to guarantee the same know-how of their technologists and their same audits standard and approach.”

Andriana Dicusar, Product Technologist