Not only is Bimbo Santa María the birthplace of Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, but it has also served as the birthplace of some of the company’s iconic brands. Marinela, Suandy and Tia Rosa were all developed at Santa María, and once perfected, full-scale production was moved to other facilities throughout Mexico. 

“Our first bakers were there,” said Jorge Zarate, global senior vice president, operations and engineering at Grupo Bimbo. “Our most experienced and passionate people were at Santa María, and the company was growing, so they were asked and eager to produce and develop new ideas.” 

Marinela is one of Grupo Bimbo’s snack cake and cookie brands. It is an iconic brand throughout Mexico, and the bakers at Santa María developed its most popular product, Gansito. This snack cake is filled with cream and marmalade and coated with chocolate. Its popularity has made it a staple in Mexican households and contributed to its 65-year longevity. 

Suandy, the high-scale pastry, cake and cookie line, and Tia Rosa, a line of sweet baked goods including croissants, pound cakes and muffins as well as tortillas in the Mexico market, also were developed on Santa María’s pilot lines to prove their concepts and scalability. 

In addition to the bakery expertise present in Santa María’s workforce, the equipment lineup also lent itself as a pilot bakery. 

“As we updated Santa María with newer equipment and more automated lines, the equipment that was replaced was not thrown away,” Mr. Zarate explained. “It was kept as a pilot plant, and they would use that equipment to test the product and prove its marketability.” 

This equipment was smaller and more manual, making it no longer adequate for established product lines, but it was more flexible and well-suited to testing. 

“At the time, Santa María was the pilot plant for the success of Bimbo Mexico,” Mr. Zarate said.

This article is an excerpt from the September 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Bimbo Santa Maríaclick here.