Just after the Second World War, Omero Bandini and Elena Bandini (Casciola) embarked upon a journey that was to result in a legacy that continues to this day… They arrived in South Africa in 1950 to begin their new life together, and in 1957 they bought the property that was, and still is, the home of Bandini Cheese.
In 1960, the company employed its first Italian cheese-maker and a new factory was built. As it turned out, the cheese-maker was schooled in traditional methods and knew nothing of pasteurisation and other modern techniques of cheese-making. He assisted in the construction of the new cheese factory which resulted in an archaic design and out-dated methods.
Production however continued, but was soon halted due to the high bacteria content of milk being bought from the surrounding farmers. This resulted in bad cheese, and in 1961, a big hole was dug on the property and £12000 worth of cheese was thrown into it; an incredible loss, especially given the fact that the whole property had been bought for £8000 in 1957.
The business eventually recovered, and in the early 1980s, it was taken over by Rob Bandini, one of Omero’s sons. He was later joined by his brother Maurizio, and they are both still very much involved today. It is interesting to note that neither of the brothers had any food training whatsoever, having both earned Engineering degrees from WITS. Despite this lack of academic knowledge, the business flourished and in 1986 they employed an extra driver to assist with milk collection.
Between 1982 and 1990, Rob and Maurizio directed the cheese making activities during the day and delivered to restaurants in the evenings. This individual service resulted in them knowing all of their customers personally. The intimacy and family-oriented nature of the company, as well as their personal touch is something they have tried to hold on to even through their expansion and growth. Both Rob and Maurizio Bandini say that the key to the success of the entire Bandini group has been its own control of the purchase of milk and distribution of its products, and this process continues today.
In 1990, distribution and administration were moved to a new premises in Robertsham, where Impact Distributors was started. It was finally in 1996 that sales people were employed, as the volume of clients was simply too big for the brothers to manage alone.
In order to satisfy both the restaurateurs and the general public, a Delicatessen was opened on the same premises as Impact Distributors in 1991. This venture was managed and run by none other than Elena Bandini, who was and still is very much a part of the Bandini Group. The delicatessen has grown and flourished, and continues to provide a food-haven to those who are aware of it.
Fresco Foods was launched in 1994, adding value to the Bandini Group, and allowing it to develop into a diversified food processing company. The products produced in the Fresco line uphold the Bandini ethos of being completely natural, wholesome products which are full of flavour and high in quality. Some of the Fresco products include Lasagne, Cannelloni, Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Pizza bases and Italian biscuits, to name but a few. (To view all the products available in the Fresco line please browse through our product catalogue.)
The factories are magical places that never stop! The Bandini system as a whole, is a complex and continuously developing and growing ‘brain child’, and there is always some new idea or experiment being tested or developed. The Bandini focus is expansion, growth and improvement, so that they may continue to provide high quality, tasty, natural products to delight and satisfy consumers.
Speaking of which, below is a timeline detailing a few of our larger customers and some of the important milestones for our factory over the years. Please don’t forget that at Bandini, all our customers are equally important to us, and we thank you all for your continued support!
|1982||Ital Pizza (now Dr Őetker) commences buying Bandini and still does today.|
|1988||Pizza Perfect began buying Bandini Cheese, and is still a loyal customer today!|
|1994||Bandini Farms was started with the view of becoming the new cheese factory.|
|1994||Debonairs first store and Bandini Cheese was used.|
|1998||Bandini Cheese was awarded supplier of the year by Debonairs.|
|2001||Scooters Pizza started using Bandini Cheese.|
|2006||The new factory comes into operation – high tech, unique, custom built wonder of stainless steel... (see Bandini Cheese).|
|2009||Bandini Cheese becomes a Woolworths approved producer.|
|2010||Bandini Cheese starts the process of becoming HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points) and ISO 22000 (Food Safety Management System) certified. These are international accreditations that prove just how dedicated to quality the company is!|
|2010||Romans Pizza joins the customer base.|
|2010||St. Elmos start using Bandini Cheese.|
|2010||Debonairs start using Bandini Cheese again|
|2011||The Bandini Group obtains the exclusive agency to sell Tonino Lamborgini Energy Drink in South Africa|
|2012||Bandini Cheese becomes ISO 22000:2005 certified|
|2012||Bandini Cheese becmes a Woolworths A-list supplier of fresh cream, fresh milk and our ubiquitous Bandini mozzarella loaf|
|2012||Impact Distributors increases their warehouse space by 540 square meters|
Keep an eye on this space for exciting new developments and additions...