Santa Maria

Our very first client

Santa Maria has a special place in our heart. It was our very first client. Our relationship was born in a spice factory back in 1989 and we’ve stuck together ever since.


It was a daring adventure, but the CEO at Nordfalks Lars-Olof Mattson was fully convinced of the Tex Mex potential. It was time to challenge the competitor Old El Paso on the Nordic market. And he invited Valentin & Byhr to join the ride in 1989.

Cutting edge at the local market

It was a true David vs. Goliat scenario. Lars-Olof had inherited Nordfalk, a small spice company in Gothenburg. As a bold and visionary entrepreneur, Lars-Olof Mattsson and Santa Maria had one great advantage against the multinational company Old El Paso. The marketing was created locally with a strong conceptual and authentic feeling.

Santa Maria was also determined to stay focused on being the category captain. And always with cutting edge. Income from spice sales secured the first years of investments in Tex Mex. And suddenly - Tex Mex got its own wings!

Changing consumer behaviour is admittedly hard. But in Sweden, ’fredagsmys’ is now equal to a Tex Mex taco dinner

Magnus Tengby, CEO, Valentin Experience


Everything from logotype to packaging as well as the first campaign launches rolled out. Tex Mex was a solid success and New Product Development got a head start.


Santa Maria redefined themselves as a flavoring company. This new direction encouraged Santa Maria to redesign the entire packaging of original spices with a spectacular new design. Art director Christer Byhr decided to override the undisputable rule to never use the color blue for food. 20 years later, the spice jars are still midnight blue.


New exciting food cultures from India and Thailand were introduced under the concept Santa Maria Spicy World.

Extra Fine Selection Adverts


Innovations from New Product Development were exploding, launching several food and spice concepts over the next few years: The spice range More, Extra Fine Selection, Tex Mex Red Fusion, Tex Mex Tapas and Organic Tex Mex.

EUR 301 million

in net sales of World Foods and Flavouring Division 2013


A brand (r)evolution is underway. Brand identity, communicative platform, packaging and categories - everything is heading into a brand new era. But - of course - it is still all about taste.

851 employees in 13 countries



Being a part of this journey, turning a small spice company in Gothenburg into a European enterprise with a SEK 4 billion turnover, says something fundamental about values and longevity of both our companies. 

Even though Santa Maria is by far our longest client relation, it keeps on being our biggest challenge and greatest adventure at Valentin&Byhr.

In January 2014 Santa Maria was represented in 900 Tesco stores in U.K.