Its purpose is clear: to accelerate the development of food in a global way, feeding the future.
In 1865, Alfredo da Silva founded CUF – Companhia União Fabril, which became the largest industrial, commercial and financial group in Portugal. In the 1880s, the heirs of the industrialist acquired Sociedade Alco (a company dedicated to the extraction, refining and packaging of cooking oils) and subsequently the Fábrica Torrejana de Azeites company. In the 1990s, Alco acquired the entire shareholding of Sovena and later on the Mello family expanded the business through its ownership of Nutrinveste.
The company began to internationalize in 2002 through the acquisition of Agribética in Seville, leading to the establishment of Sovena Espanha. Currently, the Sovena group is present in over 70 countries (such as Brazil, USA, Angola and China) on five continents, with direct operations in 10 markets. It employs over 1,200 people and serves millions of consumers in a wide range of cultures.
Our business segments and brands
In order to serve such a wide variety of communities, we provide products and services mainly in the oil and food oils sectors and are present throughout the value chain. From the growing of olives, sunflowers, and almonds, to providing access for the leading world producers of olive oils, seeds and food oils; from extraction and refining to packaging and sales. The final product is olive oil, with all its different qualities, sources and varieties, and other products such as vinegars, peri-peris and table olives, and vegetable oils such as sunflower, soy, rapeseed, peanut, grape seed, avocado, sesame, coconut and biodiesel.
All of these products reach consumers through strong brand names such as Oliveira da Serra, Andorinha, Olivari and Flor de Olivo with olive oils, and Fula, Vêgê, Frigi and Fontasol with vegetable oils. These have been strategically developed to cater for different cultures and product requirements, formats and sources. Sovena continues to be a major supplier of the store brands of the leading international retail chains.
There is little sense in being a large and productive company without a sustainable and innovatory approach. Sovena has been implementing the latest and best techniques with clear advantages for the environment and consumers.
The improvement and innovation process is continuous and consists of: rigorous analysis and certification, leading to an increase in product quality; efficient management of plantations with the help of drones; and the permanent commitment to reducing water and fertilizer consumption through the use of sensors, enabling us to meet the objective of developing this culture, modernizing and making it increasingly sustainable for the environment.
The revolutionising of the dispenser systems of our olive oil brands, which prioritise practicality and convenience of use, with the innovatory pop-up dispenser, or of the most sustainable packaging through the use of 20% of recycled PET and the 50% reduction in pigment in the plastic packaging of the Fula and Oliveira da Serra brands, are good examples.
Sovena also created the formula that reduces cooking smells with Fula oil, which was a positive development in the history of this category and the introduction of packaging in spray format, making the use of these products easier and more intuitive.
But we want to take this even further. Sovena intends to continue to innovate through a new way of approaching food, by focussing on its impact on our health and the planet. How? By turning waste into new resources and promoting a circular economy. All projects are undertaken with the objective of ensuring a sustainable future and taking the industry today to the markets of tomorrow. Here, sustainability is applied to daily reality at every step and in all processes.
Throughout its history, the company has created connections between earth and table, between those who grow and those who eat. There is a lot more to this than just growing food: it’s about building new ways forward and feeding the future. For everyone.