Franz Kraus left Germany 15 years ago, giving up his position as general manager in the international food industry, to come to Mallorca.
Spanish, Catalan, English, German
He established an ice cream factory “Sa Fábrica” in Sóller 5 years later, which as of today has 20 employees. Starting with the enchanting ice garden in Sóller, the company soon became the biggest producer of ice cream on the island. Today you will find Fet-a-Sóller ice cream on the menus of many of the finer restaurants, as well as in super-markets and shops throughout the island.
Why did you decide to come to Mallorca 15 years ago?
To live here is my personal luxury. I met my wife here and decided to stay. Mallorca is the most European place in Europe and a small village at the same time.
What do you attribute your company´s sucess to?
From the very beginning we focussed on quality and wanted to make the best ice cream on the island. Our ice cream has a minimum of 8% fat, which is unique for Mallorca. We don’t use any artificial flavours, preservatives and colours. Ice cream produced in big factories called “single ice cream”, which has a far lower fat content and a respectively higher share of water. Furthermore, my experience in the international food industry was a big help, of course. I know which distribution channels need to be addressed in order to successfully launch a product.
Some years ago you founded the initiative “Fet-a-Sóller”. What is the idea behind it?
Fet-a-Sóller is a platform for local producers such as oranges, superb olive oil and sobrassada to offer a guarantee of quality for the consumer. We would like to give the tourists an understanding of the island’s products and have created distribution channels for agricultural produce. Some products are made in “Estel nou” (“New Star”), a workshop for handicapped people. “Star” stands for hope and integration. We would like to give handicapped people the possibility to do something and feel like a valued member of our community. For example one of the products manufactured in the workshop is traditional marmelade.
Why did you choose Sóller as a location?
Firstly, because I feel very comfortable here, but for me personally this is also the right location for social reasons. We create jobs and a market for the outstanding local agricultural produces and this is our contribution to maintaining the economic base of the region. Our commitment is greater to the local community than multinational companies who only consider the island as a another market.
Which advantage has your company, compared to the multinatonal companies?
It is certainly difficult to compete with the big players, but our advantage is that we are quicker and more flexible. The only way we can compete is to offer better quality and better products. We would like to see that more and more consumers deliberately buy local products, even if they are slightly more expensive. That way the consumers support the local economy and preserve the foundation of the high quality of life, which we all appreciate and enjoy so much about this island.
What advise would you give to someone who wants to start a business in Mallorca?
One should have enough capital surplus and examen carefully whether a market for the products or services planned already exists. Another consideration about Mallorca, as small as it is, it remains part of modern Europe, thus rules and regulations are similarly complex as they are elsewhere. And finally, the Spanish language; integration is a question of speaking the language.
What plans do you have for the future?
We have changed Sa Fabrica into a corporation with ten shareholders to be strong enough to further push the expansion throughout the island and to implement new innovative ideas in Mallorca.