February 3, 2023

Mantinga turns 25: the story of a billion baked goods


Founded in Marijampolė in 1998, Mantinga, which started its activities by importing frozen products, today is the largest producer of bread, snacks and frozen products in the Baltic States. The company, which is celebrating its 25th birthday, produces about 47 million kg of products per year, which is not only successfully distributed in Lithuania, but also exported to almost 40 countries. "The recipe for business success is primarily people – our employees," says the General Manager of the company Mantas Agentas.

Four years ago, Agentas took over the helm of the business from the company's founder, his father, Klemencas Agentas. Currently, Mantinga connects more than 1,600 employees. Just over 200 people have been with the company almost since its very inception, i.e. for 10 years or even longer.

"We boldly state that the people – employees, are our greatest strength. Everything we have achieved over the past 25 years, we managed to create with joint efforts and faith, and without the employees Mantinga would not be what it is today. A truly forward-thinking team that supports each other is the foundation of every business. I am grateful to everyone personally for contributing to the consistent development and growth of the company," says Agentas.

From the first croissant to 1,000 products

Few people know that 25 years ago, the activities of Mantinga started with just a few convection ovens, in which frozen cakes and bread brought from Marseille (France) were baked. When the economic situation changed, it became too expensive to continue such an activity model, so it was decided to start producing own products.

The first bread bakery started operating in 1999 on the site of the former Marijampolė wash-house. At that time, the technology of frozen products was completely new in Lithuania, and frozen products were even called "pebbles". In order to adopt the best practices from other European manufacturers, company representatives travelled a lot by themselves, invited consultants from Germany, Austria and France, who helped them master both the new equipment and new products.

"As early as in 2001, we were the first in Lithuania to start producing Italian bread (ciabatta), French baguettes and croissants. The high-quality frozen products were quickly praised by large retail chains and consumers, thus the range of Mantinga and the production continued to grow. Currently, we have 20 production lines where we produce more than 1,000 different products, and present about 100 more new products every year," Agentas.

Currently, Mantinga manages 4 factories: three in Marijampolė and Fresh Food Production in Latvia, which was acquired in the fall of 2022. The production area exceeds 41,000 sq. m.

"Upon assessing the development of the company during all these years, it can be stated it truly was really very rapid. Several key aspects prevented even faster growth. First of all, they included the economic situation and opportunities to invest in new capacities. Each new production line requires not only a large investment, but also a time investment to design and install it in order to achieve the highest standards of quality, efficiency and sustainability. The fact that we are a family business also brings a great responsibility upon us. We wish to nurture it from generation to generation, we are extremely concerned not only about the well-being and safety of our employees, but also their families. For these reasons, we consider every decision and cannot afford to take unmeasured risks, which might have allowed us to grow even faster", says the General Manager of Mantinga Group.

According to unaudited data, the annual turnover of Mantinga Group exceeded the limit of EUR 139 million in 2022.

Values that inspire action

When asked whether the company's business philosophy has changed over the years, Agentas assures that while production has grown, the main business principles have remained the same.

"The highest quality, flexibility, adaptation to customer needs, creativity and responsibility that constantly accompany the activity are the core principles of Mantinga, which have not changed either due to the challenges caused by the pandemic or due to the constantly changing economic situation. At the moment, the continously more established production orientation towards sustainability arose naturally, as started to take our first steps in 2015 without properly understanding the whole process. Today, we understand the importance of sustainability even more and pay increasingly more attention to it. We also emphasise sustainability in practically every step of production development," he says.

According to the manager, deep-rooted values are of particular importance to Mantinga's long-term business success – they not only allow establishing strong long-term relationships with customers and partners, but also encourage the company's employees to achieve ambitious goals.

"Creativity, flexibility, responsibility – we follow these values every day. Simply put, new ideas are the engine of growth, therefore we must constantly look for new solutions – look for new ways of cooperation, create new and improve existing products, respond to emerging challenges and flexibly adapt to changes in the market. At the same time, we feel a great responsibility for the quality of our products, the well-being of the community and the sustainability of our activities, because only in a harmonious environment can we create a better world for future generations," says Agentas.

As one of the largest companies in the region, Mantinga pays special attention to various social, cultural and sports initiatives in Marijampolė: activities are carried out by the company's charity and support fund, support is provided for children and youth education as well as city events. The company contributed to the establishment of the computer literacy school LISPA, and was one of the biggest supporters of the Pain Treatment Clinic that opened its doors last year. Currently, a unique entrepreneurship education project is being implemented in the schools of Marijampolė.

Goal of sustainable growth

Currently, according to the head of the company, Mantinga is still in the growth stage in terms of business development: investments are constantly being made in innovations, export markets are being expanded, and new products are being developed every day.

When asked what the company's plans are for the next 25 years, the General Manager assures that is main goals are to continue stable operations, to grow sustainably and to achieve the set objectives: "Once the personal motto of the founder of Mantinga, Klemencas Agentas, and now the motivational engine of the entire team, the slogan "Don't reach for the ceiling – reach for the sky" perfectly reflects that we have a lot of plans. We see many more opportunities in the market, therefore, by being creative and innovative, we will try to make use of them", says Agentas.