Jaime Obando (Utrera, Seville, 1978) recounts that the renowned chef José Andrés tried his star product, the
rustic pico , during a lunch at the Antonio restaurant, in Zahara de los Atunes.
Since then, it has been the sole provider of the restaurants that the famous Asturian chef runs in the United States.
This was just the first step for this family bakery established in the Seville town of Utrera in the international market, which in the last 10 years has also conquered the Asian market, with a strong presence in South Korea, and has just closed an agreement with its first Australian supplier.
In 2021, Panadería Artesana Obando had a turnover of 5.1 million euros.
Founded in 1965 by Francisco Obando, who took over a bakery in ruins that he had inherited from his father-in-law, it was a modest business for decades.
“In those days, it was kneaded with pulleys and machinery moved by donkeys.
It was all very mechanical and quite manual.
My father, one more worker and 50 kilos of flour a day were enough to produce about 250 pieces of traditional bread.
Totally handmade ”, explains the general director of the company, Jaime Obando, the youngest of the six children of the founder, who has taken the reins of the company together with his brother Víctor, director of production and personnel.
Thus, from this town 30 kilometers from Seville, Obando has managed, with the generational handover, to transform a simple village bakery into a firm with international projection.
"My father maintained a slow but constant growth, going from being a local business to beginning to distribute to various towns in the province."
Over the years, this company began to invest in new technology that helped to optimize its production methods, and to develop new products, such as bread spikes, a qualitative leap to which today it dedicates 80% of its production. .
“Searching and searching to find new products, in a time of strong crisis [the Great Recession] in which bread was given away, we bet on the peak.
And almost by chance, we realized that the shavings left over from a failure in the manufacturing machine were liked almost more than the peak at that time itself, and I bet on modifying the technology to be able to produce that rest.
We can say that the rustic gourmet
was born from a mistake”, admits Obando.
An error that quickly entered the Horeca channel and then began to expand in large stores —Carrefour, El Corte Inglés, Makro, Alcampo, Aldi— and that has led this village bakery to cross borders, becoming present in countries like the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Portugal, Holland or Czech Republic, United States, Mexico or South Korea.
In total, to more than 25,000 customers around the world.
“My father never left the town, and I have not stopped doing kilometres”, admits Obando.
Thanks to the more than 60 workers that currently make up the staff of the Obando Group, the brand has been able to grow.
"Exports already account for 15% of our total turnover", comments the CEO, who has an explanation for its international success in countries with a very limited tradition of accompanying meals with bread and pickles: "The key is ham.
Joselito and Cinco Jotas have our peaks in their tastings.
When a client is buying ham, he is also buying my picks”, he argues.
The brand's short-term expansion plans consist of the construction of a new production factory in Utrera, with which they hope to double their workforce and significantly increase their current production.